Completed: 29 September 2010
Sue Pike is a member of the Crime Writers of Canada. Her bio says that she “is originally from Toronto but was lured away by the bright lights and frantic pace of Ottawa.” She is a founding member of The Ladie’s Killing Circle.
This book is a collection of “tales of mystery and mischance along Canada’s Rideau Canal Waterway.” Starting at Kingston, there are 19 short stories by 19 different authors taking us though the Rideau Canal system to Ottawa. Each story is set in a different town or Lockstation along the waterway. I’ll say right off that I have never been a big fan of short stories. They are, well, so…. short. There is never enough substance to really sink my teeth into. With that proviso, I did, for the most part, enjoy these stories. The quality is uneven across the whole collection. Some were engaging and interesting. Others were obvious or silly. Some stories were contemporary while others were historical. Sherlock Holmes even puts in an appearance.
My personal favourite was Orland French’s “Going Through the Sluices.” It kept me guessing as to where the story was going. As a reader I knew that something was going to happen but I didn’t know when or where or to who. Thomas O’Reilly Dunn is a bully of a boss and husband. Mary Margaret is the boss’s wife, unhappy with the relationship but unable to escape it. Nathaniel Summers is the lock labourer who ends up in an undefined relationship with Mary. So, who does what to whom and when?
Locked Up ended up being an excellent commuting book. On the bus ride to and from work each day I could complete a story or two and not once did I miss my stop.