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Vampires of Ottawa (Review)

Vampires of Ottawa (Tom and Liz Austen Mysteries #6)
Author: Eric Wilson
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pages: 101
Rating: 4/5



Excerpt: 

They'd put me in a cell on death row.

Thick walls surrounded me.  Cold light came through the bars, showing the mattress where I had to sleep.  My heart thumped painfully as I thought about the people who had waited in this cell for the sound of approaching feet.

 Feet that would lead them to the gallows.

 Unable to bear the thought, I sat down on the bare mattress to stare at my suitcase.  I felt so homesick.  What were Tom and my parents
doing right now?  Probably drinking hot chocolate and talking about what a great time good old Liz would be having in Ottawa.

 They didn't know I'd been condemned to death row.

"Feeling lonely?" a voice said.
 Looking up, I saw a teenage girl watching me through the bars of my cell.  She had large eyes, a wide mouth and a lot of fuzzy hair that spilled down over her shoulders.  With a smile, she opened the cell door.  “Feel like a tour of the prison?"
"You bet!"

 Anything was better than sitting in that cell alone.  Before the girl could change her mind I hurried into the concrete corridor.  Blue and green lights shone weakly from the ceiling, and our footsteps echoed as we began walking.  This place, called the Nicholas Street Youth Hostel, had once been a prison, but now is a place for travellers to stay.  I suppose it may be an adventure for some people to sleep on death row, but I'm not sure I recommend it!

My Thoughts: So I first read this novel in 5th grade, as part of a class assignment. It was one of our group reading assignments which eventually we had to fashion into a play for our class. I liked it then because there weren't a lot of books, popular books at least, that took place in Canada, in places that I might recognize. Through the Tom and Liz Austen Mysteries series, they travel all across Canada, mysteries taking place is many cities I recognize and as a Canadian, this is fun.

Vampires of Ottawa is not...quite how it sounds. It's less of a Vampire book and more of a Nancy Drew meets Mystery Inc tale. Complete with slight cheesiness that comes with the concept of a teenager investigating crime, it's still an intriguing tale.

It begins with Liz's accommodations, The Ottawa Jail Hostel where she is sleeping in what was previously, a death row cell. Know what's particularly cool about this haunted place? It's actually real! I stayed there on my own trip to Ottawa. At the time of initially reading this tale, I had no idea the Jail hostel was real, and even after staying there, I didn't make the connection under later on.

Part of what I love about Eric Wilson's stories, is that although the mysteries themselves might be far fetched, Terror in Winnipeg for example, they are surrounded by truth. Yes this hotel exists, yes this restaurant, or park is truly where he describes it to be.

He describes the tulips planted all over Ottawa in celebration of Holland's gift to Canada which is celebrated annually with the tulip festival, which surprisingly was also happening during my trip there.

Through reading these fun mysteries we learn about and are engaged in Canadian history. Plus Liz is also from Winnipeg just like me which I mean, come on that's pretty cool.



Reading these books was an inspiration to my writing not only because I got to read about places and things I was familiar with but because I saw that a fellow Canadian could succeed and with Canadian content!

Recommendation: If you like Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew type tales I definitely recommend giving the Austen mysteries a read, you might even learn something new!

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