Congratulations are in order for Vancouver author John MacLachlan Gray, whose novel, The White Angel (Douglas & McIntyre, $29.95), has just been shortlisted for Best Crime Novel in the 2018 Arthur Ellis Awards for Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing.
The Arthur Ellis Awards are presented annually by the Crime Writers of Canada to recognize the best in mystery, crime, and suspense writing in fiction and non-fiction by Canadian writers.
The White Angel is based on the unsolved murder of Janet Smith, a Scottish nanny who was found dead in her employer's posh Vancouver mansion on July 26, 1924. A dubious investigation led to the even more dubious conclusion that she died by suicide, but after a public outcry the case was re-examined—it was determined that Smith had been murdered. No one was ever convicted, though suspects abounded, from an infatuated Chinese houseboy to a drug-smuggling ring, devil-worshippers from the United States, and even the Prince of Wales. For Vancouver, the killing created a situation analogous to lifting a large flat rock to expose the creatures hiding underneath.
John MacLachlan Gray is a multi-talented artist. As a playwright, composer and theatre director, he has created many acclaimed productions, most notably Billy Bishop Goes to War (1978), which won the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama, was produced on- and off-Broadway, and was released as a feature film in 2011. He received his MA from the University of British Columbia. As a writer, Gray has authored several books, fiction and non-fiction, including a series of mystery-thrillers: A Gift For The Little Master (Random House, 2000), The Fiend in Human (St. Martins/Random House, 2004), White Stone Day (Minotaur Books, 2005) and Not Quite Dead (Minotaur Books, 2007). Gray is an Officer of the Order of Canada. He lives in Vancouver, BC.
Other finalists for Best Crime Novel include Gail Bowen, for The Winners’ Circle (McClelland & Stewart); Robyn Harding, for The Party (Gallery/Scout Press); Peter Robinson, for Sleeping in the Ground (McClelland & Stewart); and Rio Youers, for The Forgotten Girl (St. Martin’s Press). The winners of the Arthur Ellis Awards will be announced on May 24 in Toronto.