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The bestselling Gail Bowen returns with a gripping story of marriage, politics, sex, and murder.
With a general election just weeks away, Joanne Kilbourn is following the campaign of Ginny Monaghan, a woman who has her eyes set on the leadership of the federal Conservative Party and whose success depends, not so much on the election-day poll, but on the outcome of a custody battle she’s fighting with her ex. Joanne thinks this is perfect material for a TV program she’s putting together on women and party politics. Happy to be back in the political fray that used to be her life during her first marriage, Joanne is soon also glad of the distraction it provides. A local call girl has been murdered — a woman whose regular clientele included several of Regina’s most prominent lawyers, including — until he met Joanne — her own husband, Zach Shreve.
Her new marriage creaking under the strain of this revelation, Joanne throws herself into her project — and into finding out why the dead woman had started to threaten her clients with blackmail, an investigation that leads to the truth — and to death.
In The Brutal Heart, Bowen expertly mixes the ingredients of marriage, family, politics, and murder into a constantly surprising and compulsively readable story.
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The tenth novel in the highly acclaimed Joanne Kilbourn
series features the murderous fallout of a tell-all
book on the troubled adult children of Canadian celebrities.
When journalist Kathryn Morrissey’s sensational
book on the lives of thirteen adult children of prominent
Canadians is published, one of the parents, Sam Parker,
is furious enough to take a pot shot at the author,
grazing her shoulder. Charges are laid, and Joanne’s
new beau, Zack Shreve, is hired by Parker as his defence
counsel. At the trial, which Joanne is covering for
NationTV, Shreve focuses the jury’s attention
not on who shot whom, but on why — on the ethics
governing the relationship between a journalist and
Morrissey’s betrayal of her subjects opens up
questions about an even more serious betrayal — the
betrayal of children by their parents. While everyone
condemns Parker for taking a gun to Morrissey, no one
can fault his defence of his only child, Glen, a transsexual.
The mutual love and commitment between this father
and child stands in stark contrast to the alienation
between Howard Dowhaniuk, Saskatchewan’s former
premier, and his son, Charlie.
On the day of the verdict, Morrissey is brutally murdered,
and Joanne’s investigation quickly has her trying
to unravel the endless knot of the relationship between
parent and child.
A deeply affecting novel of trust and betrayal, The
Endless Knot is a superb mystery by a virtuoso of the
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This second Gail Bowen omnibus contains her next three
masterful mysteries featuring Canada’s favourite
amateur sleuth, Joanne Kilbourn. In A Colder Kind of
Death, a prisoner is shot to death in the exercise
yard of a Saskatchewan penitentiary, and Joanne becomes
a suspect when his wife is found strangled; in A Killing
Spring, the School of Journalism where Joanne teaches
becomes a world of deceit and fear when one of its
teachers is found dead in a seedy rooming house; and
in Verdict in Blood, Joanne is asked to help solve
the case of a tough judge who is found battered to
death in a park.
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The ninth novel of Gail Bowen’s popular series
finds Canada’s favourite amateur sleuth, Joanne
Kilbourn, on holiday at a cottage borrowed from a lawyer
friend, one of a cluster of summer homes owned by lawyers
from the same prestigious firm. When one of them kills
himself the night after a long talk with Joanne, she
is pushed into investigating just what her neighbours
are involved with, an investigation that has startling – and
fatal – consequences.
Bowen’s depiction of this community of lawyers,
each in his or her way now divorced from the ideals
of justice and mercy that once motivated them all,
is both compassionate and hard-nosed. There is Zack,
the charming but controlling paraplegic; Blake and
Lily, whose daughter, Gracie, struggles to keep her
dignity as her parents’ marriage falls apart;
Noah, who would rather practise carpentry than the
law, and his wife, Delia, who is consumed by worry
about the firm. The mounting stress among these lawyers
is palpable as Joanne delves into their lives. And
Joanne faces her own personal anxieties too when she
discovers that her former lover, Inspector Alex Kequahtooway,
is mixed up in what seems to be some very sordid legal
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Award-winning mystery writer Gail Bowen’s first three
masterful mysteries featuring amateur sleuth Joanne Kilbourn
are now collected in a single volume. In Deadly Appearances,
a successful politician sips his water before a speech at
a picnic on a sweltering August afternoon and, within seconds,
he is dead; in Murder at the Mendel, Joanne’s childhood
friend may have a far more complicated, far more sordid,
and far more deadly past than Joanne knows about; and in
The Wandering Soul Murders, a centre for street kids holds
a dark and disturbing secret, forcing Joanne to act when
her own children are drawn into a web of intrigue that will
leave you breathless.
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In this chilling tale of the terrible power of the ties that both bind us and blind us, Gail Bowen has given us her best novel yet. Brimming with the author’s characteristic empathy for the troubled, The Glass Coffin explores the depth of tragedy that a camera’s neutral eye can capture – and cause.
Canada’s favourite sleuth, Joanne Kilbourn, is dismayed to learn who it is that her best friend, Jill Osiowy, is about to marry. Evan MacLeish may be a celebrated documentary filmmaker, but he’s a cold fish who not only has already lost two wives to suicide, but has exploited their lives – and deaths – by making acclaimed films about them. Not even Jill appears to be particularly fond of him, and Jo is appalled to learn that her friend is marrying Evan primarily to become stepmother to his teenaged daughter, Bryn. Even Bryn hates her father for having filmed her all of her short life. It’s obvious to Joanne that this is stony ground on which to found a marriage. What is not obvious is that it is about to get bloodsoaked.
Intelligent, sympathetic, and harder-edged than earlier novels in the Joanne Kilbourn series, The Glass Coffin is the work of a writer at the top of her form.
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Joanne Kilbourn is looking forward to a relaxing weekend
at the lake with her children and her new grandchild when
murder once more wreaks havoc in Regina, Saskatchewan. A
young colleague at the university where Joanne teaches is
found stabbed to death in the basement of the library.
Ariel Warren was a popular lecturer among the students and
staff, and her violent death shocks – and divides – Regina’s
small and fractious academic community. Kevin Coyle, a professor
earlier accused of sexual harassment, is convinced the murder
is connected to his case, even as Ariel’s long-time
lover, Charlie Dowhanuik, a radio talk-show host, seems to
point the finger at himself in his on-air comments on the
day of the murder.
Aghast at Charlie’s indiscretion, his father, Howard,
asks his old friend Joanne for her help. But before Joanne
has a chance to start searching for the truth, she is scorched
by the white-hot anger of militant feminists on campus when
a vigil for the dead woman turns ugly. Instead of a tribute
to Ariel’s life, the vigil becomes an angry protest
about violence against women. Some of the women there are
certain they know who killed Ariel, and they are out for
The everyday family problems and joys Joanne Kilbourn experiences
as she solves baffling murder cases have endeared her to
a growing number of fans, as have the television movies,
starring Wendy Crewson as Joanne. The seventh novel in Gail
Bowen’s much-loved series, Burying Ariel offers readers
an imaginative, compassionate, and, above all, challenging
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Murder is the last thing on Joanne Kilbourn’s mind
on a perfect morning in May. Then the phone rings, and she
learns that her daughter Mieka has found the corpse of a
young woman in an alley near her store. So begins Joanne’s
chilling collision with evil in Gail Bowen’s riveting
third mystery, The Wandering Soul Murders.
Joanne is stunned and saddened by the news that the dead
woman, at seventeen, was already a veteran of the streets.
When, just twenty-four hours later, her son’s girlfriend
is found dead, drowned in a lake in Saskatchewan’s
Qu’Appelle Valley, Joanne’s sunny world is shattered.
Her excitement about Mieka’s upcoming marriage, her
involvement in the biography she is writing, even her pleasure
at her return to Regina all fade as she finds herself drawn
into a twilight world where money can buy anything and there
are always people willing to pay.
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As a child Joanne was friends with Sally Love and her parents,
but the friendship languished after Sally’s father
died and she moved away, eventually becoming a very controversial
artist. When the Mendel Gallery opens an exhibition of Sally’s
work, Joanne is eager to attend and to renew their friendship.
But it’s not so easy being Sally’s friend anymore,
and soon Joanne finds herself ensnared in a web of intrigue
and violence. When the director of a local private gallery
is brutally murdered, Joanne finds that the past she and
Sally share was far more complicated, and far more sordid,
than she had realized.
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Gail Bowen, winner of the 1995 Arthur Ellis Award for best
crime novel for her last Joanne Kilbourn mystery, A Colder
Kind of Death, is back – with her most daring mystery
In the horrifying opening paragraph of A Killing Spring,
Reed Gallagher, the head of the School of Journalism at the
university where Joanne Kilbourn teaches, is found dead in
a seedy rooming house. He is dressed in women’s lingerie,
with an electric cord around his neck. Suicide, the police
say. A clear case of accidental suicide. But for Joanne,
who takes on the thankless task of breaking the news to Gallagher’s
wife, this death is just the first in a series of misfortunes
that rock her life, both professional and personal.
A few days after Gallagher’s death, the School of
Journalism is vandalized – its offices and computers
are trashed, and homophobic graffiti are sprayed everywhere.
Then an unattractive and unpopular journalism student in
Joanne’s politics class stops coming to school after
complaining to an unbelieving Joanne that she’s being
sexually harassed. Clearly, all is not as well at the university
as Joanne had thought. Nor is all well in her love life after
the casual racism of a stranger drives a wedge between Joanne
and her lover, Inspector Alex Kequahtooway. To make matters
worse, Joanne is unceremoniously fired by her best friend
from the weekly political panel on Nationtv, which she’s
being doing for years.
Badly shaken by these calamities, Joanne struggles to carry
cheerfully on. Action, she knows, is better for her than
moping. She decides to find out why her student has stopped
coming to class, and in doing so, Joanne steps unknowingly
into an on-campus world of fear and deceit and murder.
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When a prisoner is shot to death in the exercise yard of
a Saskatchewan penitentiary, Joanne Kilbourn finds herself
haunted by a part of her past she wished had never happened.
The dead prisoner is Kevin Tarpley, the man who six years
earlier had brutally killed her politician husband, Ian,
in a seemingly senseless act alongside the TransCanada Highway.
The haunting takes on a more menacing cast several days
later when Tarpley’s sinister wife, Maureen, is discovered
dead in a snow-swept Regina parking lot. A brightly coloured
scarf is found wound tightly around her neck, a scarf that
belongs to none other than Joanne Kilbourn. Soon this single
mother, author, university professor, and TV-show panelist
is deemed the “number one” suspect in Maureen
Joanne knows there has to be a connection between these
two murders. But what is it? A cryptic letter sent to Joanne
by Kevin Tarpley just days before his death intimates that
Ian Kilbourn’s killing may not have been as senseless
as first assumed. In fact, there are hints that some of Ian’s
political colleagues may have been involved. But how deeply
and in what way?
Then there’s the faded photograph of a pretty young
woman and her baby that Joanne finds tucked in the wallet
of her dead husband. Does it offer any clue to Ian’s
murder, or to the deaths of the Tarpleys? Warily, Joanne
Kilbourn is forced to follow a tangled trail deep into a
heartbreaking past she never knew existed.
A Colder Kind of Death is the fourth novel featuring Gail
Bowen’s “reluctant sleuth,” Joanne Kilbourn.
With its deft mix of wry humour and mayhem, closely observed
family scenes and gripping suspense, warm characterization
and betrayal, it confirms Gail Bowen’s stature as one
of the greats of mystery fiction.
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