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“Then she heard soft scuffing footsteps amid the dirt and sand on the concrete deck of the wharf above her. He was coming back. If he found her, he would kill her.”

- The Reluctant Detective

While writing “The Reluctant Detective,” Beach Point author Finley Martin wanted to paint a picture of PEI more resembling Batman’s Gotham City than Anne Shirley’s Avonlea.

This was a challenge.

“Psychologically it was for me, it was because you don’t consider PEI like that,” he said.

“It isn’t just a place where you go camp and surf with your kids and have a wonderful vacation and go back to Ontario. It’s also a place which, at least in the imagination, can be conceived as a place where there’s an exciting periphery to the foreground of being a gentle Island.”

This meant Mr Martin had to craft events that normally wouldn’t happen on PEI but would still seem plausible.

“If you didn’t do that it wouldn’t make sense to locals who read it and it wouldn’t quite hang true enough for people maybe just passing through and have some knowledge of PEI.”

“The Reluctant Detective” tells the story of Anne Brown, a strong-willed single mother, who takes over her uncle’s detective agency when she returns to the Island.

She’s then tasked with solving two cases. A respectable local woman wants someone investigated, and at the same time Anne becomes caught between two ruthless groups over a parcel in her possession.

Anne, who was born in Ontario but whose parents are from PEI, has a strong sense of right and wrong and good instincts but little practical knowledge of how to be a detective.

She’s a bit short and slight, which Mr Martin said made her a more vulnerable character, “not being the hard nosed female types that oftentimes are in detective stories now.”

Mr Martin, a retired teacher who currently works as a security officer at the Atlantic Technology Centre, has previously written an anthology of east coast writing and a history of the Montague area. This is his first novel and he’s already at work on its sequel, “Coincidentally Dead,” and a third novel.

“I wanted to write a detective story. The thriller part of it is mainly because I like to read stories which have lots of twists and turns, they’re fairly clear moving, and the reader is always being surprised by something, whether it’s dialogue or a twist in the plot.”

That brisk pace was partly inspired by the works of Raymond Chandler, one of his favourite mystery writers.

“My chapters are probably between one and three or four pages long, so each one is basically a scene.

“I (keep) detail to a minimum if I can so the whole movement is focused mostly on dialogue and action.”

Mr Martin held a book launch Monday in Charlottetown.


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