The Concrete Vineyard
Genre: Cozy Murder Mystery
Publication Date 2 December 2020
This detective story is a rare vintage – cleverly crafted to keep readers guessing. Self-Publishing
Packing an intellectual punch, this smart murder/mystery will have you guessing and gripped! Why would anyone want to murder one of the most respected senior citizens, Niagara-on-the-Lake has ever had? Retired history professor Edward Mitchell was surely not long for the grave, so why would someone risk life in prison to kill him? Picking up the clues is the reluctant Homicide Chief Detective, Bryan Dee. Thinking he might be out of his depth he is happy to enlist the aid of his friend, Kris Gage. But when Dee reads the deceased’s last entry in his diary, ‘time to take care of K. Gage,’ he becomes torn between investigation and friendship.
As an urban planner, Gage is used to the bureaucracy of planning. Following the money, he finds himself in the middle of corrupt developers who seek to take all the charm out of the area. Has Niagara-on-the-Lake become Niagara-on-the-Take?
The Concrete Vineyard is an intriguing and unique whodunit. If you like great characters, clever plots and intelligent storytelling, then you’ll love Cam Lang’s gripping and thought-provoking novel.
Seeing the cover of this book I was immediately intrigued then to learn it was set in Niagara-on-the-lake mere minutes from where I grew up in Ontario I knew I had to read this cozy mystery. The author is clearly very passionate about several themes which are prominent in The Concrete Vineyard and add an interesting and personal touch to this story. A glimpse into urban design, environmental impacts, city development and more give this story a depth like no other.
History and small town coziness are prevalent too, which make for an interesting read. The characters are well developed and while reading there seemed to be several possible suspects, none of them quite lined up to give the ah-ha moment where means, motive and opportunity aligned. This left me guessing who could have done it, and more importantly, why? I enjoy that thrilling feeling of anyone here could be the killer leaving the reader connecting dots, wondering just who did it?
One thing I will say is that at a whopping 468 pages I think the story itself could have moved a little faster and while reading I found a few things that didn’t seem absolutely necessary but in the end the author did a great job of tying up loose ends and everything did make sense. Furthermore I was truly shocked at who killed Edward Mitchell, and why.
Lastly, one of my favourite parts about this story is of course, the setting. Being taken to the small town of NOTL and getting to explore the town and vineyards by bike with Kris was fantastic. If you’re looking a book that will allow you to escape to a beautiful setting and keep your interest with the mystery, and of course if you enjoy wine, The Concrete Vineyard is for you!
Cam Lang is a professional planner, urban designer and development manager. He has practiced in both urban and rural settings across Canada on projects ranging from high-rises and master-planned communities to rural strategic and small-town official plans.
He grew up working in the fruit orchards and vineyards of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario (the heart of wine country) – a setting which confirmed how utterly useless a farmer he was but which also piqued his interest in land use planning, architecture, culturally significant landscapes, built heritage, tourism planning, sustainability, and design.
Cam has witnessed a great deal of amusement and corruption in his career and now takes readers behind closed doors and into the meetings and boardrooms where the key decisions are made by the 1% who wield power.