Keep an eye on this Canadian author, especially if you live in Toronto. His hugely successful novel Fifteen Dogs was such a pleasure to read and this one I liked even better! Fifteen Dogs, winner of the 2015 Giller Prize, recently made it onto the Canada Reads shortlist and one of the dogs in that story, a black poodle named Majnoun, makes a guest appearance in this book. And the setting is so recognizably Toronto: Liberty Village, Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Parkdale, Rosedale, Queen St., King St. and various condos by the lakeshore, and more.
Inspired by Treasure Island, the premise of The Hidden Keys caught my attention immediately. A highly accomplished but strangely honourable thief, makes a promise to an aging heroin addict that he will help her solve a mysterious inheritance puzzle left by her wealthy father. Willow believes her Dad set the treasure hunt before he died, but her siblings do not. So Willow needs Tancred, her friend the thief, to steal the objects needed to gather the pieces and solve the puzzle. Of course the quest gets complicated, both by Tancred’s very good friend who is a police detective, and some thugs who are threatening to get in the way or worse, make off with the treasure. The novel kept my interest and is well paced, but also has a reflective side, raising questions about what it means to be faithful and good and whether money can ever really bring happiness. The book is a strange combination of elegant writing and funny adventure. Only in Canada, will you find a crime/mystery novel with a hugely polite and thoughtful thief at the centre of the story!!