J. Ivanel Johnson / Just a Still Life

In the simpler times of  September, 1971 Inspector Philip Steele, recently transferred to Fredericton,NB, Canada, takes a well-deserved holiday with his beloved and aging godmother in her quaint Victorian village just north of the capital. But when a bank robbery and the murder of a teenage boy initiate a string of even more shocking events which wreak panic in the quiet community, Phil must return to long days of investigation with his oft misquoting, failed-journalist sergeant Zareb Woodbridge, who struggles with questioning some of the more racist locals.

While his godmother prepares her annual harvest moon ritual to be used as a trap for the murderer, Phil has fallen in love with the accused: watercolourist Beth Grimball, enjoying new-found ‘freedom’, albeit in a jail cell.  New Brunswick potato and orchard farmers are offset with the likes of Carol Caribou, a Maliseet post-office intern who is able to help gather gossip as potential clues, ‘immigrant’ North Shoreman Gaston Hauche and fingerprinting expert Jose Santana, whose Cuban family have lived in Atlantic Canada since the 1700’s cod/sugar trades but who is still considered an outsider. 

Final chapter twists include the re-entrance of a flamboyant hippie, Jenny Connelly, who writes for the just-established Moncton Monocle and who has her own startling bit of personal news to add to Inspector Steele’s obligatory summations. 

Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Publication Date: September 22, 2022
ISBN:   978-1-68513-033-6
Available for order: Link to come.

J. Ivanel Johnson is the pen name for a disabled author who now lives in the Appalachian range of Northwestern New Brunswick on a small farm overlooking inspirational views. In Sept. 2022, her debut cozy-mystery novel (drafted 75 years ago by her grandmother!) will be released by BlackRose (Castroville, TX).

Like her grandmother before her (the ‘Ivanel’ of her pen name) she has written her entire life, first publishing two poems with Annick Press in Toronto when she was only 11. She has been a high school English and Drama teacher, working and living in the highlands of Scotland, the moors of Yorkshire, and the Rockies of Montana and the Yukon, before settling in the east of Canada.


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