Will Ferguson, I Only Read Murder

Ian Ferguson | Will Ferguson, I Only Read Murder

Reviewed by: Daryl McLoughlin

About the Authors: Ian Ferguson is a Victoria based writer and creative director in the film and television industry. His “Village of the Small Houses” won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour. With his brother Will, Ian has also co-authored “How to Be a Canadian”, winner of the CBA Libris Award for non-fiction. Not to be outdone, Will Ferguson, who lives in Calgary, has won the Leacock Medal for Humour three times. His novel “419” won the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Another of Will’s books, “The Finder”, was awarded the Arthur Ellis Award for Crime Fiction.

This book is FUN. The Ferguson brothers treat murder mysteries in the same vein as people in Ireland treat the badminton competitions in Zambia (i.e., not very seriously). A comparison for those of us old enough to remember would be Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In wrapped up in a novel.

The principal character is Miranda Abbott, a down and out actress. But is she really down and out? This book is full of mysteries, some solvable and others that leave us hanging. Miranda is given an opportunity to revive her career by taking on a role in a play in small town Oregon. But who invited her and why? Miranda used to play a detective on a TV series. When a real murderer strikes during the play’s rehearsal, can Miranda make the transition from television detective to real detective and solve the case? Why did the victim get murdered? Who did it? Will Miranda find love? Why doesn’t anyone drink the lemonade that is being offered throughout the book? The book is full of campy characters, all of whom could be suspects. Like any good mystery novel, the ending will be a surprise to many.

This is the type of novel that, when the power goes out, you put on your headlamp and keep reading. It’s also a lighthearted, quick, and enjoyable read. If your tastes run to deep-thinking gun-slinging morbid mysteries, then this book is not for you.

But I’ll be sure that I take in the Ferguson brothers when they read from this book, and talk about it, and their writing craft more generally, at this year’s Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival, July 19-21.

The biggest disappointment, and perhaps the biggest mystery of all, is how the Fergusons could go through a full novel without once mentioning the Vancouver Canucks. Maybe that is a question to ask them this summer.

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