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What’s the Matter with Mary Jane?

An Epitome Apartments Mystery

by Candas Jane Dorsey

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women sleuths, non-classifiable, humorous, amateur sleuth
list price: $19.95
category: Fiction
published: 2021
publisher: ECW Press
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A wise-cracking, grammar-obsessed, pansexual amateur sleuth is thrust into the world of the uber-rich when her enigmatic, now-famous childhood friend breezes back into her life begging for help with a dangerous stalker

Our nameless postmodern amateur sleuth is still recovering from her first dangerous foray into detective work when her old friend Priscilla Jane Gill breezes back into her life and begs for help. Pris, now a famous travel writer, fears she’s being stalked again after a nearly fatal attack by a deranged fan a year earlier. In Pris’s dizzying world of wealth and privilege, nameless meets dreamy but sinister tech billionaire Nathan and his equally unnerving sidekick Chiles. Pris’s stalker is murdered outside her book launch, and the shadow of obsession continues to stalk Pris. With no one she can totally trust, nameless knows she’s not going to like the answer — but she delves into her old friend’s past, seeking the mastermind behind Pris’s troubles before it’s too late. Bunnywit does his level best to warn them, but no one else speaks Cat, so background peril transforms into foreground betrayal and murder.

In the second installation of the Epitome Apartments Mystery Series, our heroine walks a dangerous path in a world where money is no object and the stakes are higher, and more personal, than ever.


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During our second year of university, Priscilla Jane Gill’s cat Micah died, and she had him taxidermied.

We all thought this was gross, but she said he was the truest being she’d met up to that point. She said that when she was with Micah she had been able to tune in to a special place, in touch with a purity to which she could only aspire, and that reaching for such purity gave her life a through-line of calm. So she wanted to recall that clarity every day, and she thought she would do so when she looked at his effigy, posed in a lifelike facsimile of his favourite “meatloaf” lounging position.

In those days, this sort of explanation made sense.

Besides, Priscilla was a folklore major, and they were all a bit like that anyway.

I think all of us saw Priscilla a little like she saw Micah—when he was alive, of course. To us, she was a symbol of a time out of time, a pure zone between childhood and real life where we could dream of a perfection for which we would not even remember to try once we’d put our college days behind us. But Pris didn’t distinguish between college life and reality, and that set her apart.

Maybe she was an early adopter of adulthood, or maybe she was a pure idealist, but either would have made her a wonder to us. We loved her evolved nature. She was an exotic, but she was our exotic, and long after we graduated her image stayed with us, delicately posed in our history, perfect and without entropy, like a saint, or like Micah.

We got used to Micah’s Ghost, as we called him, after a while, and some of us also were able to take Pris for granted now and again — until she breezed out of our lives on graduation day, wearing not much of anything under her graduation gown, and became one of our memories of university life, preserved in the amber of time—which is to say, idealised and mostly forgotten.

None of us had seen her since, but any time any of us encountered each other, sometime in the conversation we were bound to mention Pris, and smile, and shake our heads at our inability to match her grace and aestheticism.

The woman at my door that cold October day was tall, ascetic and stylish, with a grey brush-cut and the hollow perfect cheekbones of a clothing retailer’s anorexic display figure. When I opened my door she was looking away down the corridor and I saw her strong raptor profile with a mysterious thrill of buried familiarity.


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Contributor notes


Candas Jane Dorsey is the award-winning author of Black Wine, A Paradigm of Earth, Machine Sex and Other Stories, Vanilla and Other Stories, Ice and Other Stories, and The Adventures of Isabel (first in the Epitome Apartments Mystery Series). She is a writer, editor, former publisher, community advocate, and activist living in Edmonton, Alberta.


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