We’re not as nice as you think we are
Look up. Now head way up. That’s right, north past the 49th Parallel. A few more miles. You can do it. That’s it. Congratulations. You’ve landed in Canada’s Capital, Ottawa, a beautiful and civilized city on the banks of the Ottawa River. My name is Alvin Ferguson and as my employer Camilla MacPhee seems to be MIA this morning, I’ll be your guide. So why would you be visiting Ottawa in this Killer Characters blog post? Isn’t that town crawling with Canadians and they’re a) nice and b) boring and c) not inclined to kill anyone? Not so fast, my friends. Don’t be quick to judge. We are just as bad as anyone else. Rumours of our niceness are just that, rumours. We are dangerous and stubborn and we like to spell things our own way. Plus Ottawa makes a hell of a spot for a mystery: lots of steep escarpments, rambling parks, isolated bike paths, three deep rivers and a canal that freezes in the winter to form the world’s longest skating rink. With all that deep water, glittering ice and granite spendour, opportunity abounds. If you can’t kill someone in Ottawa, you couldn’t kill them anywhere. Just sayin’.
Ottawa is a festival city: we have festivals to celebrate tulips, the blues, hot air balloons, and even winter and ice (really). That’s just to name a few. And where there’s a festival, there’s always a Camilla MacPhee mystery, although I don’t know why they call them that. In fairness, they should really be Alvin Ferguson mysteries. I may be just the ‘office assistant’ (although I am also an artist), but who does all the footwork and regularly risks his life while Camilla is alienating the police, the client and any innocent bystanders? Me. That’s who. Alvin. I even have a fan club, although it’s still quite small. I feel confident that we’ll hit double digit membership any day now. You can always send me a message through www.maryjanemaffini.ca. I am sure my author will pass it along to me.
At any rate, Camilla doesn’t make life easy. I really knocked myself out in the last book. I was kept very busy trying to smooth the relationship between Camilla and her boyfriend Ray’s teenaged daughters, Ashley and Brittany. It’s no surprise they can’t stand her. If it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t have had a decent place to stay during their unexpected visit to compete in the Dragon Boat Festival. Who found and purchased the beds and bedding for them? Camilla only provided the cash, not the footwork. Otherwise, she didn’t lift a finger. Who reorganized Camilla’s office so they’d have a decent place to sleep? Who painted the walls that terrific shade of red? It was all while I was trying to help her get her house ready to sell too. I am sure my Tuscan murals added a lot to the décor. You just need the right buyer with an appreciative eye, that’s all. You think Camilla would be grateful for everything I did, but no, she kept carrying on about those lawyer jokes she was getting. It’s not my fault they kept showing up. And especially not my fault that well-known local lawyers were dying in bizarre ways that sounded a lot like those jokes. Oh. Have I mentioned that Camilla is also a lawyer?
For some reason, she found that really upsetting. How many lawyers could possibly get killed anyway? Okay, maybe that’s not the right illustration. But surely there will be a few left at the end of Law & Disorder. And some people (Ray at least) will be hoping that Camilla will be one of them.
But enough about her. What about you? If you were to come to Ottawa, what type of festival would interest you? Let me know and I’ll make sure we get together and I can escort you around that festival. I’ll also like to show you my artwork. You will be amazed. People are. When can I expect you?