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Canada’s Fictional Detectives: A Sampling

No fictional Canadian detective symbolizes Canadian crime fiction to the world in the way that Inspector Morse did for British readers or Philip Marlowe did for Americans. However several fictional Canadian detectives have become noteworthy characters in their own right.

They include a neurologist (Patrick Lazerenko), a public defender (Monty Collins),  a retired lawyer (Arthur Beauchamp), a full time private eye (Jonah Geller), two active-duty police officers (Armand Gamache of the Quebec Surete and Patrick Green of the Ottawa Police), a former international aid worker (Amanda Doucette) and, of course, retired, and somewhat embittered, former Mounted Police officer  J.M. Walsh (created by John J. Barr).

Walsh, we believe, is the first fictional investigator to be a died-in-the-wool westerner.

A sampling of these characters and their creators:

Jonah Geller, a Toronto based private eye, was created by Montreal native Howard Shrier, an Award winning crime novelist). In Miss Montreal Geller ventures into that city’s complex underworld.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surete du Quebec (created by Louise Penny) lives in the eastern townships of Quebec. Ms. Penny, the dean of Canadian crime writers, began her career as a radio broadcaster for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She has more than ten novels to her credit. Her novel The Long Way Home has been made into a film. Her recent novel A Trick Of The

Arthur Beauchamp (created by Vancouver lawyer William Deverell) is a retired criminal lawyer — scholarly, crafty and self-doubting. Until called back into duty as an investigator he is retired as a hobby farmer in the gulf islands along with his new wife, an organic farmer and environmental activist.


Neurologist Patrick Lazerenko (created by Liam Durcan, himself a McGill University neurologist) investigates an international case involving the war crimes trial of his beloved mentor, Hernan García, a Honduran doctor accused of involvement in torture.

Nova Scotia public defender Monty Collins (created by Nova Scotia novelist Anne Emery) works in Halifax.  In Sign of the Cross Collins has the client from hell in in the form of a surly, cynical and secretive Priest on trial for first degree murder.

International aid worker Amanda Doucette and City of Ottawa police officer Michael Green are two characters created by novelist Barbara Fradkin. Ms. Fradkin is a retired Ottawa-based child psychiatrist and award winning author of many mysteries.

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