Welcome Back, Portal

In ‘Don’t Forget You Love Me’ Rosemary Aubert adds another chapter to the Ellis Portal series. It has been a decade or more since the last Ellis Portal mystery but it is clear that this won’t be the last. It is also clear that Rosemary’s affection for these characters doesn’t keep her from idealizing them. Humans caught in the need to settle with the loss of the past, the grief of the present populate the book.

 cornerurban corner

Each of the novels in the series is a stand alone and involves the reader in aspects of city life – Toronto – that are moving, educational and compelling. Homelessness, the struggle to prove oneself, to care for & protect others all play a role that is vital to the plot, as opposed to mere background for it. This holds true for Toronto – I love novels set in a place I know – but one in which the city is a character, not a tourist check list.

alleyurban alley

The characters are skillfully drawn, economically but with depth. The story is a torn-from-the-headlines death of a homeless man after his encounter with the police. A death in which there is neither an innocent victim nor a clearly guilty killer.


urban valley

Well-paced, easily told, this is an excellent introduction to Ellis Portal, to Rosemary Aubert as a writer (if you are not already familiar with her.) It was refreshing to read a realistic, urban story that didn’t rely on sex, drugs, constant violence or swearing to pull into it and keep you there.



The Petition

We had driven through Haysville many times on our way to Stratford. It was one of those small towns with little for tourists to do except maybe stop at the Happy Pie Shop and Family Restaurant. There wasn’t even a service-station with a Tim Horton’s.

The village became a bit of a joke because of the sign on the edge of town:


In the years we’ve driven through we’d never seen a child, or an adult for that matter. Never seen anyone go in or out of the Happy Pie Shop and Family Restaurant. The only car we ever saw in either direction was our own. Once I did notice some clothes drying on the line. All white, gently undulating in the afternoon sun.

We joked that if we stopped we’d never leave. We always stuck to the child-suggested speed limit then floored it when we got past the village limits.

This time there were yellow plastic streamers wrapped around the trees on either side of the road. We drove slower than usual.

Stapled to a plywood board tied to one of the trees by the Happy Pie Shop and Family Restaurant was a large piece of paper. We stopped and got out of the car to see what it was.

It was a petition to halt an expansion of the highway to allow for larger trucks. A widening to extend the road on either side that would result in destroying the many hundred-year-old trees which had been marked with yellow.

We signed the petition. The Happy Pie Shop was closed for the day, so we got back in our car.

The car wouldn’t start.


April 26 – Sunday – 2-5 – Featuring – The Secret Handshake Gallery – 170 Baldwin Ave., 2nd floor, Toronto.


June 5-7 – attending – Capturing Fire – Washington DC



(2015 registration posted but details not posted yet. I’ve registered already 🙂 )

June 21-26 – attending – Rosemary Aubert’s Workshop: The Novelist’s Selfie – Loyalist – Belleville


Loyalist Workshop is the real deal

page 23 for details next page down for registration info



June 27, Saturday – 7:00-  Feature: Hot Summer Nights at Hirut, Hirut Restaurant, 2050 Danforth Ave., Toronto


September 3-6 – attending – Fan Expo



October 18, Sunday – feature: Cabaret Noir: Inner Child Sacrifice



Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr


2 thoughts on “Welcome Back, Portal

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