top of page

Updated: Jan 10, 2021

Just before I began to write Death of the Limping Man, I heard of the sad and untimely loss of Erin Wall, the wonderful American-Canadian soprano. She was young, just 44. We had seen her at Roy Thomson Hall only a year before, radiant, in fine voice, singing the title role of Thais in concert with the Toronto Symphony. Images came back of the night: young couples dressed in their best; others with shopping bags; subscribers greeting fellow subscribers; Jonathan Crow's brilliant performance of the entr'acte, Meditation; limping back to the car park -- I'd banged my knee. (Actually, I'd forgotten that until I started to write this.)

Afterwards, we had picked up our youngest daughter from a friend's party and were on the Lakeshore, heading west. We were talking about the party, the concert, and above all, Erin Wall. She was a discovery for us. A revelation.

A car slowly edged past us on the right as we neared the Boulevard Club. From the other direction came a white car. At the bend in the road just past the Palais Royale, the white car hit the median and became airborne. I hit the brakes. The car beside us did not. The oncoming white car did a barrel roll -- just like in an action movie -- and slammed into the car beside us. Everyone stopped short. How no one was injured was nothing short of miraculous.

All of these images rushed back to me when I heard of Erin Wall's death. Some disjointed. Others, focused by the accident, were ordered in my memory -- sequential.

I knew how to approach my first chapter.

The daily acts of living -- making decisions, eating, wondering what it is the dog wants, smelling something not correct -- are remembered without order because the stakes aren't high. But when something serious happens, sequence is fixed in the mind. And here's the thing: the sequence isn't always true. However, we convince ourselves that it is because we have manufactured a sequence out of what is always and necessarily momentary and most often actually unconnected.

I would begin with broken images and resolve them into a pattern. It's how I ended, too.

12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

The creak of time's wheel

I have been re-watching the English TV series New Tricks. It premiered 20 years ago (that's 2003 for those of you with a mathematical bent). Twenty years! We had just moved into our new house and the


Pippin is three months old, has a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth, is loving, is curious, is easily startled, and is funny and happy. He’s our new puppy. He’s a Bedlington Terrier, the third we’ve been

The soft art of selling

Well, the day has finally dawned and Death of the Limping Man has been published. This first volume in the Urquhart and MacDonald mystery novels is now available exclusively on Amazon. The second book



Character should always drive plot.

bottom of page