The Next Chapter's March Mysteries Reading List

shelagh-rogers-80-80.jpgCBC's The Next Chapter with Shelagh Rogers is highlighting some of Canada's greatest mystery writers in March and their latest books. Here is a look at some of the novels that should jump to the top of your to-read list. We'll be adding interview clips after they air! And stay tuned for an exciting new contest based on classic detective stories.

Gail Bowen

Born in Toronto, but now living in Regina, Gail Bowen worked for 22 years in the English department at the First Nations University of Canada. The mystery author says she learned to read from tombstones in a Toronto cemetery! Her first book in the Joanne Kilbourne mystery series, for which she is best known, was published in 1990. It, along with the next five, were each made into made-for-television movies. Bowen has also penned plays and short stories.

the-gifted-cover-120.jpgThe Gifted of the Joanne Kilbourn mystery series

It's the latest in more than a dozen books that follow protagonist Joanne Kilbourn who is a university professor, wife and mother.

In The Gifted, Jo and her husband, Zack, are concerned over their youngest daughter's upcoming participation in an art auction. One of her paintings for it, which remains secretive for a long time, is a portrait of a young man involved in an affair with the fundraiser's organizer while married to Zack's friend. When the web of deceit starts ravelling out of control, a principal star in the drama is found murdered.

Claire Cameron

TheBear-cameron-120.pngClaire Cameron is a lover of adventures, which are at the heart of her writing. The author, who now lives in Toronto with her husband and their two children, lived in San Francisco and England's capital earlier in her life. She loves spending time outside and fondly recalls Algonquin Park canoe trips, days tree planting in Northern Ontario and scaling the boulders of California's parks. In addition to writing about adventure, Cameron is fascinated by bears, which she both loves and is scared by.

Cameron's latest novel, The Bear, hones in on the author's love of writing bear stories. It's a suspense book narrated by a five-year-old girl whose family is mauled by a vicious bear on a camping trip. Somehow, little Anna manages to plop her brother into a canoe and paddle away - but now the pair must survive on their own.

Andrew Pyper

demonologist-120.jpgBorn in Stratford, Ont., in the late 60s, Andrew Pyper has recently written his sixth novel. He received both his bachelor and master degree in English Literature from Montreal`s McGill University. He later attended the University of Toronto's law school. But despite being called to the bar, he never practiced the craft. Pyper now lives in Toronto.

Pyper's sixth novel, The Demonologist, was published last year and he has already sold the film rights to the horror story. In the book, a university professor specializing in demonic mythology must rescue his preteen daughter from the Underworld after he embarks on a misadventure proposed by a stranger. On the stranger's request - and the promise of lots of cash - the professor goes to Italy with his daughter to give his professional opinion on a so-called phenomenon. However, things take a turn for the worse when a demon choose the professor as his messenger and he must somehow rescue his daughter from its hold.

Todd Babiak

come-barbarians-120.jpgTodd Babiak appears to have had a quaint childhood. He grew up "in a small house in an oil town, with a mother who read horror novels and a father who cut the lawn with his shirt off," he writes. He now lives in Edmonton, but takes sometimes month-long and sometimes year-long writing trips to France. He co-founded Story Engine to help others use "the power of story as the core of their strategic planning," reads the company's website. Babiak has written five

Todd Babiak's fifth book, Come Barbarians, forces its protagonist -- a former security agent -- to ask himself how far will he go to protect his wife and daughter. After the family moves to France, an accident draws Christopher Kruse into a series of events involving politics and murder, leading to the disappearance of his wife. Then he must find her before others do.

Ross Pennie

upinsmoke-120.jpgRoss Pennie is a Canadian medical mystery writer who says he started his writing career when he was 10 years old by writing about his solo trek across Canada's Prairies and Rockies on a four-day train trip. The retired specialist in infectious diseases treated many patients including ones he describes as "hockey stars, doughnut addicts, warrior clansmen and long-haul truckers" while fighting against "every germ you can think of." The father of two lives in southern Ontario with his wife.

Up in Smoke channels Ross Pennie's work as an infectious disease specialist caring for many heavy smokers. In the novel, Dr. Zol Szabo and his colleagues visit an Ontario high school where many teens are dying from liver failure. Szabo suspects the culprit is something in cheap cigarettes made on a nearby reserve. At the suggestion, high government officials order him to shut down his investigation. Now Szabo has to find a way to save the kids before liver failure kills them.

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