Uncharted Waters makes the rounds!

Lorraine Menary, a long-time Pat Tierney fan, sent me an email today saying she’d just received her copy of Uncharted Waters and was looking forward to a good read. And she attached this photo:

Lorraine Menary displays her copy of Uncharted Waters.

Authors are always thrilled to have readers buy their books, but they are also happy to see their books available in libraries. Canada’s Public Lending Rights program supports authors with annual payments for the use of their books in public libraries. Last year, the PLR program paid out just under $15 million to 18,000 published authors.

And a visit to Toronto Public Library’s website has told me that copies of Uncharted Waters are now on order for its branches. Nine holds have been already placed on the book. To place your hold on Uncharted Waters, click here.

Like to know more about what went into the making of the Pat Tierney mystery series? Author Sharon Crawford interviewed me about my writer’s journey on ThatChannel.com’s Crime Beat Confidential last month. Tune into the interview here.

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A Joyous Christmas!

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Ross Mackay, brilliant maverick lawyer

Writing Ross Mackay, the Saga of a Brilliant Criminal Lawyer was a trip down memory lane for the Toronto Star’s crime fiction reviewer, Jack Batten. On his Acknowledgements page, Batten says his research for the biography began with his own recollections of the gifted maverick.

Batten and Mackay attended the same high school, the University of Toronto Schools, where Batten developed a fascination with “this clever, cool, good-looking guy, a contemporary of mine but far more daring, nervy, and troubled than anyone I had ever before encountered.” Years later, Batten watched Mackay in one of his famous murder cases, and says that he was dazzled.

Book Six in his True Cases Series, Batten’s biography of Mackay—from his Toronto boyhood in the 1940s growing up in a tiny apartment over a variety store with quick-fisted, working-class rowdies as buddies; his decision to become a criminal lawyer to defend people like his childhood pals; and his unswerving belief that his clients were entitled to the best defences possible—is a riveting read. The writing is crisp and colloquial, and brings us right into Mackay’s world.

Mackay is probably best remembered by many as representing the last two persons to be executed in Canada for murder: Arthur Lucas and Ronald Turpin. Both were hanged in Toronto’s Don Jail on Dec. 11, 1962. Mackay was just 29 years old at the time, had no financing for his defences, and only 19 days between the two trials. Nevertheless, he did his best to represent them, and Batten’s account really sings in these chapters.

Mackay’s life was a rollercoaster of euphoric highs and wretched lows. His personal demons were worsened by the pressures of his cases; Batten says he had nightmares for years after the executions of Lucas and Turpin. In the 1970s, Mackay was diagnosed as suffering from manic depression, a condition later renamed bipolar, which brought on his destructive mood swings, and his efforts to self-medicate with alcohol deepened the disease’s impact. Batten relates it all with candor and compassion.

Through the highs and lows, Mackay continued to fight his heart out for his clients. Several times a year, he travelled to Millhaven and the other prisons in the Kingston area to visit former clients who were incarcerated there with no prospects of getting out soon. Batten quotes Toronto former defence counsel Peter Zaduk as saying, “When Ross came back from the prisons, he looked pale and wasted. Those visits were draining the life out of him, but it never entered his mind to give them up.”

Ross Mackay, the Saga of a Brilliant Criminal Lawyer paints a vivid picture of Toronto during Mackay’s lifetime: the Annex neighbourhood, dances at the Balmy Beach Club, Old City Hall (then just City Hall), the converted mansions on Jarvis Street, and some of the city’s seedier spots such as the Brown Derby Tavern at Yonge and Dundas. It’s a Toronto of which Batten clearly has fond memories.

Ross Mackay, the Saga of a Brilliant Criminal Lawyer is available on Amazon.


Jack Batten graduated from the University of Toronto Law School, class of 1957, but chose to make his living as a freelance writer. As well as countless magazine and newspaper articles, he has written more than 40 books, including seven crime novels and several biographies. He writes the Whodunnit review column for the Toronto Star.

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More coverage for Uncharted Waters!

I was delighted to see that Uncharted Waters was among Marian Misters’ picks for November in The Merchant of Menace, the Sleuth of Baker Street’s monthly newsletter. Here’s what Marian had to say:

I read ROSEMARY MCCRACKEN’s latest offering in her Pat Tierney series, Uncharted Waters (#4) ($19.99) and really enjoyed it. Pat is heading into uncharted waters when she decides to set up her own financial planning practice and wants to buy an existing business. Trouble starts just after the sale documents are signed and the man she bought the business from is found dead. Murdered, of course! Not a good way to start out on your own! Part of the enjoyment of reading the book for me is its setting. Most of the action takes place in and around Toronto, and I can follow the characters and say, yes! I know where that is. Her previous book, Raven Lake(#3) ($19) was similar, as it is set mostly in cottage country, and again I felt like I knew where I was going. Pat has a complicated life, full of events and responsibilities that are similar to all of us, but throw murder into the mix and she has her hands full. Especially when the son of the dead man from whom she has just bought the practice is claiming that the business sale is not legitimate and he starts defaming her character! Twists and turns, interesting info. on how financial planners work (especially if you are thinking of using one), diverse characters, good plot… the book zipped along at a fast trot and before I knew it, I had finished it.

Marian and J.D. Singh own and operate Toronto’s only mystery bookstore. The Sleuth of Baker Street offers a great selection of crime fiction and true crime books; if they haven’t got what you want in stock, they will find it for you.

And they carry the four Pat Tierney mysteries!

The Minden Times, that dandy little newspaper that serves my favourite part of Ontario cottage country, the glorious Haliburton Highlands where I’ve spent many wonderful summers, ran articles about my first three Pat Tierney mysteries upon their release in 2012, 2013 and 2016. I was thrilled by this coverage, as the Highlands was the setting–fictionalized, of course–for the second and third Tierney novels. Thanks to the Minden Times, I now have readers in this part of Ontario.

And this week, the Times followed up with an article on the fourth book in the series. Managing Editor Jenn Watt interviewed me on the telephone, and wrote a terrific article titled, “Real estate fraud at heart of novelist’s new mystery.”

Thank you, Jenn, and the Minden Times!

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