It’s been quite a while, now, since The Hamilton Spectator has published a column by Don Graves, one of the premier critics in the country, and the only reviewer of note to focus on Canadian mystery titles. Recently in the Word on the Street festival in Toronto I sold quite a few books. Almost every sale was to a reader of either Margaret Cannon in The Globe and Mail or Don Graves in The Hamilton Spectator or on The Spectator’s website. Mystery novels have huge sales in Canada and, although often ignored in favour of so-called “literary” writing, some of negligible significance, they need and deserve a sound critical representation. Graves provides this, not just for Hamilton but for the whole country. I’ve never met the man and, yes, I have received good reviews from him, but even if I hadn’t I would continue to check him out for advice on what to read and how it might be read. Let’s hope his absence is of short duration.