Arthur Ellis 2010 Shortlists

The Judging Process

by Linda Wiken, Jury Chair

How is a box of books pared down to four or five of the best? It's a tough job...but somebody has to do it. Each year, CWC enlists the aid of reviewers, academics, authors and readers as judges in the Arthur Ellis Awards – 3 for each of the 6 published categories and the best unpublished contest. Books are shipped to them. They read, then compare notes based on guidelines provided by CWC. And the result ...shortlists! From that group the judges pick the winners, which are kept in strict confidence until the reveal at the Arthur Ellis Awards Banquet.

The Arthur Ellis Award Categories are:

Best Crime Novel
Best First Crime Novel       Best French Crime Book
      Best Juvenile Crime Book         Best Crime Nonfiction 
       Best Crime Short Story          Best Unpupublished 



Shortlist for the Best Crime Novel 

From Pacific to Prairie, a teasing treasure hunt turns into a frightening game of cat and mouse. P.I. Russell Quant is plunged into the vagaries of a shocking hometown murder and the blasphemous blackmail of one of the literary world's most esteemed writers.


  • Author: Anthony Bidulka
  • Title: Aloha, Candy Hearts
  • Publisher: Insomniac Press

Meg Harris’s father’s plane went missing in the Arctic. He was never seen again. Thirty-six years later, her mother receives strange Inuit drawings that suggest he might have survived. Meg travels to Iqaluit and soon finds herself sucked into the world of Inuit art forgery and murder.

  • Author: R. J. Harlick
  • Title: Arctic Blue Death
  • Publisher: RendezVous Crime

Charles and Elodie are hired to investigate a bombing attempt at the Ontario legislature, purportedly committed by an anarchist group called The Black Bloc. While the city drops into paranoia fuelled by the police and the mayor, Charlie and Elodie try to keep the black sheep daughter of a prominent family from a certain prison sentence.

  • Author: Lee Lamothe
  • Title: The Finger’s Twist
  • Publisher: Ravenstone

Returning home a hero, celebrated WWII fighter pilot Wilf McLauchlin is immediately plunged into a series of bizarre murders, which he tries to solve. But when the trail leads back to Wilf, he must face those last days of the war before he can make a shattering connection.

  • Author: James W. Nichol
  • Title: Death Spiral
  • Publisher: McArthur & Co.

Toronto investigator Jonah Geller has opened his own agency, World Repairs, with best friend and partner Jenn Raudsepp. Asked to investigate the apparent suicide of a young woman, they’re drawn into the high-stakes world of construction and development on a long-neglected parcel of Toronto’s waterfront.

  • Author: Howard Shrier
  • Title: High Chicago
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada (Random House)

Back to TOP

Shortlist for Best First Crime Novel



Flavia de Luce has a taste for poison. It is 1950 and eleven year-old Flavia, armed with a Victorian chemistry lab, is out to solve a murder - unafraid and morbidly fascinated. Agatha nominee and winner of the 2009 Dilys Award.

  • Author: Alan Bradley
  • Title: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada

 The Welsh town of Llanelen is shocked when posh bride Meg Wynne Thompson goes missing on her wedding day. The last person believed to have seen her is manicurist Penny Brannigan, an expatriate Canadian. With her new friend, Victoria, Penny sets out to find the killer.

  • Author: Elizabeth Duncan
  • Title: The Cold Light of Mourning
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books

 Detective Charlie McKelvey is nearing the end of his career, but his life has been stuck on pause since the murder of his runaway teenage son. McKelvey has fingered a biker named Pierre Duguay for the murder. But is Duguay the right man or has McKelvey become blinded by his grief?

  • Author: C. B. Forrest
  • Title: Weight of Stones
  • Publisher: RendezVous Crime


When the scalped remains of a Jane Doe are discovered, Detective Jake Fry is assigned the task of hunting down Calgary’s most disturbed murderer. Working against a rising body count and police department politics, Fry must relentlessly pursue a murderer with an agenda no one but he can comprehend.

  • Author: Eugene Meese
  • Title: A Magpie’s Smile
  • Publisher: NeWest Press


As twenty-four hours of darkness falls on a remote Arctic Island, two mysterious deaths reveal a mystery with international implications. Published posthumously.

  • Author: Dennis Richard Murphy
  • Title: Darkness at the Break of Dawn
  • Publisher: Harper Collins

Back to TOP

Shortlist for the Best French Crime Book



"I count the dead" is the first novel by veteran screen writer, director and translator, Genevieve Lefebvre.

  • Author: Genevieve Lefebvre
  • Title: Je compte les morts
  • Publisher: Les Editions Libre Expression

As he prepares to leave his post in Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Detective Sergeant Andrew Surprenant finds the corpse of a man. A rifle resting on his egs, the doors locked, everything suggests he committed suicide. A detective story full of twists and humour, featuring a gallery of colourful characters.

  • Author: Jean Lemieux
  • Title: Le mort du chemin des Arsène
  • Publisher: la courte échelle

The hunger for land is the final episode of the series Managers of the Apocalypse, a plot where the future of humanity is played against a backdrop of eco-terrorism.

  • Author: Jean-Jacques Pelletier
  • Title: La Faim de la Terre
  • Publisher: Editions Alire Inc.

 Josette Marchand, masseuse, and Vincent Bastianello, an inspector with the Montreal Police, have strange friends. A work of art looted, a vandalized workshop, teens and missing patches of skin found here and there, launch Marchand and Bastianello on the trail of the elusive, the guilty, and the cruel.

  • Author: Diane Vincent
  • Title: Peaux de chagrins
  • Publisher: Les Editions Triptyques

Back to TOP

Shortlist for the Best Juvenile Crime Book



 Like her Gran, Dee has “the sight,” an ability not only to see spirits from the afterlife but also to experience their deaths -- a quality that becomes more horrifying as the story takes darker turns. Dee is drawn into a deepening mystery that soon strikes terrifyingly close to home.

  • Author: Barbara Hayworth Attard
  • Title: Haunted
  • Publisher: HarperCollins

 Thanks to her mother—the internationally beloved talk show host Mimi Schwartz—Robin’s got the money, the means and the connections to make even her wildest dreams come true. so why, then, does she choose to sit alone in a dark room watching endless reruns?

  • Author: Vicki Grant
  • Title: Not Suitable for Family Viewing
  • Publisher: HarperCollins

 Ryan Dooley continues to struggle against circumstances that would defeat most teenagers, let alone kids who have been in serious trouble with the law. Dooley (as he prefers to be known) was involved in a break and enter a few years ago, served his time, and is now living with his hard-nosed uncle, a former cop.

  • Author: Norah McClintock
  • Title: Homicide Related: A Ryan Dooley Mystery
  • Publisher: Red Deer Press

 There are rumours that a hunchback infant in a gypsy freak show has the power to transform his appearance. This comes to the attention of Mr. Socrates, a member of the shadowy Permanent Association. Naming him Modo, Mr. Socrates keeps the boy indoors and never lets him see his deformity, while putting him through training to be a secret agent.

  • Author: Arthur Slade
  • Title: The Hunchback Assignments
  • Publisher: HarperCollins

 Mimi Shapiro had a disturbing freshman year at NYU. So when her artist father offers the use of his remote Canadian cottage, she’s glad to drive up north. The house is fairy-tale quaint, and the key is hidden right where her dad said it would be, so she’s shocked to find someone already living there.

  • Author: Tim Wynne-Jones
  • Title: The Uninvited
  • Publisher: Candlewick

Back to TOP

Shortlist for the Best Crime Nonfiction


As the city of Windsor celebrated the end of World War II and the return of its troops with parades and public revelry, the industrial city was shaken by a series of brutal stabbings.

  • Author: Patrick Brode
  • Title: The Slasher Killings
  • Publisher: Painted Turtle Press

Having once infiltrated the Bandidos for three years in a landmark police operation, Alex Caine is uniquely positioned to reveal the untold story of the Hells Angels’ fiercest rivals.

  • Author: Alex Caine
  • Title: The Fat Mexican
  • Publisher: Random House of Canada

What makes a poor, small-town journalist stay on a story even though threatened with certain death and offered handsome rewards for looking the other way?

  • Author: Terry Gould
  • Title: Murder Without Borders
  • Publisher: Random House of Canada

Forbidden love. Lycanthropy. Death metal. Murder. Runaway Devil is the true story of Canada's youngest multiple killer: a middle-class, 12-year-old honour roll student from the suburbs who murdered her family with the help of her 23-year-old boyfriend, an aspiring death metal songwriter and self-professed werewolf.

  • Author: Robert Remington and Sherri Zickefoose
  • Title: Runaway Devil
  • Publisher: McClelland

In April 2001, a jogger finds a human skeleton. The jogger phones 911, and homicide investigators from the police service in Hamilton, report to the scene, setting in motion an incredible investigation, a “true CSI story” in which detectives must first find the victim before they can find the killer.

  • Author: Jon Wells
  • Title: Postmortem
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

Shortlist for the Best Crime Short Story


"I looked back at my mom and now she looked like she was crying and I could see the TV and it was all shaky like looking down from a helicopter. And I was freaking out because a voice in my head was shouting at me like ?Do something!"..." 

  • Author: Rick Mofina
  • Title: Backup
  • Publisher: Ottawa Magazine

"Dennis Richard Murphy had his fiction debut in EQMM in 2003, won an Arthur Ellis Award for the 2006 EQMM story "Fuzzy Wuzzy" and became a friend to us all at Dell Magazines. It was with great sadness that we learned of his death in June 2008..." EQMM, January, 2009 

  • Author: Denis Richard Murphy
  • Title: Prisoner in Paradise
  • Publisher: Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine



"Halifax rocked with one headline grabber after another. Ernie Caul, pulled out of the harbour... Joe Proulx, crushed under a steel plate at the container dock...Tommy Jakes and Hector Sappota, a double whack." 

  • Author: James Petrin
  • Title: Nothing is Easy
  • Publisher: Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine


 "Lauren Winslow swept into my office a half hour after my secretary left, twenty minutes before Security came on duty downstairs. As slim as fading hope , she wore a long sapphire sheath that was sexy and modest at the same time." 

  • Author: Twist Phelan
  • Title: Time Will Tell
  • Publisher: MWA Presents the Prosecution Rests (Little Brown)

 "Chief Inspector Bozo of the Clowntown Homicide Squad stepped from his office wearing a fedora between his side-tufts of bright orange hair, hair which had turned purple at the temples giving him a distinguished look." 

  • Author: James Powell
  • Title: Clowntown Pajamas
  • Publisher: Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine

Back to TOP

 Best Unpublished Novel Unhanged Arthur

Author: Pam Barnsley 

Title: This Cage of Bones

Pam Barnsley is a former newspaper reporter and snowboard instructor whose work has appeared in magazines, ad copy, and on CBC television and radio. Harbour Publishing published her non-fiction book Hiking Trails of the Sunshine Coast. Her short mystery stories have appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Storyteller Canada. She has just completed her mystery novel This Cage of Bones, set in Whistler in the world of Paralympic athletes, and she is working on the next in the series, Bed of Lies.

Author: Deryn Collier

Title: Confined Space

Deryn Collier has had more jobs than she’d care to admit. She’s worked in 5-star restaurants, at a government inquiry, in a log yard and at a brewery. So when she started writing Confined Space, it only made sense to write about occupational safety – and murder. Deryn is originally from Montreal and has a BA from McGill University. She now lives in the interior of BC with her husband and two sons. She works as a freelance writer and physician recruiter by day, and writes mysteries in the wee hours of the morning.

Author: Gloria Ferris

Title: Corpse Flower

Formerly a technical writer and editor, Gloria now works part-time as a senior editor with Warner Ferris Editorial Services in Guelph. Her first novel, Cheat the Hangman, was short-listed for the Unhanged Arthurs in 2009. She describes her books as amateur sleuth mysteries for readers who enjoy a happy ending, a dash of romance and humour, some tragedy, and a shot of the paranormal.

Author: Blair Hemstock

 Title: Bait of Pleasure   

Blair Hemstock began life when he learned to read at the age of four. Nobody would pay him for reading mysteries, so he earned a PhD from McMaster University and now teaches college in Fort McMurray, Alberta. He analyzes James Joyce by day and enjoys Rex Stout by night. Happily, wife Jennifer is also a writer and a reader and together they publish NorthWord: A Literary Magazine of Canada’s North with friends. A Bait of Pleasure is his first novel.“If I ever write an autobiography, it will simply list all the books I’ve read.” 

Author: Peter Kirby

Title: Putting Them Down

Peter Kirby was born in Ireland and grew up in Brixton, one of South London’s poorest neighbourhoods. After high school he cooked in greasy spoons in New York City, Toronto and Montreal, often serving breakfasts to cops, criminals and assorted lowlifes. In Montreal, Peter got serious, went to university and studied law at McGill University. He now practices international trade law and international arbitration in one of Canada’s largest law firms and sometimes writes sleep-inducing articles on arcane points of international law. In his spare time, he writes crime and mystery short stories. "Putting Them Down" is his first novel.

Back to TOP



Comments and feedback welcome. Please contact

For PDF version of this newsletter, click here.

Access Copyright Canada is a proud sponsor of the Arthur Ellis Awards

CWC is now on Facebook. Become a fan and add your comments, events and announcements:




CWC Facebook