Number of page: 269
Publisher: The Porcupine’s Quill
Mystery Stories is inhabited by absence: dead friends, past childhoods and ex-lovers. Others, stunned, are left behind to navigate the pitfalls of memory, while trying to make sense of lives built by people no longer there.There is the young neighbour of Reuben Sachs, an artist, who shot himself only weeks after painting an image of a hanged man. There is Reverend Graham Lund who wonders about his family’s future after visiting the deathbed of a hundred-years-old woman, a woman who used to be a brazen war reporter. A man, blinded by war, revisits the beauty of Venice in his dreams, and a snowbound criminal named Wicker cares for an old pony and a three-legged dog while remembering his childhood. Men and women, faithful and unfaithful, think on the past in their creep towards mortality.Each of these stories is a case study in loss and recovery, and Helwig remembers these fictional characters with a reverence and detail ordinarily reserved for family. The stories and the times change, but the mystery explored in each remains the same: What is this life that I have lived, and where have those people gone
Mystery Stories is an intricate addition to Helwig’s already large canon of rich, thoughtful stories populated by densely real people.Stories in this book have previously been published in Journal of Canadian Fiction, Queen’s Quarterly, Atlantica: Stories from the Maritimes and Newfoundland, 98: Best Canadian Stories, 03: Best Canadian Stories, 05: Best Canadian Stories, and 06: Best Canadian Stories.