Great books

Detective fiction — enter our contest to win an ebook

Thrice BurnedThe Sherlock Holmes stories are well loved–by adults and kids. If you’re trying to hook your teens on reading, introduce them to the Sherlock Holmes mysteries.
There’s been a recent resurgence in all things Sherlockian (sorry, did I say “Cumberbatch”? Why yes… yes, I did.) Not only are there new TV series and movies about the curmudgeonly detective, but recently there has been a spate of new “detective fiction” written in the style of Conan Doyle’s great books. One popular example is the new Portia Adams series by Angela Misri.
Misri–who is a good friend of mine–is launching the second book in her series.

 

Q: Angela, tell us a bit about your main character, Portia Adams.
Portia is a bright and curious 19-year-old Canadian girl who has to find her way in the world pretty much on her own. Having lost her mother and closest confidante at the beginning of Jewel of the Thames, she is forced to step outside all her comfort zones and grow up, leaving Toronto behind for busy London. I think Portia has a lot of growing up left to do, including finding a way to trust again and open up her heart to the people around her, something the loss of her mother has impeded. Annie Coleseon is a big part of that. Portia discovered early on in Jewel that many of the traits her peers found irritating about her, like her focus and over-analysis of minute details, could be found in the journals of her grandfather John Watson — as he described his best friend Sherlock Holmes. Suddenly, there is potential that what made her a freak could make her a great detective, and it is in Thrice Burned that she actually figures this out. That she could be more than she had ever dreamed. That she could be an amazing detective in her own right.
Angela Misri with two Calgary fans at the Oolong Cafe in 2014.
Angela Misri with two Calgary fans at the Oolong Cafe in 2014.
Q: What do you think teens find detective fiction so appealing?
There is a thrill you get when you ‘figure out’ a mystery that I have never found in other genres of literature. I read all kinds of books, from non-fiction biographies to science fiction series to the latest YA dystopic fiction. All have their attractions, but none provide that moment of ‘ah-ha!’ that I (and I believe many teens and adults) find addictive. It’s buried like hidden treasure in every mystery book on the shelf, just waiting for you to dig it up!

 

Misri author photo
Author Angela Misri, at the 2014 launch of the first book in her Portia Adams detective series, Jewel of the Thames.
Q: What did you love about the Sherlock Holmes books when you were a teen?
I read all kinds of mysteries as a kid; that is, just feeding my rampant curiosity. It may sound strange, but I found comfort in the idea that a book-smart, logical person could find a niche in the world. I was an introverted, book-reading, socially withdrawn teen who preferred comic books to makeup and Dungeons and Dragons over sleepover parties. While Nancy Drew was a compelling heroine with mysteries to solve, it was Sherlock and his misunderstood personality that mimicked my teenage experience. I was not a vivacious strawberry blonde with perfect fashion sense. I was the misanthrope that most girls my age didn’t understand. I loved the friendship between Holmes and Watson and sensed that my closest relationships would be the same sort of opposites-attract balance (which turned out to be true). As much as Portia is based on pieces of me and pieces of my favourite detectives, her best friend, Brian Dawes, is based on my best friends — who are invariably more social and have far more emotional IQ.

Click on “Continue Reading” and comment on this article to be entered into a draw to win an e-copy of Thrice Burned by Angela Misri. You will also be entered in the draw if you tweet about this article and copy me with @JGCanada. Good luck! NOTE: THIS CONTEST CLOSES ON TUESDAY, MARCH 31, 2015.

(PS: The comments are now turned on — they’d accidentally been turned off earlier. Sorry!)

8 Comments

  1. Jane gotlib

    Joyce…this looks awesome!

  2. Who doesn’t love a good mystery?

  3. Sounds great! I love checking out new books that I can recommend to my students!

  4. This sounds great!

  5. Congratulations Misri! Both books look wonderful and I’m going to check them out.

  6. This series sounds really good–my daughter would love it!

  7. Sounds like a great book!

  8. Younger kids love good mysteries too, check out these books for 7-11 year olds. Kids that didn’t enjoy reading, get hooked with these stories:
    aiharobooks.com

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