Wednesday, January 5, 2011


John McFetridge

So, it's 2011 and you know what that means? That's right, it means I didn't make my "end of the year" deadline for the novel I'm working on. Still I'm pretty sure it'll be finished in January and be published in September or October of this year (sheesh that came up awfully fast) and I'll be at Bouchercon in St. Louis forcing ARCs on people.

Don't say you weren't warned.

And it being 2011 so suddenly also means I'm not ready with a blog post today. So I'm going to repost something that was on my personal blog back in December.

The Crossbow - Murder Weapon of Choice in Canada

In Louise Penny's terrific first novel, Still Life, a murder mystery set in the small of Three Pines in Quebec's Eastern Townships, the murder weapon is a crossbow.

I thought of that this week when a man was killed at a branch of the Toronto Public Library with a crossbow (well, with the "bolt" which is apparently what the thing that gets fired from a crossbow is called).

The crossbow seemed oddly at home in a murder mystery, but it seemed weird in a real murder.

And then newspapers in Canada started running stories with headlines like "Crossbow Incidents in Canada," and it turns out it's a fairly long list:

•In July, a Mission, B.C., father was charged with attacking his son who was shot in the forearm with a crossbow.

•In November 2007, a 26-year-old man was charged with murder and attempted murder after his mother was killed and father was injured by a crossbow in St-Cesaire, Que.

•In October 2002, a dairy farmer was shot in the back and injured with a crossbow in St.-Bonaventure.

•In August 1998, a man asleep in his Hamilton home was shot in the head and injured by a man who fired a crossbow.

•In 1998, Edward Stuart Walker shot a pregnant Stephanie Celestine Thomas with a crossbow, then stabbed her 46 times in Central Saanich on Vancouver Island.

•In September 1994, Yvon Gosselin was driven to a gravel pit near Terrace, B.C., where he was killed with two bolts from a crossbow.

•In May 1995, a man armed with a crossbow entered the Winnipeg Convention Centre shortly before then prime minister Jean Chretien arrived to deliver a speech. The suspect was arrested.

•In January 1993, B.C. Institute of Technology student Silvia Leung, 22, bled to death in the campus parking lot in Burnaby after being hit in the shoulder by a crossbow.

•In November 1991, Ottawa lawyer Patricia Allen was killed with a crossbow by her estranged husband Colin McGregor.

So here's my question, does anyone know of any other novels in which a crossbow is used?

* In the comments on my blog Patti Abbott pointed out that James Bond used a crossbow in For Your Eyes Only and it even had a Canadian connection - Bond flies into Montreal and sneaks across the border into Vermont.


Al Tucher said...

I don't know of any fiction involving a crossbow, but I would like to point out that crossbows have a role in modern military tactics. I'm told they're still useful for silent kills over distance. Could it be that famously low-key Canadians have an affinity for a quiet weapon?

Just kidding. I think.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Hope to snag a copy at St. Louis, John. I;'m working on the complete John McFetridge collection.

Scott D. Parker said...

I'm aiming to be in St. Louis as well.

Mike Oliveri said...

Is it a gun control thing? I don't recall how strict gun control is in Canada, but maybe crossbows have become more popular for hunting as a result, and are more prevalent in homes than guns.

Paul D Brazill said...
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Paul D Brazill said...
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Paul D Brazill said...

The Uk recently had a nutter who gave himself the name of The Crossbow Cannibal .

The weirdest bit about that case was, for me, that the bloke who reported the crime to the police did it AFTER phoning a newspaper's Newsdesk!

And there's law number 4 on this list!

Paul D Brazill said...
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