Getting (too) close to the Queen!

Memorable moments of my career as a journalist? One moment, comical in retrospect, that came to mind in a recent interview with the Mesdames of Mayhem was an encounter with Scotland Yard and the RCMP outside the Montreal hotel room of Queen Elizabeth ll.

I was a young reporter at the Montreal Star when the Queen visited Montreal during the 1976 Summer Olympic Games. I needed material for my daily Queen-watching article, but the highlight of that particular day was the state dinner at the Ritz-Carleton Hotel that then-Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa was holding for the Her Majesty. And the news media had not been invited. From the lobby of the Ritz, a Canadian Press reporter and I observed several elevators stopping at the third floor. We assumed a pre-dinner cocktail party was in progress, and thought we might be welcome at it. We climbed the hotel’s stairs to the third floor and were approaching a door in front of which a number of people had gathered.

Suddenly, we found ourselves being escorted–strong-armed–down the stairs we had just climbed and out into the back alley. To the embarrassment of Scotland Yard and the RCMP, we had come too close to the Queen, who was freshening up before dinner in her private suite. Her Majesty, we were told, would not be amused.

Check out the Madames of Mayhem’s interview here.

Queen Elizabeth ll and Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau at the 1976 Olympics.
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‘The Passenger’ hitches a ride in MYSTERY WEEKLY!

Thrilled to announce that my crime short story “The Passenger” is included in Mystery Weekly Magazine‘s September 2021 issue, along with stories by John M. Floyd, R. T. Lawton, Adam Leeder, Albert Tucher, Sharom Love Cook, Joseph Kuttler, C.L. Cobb, Vinnie Hansen, Mark Levenson and James Blakey.

My Pat Tierney story opens with Pat feeling uneasy when her friend offers a lift to a stranger on their return from an out-of-town job fair. An hour later, Pat wishes that she had voiced her objections.

“The Passenger” was sparked by a real-life incident at Limestone Genre Expo in Kingston, Ont. The two-day literary event features a roster of panel discussions and workshops, and authors devote hours to peddling their books in the bookroom. During the 2018 event, the May weather was particularly lovely, and on the second day, shoppers in the bookroom were sparse, probably because they were soaking up the sun outdoors. By 3 p.m., I was ready to drive back to Toronto when a tanned young man sporting Bermuda shorts, a floral shirt and large sunglasses stopped by my table.

We chatted about books, and somewhere in the mix I mentioned that I lived in Toronto and would be heading back later that day. He asked me for a lift to Belleville, about an hour’s drive down Highway 401 toward Toronto.

I looked at his face, and caught my reflection in his mirrored sunglasses. Something gave me pause. I realized I didn’t know what he looked like. His sunglasses obscured much of his face.

I couldn’t give this guy a lift. I couldn’t let him in my car.

A white lie tripped off my tongue. I told him I had a visit to make before I left Kingston, and I didn’t know how long it would take. He would have to find another way of getting to Belleville.

Before I could blink twice, he was across the room and chatting up another author.

I’ve thought of this incident many times, always with a shiver. I hope no one else gave this guy a lift.

The encounter found its way into “The Passenger.”

Mystery Weekly‘s September 2021 issue is available at Amazon.ca and Amazon.com.

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Reviewed by Devour: Art & Lit Canada

Honoured to have a review of Uncharted Waters included in the summer 2021 issue Devour: Art & Lit Canada, an online quarterly arts magazine dedicated to promoting Canadian literature, art and photography.

Reviewer Sharon A. Crawford calls Uncharted Waters the best book to date in my mystery series: “Rosemary McCracken has created a multi-dimensional story that will keep readers charging from page to page. My only concern is when the next Pat Tierney mystery will be published.”

Read the complete review by clicking here and turning to pages 74-75.

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To our Guardian Angels: a big ‘Thank You!’

Rosemary at Lion’s Head Beach.

Heading home from our holiday in Tobermory yesterday, Ed and I nearly bit the dust on Highway 10. All of a sudden, a car was barrelling down on us, travelling north. I screamed. Someone above must have heard me because, in a few more seconds, we would have been plastered on that oncoming vehicle’s grille.

Ed pulled the wheel sharply to the right. We careened onto the highway’ s sandy shoulder, rattled but alive. But in a few more seconds…

Neither Ed nor I had ever visited Tobermory or the Bruce Peninsula before. We had five days of beautiful summer weather and took in some amazing scenery. Our getaway was intended to be a much-needed break after months of house isolation. But limping back to Toronto, I realized it was much more significant. It was occasion for celebration: We made it back alive.

Thank you, Guardian Angels!

Ed at Lion’s Head Beach.
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