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He Wasn’t There Again Today

An Epitome Apartments Mystery

by (author) Candas Jane Dorsey

ECW Press
Initial publish date
Oct 2023
Women Sleuths, Bisexual, Amateur Sleuth, Humorous
LGBTQ2S characters , Author lives in Alberta

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    Publish Date
    Oct 2023
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The witty, queer accidental detective of the Epitome Apartments is back. While helping to solve a community murder, she also needs to convince police that she didn’t revenge-kill the man who took everything from her

The nameless amateur sleuth of The Adventures of Isabel and What’s the Matter with Mary Jane? has often said that death is too good for Lockwood Chiles — who is in prison for killing her beloved partner, Nathan, and her close friend Pris — and makes no secret that she hates the man who massacred her shot at happiness. So when Chiles ends up dead in his cell, it’s no wonder she becomes a prime suspect.

Meanwhile, an aggressive band of men in military-adjacent garb turn a string of assaults against nameless’s unhoused neighbors into full-bore murder right behind the Epitome Apartments, and she rashly promises to help bring them to law.

As if that’s not enough, unscrupulous parties are scheming to strip her of her inheritance, money she and Nathan had intended would address the city’s lack of harm-reduction services and low-income housing. Now it is nameless’s mission to clear her name and to hold her tattered community together, all while she’s coming apart herself.

About the author

Candas Jane Dorsey is an internationally-known, award-winning author of several novels, four poetry books; several anthologies edited/co-edited, and numerous published stories, poems, reviews, and critical essays. Her most recent fiction includes novels The Adventures of Isabel; What's the Matter with Mary Jane?; and The Man Who Wasn't There; and short fiction Vanilla and Other Stories and . For fourteen years, she was the editor/publisher of the literary press, The Books Collective, including River Books and, for a time, Tesseract Books. She was founding president of SFCanada, and has been president of the Writers Guild of Alberta. She has received a variety of awards and honours for her books and short fiction, including most recently, the 2017 the WGA Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Literary Arts. She was inducted into the City of Edmonton Arts and Cultural Hall of Fame in 2019. She is also a community activist, advocate and leader who has served on many community boards and committees for working for neighbourhoods, heritage, social planning and human rights advocacy. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

Candas Jane Dorsey's profile page

Excerpt: He Wasn’t There Again Today: An Epitome Apartments Mystery (by (author) Candas Jane Dorsey)

On the top shelf of my bedroom closet, I have a box that sings to me.

When I say this, when I say that I have a box in my closet that sings to me (or, more properly, that I have, in my closet, a box that sings to me), I do not mean a music box, an automaton, a Victrola, a phonograph, a record player, a stereo, a Discman, a Walkman, a television, a computer, an .mp3 player, a Smartphone with Bluetooth, a smart thermostat: I do not mean anything fantastical or even science-fictional except in the sense of that 2003 William Gibson quote in the Economist.1

The box is rectangular and deeper than it is wide, and it was carved by a lover, with love, to fit the shape of my hands, and in it is a sheaf of a technological marvel called smart paper that records in many ways — moving and still visuals, voices, text.

On that paper are the voices, work, and images of Nathan Bierce, who was the dearest love of all my dear loves so far, and the voices, notes, and a few images of Priscilla Jane Gill, who was a rediscovered college friend — and also, on some, there is the voice, work, and face of their killer, Lockwood Chiles, my worst enemy.

I am haunted by the voices of these dead.

I’ve already told the story of how I got the box, the paper, and a heartful of grief.2 It’s also the story of why on my bookshelf I have a very creepy dead-and-taxidermied cat yclept Micah the First, and why twining around my feet as this story begins were not one but two very non-ghostly, very living cats: my old tortoiseshell-and-white calico Manx buddy Bunnywit and Micah Five, an elegant Abyssinian with a secret past.

Not-so-secret, actually, in these days of global media, but all three of us have long since had our fifteen minutes of fame. Our story is so last year.

Or so I thought.


1. “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” William Gibson, The Economist, December 4, 2003

2. What’s the Matter with Mary Jane, the second of the books I’ve written about my adventures, the first being The Adventures of Isabel. If you haven’t read them, please do that, OK?, because there is a ton of backstory there. I still must inevitably review in these early pages, because people’s reading habits, unlike life, are not always sequential—but we all have limited patience with expository lumps, amirite?