The playwright and novelist John MacLachlan Gray discusses his new novel Mr. Good-Evening (Douglas & McIntyre, 2024), with Joseph Planta.

Mr. Good-Evening by John MacLachlan Gray (Douglas & McIntyre, 2024).

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Text of the introduction by Joseph Planta:

I am Planta: On the Line, in Vancouver, British Columbia, at

John MacLachlan Gray joins me again. The distinguished playwright and novelist joins me to talk about the latest in Raincoast Noir series of books set in Vancouver in the 1920s. Mr. Good-Evening begins with a gruesome murder. Dora Decker is accused of stabbing her stockbroker employer to death twenty-five times with a high-heeled shoe. The book evokes the press of the day so well as newspapers shape and influence public opinion as the sensational murder case makes the news. Decker is arrested, and details of her, her employer, the murder itself are plastered on the newspapers not just here but around the world. The media itself is evolving as the book begins, as the advent of radio ushers in a new way to communicate, not to mention capture the public’s imagination. Ed McCurdy, a former muckraking journalist, is lured to the airwaves becoming one of the first radio personalities, not just in Vancouver but across the country. His nightly broadcasts make him a draw for audiences, and possibly a target of murder. Inspector Calvin Hook is another character, who pieces together the mystery of the murder at the start of the book, to the wet, boozy streets of 1920s Vancouver being somehow connected to Al Capone, Churchill, and a mystical cult on De Courcy Island. And it’s not stretch, considering the there was a cult at that time, on that island. I’ll get Mr. Gray, who joined me earlier this month, to tell us as much as he’d like about this book, the characters, and the Vancouver that all of this is set in. It’s such an eventful period in Vancouver’s history, and great inspiration for this book and the previous two, 2021’s Vile Sprits, and 2017’s The White Angel, which he first appeared on the program with. John MacLachlan Gray is a writer-composer-performer for stage, film, television, radio, and print. He is best known for his stage musicals, including the phenomenon Billy Bishop Goes to War. He is the recipient of the Governor General’s Medal, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. This new book is published by Douglas & McIntyre. Please welcome back to the Planta: On the Line program, John MacLachlan Gray; Mr. Gray, good morning.

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