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Old City Hall by Robert Rotenberg

Old City Hall (2009)

by Robert Rotenberg

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Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
A famous Canadian radio host admits killing his common-law-wife. Yet when detective Ari Green and Constable Daniel Kennicott start their investigation, things don't seem to be as first thought. Then the accused, Kevin Brace, whose character strongly resembles Canadian icon, Peter Gzowski, refuses to speak to anyone. He insists on writing all communication.

There are many red herrings tossed into the plot that keep the reader interested. It helps that if one knows Toronto for most of the action takes place on familiar streets and locales of that great city. The title refers to the main court house in Toronto where the trial in the novel takes place. In an earlier era, it was the city hall. Lots of fun. I am encouraged to read another of his books. ( )
  lamour | Oct 8, 2014 |
I really loved this book and it's one of the best books I've read this year. The plot is imaginative, intricate, and there were some amazing characters introduced in this novel.

This book takes place in Toronto, which was an aspect I really enjoyed. Even though I've never been to Toronto, I'm still oddly sentimental about books that take place in Canada. The book starts off strong with an introduction to some supporting characters before the murder is mentioned. The plot of this novel is such a surprise and it shocked me on a number of occasions. There was nothing cliched or predictable about this mystery.

Even though the murder mystery aspect of this book is central, the part I enjoyed the most was the characterization. I've read a lot of books this year, but this had the best characters out of any of them. They were well-defined and unique, which is a really big change from the rest of the books I've been reading. What I appreciated the most was that not only did we learn about the main characters and get a complete idea about their personalities, but we also get to learn about the secondary characters as well. Everybody who was even slightly important to the plot was fleshed out with a rich back-story.

The only thing I was a little irritated by was the ending. The resolution of this book wasn't exactly what I was expecting and it could have been less open-ended. However, it makes sense since this is the starting book to a series. I'm such a fan of Robert Rotenberg now that I'll be checking out all his other books as well. This is an excellent mystery novel and I highly recommend it. ( )
  jadestar31 | Dec 4, 2013 |
I received a copy of this novel thanks to the GoodReads First Reads program. Old City Hall is an intriguing murder mystery with a few unexpected twists and turns that unfolds at a realistic pace. I enjoyed getting to know more about these characters, who they are and how they react in certain situations and how they handle the mystery before them. Perhaps my favourite part of the novel is how the author brings the city of Toronto to life--from the districts and structures to the multiculturalism to the hockey culture. I highly recommend this novel to fans of crime and mystery novels!

My complete review of the novel was originally posted at caffeinatedlife.net: http://www.caffeinatedlife.net/blog/2013/03/24/review-old-city-hall/ ( )
  caffeinatedlife | Sep 1, 2013 |
I had heard about Robert Rotenberg's novels on NPR recently. Old City Hall was available in my local library. I
thoroughly enjoyed it. The story started out with a fact, or what think is a fact: man kills his wife. The story unfolds slowly and beautifully. Bits of information are added and references are made to Canadian life and culture and the story line kept my interest. The characters are representative of the diverse population in Toronto: a retired Indian rail engineer, a son of Holocaust survivors, a Chinese Canadian, and a son of political refugees from Chile. Even past beliefs and practices regarding the care of people with Autism is featured and Bruno Bettelheim makes an "appearance". The depiction of the Canadian legal system was interesting. Overall, this was a satisfying read. ( )
  mstruck | Jul 19, 2013 |
At first glance, where's the story? A radio host opens the door to his morning paper delivery person and says he's killed his wife. He then says not a word. literally, nothing. The police arrive, the homicide detective turns up, the lawyers for defence and prosecution and a number of other interested parties. And it turns out that this apparently open and shut case is nothing of the sort. There's all sorts of secrets hidden behind the superficially perfect life the host has, and the victim isn;t quite what she appears to be either.
I listened to this on CD, narrated by a man with a deep, gravelly voice and strong north American accent. So strong, to my ear, that his attempts to do other accents were entirely unconvincing. But as a narrator for this Toronto set mystery, he was a good fit.
It's also not exactly the neatest ending, there's not an entirely clear explanation of what did happen, there's what's accepted, but that may or may not be the truth. And there's something quite brave about leaving a puzzle without trying to tidy up all the loose ends. ( )
  Helenliz | May 2, 2013 |
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And she shows you where to look
Among the garbage and the flowers
There are heroes in the seaweed
There are children in the morning
They are leaning out for love
And they will lean that way forever
-- Leonard Cohen, "Suzanne"
For Vaune
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Much to the shock of his family, Mr. Singh rather enjoyed delivering newspapers.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Canada's leading radio show host comes to the door of his luxury condominium with his hands covered in blood and tells the newspaper delivery man: "I killed her." The "her" in question is his young wife, whose body lies in their bathtub with a knife wound through the sternum. So, where's the mystery? That's the question asked by the detectives plowing through what should be an open-and-shut case. With the appearance of strange fingerprints in the apartment, the mystery gets more complex just as it should be getting simpler.
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It should have been an open and shut case. Canada's leading radio talk show host came to the door of his luxury condominium, his hands bloody, and said to the newspaper deliveryman, "I killed her." Yet, the discovery that the victim was a self-destructive alcoholic, the presence of strange fingerprints at the crime scene, and the refusal of the accused to say anything--even to his attorney--lead to a hotly contested murder trial.… (more)

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