Thursday, December 14, 2006


Greetings from unseasonably warm Montreal. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything to Type M. Anyone miss me? Since I’m trying to avoid starting a rewrite of yet another scene in the new book, I thought I’d bring y’all up to date on the unbearable dullness of being Michael Blair.

As some of you may already know, my father, Hugh Fairlie Blair, died on November 6. Lung cancer. He was eighty-five, hadn’t been sick a day in his life, but had smoked since he was a teenager. He was at home in Williamstown, Ontario, not far from Cornwall, on the banks of the mighty Raisin River. My mother and sister were at his side. I’d said good bye the day before, but I’m not sure he knew I was there. As my brother put it, he was on “some pretty good shit.” I dreamed about him the other night. He was mowing the lawn naked. He’d never done that, but it was just like him. He is basically to blame for me being a writer. I’ll miss him.

Some friends have had a pretty rough time lately, too. Two lost their fathers just a few weeks before my dad died, and another lost his son in mid November. You expect to eventually lose your parents; you’re never ready to lose a child.

My best friend moved to Toronto last June. He and his wife are having a difficult time adjusting. They are living in the Danforth area. If you happen see a slim, medium height, middle-aged guy with more dark curly hair that he has a right to, flogging astrological readings on the street, cut him a break; he’s a mystery writer, too, although he hasn’t had anything published recently.

Did you know there’s an English bookstore in Quebec City? Why would you, I suppose? Anyway, it’s called La Maison Anglaise. Nice store. I did a signing there in September. Nobody came. Well, that’s not entirely true. I talked to a young couple wandering through the mall. And a couple of cousins came by (my father was born and raised in Quebec City and his younger brother moved back there after living for years in England). Otherwise, it was pretty quiet.

I think there’re about twelve English people left in Quebec City (ten not counting my cousins, eight not counting my aunt and uncle). Unfortunately, there were two other English events taking place the same evening, one of which was literary. The other was a meeting of the Women’s Club of Quebec. Happily, a distant cousin on my mother’s side (my mother was born and raised in Richmond, Quebec, United Empire Loyalist country) is the VP and invited me to join them for supper. Actually managed to sell some books.

Quebec City is absolutely the most beautiful city in Quebec, possibly even Canada. Go there. Drop by La Maison Anglaise. Tell them I sent you.

In November, N.A.T. (Nancy) Grant, Crime Writers of Canada’s Quebec & Atlantic VP, organized a “Crime for Christmas” event at the Atwater Library here in Montreal. Me, Nancy, Louise Penny, and Robert Landori. Nibbles, wine, book talk, more nibbles, more wine, more talk. Good turnout and everyone seemed to have a good time.

Let’s see, what else has been happening? Uh… Hey! You in the back! Wake up!

Okay, I’ll give y’all a break. Have a happy holiday, everyone. May the new year bring health, happiness, inspiration, discipline, good reviews and, most important, sales (of one kind or another).

Till 2007.


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