River City

River City

A Novel

Book - 2012
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"On the night of the Rocket Richard Riot in 1955, the legendary Cartier Dagger is stolen from Montreal’s Sun Life Building. Many believe the dagger gives whoever possesses it mystical powers, and its journey through history is as spectacular as it is bloodstained. The same night, a police informer is found murdered in a nearby park with a dagger wound to his heart. But who murdered him, and why? Thirteen years later, Pierre Elliott Trudeau is prime minister, and the separatist movement is gaining momentum in Quebec. The case is still unsolved, and a young constable named Émile Cinq-Mars is asked to investigate."--
Publisher: Toronto, Ontario, Canada : Harper Perennial, 2012.
Edition: Harper Perennial trade paperback edition 2012.
Copyright Date: ©2011
ISBN: 9780006393535
Branch Call Number: FARRO
Characteristics: 999 pages ; 21 cm


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Sep 04, 2018

I have to say that I thought this was quite bad. The historical aspects were interesting to some degree, but I found the modern detective story full of cliches and of no interest whatsoever. I also found the central importance of an entirely fictitious knife that drives some of the most important events of Canada's modern history ludicrous and at times entirely insulting. I had to force myself to finish the book as I kept expecting something redeeming, but it never came. Because the detective story took up most of the book, and it was a detective story of the worst kind (it reminded me of the really bad genre writing of this type of novel) I have to recommend against reading it. If you do read it, the first part of the detective segment of the story is exactly what the rest of the detective story is, so if you don't like that (or if you do) then you can count on the rest being almost exactly of the same tone and structure.

Aug 23, 2015

Best book I've read this year. History of Quebec and mystery intertwined.
5 stars

Sep 09, 2012

There is rally only one thing to say about this book - read it.

Cdnbookworm Sep 21, 2011

This wide-ranging novel was a little long for me. At first I found it tough going, but a little more than halfway through it started to flow for me. It helped that it told you what time period you were in. I think once I saw the connection directly between the different time periods that helped.
Taking the reader from the time of Cartier until the early 1970s, this book covers a great deal of Quebec history. The author mixes real history with fiction in a seamless way that makes me interested in reading some straight-up history to figure out which parts are real. I feel like I learned a lot of history, but am unsure which parts are real.
He takes us through many explorers of New France, and through many leaders. Particularly prominent characters include Houde, Duplessis, and Trudeau. These historical figures and the fictional ones alongside them come to life here.
This book is history, social commentary, and a mystery all rolled into one. We have the struggle of French-English that still exists in Quebec. We have the corruption that still apparently exists. We have real history of riots, FLQ, and discovery. We have the role of the Catholic Church. And we have passion throughout.
All the main characters throughout time were passionate about what they were doing. That really comes through here and makes the book.
A good, if rather long, read.

Sep 18, 2011

Once he gets to it, this is a good mystery and includes lots of history - even if some of that is debatable. But even I think this book is just too long. Either write about the city - or the mystery. I didn't feel those ever meshed.

debwalker Aug 15, 2011

"If you approach River City, as I did, eagerly anticipating another murder mystery featuring Montreal police detective Émile Cinq-Mars, you won't be disappointed. The central event of the third Cinq-Mars novel from John Farrow (the genre nom de plume of Montreal novelist and playwright Trevor Ferguson) is the theft of the legendary Cartier Dagger during 1955's Richard Riot, and a brutal homicide committed in the immediate aftermath of the theft. But intertwined with this mystery is 500 years of the (fictional) dagger's history, which amounts to a fairly detailed history of Montreal and the New World."
H.J. Kirchhoff
Globe & Mail


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