Forensic anthropologist cracks historical Canadian murder cases

417-9_EVITE_JULY15On Tuesday, July 15th, 7:00 pm at the Ottawa Public Library on Metcalfe Street, join us for a presentation by world-renowned forensic anthropologist and historical crime author, Dr. Debra Komar, on how she uses her modern forensic skills to turn some of Canada’s most notorious historical crimes upside down.

Along with meticulous archival research for her books, Dr. Komar proved the innocence of those who swung at the end of a nineteenth-century hangman’s rope, creating reverberations in the modern-day courtrooms of the country.

This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase.

The Lynching of Peter Wheeler is the second of four books planned by Komar about historic crimes in Canada.The first in the series, The Ballad of Jacob Peck, was released in 2013 to critical acclaim.

The Lynching of Peter Wheeler

“Her body lay broken in the sitting room. Blood pooled thick and glutinous around her head. A container of homemade preserves lay half-eaten beside her, a spoon still cradled inside. The bloody fingerprints on the handle beckoned a sickening thought: her assailant had paused to eat the jam after killing her.”

So begins The Lynching of Peter Wheeler, a shocking story about the state-sanctioned lynching of an innocent outsider wrongfully convicted of killing a teenage white girl in nineteenth-century Nova Scotia.

On a cold winter night in 1896, fourteen-year-old Annie Kempton was home alone having a taste of freedom without parents or family around. Sometime before daylight she was wrenched from her bed, a violent struggle ensued, and her throat was slit.

Peter Wheeler was an itinerant labourer of African descent who had finally found a home in small town Bear River. Uneducated and too trusting of authority, Wheeler was bewildered at the reaction when an inquest witness seemingly pointed out a lie in his testimony.

From then on Wheeler was placed atop the suspect list by authorities, where he stayed until swinging dead from the hangman’s rope.

The Lynching of Peter Wheeler tells the tragic and fascinating story of how an isolated Victorian community, with an unsophisticated inquest panel, was influenced by an arrogant detective who fancied himself a media darling.

With conservative mores left traumatized in the wake of a young girl’s vicious murder, and the salacious headlines splashed across the local newspapers in a yellow journalism war, Wheeler never stood a chance.

Debra Komar spent months meticulously researching in libraries, museums, and archives to prove the hapless Peter Wheeler wasn’t the killer, and examines how authorities denied him justice with a rush to judgement.

She uses her formidable forensic skills along with riveting prose to draw readers into an investigative page-turner that leaves you astonished at the outcome.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Debra Komar is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and a practicing forensic anthropologist for over twenty years, Komar has investigated human rights violations for the United Nations and Physicians for Human Rights and testified as an expert witness in The Hague and across North America. She is the author of the book Forensic Anthropology: Contemporary Theory and Practice for Oxford University Press (2008). Komar’s first historical crime work, The Ballad of Jacob Peck, was released to critical acclaim in 2013.

Congratulations to our Audrey Jessop Short Story Prize winner!

Our jubilant winner, Kristina Stanley

Our jubilant winner, Kristina Stanley

Kristina Stanley walked away with the 2014 Audrey Jessop Short Story prize for her submission, “When a Friendship Fails”.

The awards dinner at The Heart & Crown in the Byward Market capped off a Capital Crime Writers’ mayhem-filled year.

A huge thanks to our judges and all participants. And it’s never too early to start working on your submission for next year.

Here’s the complete list of prize winners and honourable mentions:

FIRST PRIZE:   ‘When a Friendship Fails’ by Kristina Stanley

SECOND PRIZE:  ‘The Moment It Fell’ by Wynn Quon

THIRD PRIZE:  ‘The Ride Home’ by Linda Standing

HONOURABLE MENTION:  ‘Act the Part’ by Jennifer Jorgensen

HONOURABLE MENTION:  ‘Scapegoat’ by Nicholas Ashton

Year-end bash features Audrey Jessup Short Story Award

Who will win the Audrey Jessup short story award?

Find out while sipping a tall, cold one at the Heart & Crown in the Byward Market (67 Clarence St.) on Wednesday, June 11, 2014.

The shortlist for the Audrey Jessup  2014 Capital Crime Writers Short Story Contest were announced on May 10, 2014 during Capital Mayhem.  The nominees (in alphabetical order ) are:

“Act the Part ” by Jennifer Jorgensen

“The Moment It Fell” by Wynn Quon

“The Ride Home” by Linda Standing

“Scapegoat” by Nicholas Ashton

“When a Friendship Fails” by Kristina Stanley

The event takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and spaces are limited to 35. Please register here

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Scandinavian Crime Fiction Night

Meet and listen to famous and debut Scandinavian mystery authors on Monday, June 9, 2014 at the Ottawa Public Library Main Branch (120 Metcalfe Street) starting at 7 p.m.

This event features:
Norway’s Thomas Enger – bestselling author of the Henning Juul Series. Enger is launching his new novel, Pierced.

Denmark’s Jakob Melander – internationally-acclaimed author of The House that Jack Built, the first book in a new crime noir series.

Sweden’s Dan T. Sehlberg – debut author of the highly-original technothriller, Mona.

Mystery Twitter contest winners and all-stars

We had a great time reading your tweets for the first (and hopefully annual) CCW Twitter Mystery Contest.

Your super-condensed mysteries were a great lead-up to our conference, Capital Mayhem on Saturday, May 10, 2014. Thanks everyone who jumped into the fictional murder fray.

Here are our winners:

1st place:

  2nd place:

  3rd place:


All Stars:

Participants were encouraged to send in multiple entries, which explains why you may see some of these names twice. A special thanks to CCW authors Brenda Chapman and C.B. Forrest who led by example.

Capital Mayhem features killer criminal minds and panels to die for

PeterRobinson

Capital Mayhem Poster - email

How many free crime fiction events feature Peter Robinson, author of the popular Inspector Banks series? Answer: Just one–Capital Mayhem.

This premier Capital Crime Writers event  runs from 9 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m. on Saturday,May 10, 2014 at the Ottawa Public Library Main Branch. Free refreshments and a gratis lunch are available for the first 100 registrants. Be sure to register at mayhem@capitalwriters.com

Robinson will be participating in an interview-format session starting at 9:45 a.m. Got a burning question about Robinson’s writing rituals, favourite characters, or what’s next on his roster? Feel free to send it along to treasurer@capitalcrimewriters.com.  We want to give fans a chance to get their queries in to the interviewer.

Be sure to stick around for our stellar lineup of Ottawa authors ready to entertain and inform audiences in these panel discussions:

Kickass Characters — What traits should you consider for the ideal hero in stories and novels? How do you make sure your sidekick doesn’t steal the show? Should you use your in-laws as inspiration for the perfect villain? Find answers to these questions and more in the Kickass Characters panel featuring the following top-notch talent: Barbara Fradkin, R.J. Harlick, Linda Wiken, and Mary Jane Maffini.

Mystery Striptease — What to reveal and conceal when? How many breadcrumbs for your readers are too many? When is a surprise too surprising? Learn from these veterans of criminal intent and imagination: Brenda Chapman, Vicki Delany, C.B. Forrest, and Jeff Ross.

Read My Shorts — Is there such a thing a short story that’s too short? How do you manage to paint the scene of the crime, create compelling characters, and catch the bad guy in such a short amount of time? What does the crime short-story market look like in Canada? Have a listen to these short story pros to glean cues for short-story awesomeness: Wynn Quon, Sue Pike, Denis St. Jean, and Melanie Fogel.

And there’s more! There will be readings, book signings, announcements about the Audrey Jessop short list, and winner of our Twitter mystery contest.

Check out the schedule below:

M.C. – Ottawa City Councillor (and CCW member) Katherine Hobbs

9 a.m. – Muffins, refreshments, and a book sale by Perfect Books

9:30 a.m. – Opening remarks by CCW President Michael Murphy, and Ottawa-Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi

9:45-10:45 a.m. – Peter Robinson talk/interview

10:45-11:15 a.m. – Twitter contest winners announced/read by Kurt Stoodley

11:15-12 p.m. – Kickass Characters with panelists: Barbara Fradkin, R.J. Harlick, Linka Wiken, and Mary Jane Maffini

12-1 p.m. – Lunch and Writers’ Circle with Tom Curran and David Whellams

1-1:15 p.m. – Audrey Jessop short story contest finalists announced

1:15-2 p.m. – Mystery Striptease with panelists: Brenda Chapman, Vicki Delany, C.B. Forrest, and Jeff Ross

2-2:15 p.m. – Reading by Ottawa Sun Reporter Jon Willing

2:15-2:30 p.m. – Break

2:30-3:15 p.m. – Read My Shorts with panelists: Wyn Quon, Sue Pike, Denis St. Jean, and Melanie Fogel

3:15 p.m. – Closing remarks, book signings, and mingling.

Brenda Chapman announced as Arthur Ellis finalist

Brenda Chapman is a finalist for an Arthur Ellis award in the novella category.

Brenda Chapman

Chapters on Rideau Street hosted a panel of CCW authors on Thursday, April 24 where it was later announced that Brenda Chapman is a finalist for the Arthur Ellis award for her novella, My Sister’s Keeper.

CB Forrest moderated the author panel consisting of  Chapman, Barbara Fradkin, RJ Harlick and Michael McCann. At the end of the evening, Mary Jane Maffini, who MC’d the event, announced the short lists for the Crime Writers of Canada’s Arthur Ellis Awards. Congratulations Brenda!

Panel_discussion

 

Twitter Mayhem: Ultimate short-short-short crime fiction story contest

twitterTo promote our upcoming crime fiction conference in Ottawa — Capital Mayhem — we’re launching a Twitter mystery contest that starts Monday, April 28. Don’t worry, you have until the end of the week to come up with a mystery that will blow our judges’ socks off. We want the opening line to a short story or novel that you haven’t yet written or wish you could read. The story must be in the crime fiction or thriller genre.

Here are the rules:
1. The complete opening sentence must be contained in a single tweet (There’s no Part 1, Part 2, etc.)

2. You can enter more than once.

3. Your tweet must contain the following hashtag: #capitalmayhem

4. To be eligible for prizes, you must live in the Ottawa/West Quebec area.

The top three tweets will be announced at Capital Mayhem. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.

Looking for inspiration? CanadaWrites held a contest like this a couple of years ago. Here’s a link to their winning entries in the Lawmakers/Lawbreakers Twitter Challenge.

We’ll also publish our favourite tweets on the blog, so stay tuned.

Capital Mayhem featuring Peter Robinson and Ottawa authors

Capital Mayhem, our upcoming mystery conference on Saturday, May 10, 2014 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ottawa Public Library Main Branch features Peter Robinson, author of the Inspector Banks mystery series.

This free event includes panel discussions starring well-known Ottawa mystery authors,  including those listed on the poster (below) and more, and a free lunch for the first 100 registrants. To register, email: mayhem@capitalcrimewriters.com

Capital Mayhem Poster - email

 

 

 

Publishing workshop April 12

111 Publishing is hosting an Ottawa workshop on Saturday, April 12, 2014, at the Emerald Plaza branch of the Ottawa Public Library at 1547 Merivale Road. The workshop runs from 9:15 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by one-on-one consultations with participants.

The cost is $79. If you register by April 5, you save $20. Learn more here.

Jump into spring with a signed copy of Cold Mourning

Cold_mourning

Be sure to drop by Brittons in the Glebe on Saturday, April 5, 2014 between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to pick up a signed copy of Brenda Chapman‘s latest novel, Cold Mourning. Brittons is located at 846 Bank Street (near Fifth).

Cold Mourning, the first in a police procedural series set in Ottawa, recently received great reviews in the National Post and Quill and Quire.

The novel features police recruit Kala Stonechild and her bossDetective Jacques Rouleau, as they delve into the mysterious disappearance of wealthy businessman Tom Underwood just days before Christmas.