Hodgson immortalized in Bowen's latest novel

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Mystery novelist Gail Bowen reads an excerpt from her new book,

By Joel van der Veen

As Moose Jaw Mayor Glenn Hagel prepared to introduce novelist Gail Bowen at the launch of her latest book Sunday afternoon, he told the crowd that he and his wife are big fans.

He recalled reading Bowen’s first book, Deadly Appearances, after it was published back in 1990. By the time they read her second book, he said, “Karen and I and our household were hooked.”

“We’ve read all 12 of her books before now, and we’ve been waiting for number 13,” he said. “We’ll start reading it tonight.”

A large crowd gathered at the Willy Hodgson Life Enhancement Centre at Victoria Towers on Sunday to witness the launch of Kaleidoscope, the latest entry in Bowen’s series of Joanne Kilbourn murder mystery novels.

The book, published just last week by McLelland & Stewart, has already reached number seven on the list of the top ten Canadian bestsellers. Bowen’s works have also formed the basis for six TV movies; she was once described by the Ottawa Citizen as “a national treasure.”

The centre was chosen as the site for the launch because Bowen used Hodgson’s name in her book; much like in real life, a recreation centre in the story is named after her. Thus, the event also served as a tribute to the late nurse and Saskatchewan Order of Merit winner, who died of cancer in 2003.

Several members of Hodgson’s family, including her husband, Bill, and their children, were present and busy helping to organize the event and preparing bannock for the large crowd.

Dave Foley, general manager of the Moose Jaw Housing Authority, welcomed the audience and spoke briefly about Hodgson and the many lives she touched.

“Willy did not label people,” he said. “To Willy, you were and always would be a person with as much potential for good and for greatness as anyone else.”

For more information, see Monday's edition of the Times-Herald.

Organizations: Willy Hodgson Life Enhancement Centre, Ottawa Citizen, Moose Jaw Housing Authority Times-Herald

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Victoria Towers

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  • Heather Hodgson
    April 30, 2012 - 16:17

    Sunday's launch of Gail Bowen's KALEIDOSCOPE was a blockbuster: 200+ attending. Huge thanks to Brian Chase, President of the Tenants' Association at Victoria Towers. The main level, named "The Willy Hodgson Life Enhancement Centre" in 2003, was a tribute to mom whose life outside our family was to help others whenever she could. Fortunately her efforts were acknowledged in her lifetime with an SOM, OC, and other awards too numerous to list. The Willy Hodgson Life Enhancement Centre was particularly special to her in the final months of her life and many of the residents remember her still. Dave Foley, President of the Moose Jaw Housing Authority was also key to the success of Sunday's launch and he spoke about mom with great fondness (Bowen's novel features the "Willy Hodgson" throughout). And Mayor Glenn Hagel's introduction of Gail revealed he and his wife have read EVERY novel in the series! While the appetites of those present were whet for fiction, my dad was in the kitchen making bannock for the 200+ present! A well-known member of Moose Jaw's infamous "Grumps" he was in his element feeding the masses and joking with them too. The crowd, no doubt, was very glad that mom taught him to make bannock so well. Thanks to everyone who came out to support "Canada's Best-loved Mystery Writer" and to the author herself: Gail Bowen, for keeping the memory of my late mother alive in her newest novel. Heather Hodgson (on behalf of Bill Sr. & the Hodgson family) Regina, Sk. 306-565-0147