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.