2008 A Year of Firsts for Scene of the Crime!
Our first female Grant Allen Award recipient: Joy Fielding!
Our first community outreach projects!
Our first mugs! Okay, well maybe that's not so important (but we like them!)
The weather was perfect, a grand sunny day with just the right amount of breeze: enough to
keep us cool, and not enough to blow the books away. Brian and Sherry Fenlon of Kingston's
As the Plot Thickens Mystery Bookshop were there as usual with a marvelous selection of
books by our guest authors, Linwood Barclay, José Latour (our first Cuban-Canadian!) Mary
Jane Maffini, Louise Penny, and of course our Grant Allen Award recipient, Joy Fielding.
Brian and Sherry ran out of books for the first time at this year's event! No ... we won't
tell you which author it was.
As usual, lunch at the United Church Hall was great, and we had — you guessed it —
another first! This year board members Ken Keyes and Chris Carr helped us auction off a
baseball cap signed by the whole cast of the CBS hit show, COLD CASE. One of our own
Board members was lucky enough to snag the item at the bargain price of $60. (Don't tell
anyone, but her husband was willing to go as high as $75)
Board member Barbara Fradkin moderated our panel discussion this year, with the theme "Cozy
vs. Noir". The panelists got right to it by establishing the parameters: "cozies" are
more cheerful, more optimistic, set in a close-knit community, where justice will triumph
in the end, while "noir" is more fatalistic, and justice may be a relative thing. José
Latour brought an interesting perspective to the question when he pointed out that in Cuba,
and other Latin American cultures, it's the government and the police who are the villains —
giving a rather disturbing twist to the whole idea of the noir thriller.
The 2008 event was certainly not the first time we've had a lecture on Grant Allen. David
Skene-Melvin, Scene of the Crime's literary historian and benefactor, gave the inaugural
lecture, and our own Chris Carr has had a few words to say from time to time. But this
year we had noted Sherlockian and Baker Street Irregular Peter Calamai come to give us the
skinny on the friendship between our Festival patron Grant Allen and Sir Arthur Conan
It was a real pleasure for us to give the 2008 Grant Allen Award for pioneering work in
Canadian crime fiction to Joy Fielding. Born in Toronto, Joy is best known for her
bestselling thrillers and novels of suspense.
All we're going to say about the Joy Fielding interview is ... you had to be there.
Orland French did his usual 'no-holds-barred' grilling, and Joy was still laughing about
it on the ferry hours later. "I'll be telling people about this for years," she said.
Now that's an interview.
It's always been part of our mandate at Scene of the Crime that we give back to the
community of Wolfe Island, in recognition of their constant support. In the past, we
started The Grant Allen Collection, books donated to the Wolfe Island Library by the
authors who were invited to Scene of the Crime every year. David Skene-Melvin generously
donated a first edition Grant Allen novel, and funds to build a display case for the
collection. This case, known as The Grant Allen Crime 'Triangle', holds a rotating display
of Canadian crime fiction.
2008 marked the first year that we at the Festival have been in a position to give our own
tangible support to the project. In addition to books donated by this year's authors, we
were able to give $500 to the Wolfe Island Branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library.
The donation will be used to actively increase the Grant Allen Collection of Canadian
Crime and Mystery Books. These books can be requested by any library, but will have the
Wolfe Island Library as their home branch.
We also set aside funds to begin a creative writing project in area schools. The project
will begin in January of 2009, in the Marysville Public School on Wolfe Island.