Book eight of the Lane Winslow mysteries…Imagine! I want to pinch myself!
But I don’t have to; I KNOW it exists, and will be out among the readers in April of 2021! How? Because of this wonderful cover! Yes, it’s cover reveal time. I confess, once upon a time not too long ago, the book was a mystery to me as well. And yet, somehow, it found its way into the world and is now dressed like a million bucks. Thank you Margaret Hanson and Touchwood Editions for another stellar Lane Winslow Mystery jacket! Welcome to A Lethal Lesson.
It’s always nerve-wracking when I start a new book. I know that I must find a central theme or idea, and as I set out, I worry that that central idea will decide to go off and help some other writer, and leave me in the lurch. But I was in luck! The theme for A Lethal Lesson snuck up one day, a couple of books ago, when I was corresponding with a reader. She is a retired professor of anthropology and she had written to say how much she enjoyed my books, and explained her particular interest in the history of the period. In the course of our correspondence she shared with me some fascinating accounts of teachers working in rural Canadian, one-room schoolhouses.
Theme-wise, it was hard to top! I myself was a teacher, and like my writing, I came late to it, of course, not in a rural schoolhouse, but a big urban high school. However, my late mother-in-law taught as a very young woman in the forties in a log cabin school in Saskatchewan. I have a lovely photo of her standing in front of the tiny school on a sunny day, and she could not have been more than eighteen, and as keen as mustard. My brother, who had the most disrupted schooling of anyone I know had attended such a school as a boy in the Kootenays, before I was born, and said the one thing he loved about it was how much he liked his teacher because she was kind. These two ideas took strong hold; the one room schoolhouse and the kind teacher.
My mother, on whom the initial idea of Lane Winslow was modelled, had never taught school, indeed, shuddered at it, but when I was nineteen I saw her teaching catechism to a group of obstreperous inner city kids in Toronto and was absolutely stunned by the warmth and deep empathy she brought to it, and how much the kids liked her, seeing in her, I think, a real ally, because her response to the young was to be delighted and fascinated by who they were as people.
That, I thought, is exactly what Lane would be like. Yep, you guessed it; Lane suddenly finds herself in charge of the local one room school because… well, you’ll find out why. Of course, she’d scarcely ever met any children, besides the Bertolli boys, and certainly never imagined having to teach them anything.
Never fear, someone dies, lest you worry this book is just a mushy, heart-warming love-fest. As I wrote, I became fascinated by the impact on a small, quite benign community, of teachers arriving, often from far away, with their disruptive ways, and their pushy expectations.
Someone has to learn a Lethal Lesson, and it might as well be some people around Kings Cove!
Meet Lane Winslow!