Murder at Raven Lake
By Jenn Watt
Published July 28, 2016
The Dominion Hotel, Raven Lake, Highland Ridge long-term care home, The Highland Times newspaper – if all of that sounds familiar, it’s because the Haliburton Highlands serves as a slightly altered setting for Rosemary McCracken’s most recent murder mystery, Raven Lake.
The third in her series featuring protagonist financial planner Pat Tierney, the novel weaves its narrative through the fabric of a small town called Braeloch, a place eerily similar to the county.
“It has a strong resemblance to the Haliburton Highlands,” says McCracken, who has long cottaged in Algonquin Highlands.
“Braeloch” comes from the road of the same name off Highway 35 south of Halls Lake. “It’s a compilation of Minden and Haliburton village,” McCracken says.
Although there is a Raven Lake in Algonquin Highlands, the author says she chose it for the book because of the meaning and sound of the name and it’s not about the local lake.
“Native people saw the raven as a trickster,” she says. “It’s a smart bird.”
It also conjures Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, giving the book a menacing vibe.
McCracken published her first Pat Tierney novel, Safe Harbor, in 2012, following a year later by Black Water. By the time we get to Raven Lake, our main character has grappled with two murders, human trafficking, fraud, bikers, a suspicious fire, money laundering and plenty of family drama.
This novel is no exception.
Tierney, a single mother with two daughters and an adopted son, puts her financial know-how to good use, running a branch of her financial institution in cottage country. As she’s handing over the reins of the institution to a new hire, she plans for a blissful summer vacation on the lake.
“That dream turns into a nightmare,” McCracken says.
When her friend’s mother goes missing, Tierney naturally gets involved, while also dealing with a teenage daughter who discovers she’s pregnant and a cottage rental scam ripped right out of the headlines.
McCracken has had plenty of success with her recent fiction writing endeavours, but her day job is as a freelance journalist for the Financial Post. Originally from Montreal, she moved to Alberta and worked for the Calgary Herald before settling in Toronto.
Once established in Ontario, she started looking for a vacation property within driving distance of the city.
A place in Algonquin Highlands was the first cottage she looked at. She spent 15 “perfect” summers there and is now back on the lookout for a new abode – one that would suit retirement. In the meantime she is renting a spot on Boshkung for the summer.
“The area is so special,” she says, noting that Muskoka doesn’t offer the same amount of open Crown land to explore.
While McCracken continues to work as a journalist, she keeps Pat Tierney close at hand. She recently finished a short story with her protagonist and hopes to write enough to put together an anthology one day.
Raven Lake was released June 1 by Imajin Books and is available on Amazon.com in paperback or e-edition. You can read McCracken’s blog at rosemarymccracken.wordpress.com or check out her website at www.rosemarymccracken.com.