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Monthly Archives: January 2012

1950s archival photos of Toronto featured in murder/mystery

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               City of Toronto Archives, Series 574, s0574_file0054_id49757

The above photograph of Yonge Street was taken in 1951. It gazes northward from near Gould Street. On the left-hand (west) side of the photo, Elm Street intersects with Yonge. Steele’s Tavern at 394 Yonge Street, where Gordon Lightfoot sang in the following decade, is in the foreground on the right-hand side of the picture.

This photo is one of many that appear in the murder/mystery “The Reluctant Virgin,” a tale of a serial killer who haunts the streets and laneways of Toronto during the 1950s. The detailed descriptions of the city of that decade, along with the archival photos, create a chilling degree of reality to the fictional  plot. The main characters of the book are young Tom Hudson and his friends. They did not know about Steele’s Tavern, but the Yonge Street in the photo was familiar to them. It was the main thoroughfare of what was then Canada’s second largest city. The street they knew remains somewhat in tact today. Many of the low-rise buildings flanking the street are still there, their signage as garish and intrusive as yesteryear.

However, in 1951 there was less automobile and pedestrian traffic. Because there were fewer cars, the city allowed street parking on its main thoroughfares. In the photo, on the west (left-hand) side of the street, near the southbound streetcar, we see empty parking spaces. There was no subway. The square-shaped Peter Witt streetcars trundled noisily along the roadway on ribbons of steel. Despite the hustle and bustle of the night-time bars and clubs, Yonge Street was quieter, calmer, and less hurried than today. However, the principal characters in our story visited Yonge Street only occasionally. Their daily lives centred more on the quiet community where they lived.  

For more information on the book, follow the link https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/chilling-murdermystery-showcases-toronto/;

Reluctant

The murder/mystery, “The Reluctant Virgin” is available at any Chapters/Indigo store. It is a strange tale of the serial killer who haunts the streets and laneways of Toronto in the 1950s seeking victims to drain their blood. The police are puzzled by the strange ritual.

To purchase electronic versions of the book or order paperback copies: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Toronto

 

When the weather is gloomy or cold in Toronto, think about a hot July evening

The passage below is from the recently published murder/mystery, “The Reluctant Virgin.” It describes Toronto’s Yonge Street on a sweltering July evening. When the mid-winter blues wrap around the city, it is encouraging to remember that such weather and good times exit.

Reluctant

During the languorous days of July, Yonge Street pulsed from dusk until the early hours of the morning, as revellers celebrated summer’s heat. Their scanty outfits exposed more skin than the hormone-driven young should ever be allowed to view. After the bars closed, eye contact on the street increased. It was “cruising time.” To be a participant, no automobile was required, although the traffic on the street now moved slower and the shouts from the cars erupted more frequently and louder.

“Cruising time” was truly embraced by the young. They knew that it was almost as short-lived as the month itself. Virgins were initiated into mankind’s oldest ceremony, while the more experienced became acquainted with the rites of the “quickie” romance. When the doors of the bars and clubs finally closed, and the screen doors of the houses throughout the city had banged shut for the final time, the most cherished rituals of summer ended for another day. More than one parent’s voice was heard shouting from upstairs, “Where the hell have you been?”

The fear of July relinquishing its place on the calendar, intensified the desire to soak-up the luxury of the summer’s finest month. Each day, as the Sam McBride ferry, named after a notoriously free-spending mayor of Toronto, pushed its way across the placid harbour, excited children leaned over the oak railings, while concerned parents enforced the rule that their feet must remain on the deck. When the ferry dropped its large metal gangway onto the dock at Centre Island, crowds surged forward, anxious to be swept into the enchanted world of nature that lay within sight of the Toronto skyline. The Toronto Islands comprised one of the largest car-free zones in the world.

By noon, on a hot day, the lakeside and harbour beaches of the Island were crowded. Hotdogs, french fries, popcorn, and candyfloss were consumed in such quantities that some feared the ferry might sink on the return voyage to the city.

At the end of July, Torontonians enjoyed the second holiday weekend of the summer. It was not an observance or a celebration of anything, other than the need for a mid-summer break. Unlike other holidays on the calendar, parades, fireworks, turkey dinners, greeting cards, special church services, and gift giving were foreign to it. It was a time to drive to the beaches north of the city or the lakes of the Muskoka, Georgian Bay, or Haliburton Region.

Within the city, picnickers crowded High Park, and sunbathers basked on the warm sands at Sunnyside and Woodbine beaches. The flames from backyard barbeques charred the hamburgers and hotdogs for outdoor lunches, and in the evenings, cooked the steaks or chicken for supper. It was not a time to indulge in gourmet banquets, but to enjoy the delights of comfort foods. Potato and macaroni salads, as well as cold slaw, were among the latter category.

                 * * * *

The murder/mystery, “The Reluctant Virgin,” at available at any Chapters/Indigo. The novel is a strange tale of the serial killer who haunts the streets and laneways of Toronto in the 1950s seeking victims to drain their blood. The police are puzzled by the strange ritual. 

To purchase electronic versions of the book or order paperback copies: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Toronto

 

Attention Toronto lovers of murder/mysteries.

Reluctant

The murder/mystery, “The Reluctant Virgin” is now available at any Chapters/Indigo store and on-line in electronic versions. It is a strange tale of the serial killer who haunts the streets and laneways of Toronto in the 1950s seeking victims to drain their blood. The police are puzzled by the strange ritual.

For more information on the book, follow the link https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/chilling-murdermystery-showcases-toronto/;

To purchase electronic versions of the book or order paperback copies: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Toronto

 

Chilling murder/mystery showcases Toronto

Reluctant

In the murder/mystery “The Reluctant Virgin,” the streets and laneways of Toronto play as pivotal a role in the plot as the characters. It is the second book in the Toronto Trilogy, and continues where the first book in the trilogy ended. The Second World War is over, and despite the social upheaval caused by the war years, Toronto retains many of its traditional values. However,“Rock and Roll” music is now hitting the Yonge Street bars and clubs, and most citizens are not certain what to think about the new sound, as it seems to espouse a different set of values.

As the story opens, a brutal murder is committed in the secluded darkness of the Humber River Valley. The police discover that the killer has drained the blood of the victim. When they identify the body, they learn that she was a teacher at the high school where the central characters of the story attend. The two detectives assigned to the case must interview the teenagers, as well as the teachers at the school to find the murderer. Meanwhile, further murders are committed by the same killer, the police unaware that the crimes are connected.

As the story unfolds, the sexual attitudes of the community, the teenagers, and the police are exposed. For example, one of the straight-laced detectives is attracted to a witness who is involved in the sex trade. He eventually starts dating her, creating great turmoil in his life, especially among his colleagues. One member of the group of teenagers who attends the high school is thought to be homosexual. This exposes a can of worms that no one wishes to confront, especially the church where he attends. Another teenager in the story becomes pregnant and decides to keep the baby.

“The Reluctant Virgin” is far more than just a murder/mystery. The plot twists and turns as it weaves its way through a myriad of clues, complicated by the sexual attitudes of the decade.

The first two books of the Toronto trilogy are available by following the links:

Arse Over Teakettle: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000132634/Arse-Over-Teakettle.aspx

The Reluctant Virgin : http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx

The book “The Reluctant Virgin”is also available at any Chapters/Indigo store.

To view the author’s Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2012 in Toronto

 

Murder/mystery “The Reluctant Virgin” now available on-line in electronic version

Reluctant

The second book in the “Toronto Trilogy, entitled “The Reluctant Virgin,” written by Doug Taylor, is available at any Chapters/Indigo store in paperback and hardcover editions, as well as on-line through Chapters/Indigo and Amazon.com web sites.

The book is a chilling tale of a serial killer who haunts the streets and laneways of Toronto during the 1950s. The police discover that the killer has drained the blood from the victims. It is a classic who-done-it, but as the fictional tale unfolds, the detailed descriptions of the city and the archival photos create an amazing degree of reality. Readers of crime stories will take great delight in attempting to discover the killer ahead of the police. Toronto history enthusiasts will also enjoy this novel.

The first two books of the Toronto trilogy are available by following the links:

Arse Over Teakettle: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000132634/Arse-Over-Teakettle.aspx

The Reluctant Virgin : http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx

To view the author’s Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 
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Posted by on January 28, 2012 in Toronto

 

Doug Taylor’s Toronto murder/mystery now available at Chapters/Indigo

Reluctant

The second book in the “Toronto Trilogy, entitled “The Reluctant Virgin,” written by Doug Taylor, is for sale at any Chapters/Indigo store. However, copies are available in both electronic and paperback editions through the Chapters/Indigo and Amazon.com web sites.

The book is a chilling tale of a serial killer who haunts the streets and laneways of Toronto during the 1950s. The police discover that the killer has drained the blood from the victims. It is a classic who-done-it, but as the fictional tale unfolds, the detailed descriptions of the city and the archival photos create an amazing degree of reality. Readers of crime stories will take great delight in attempting to discover the killer ahead of the police. Toronto history enthusiasts will also enjoy this novel.

The first two books of the Toronto trilogy are available by following the links:

Arse Over Teakettle: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000132634/Arse-Over-Teakettle.aspx

The Reluctant Virgin : http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx

To view the author’s Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Toronto

 

Two books of “The Toronto “Trilogy” now available in book stores

The second book in the “Toronto Trilogy” is now available at Chapters/Indigo at book stores. Entitled “The Reluctant Virgin,” it continues where the first book in the trilogy, “Arse Over Teakettle,” ended.

Below is a summary of the three books of the trilogy.

“Arse Over Teakettle” – Book One of the Toronto Trilogy

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The first book in “The Toronto Trilogy”is a heart-warming tale containing vivid descriptions of the the city as the Great Depression ends. The reader experiences the city through the eyes of a young boy – Tom Hudson – following his exploits and discoveries as he matures. We learn of his life and his family’s struggles during the horrific war years of the 1940s and observe him as he matures in the post-war period in Canada. Tom’s life is detailed with sympathy and humour. The educational system of the city during the 1940s is portrayed delightfully, some of the scenes hilarious, others demanding understanding and empathy.

The tale abounds with interesting and off-beat characters. The landlord of the family during the depression years, Mr Pollard, Tom’s father nicknames Mr. Polly Penis. The irascible man has a drinking problem, which result in his committing a few odd deeds. However, it is not long before a  new kid moves into the neighbourhood – Shorty Bernstein. The cigar-smoking, cursing, pugnacious boy soon becomes the most intriguing character of the book. He provides great contrast to Harry Heinz, Tom’s boyhood hero, who is so very straight-laced.

The adventures of Tom and Shorty, as well their friends Carol and Sophie, as they struggle to understand the world of “the big kids,” is entertaining and informative. It will remind many of us of our own childhood. The archival photographs add to the realism as the stories unfold. However, it is the characters, along with their joys and sorrows, which make the novel fascinating.

“The Reluctant Virgin”- Book Two of the Toronto Trilogy

Reluctant

The second book in the trilogy, “The Reluctant Virgin,” follows Shorty, Tom and their friends through their high school years. As expected, the characters develop and mature as the tale unfolds. Their sexual explorations are particularly amusing. However, this book is quite different from the first book in the trilogy as it is a crime mystery. One of the teachers at the high school where they attend is brutally murdered. Two detectives, Jim Peersen and Jerry Thomson, their personalities very different in nature, attempt to catch the killer. Meanwhile, the murderer continues to seize victims from the streets of Toronto. The police remain unaware that they are seeking a serial killer. This is a classic “who-done-it.” The killer is one of the boy’s teachers, but which one?

This book is not for the faint-of-heart. The murders are chillingly detailed. The killer drains the blood from the bodies of the victims. At first, the sickening ritual is not discovered by the police as the murderer cleverly disguises the fact.

Similar to the first book in the trilogy, the descriptions of Toronto and the archival photos add realism to the unfolding of the tale.

“Virgins No More” – Book Three of the Toronto Trilogy (This book is not yet available)

In the years after graduating from high school, Tom Hudson works for four years to earn sufficient funds to enter university and eventually attend teachers’ college. His friend Shorty Bernstein, drops out of university and becomes involved in the drug culture in Toronto’s infamous Yorkville area of the 1960s. Tom’s relationship with Sophie is not without problems, as is that of Tom’s high school pals—Harry Heinz and Horace Kramer.

On the Saturday evening of the Labour Day weekend in 1965, prior to beginning his new career in the classroom, Tom and his sweetheart, Sophie, witness a seemingly random murder on the Yonge Street subway. Chief of Detectives Arnold Peckerman assigns the murder case to Detective Paul Masters, but Detectives Jim Peersen and Gerry Thomson are soon drawn into the investigation. Harry Heinz, who is now a young attorney, also becomes involved in the case. Disaster then strikes again, when the killer murders one of Tom’s friends. The murder investigations lead to the corridors of power at Queen’s Park, and eventually to Ottawa, where they threaten to bring down members of the federal cabinet.

The third book in the Toronto Trilogy relates the struggles of Tom, Harry, and their friends, as well as detectives Peersen and Thomson, to solve the crimes.

The story provides an intriguing insight into life in Toronto during the 1960s, a decade in which decadence prevailed. The narrative explores the lives of Tom and his friends as they build their careers and mature in their relationships. All this occurs while a murderer casts an ominous shadow that threatens their survival.

The background of the story is the metropolis of Toronto, as it sheds the traditions and values of its past. “A Virgin No More” is a story of the city during a decade when it is evolving into an urban centre that embraces the worldliness of the modern world.

The first two books of the Toronto trilogy are available by following the links:

Arse Over Teakettle: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000132634/Arse-Over-Teakettle.aspx

The Reluctant Virgin : http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx

The book “THe Reluctant Virgin”is presently available at the Chapters/Indigo store in downtown Toronto at John and Richmond Streets.

To view the author’s Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Toronto