Short-listed for the 2011 Shamus Awards

Deadly nightshade – the poison plant par excellence – and in historic Quebec City at an important scientific conference concerning the genetic manipulation of trees it means murder!

Police, RCMP, and a mysterious FBI agent from Washington converge on the scene. But the sharpest eye belongs to Sam Montcalm, a despised "bedroom snooper" from Ottawa whose primary concern is to clear a First Nations activist of the crime. Sam is middle-aged, tough, and sophisticated, yet he’s also a lone wolf who feels displaced nearly everywhere, and his relations with his colleagues, the police – and with women – are always complicated. "You’re a psychic wound without a health card," a friend comments

The story moves to its surprising climax as Montcalm follows the trail of murder back to Canada’s capital and into the Gatineau Hills, his deep sense of cynicism about human nature confirmed as he closes in on the killer and struggles to come to terms with himself.


Shamus Awards


This is a slick little mystery set in Quebec City and Ottawa, with an
engaging PI who looks destined to return in a seriesThis one is lots of

The Globe and Mail (July, 2010)

This first mystery from Henighan introduces Ottawa snooper Sam Montcalm, and its a solid debut.

The Globe and Mail

Montcalm is modern and sensitive, espousing Henighans own values concerning the environment and development.

Unfolding Arts in Ottawa

Henighan's exploration of environmental concerns is timely, lively, sincere

London Free Press

Tom Henighan has crafted a multi-layered story with a very human, very imperfect protagonist, a wonderful descriptive writing style, and a tale of crime and passion for our times.

Mystery Maven Canada

About the Author

Tom Henighan

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014

Tom Henighan

Tom Henighan's numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry include The Maclean's Companion to Canadian Arts and Culture, The Well of Time, and the YA novel Viking Quest (2001). He lives in Ottawa, and teaches at Carleton University.