Book reviews and an excerpt from...


Ann Diamond


Dead White Males

(D.C. Books, 2000, $19.95)
ISBN 0-919688-70-5
Book Reviews:

DEAD WHITE MALES "... is nutty, paranoid, messy and a great deal of fun. A must for Ann Diamond fans." -- The Montreal Gazette

"Set against the backdrop of Montreal in cold winter, along the lines of The Big Sleep meets Brazil meets Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. [The hero, detective David] Dennings wanders through Montreal and Venezuela stumbling through surreal twists and turns, [and] Ann Diamond delivers an ending tying up all loose ends - with, of course, the requisite twist. The repartee, snappy phrasing, betrayals and sense of desperation - all traits of the classic Humphrey Bogart flick - work well in a theatre of the absurd. In fact, Dead White Males is one of those rare books that would, on a second reading, like the second viewing of a film, glean more fine detail and laughter." -- The Antigonish Review

A NUN'S DIARY "One of the few must-read collections of poetry to appear in a long while." --The Toronto Star

EVIL EYE [Winner of the QSPELL Hugh MacLennan Award for Fiction, 1994.] "Diamond's uncluttered language reveals the chill inherent in keeping one's eyes -- and heart -- stationed on the borders of experience." -- Books in Canada

"As in Diamond's earlier collection, Snakebite, some of the stories are realistic and others fantastical, but in both, the absurd lurks just outside the door and seeps in under the cracks." -- The Montreal Gazette

MONA'S DANCE " not just an accomplished stylistic show-piece; it is also driven by some potent ideas. For a first novel, Mona's Dance is an impressive work and a chapter in the development of an important and promising Canadian writer." -- Prairie Fire

Excerpt from:

Dead White Males

OFFICE OF DAVID DENNINGS, PRIVATE DETECTIVE The phone had not rung all week. I was sitting at my desk that day, pondering my bank statement and feeling very much like an ex-hairdresser in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Which was what I was. In the last two years, my trickle of customers had gradually decreased to a few droplets. My once-dazzling celebrity clientele had all been lured to other establishments whose marketing tactics were far beneath me. My reputation for being a busybody never really helped matters. What exactly were my options? Run away to some Third World country and work with lepers. That takes training, and I had only my skill with scissors and a box of business cards identifying me as David Dennings, Private Detective.

The phone lay dead, dormant, soon to be disconnected. A sudden intuition made me pick up the receiver. I could hear the sound of breathing at the other end.

"Hello?" "Hello." "Ariadne Detective Agency?"

"Yes." "Are you a detective?"


The voice, muffled and artificial, seemed tense.

"I don't like talking on the phone."

He sounded like the nervous type. I told him to come on over. Minutes later I heard the screeching of brakes, a thud, and a car door slam. Then came the sound of the doorbell. I buzzed him in. As I listened to his footsteps climbing the stairs, I felt a slight frisson of dŽja-vu. At the top, he swayed panting in a cloud of patchouli oil. Earrings, neckscarf. A few thousand dollars worth of leather which looked like it had recently been run over by a car. The inevitable skullring winked from his pinky finger. I welcomed him in to my headquarters, such as it was. He reminded me of some fancy heron tiptoeing across a beach.

I said, "I like to get to know people before I say I'll work for them. Have a seat and let's talk."

He flung himself on the only sofa, slid one hand into his pocket and pulled out a wrinkled photograph.

"There's someone I want you to locate."

The picture had been taken in full sunlight. She was squinting.


©2003 Ann Diamond, All Rights Reserved