Category Archives: Book Launches

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.

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


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.

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!



Jump into spring with a signed copy of 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.

Launch of a supernatural whodunnit

CCW member Mike Young is launching his first novel, Kirk’s Landing, on December 11th, at 8pm. at  Daniel O’Connell’s Pub, 1211 Wellington West, Ottawa.

Kirk’s Landing features Dave Browne, a big city undercover cop, with the power of invisibility who gets his cover blown by a biker gang in Toronto. He’s sent to head up a RCMP detachment in a supposedly quiet small town in Manitoba, and soon finds that Kirk’s Landing has a lot more going on under the surface that he had anticipated, including corruption at the mill, murder, and an evil spirit.

Dave Whellams – “Walking into the Ocean” Book Launch, April 4th 2012

Dave Whellams – “Walking into the Ocean” Book Launch April 4, 2012, at Collected Works, Wellington at Holland, 7 p.m.

CCW member Dave Whellams will be launching his first novel Walking into the Ocean on Wednesday, April 4.

The first in a trilogy featuring semi-retired Scotland Yard veteran, Chief Inspector Peter Cammon, this murder mystery sends our investigator down to the Jurassic Cliffs of Devon and Dorset to investigate the killing of a local woman by her mechanic husband, who has thrown her off a cliff and then disappeared into the English Channel. The crime seems an ordinary one for the brilliant Cammon to bother with, but he soon learns that the region is plagued by a serial killer who has been abducting young women on these same cliffs. Cammon’s unflappable and manipulative boss, Deputy Commissioner Bartleben, realizes that Cammon indeed is the man for the job, for only the inspector is capable of perceiving the connection between the deaths of the wife and the young women. In figuring out the murders, Cammon ends up relying, unexpectedly, on a number of women, who include not only the beautiful local girl, Guinevere, but also Peter’s own wife and daughter. Ranging from the south of England to the island of Malta, and back again, Walking into the Ocean reaches its climactic confrontation on the rugged cliffs overlooking the Channel.

Dave is also the author of the short story collection Stories from the Criminal Code. In February, he published his novella Craxer Must Steal on the Smashwords e-pub site, the first of a series of humorous mysteries starring John Craxer, insurance investigator and thief.

All CCW members are welcome to attend the book launch on April 4. Walking into the Ocean is published by ECW Press in cloth and paper formats, as well as on Kindle and Kobo.