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Barbara Kay releases first novel, a Quebec-based murder mystery

One of the most controversial writers in Canada, National Post columnist and acclaimed author Barbara Kay, makes her first foray into fiction with the release of “A Three Day Event,” a murder mystery underscored by sociopolitical tensions in a Quebec horse sport community.

Loosely based on actual events faced by the Kay family, A Three-Day Event takes readers back to 1992, and the Eastern Townships of Quebec, where Le Centre Équestre de l’Estrie is playing host to a horse sport competition for Olympic hopefuls. Heightened by linguistic and class tensions, cracks begin to appear in the community’s sunny facade. Le Centre is suddenly jarred by a series of violent events: Anti-Anglophone vandalism, an assault on a stallion and other conflicts culminating in the murder of the centre’s reviled stable boy.  Former champion jumper Polo Poisson takes the reins as chief sleuth and discovers that nearly everyone in the stable is a suspect.

Award-winning Montreal novelist Glen Rotchin praises Kay’s venture into fiction: “It’s polished, richly imagined and suspenseful, everything you’d want in a murder mystery. This is a novel that rises far above the level of a typical first novel.”

“Many non-fiction writers are curious to know whether they can pull off a work of fiction. I too wondered for decades, but it wasn’t until my daughter was betrayed by her mentor in horse sport that I found my inspiration,” Kay said. “Suddenly my ten years of immersion in the fascinating world of high-stakes three-day eventing competition opened a creative seam I had never thought possible.”

About Barbara Kay

Barbara Kay, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, is a weekly columnist for The National Post and a frequent contributor to the Post’s opinion blog, Full Comment. Her writings have also appeared in magazines like The Walrus, Canadian Observer and Dorchester Review.

In 2009, Kay was the National Association of Men’s recipient of its award of excellence for “promoting gender fairness in the media.” In 2012, she received the Diamond Jubilee Medal for “excellence in journalism.” She is also a regular guest on CJAD 800 radio in Montreal, CBC Radio’s Because News nationally and other Canadian public affairs programs. She is the author of “Acknowledgements: A Cultural Memoir and Other Essays” and the co-author, with Aruna Papp, of “Unworthy Creature: A Punjabi Daughter’s Memoir of Honour, Shame and Love.” Her columns are available in the archive section on her website, BarbaraKay.ca.

Early praise for A Three-Day Event

Poet and critic Glen Rotchin is the author of the novels The Rent Collector and Halberstam Steals Home:

“It’s polished, richly imagined and suspenseful, everything you’d want in a murder mystery. But what really sets it apart and ratchets up the intrigue is the way Barbara brings insight and knowledge of the broader social-political-cultural context, and the skill with which she weaves together the various layers of tension; between Anglophone and Francophone, between insider and outsider, between immigrant/ newcomer and old-money establishment, and of course, the detail she provides of the fascinating high-stakes world of equestrian sport. This is a novel that rises far above the level of a typical first novel.”

Robert Eady is the author of the novel, “The Octave of All Souls”:

“Being someone who likes to learn new things, I quite enjoyed reading Barbara Kay’s murder mystery novel, A Three Day Event. The setting for the action is the world of equestrian sport, which Kay obviously has a very broad knowledge of. She conveys this knowledge to readers in an easy to understand, yet detailed manner. There was nowhere in the story that I felt I had to pause to wade through horse riding and jumping jargon. Everything was clear. Her portrayal of the ethnic, class, and political tensions in Quebec where the murder takes place, was memorable…We read of sexual jealousies, horses being mutilated, conspiracies involving widespread fraud, Anti-Semitic-based vandalism and harassment.  In among a multiplicity of suspects, all with varying degrees of motive, lurks the killer, who is flushed out gradually by the novel’s most developed, sympathetic and interesting character.”

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