Saturday, November 07, 2020

Guest post by Judy Penz Sheluk

I am happy to welcome to Type M our guest this weekend, Judy Penz Sheluk. A former journalist and magazine editor, Judy is the author of two mystery series: the Glass Dolphin Mysteries and the Marketville Mysteries. Her short crime fiction appears in several collections, including The Best Laid Plans and Heartbreaks & Half-truths, which she also edited.

Judy is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Crime Writers of Canada, where she serves as Chair on the Board of Directors. Find her at

Take it away, Judy!


Someday, maybe

It was a cold, wintry day in February 2002. I was training for my first full marathon (Ottawa) and our program called for a 21k (13 mile) run. A saner person would have stayed in bed, put off the run for another day. Instead I covered my face with Vaseline, donned triple layers top and bottom, and ventured down to the Running Room, only to learn that all of my running mates had bailed. Disheartened, but determined, I was just about to head out on my own when a guy named Dan stopped me. “I’ll run with you,” he said.

Now, I didn’t really know Dan, beyond the fact that he did something in construction and ran with the blistering fast group (I ran with the slow plodders group), but he seemed like a nice guy, and the thought of running all those miles alone didn’t hold a lot of appeal. So off we went, and while Dan must have felt as if he were running in chains, he never once made me feel as if my snail-like pace was holding him back. And somewhere along those miles he told me he’d always wanted to be a lawyer, and I said I’d always wanted to write murder mysteries, and we both laughed and said, “someday, maybe.”

Fast forward to 2019. I’m at Chapters Bookstore in Newmarket with a table full of my books and a stack of bookmarks. It’s early, the store is quiet, and I’m preparing myself for a very long day, when who should appear before me but Dan. “I saw your notice on Facebook,” he said. “I’m so proud of you for following your dream.”

It turned out that Dan had also followed his dream, graduating from the prestigious Osgoode Hall School of Law in 2012, and now with a successful practice specializing in estate law. 

“Estate law,” I said, my author brain kicking into high gear. “I might need legal advice for my work-in-progress…” I let the words dangle, hoping he’d say, “Call me.” He did.

And that brings us to the point of this post (whew, you’re saying, that’s a long way to get to the finish line). Anyway, when it came to Where There’s A Will, book three in my Glass Dolphin cozy mystery series, not only did Dan help me with the finer points of estate law, he also shared a story about the will of Cecil George Harris, who, in June 1948, was pinned under his tractor on a farm near Rosetown, Saskatchewan. Fearing he may not survive, Harris used his pocketknife to scratch sixteen words onto the tractor’s fender. “In case I die in this mess I leave all to the wife. Cecil Geo Harris.”

“It would be ten hours before help arrived to take Harris to the hospital,” Dan told me. “He died the next day from his injuries, never mentioning the will, which was later discovered by neighbors. The fender was removed from the tractor and determined by the courts to be a valid holograph will. The fender was kept as evidence until 1996, when it was turned over to the University of Saskatchewan College of Law. It’s still there, on public display.”

Did Cecil’s saga make it into Where There’s A Will? Of course it did. It’s simply too good of a tidbit not to include. But even so, it’s just a tidbit, a fun fact blended into the fiction. What truly changed the course of the story, far beyond anything I could have planned or plotted, was something Dan wrote in response to one of my many questions.

“The dead can’t reach out from the grave.”

Or can they? I leave it for you to read the book to find out.

About the book: Emily Garland is getting married and looking for the perfect forever home. When the old, and some say haunted, Hadley house comes up for sale, she’s convinced it’s “the one.” The house is also perfect for reality TV star Miles Pemberton and his new series, House Haunters. Emily will fight for her dream home, but Pemberton’s pockets are deeper than Emily’s, and he’ll stretch the rules to get what he wants.

While Pemberton racks up enemies all around Lount’s Landing, Arabella Carpenter, Emily’s partner at the Glass Dolphin antiques shop, has been hired to appraise the contents of the estate, along with her ex-husband, Levon. Could the feuding beneficiaries decide there’s a conflict of interest? Could Pemberton?

Things get even more complicated when Arabella and Levon discover another will hidden inside the house, and with it, a decades-old secret. Can the property stay on the market? And if so, who will make the winning offer: Emily or Miles Pemberton?

Purchase Links:


Judy Penz Sheluk said...

Thank you for hosting me today on Type M for Murder. It is one of my favourite blogs. And thanks for letting me share the story of Dan and Cecil, and the story behind Where There's A Will.

Susan D said...

Hey Judy, great to see you here. The books sounds intriguing.

Judy Penz Sheluk said...

Thanks Susan!