mystery sub-genres

Janice MacDonald: Genre Fiction the Poor Cousin, BSW011_181113


Janice MacDonald is the author of the Randy Craig Mysteries, set in Edmonton, Alberta. Randy is an amateur detective and academic manqué, who finds herself in a variety of dilemmas as she tries to worm her way into one niche or another of university life. Janice herself no longer teaches at the university level, although she used to lecture on English literature, communications and creative writing. Her MA was on Parody and Detective Fiction, one of the first studies of “subliterary fiction” allowed at the University of Alberta.

She and her husband live in Edmonton

Show Notes

  •  “genre fiction is the poor cousin at the table who actually pays for all the snooty poets to be at the party.”
  • the alignment of genre writing
  • levels and sub-genres of mysteries
  • what makes the mystery genre do compulsory readable
  • changing settings and aging characters
  • many readers are obsessively addicted to mystery fiction
  • Advice: shut the door and write
  • Crime pays

The Eye of the Beholder

The Eye of the Beholder takes reluctant sleuth and sessional university lecturer Miranda “Randy” Craig from Mexico’s Pacific coast to Edmonton’s vibrant visual art scene while retaining the trademark suspense and humour that have made the series so popular with lovers of academic mystery.

Randy and Steve have finally tied the knot. With the snow blowing and temperatures dipping well below zero they are looking for an escape from the frigid Edmonton winter. Like so many others, they head south to Puerto Vallarta, Jalísco, Mexico, along with a crush of University of Alberta students, looking for a good time during spring break. When a student is found dead in an elaborately staged scene, Randy’s romantic beach walks and candlelit dinners will have to wait. Instead Randy and Steve will have find meaning in the murder to catch the culprit. If they don’t, the honeymoon just might be over.

Meet Janice

“Janice MacDonald is a Canadian author of literary and mystery novels, textbooks, non-fiction titles, and stories for both children and adults. She is best known for writing seven novels featuring amateur sleuth Miranda “Randy” Craig. The Randy Craig Mysteries were the first detective series to be set in Edmonton, Alberta, where Janice lives and works. The latest installment, The Eye of the Beholder, was published in October 2018 by Ravenstone Books, an imprint of the highly respected Turnstone Press. In recent years Janice has also concentrated on literary short fiction, essays, and creative non-fiction. Confederation Drive, a passion project about her trip across Canada on the 50th anniversary of Expo ’67 in Montreal, was released by Edmonton-based Monto Books to coincide with the “Canada 150” sesquicentennial celebrations in 2017.

Janice is a lifelong fan of detective fiction and even wrote her master’s thesis on the subject. She was a long-time reviewer of mystery novels for the Edmonton Journal and an on-air “crime fiction expert” for the Canadian television series Booked. Her first Randy Craig mystery was published in 1994. She is not to be confused with the “small d” Janice Macdonald who writes romance novels. Capital-D Janice MacDonald always makes certain that her books have a much higher body count.

Janice is honoured and delighted by the enthusiastic response to her latest books, and she enjoys interacting with readers through social media on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. To join the discussion, see the icon links at the top of this page.” (from her website)

Contact Info



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Murder for Christmas

Agatha Christie meets The House of Usher

When code-breaker Madison Rathborne gets an all-expense paid trip to a remote island in the Pacific Northwest the week before Christmas, she expects a peaceful getaway from the fake Santas in the city and the drama of her family’s turkey feast, but Deadman’s Island offers no such sanctuary. Trapped in a maze of secrets, scandals and murder, with a side of ghost, Maddy struggles to make sense of it all. Macabre stories of gruesome deaths on the estate go back centuries. Her logical mind refuses to believe in legends, but there’s no reasonable explanation for what’s going on around her.

Twelve strangers invited to the gathering discover turkey is not the only thing on the menu, as one by one they meet their maker.

Will Mad Rath’s superior logician skills crack the mystery before the killer gets her? Or is there a supernatural force at work that cannot be conquered?

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