Vaudreuil-Dorion resident releases first novel
Book a tribute to father’s Irish roots
Vaudreuil-dorion resident and former school teacher Harold Griffin recently released his first novel, a fictionalized account of an actual murder.
Griffin, who previously published a collection of short stories, says the book, Three Letters to Pine River (2011, Borealis Press Ltd.) is set in the fictional town of Pine River, but is based on the Quebec City area where he grew up.
The book is a tribute to Griffin’s Canadian Irish roots.
“My father was born in Shannon, Quebec, north of Quebec City, an Irish farming community since the early 1800s,” he said.
The “small Ireland” area was surrounded by a French Canadian population.
Three Letters to Pine River is based on real murders that took place in the late 1800s.
“An angry farmer killed someone with an axe but was acquitted when police could not prove it was murder. Thesamemanwas later hanged for a second murder in the last public hanging in Quebec City,” Griffin explained of the real events that inspired his book.
He conducted exhaustive research for the fictionalized story over a year and a half’s time.
Griffin’s tale is set in 1952 in the fictional town of Pine River, and recounts how 14-year-old Francis Carroll accidentally overhears a fight between two farmers. When one is found dead hours later, Francis is thrust into a legal world not of his choosing, while the close-knit Irish community struggles to come to terms with the murder. “I’ve taken the real story, fictionalized everything and move it up to 1952,” Griffin said, explaining that the book is not a mystery but more of a legal retelling of an actual incident.
Griffin, a retired school teacher who has lived in Vaudreuil-dorion with his wife Helen since 1974, says his next project will be writing about his time spent in the classroom. His wife is also a retired school teacher. Griffin began teaching in 1972 in what was then Dorion at Saint-jean-baptiste School. He taught for both English and French schools.
“Since I started in the French sector, I got to be pretty familiar with how it worked,” he said, adding, Saint-jean-baptiste was one of the few bilingual schools in province at the time with a small English section one-fifth the size of the French section.
Three Letters to Pine River is available at Librairie Boyer stores in Vaudreuil-dorion, Pincourt and in Salaberry-de-valleyfield. It can also be purchased through Chapters online store at www.chapters.indigo.ca.
Harold Griffin and his grandchildren during a
recent book launch.
Three Letters to Pine River is Vaudreuil-dorion resident Harold Griffin’s first novel.