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Old City Hall is the first of four novels by Robert Rotenberg featuring the character Detective Ari Green, along with a few other recurring characters. I gobbled them up in more or less reverse order. Like the others, this was a highly readable mystery with a well considered plot, likeable characters and plenty of Toronto references. Rotenberg is a criminal lawyer so you get a glimpse at our justice system through experienced eyes.
I read lots of different types of books, all varieties of novels, non-fiction on various topics that interest me, and even the occasional biography. Sometimes a page-turner like this is just what the doctor ordered. Being a Torontonian, it was fun reading a story set amidst landmarks of our city. Old City Hall is a burger and fries with a chocolate shake kind of novel, but it was a tasty burger, dressed up with a good selection of toppings.
Old City Hall is an entertaining and highly readable light mystery.
I don’t recall how I found out about Stranglehold by Robert Rotenberg. Maybe I heard an interview with the author or read a review. I do know that whatever it was caused me to write down “Read Stranglehold Robert Rotenberg Toronto mystery” in my trusty notebook. I came across that notation last week and read the book over the weekend.
Rotenberg writes mystery thriller type books based in Toronto. It was fun reading a book set in my city for a change. Rotenberg quotes Robert Traver from Anatomy of a Murder early on in the book: “Despite all the rules and objections and soft illusions of decorum, a trial was after all a savage and primative battle for survival itself.” It’s an apt quote as much of the book focuses on a trial. With that quote, Rotenberg places himself in some heady company. Stranglehold is not in the same league as Anatomy of a Murder, which is among my favourite books in any genre. It’s good though, very good.
I enjoyed the way the story unfolded, and I thought the characters were drawn out well and believable. As well, I enjoyed the way the book was firmly placed in a Toronto context. It’s a fun read and it’s a page-turner. I was on a long bus ride Saturday and Stranglehold was just what the doctor ordered. I’ll get around to reading the others in the series down the road.
Check out this article in The Star.
The existence of places like Kensington Market, places that don’t look like everywhere else, places that have some special identity in the City are Toronto treasures. But things are changing fast in Hogtown. Condo developments are going up so fast, there are areas of Toronto, areas I lived in for years, that I no longer even recognize. Will Kensington be able to survive box store development on its fringes? I worry that we’re homogenizing our downtown neighbourhoods to the detriment of the broader City. Will people flock to a new box store to save a few bucks or will they remain loyal to the small independent businesses that give Kensington its character? How would you feel about this if you lived there?
I have a soft spot for Kensington Market. I used to busk there on button accordion sometimes, right outside Tom’s Place. It was so much fun. I’d meet a great assortment of characters every time I played there. It’s changed quite a bit over the years, but still it has remained a unique pocket in the City. I sure hope this old neighbourhood is going to be OK.
Here’s a delightful video my friend Candy Minx shot in Kensington Market. That’s me playing the squeezebox…
And here’s another one…I’m playing a Newfoundland tune called The Star of Logy Bay. This video gives a bit of a taste of the atmosphere in the Market. It was early and still fairly quiet.
It started snowing not long after we returned from the cinema and it’s still coming down. We just shoveled about 5 cm of fluffy and if it keeps up we’ll have that much more by morning. The dogs enjoyed a walk in the snow, although they were getting little snowballs jammed up in their paws and had to make a number of stops to pull them out. I don’t recall getting this much snow at any one time last year.
Plenty more snow overnight….fluffy and beautiful.
Each year there is a Santa Parade along the Lakeshore in Toronto, through the communities known as Mimico, New Toronto and Long Branch. The parade took place this morning and it was a perfect day for it.
Near the start of the parade Canada Post volunteers collected letters to Santa from kids along the route. Canada Post elves have been volunteering to help Santa Claus with his mail for over 30 years. Since Canada Post has been counting, Santa has written back to over 20 million children in close to 30 languages including Braille.
I took the dogs over to the leash-free park at South Etobicoke Creek this afternoon. It was a little muddy in parts but it was possible to walk around the soft spots.
Memphis got a bunch of burrs tangled up in her tail.
The creek is still swollen up from all the rain we’ve had. It didn’t stop Memphis and Ellie Mae from splashing around in the water.
After I came home from work today, I fed the beasts and then thought, hey I feel really tired, maybe I’ll just have a wee nap, just close my eyes for a few minutes. Tuffy P was up in Richmond Hill visiting with her dad. I set up the big comfy pillow on the sofa beside the big John Howlin painting and drifted off to dreamland. Two hours later I awoke, a little dazed and confused. Outside water was puddled on the street. I noticed a limb from the big maple in Nick’s yard next door had fallen to the ground. Apparently, I missed a thunderstorm.
Memphis looked at me as if to say, hey Jack you missed our evening constitutional, let’s get a move on. So off we went for a post thunderstorm walk. The clouds were still roiling about but a breeze was up down by the lake and it was actually pleasant to be out walking. A bit of misty rain started up, enough to notice but not enough to get seriously wet. The streets were quiet, nobody about.
Down at the corner of Lake Prominade and 23rd, a car heading southbound slowed down a little for the stop sign and make the right turn. This reminded me that I intended to write about this corner. Hardly anyone ever stops at this stop sign. I’ve made a point of watching every time I pass by. Cars slow down but a full stop rarely happens. This isn’t just the case for southbound traffic. Cars headed east on Lake Prom rarely stop before making the left up 23rd either. One day a local cop is going to realize this opportunity and set up an unmarked car in the little nook that ends the road just south of Lake Prominade. There is no end to the revenue the City could rake in at this corner.
Now it’s bedtime and do you think I’m sleepy in the slightest? That’s the cost of the afternoon nap I suppose. It was good though.