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Murder mystery helps raise money for Tour de Rock

Two dollars from the sale of every book will be donated to the Tour de Rock.
HANNA PETERSEN PHOTO Co-authors Chris Bullock and Kay Stewart read from their new mystery novel Tour de Mort at the Port Hardy library.

Vancouver Island-based writers Kay Stewart and Chris Bullock have turned fact into fiction.

Their novel Tour de Mort, the fourth addition to a series of detective novels, takes place during the 1998 Tour de Rock, released in time to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the ride.

The couple presented their crime novel, Tour de Mort, throughout the North Island and hosted a reading at the Port Hardy library branch on the afternoon of Sept. 14.

“Denutia Dranchuk is a young female RCMP officer based in Victoria, and the male lead is named Arthur Fair-Weather and he is a part-time drama critic for a newspaper,” said Stewart.

After they moved to Victoria in 2008, Stewart and Bullock were exposed to Tour de Rock and thought it would be the perfect setting for their next novel.

“It seemed like this would be a really great event for my RCMP constable to take part in, and also I’ve had a number of family members who had died from cancer in the last few years, or survived cancer, so it seemed like a very personal topic as well,” explained Stewart.

The co-authors traveled to the North Island in 2011 to follow the Tour de Rock and conduct research for their book.

“There are several scenes that take place in Port Hardy,” said Stewart, adding “I found a fisherman who had been in Port Hardy then who could tell me what the economic conditions were at the time, and could even tell me what the weather was like on that day.”

Although they were excited about the idea for their book, they initially found it difficult to execute.

“We realized we have a problem with this we can’t actually do a murder in the Tour de Rock for a start - it’s pretty improbable because you’ve got a line of riders and they are all policemen - it’s not a great place to murder anyone” said Bullock, adding they also didn’t want to implicate the Canadian Cancer Society in any kind of crime.

“We decided we could get a parallel plot involving murder and corruption with Denutia’s sister and her son,” explained Bullock who also hinted that several murders occur “in pursuit of mining rights”.

Tour de Mort will be the last book in the series, but two dollars from every sale will be donated to the Tour de Rock.

They also performed readings at the Sointula, Port McNeill, Port Alice, and Woss libraries. “The research has been fun as well,” said Bullock, adding “it brought us up island and we’ve met all kinds of people we wouldn’t have otherwise met.”

To purchase a copy of Tour de Mort or another book in the Danutia Dranchuk Mystery Series, visit or pick up a copy at the Book Nook.