Local fictional crime writer Cathy Ace has been shortlisted for two prestigious national awards.
Ace has been shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Award for best light mystery for her book The Corpse With The Garnet Face, the seventh book in her series The Cait Morgan Mysteries.
The Whonnock authour has also been shortlisted for Best Short Story for the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Awards for excellence in Canadian Crime Writing.
She is the only woman to be shortlisted for two national awards in the same year.
“They are two very different awards,” explained Ace.
The Bony Blithe Award is only six years old and it was established by the Bloody Words board of directors to highlight mysteries that aren’t heavy.
“They aren’t thrillers, they aren’t forensics, there is no blood and gore in them. They are light, entertaining, they might make you smile. They might make you laugh out loud but you end up coming to the end of the book finding out that you’ve enjoyed the journey and it wasn’t harrowing,” said Ace.
This is her second nomination for the award. Her first nomination was for the second book of the series called The Corpse With The Platinum Hair, which won in 2015.
The series centers around principal character Cait Morgan, a Canadian/Welsh professor of criminal psychology who teaches at the University of Vancouver, and her sidekick and partner in life Bud Anderson who used to head up the Integrated Homicide Investigative Team before retiring.
In this story, Bud is called to Amsterdam to fulfill the dying wishes of an uncle he never knew he had. Cait accompanies Bud and they meet with friends of his late uncle to build a complete picture of his life.
They discover how much art was a part of that life, but the more they learn about the uncle the more they realize his connection with art might not have been as healthy as everyone seems to have thought.
“If people like art and traveling from the armchair, finding out about dark deeds from long ago and how they catch up with people, it’s their sort of book,” said Ace.
The short story Ace is shortlisted for is called Steve’s Story and it began its life as a gift for a stranger on a cruise ship.
“I was on a cruise ship and my husband and I became friendly with a chap by the name of Steve. And Steve said would I write a story for him. So I wrote a little one-sided very very short story for Steve,” explained Ace.
Ace then developed it into a long short story, very unlike the books she has written in the past.
Traditional mysteries quite often look for redemption or a conclusion where the innocent are able to live happily ever after while the evil people are dealt with by the proper authorities.
With Steve’s Story, which was not a part of either of Ace’s series, she felt freed from those constraints.
“It gave me a chance to put forward a small cast of characters who are not particularly endearing but nevertheless we want to see whether they get their comeuppance,” said Ace.
She started her career as a fictional crime writer in 2007 ,when she self-published a volume of short stories.
As a child she read Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and was a fan of British children’s author Enid Blyton.
When Ace was 10 years old, she started to read Agatha Christie. So when she decided she wanted to write, crime fiction was a natural choice.
In 2008, Ace self-published a volume of novella, which she will be re-editing and re-writing to re-self-publish them later this year.
Her first novel came out in 2012.
Ace is delighted to be a woman up for two major awards in the industry. And at the end of May, she will be in Toronto for both awards galas, with her fingers crossed.
The Bony Blithe Award will be handed out at the gala on May 26 and the Arthur Ellis Awards banquet will be held on May 25.
• For more information about Cathy Ace go to cathyace.com.