Vau­dreuil-Do­rion re­sident re­leases first no­vel

Book a tri­bute to fa­ther’s Irish roots

L'Etoile - - IN OTHER WORDS -

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.chap­­di­


Ha­rold Grif­fin and his grand­chil­dren du­ring a

recent book launch.


Three Let­ters to Pine Ri­ver is Vau­dreuil-do­rion re­sident Ha­rold Grif­fin’s first no­vel.

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