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Poor Tom Is Cold

Best Seller
Poor Tom Is Cold by Maureen Jennings
Paperback $17.95
Sep 18, 2012 | ISBN 9780771095955

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  • Sep 18, 2012 | ISBN 9780771095955

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  • May 11, 2010 | ISBN 9780771043222

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Product Details


“Jennings generates considerable suspense with her unsettling tale. . . . A very fine example of what it takes to make a historical mystery work.” – Booklist

“Jennings has laid strong claim to the Toronto of the late nineteenth century. . . . A satisfying mystery perfectly wedded to its evocative setting.” – Publishers Weekly

“Jennings always manages to guide [Murdoch] to the trenchant detail that brings big issues down to eye level.” – New York Times Book Review

Author Q&A

Q: What is your favourite part of Toronto?

A: Cabbagetown.

Q: Your mysteries are a mixture of fact and fiction, how do you begin to write your novels? Does the fiction come before the fact, or does a particular historical event trigger an idea for a novel?

A: It’s hard to tell sometimes which comes first. I start off with a general plot idea but that is often shaped by what I find out when I am researching. For example, in Poor Tom Is Cold, I had a preconceived notion of what the conditions were like in the insane asylums of the time. However, a different story showed through when I was doing the research and I had to change my plot. There was much more kindness and compassion than I expected. When I am at the archives or reading an old book, I keep track of what interests me to use later. The seed for Poor Tom Is Cold came directly from a coroner’s report on the death of a young constable. My current book came from a case file concerning two sisters.

Q: In addition to being a crime writer, you are also a psychotherapist. Do you feel that your clinical knowledge helps you to create believable characters?

A: I hope so. On the surface people might seem to act unpredictably but that is never really the case. The coherent pattern might be hidden but it is always there,. i.e., in Poor Tom Is Cold I tried to show what happens when a family is torn apart by jealousy and hatred.

Q: You are a fan of Sherlock Holmes; do you have a favourite Holmes story? Do you feel that Holmes has crept into your writing at all?

A: I love “Silver Blaze” and the “Adventure of the Speckled Band” equally. I think Holmes crept into my depiction of Murdoch who is a methodical and logical investigator.

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