Gail Bowen Books

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Gail Bowen is an award-winning novelist and playwright that writes mystery novels. She was born in 1942 in Toronto, Canada. Bowen’s education includes stints at the University of Toronto (Bachelor of Arts degree), the University of Waterloo (Master’s degree), and the University of Saskatchewan.

Order of Joanne Kilbourn Mystery Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Deadly Appearances 1990 Description / Buy
2 Murder at the Mendel / Love and Murder 1991 Description / Buy
3 The Wandering Soul Murders 1992 Description / Buy
4 A Colder Kind of Death 1994 Description / Buy
5 A Killing Spring 1996 Description / Buy
6 Verdict in Blood 1998 Description / Buy
7 Burying Ariel 2000 Description / Buy
8 The Glass Coffin 2002 Description / Buy
9 The Last Good Day 2004 Description / Buy
10 The Endless Knot 2006 Description / Buy
11 The Brutal Heart 2008 Description / Buy
12 The Nesting Dolls 2010 Description / Buy
13 Kaleidoscope 2012 Description / Buy
14 The Gifted 2013 Description / Buy
15 12 Rose Street 2015 Description / Buy
16 What's Left Behind 2016 Description / Buy
17 The Winners' Circle 2017 Description / Buy
18 A Darkness of the Heart 2018 Description / Buy
19 The Unlocking Season 2020 Description / Buy
20 An Image in the Lake 2021 Description / Buy
21 What’s Past Is Prologue 2022 Description / Buy

Order of Charlie D Series

# Read Title Published Details
1 Love You to Death (Short Story) 2010 Description / Buy
2 One Fine Day You're Gonna Die (Short Story) 2010 Description / Buy
3 The Shadow Killer (Short Story) 2011 Description / Buy
4 The Thirteenth Rose (Short Story) 2013 Description / Buy

Order of Gail Bowen Standalone Novels

# Read Title Published Details
1 1919, The Love Letters Of George & Adelaide 1987 Description / Buy

Order of Gail Bowen Plays

# Read Title Published Details
1 Dancing in Poppies (Short Story) 2002 Description / Buy

Order of Gail Bowen Omnibus

# Read Title Published Details
1 The Early Investigations of Joanne Kilbourn 2004 Description / Buy
2 The Further Investigations of Joanne Kilbourn 2006 Description / Buy
3 Gail Bowen Bundle 2013 Description / Buy
4 The Joanne Kilbourn Mysteries 6-Book Bundle Volume 3 2014 Description / Buy

Order of Gail Bowen Non-Fiction Books

# Read Title Published Details
1 Sleuth (Short Story) 2018 Description / Buy
Print: Print PDF

She eventually joined the First Nations University of Canada as a teacher. Bowen claims that the tombstones in the Prospect Cemetary taught her to read. She blames this experience for sparking her fascination with death at an early age.

The author was already in her 40s when she took an interest in fiction and publishing. A friend asked her to write a guide to Canada. The friend in question had a tight deadline. But even though Bowen was flattered by the request, she turned it down.

The author had a full schedule that included three small children and a teaching position at a university. The last thing she wanted was to fill her limited free time with a writing assignment. But then her husband intervened and encouraged her to give the offer more thought.

After all, the request came from a friend. Bowen called the friend back and accepted the assignment. The publisher liked the book so much that he asked Bowen and Ron Marken to write another book together.

By the time ‘The Love Letters of George and Adelaide’ came out, the writing bug had taken hold of Bowen, and it wouldn’t let go. The mystery genre was an obvious choice for the author because her summer reading list in graduate school was chocked with mysteries.

Bowen made two decisions early on. First, she wanted to use Saskatchewan as her primary setting. It was not enough to feature Saskatchewan’s streets and towns. The author was determined to capture the local flavor.

Second, Bowen wanted to create a protagonist that reflected her. That meant introducing a middle-aged heroine, competent and intelligent, but not a superwoman. Later on, Bowen admitted that Joanne Kilbourn wasn’t necessarily her fictional counterpart.

While Bowen imprinted some of her mannerisms and attitudes onto the heroine, it would be more accurate to call Joanne a Canadian protagonist. Because Canadians are community-minded, Bowen did not want Joanne to mimic the lone wolves that appear in American mysteries and thrillers.

The author’s protagonist is a social animal with plenty of friends and family. She has also nurtured a strong working relationship with the police, another attribute that sets her apart from American protagonists.

The most challenging aspect of the writing process for Bowen is the first chapter. It can take her months to write a first chapter she likes. The author knows where she’s going by the time the first chapter is done. But that doesn’t prevent the manuscript from surprising her.

Bowen’s struggles with the first chapter haven’t changed, even though she’s written over a dozen Joanne Kilbourn novels. People continue to follow the series despite its length because they care about the protagonist and her family. Joanne is an ordinary woman, so readers feel like they can relate to her.

Gail Bowen Awards

Bowen has won the Arthur Ellis and Derrick Murdoch Awards.

Gail Bowen Books Into Movies

Shaftsbury Films turned the first six Joanne Kilbourn books into television movies.

Best Gail Bowen Books

The author has written plays that premiered at the Globe Theater (Regina). Bowen’s best books include:

Deadly Appearances: Andy Boychuk had a successful career. The Saskatchewan politician’s prospects seemed bright when he walked onto the podium at a picnic whose guests included his friends, family, enemies, and supporters from his party.

But then he took a sip of water and dropped dead. Joanne Kilbourn will dig into Andy’s past in the hopes of finding a clue that explains his untimely death.

Murder at the Mendel: Joanne and Sally Love were close friends. But then Sally’s father died, and the family moved away, fracturing Sally and Joanne’s relationship. Sally matured into a controversial artist.

Joanne had no idea how much things had changed when she went to the Mendel Gallery to attend Sally’s exhibition. Before long, it became obvious that renewing her friendship with Sally wouldn’t be easy.

When the director of a local private gallery died, Joanne leaped into action and started investigating the case. In doing so, she threw the spotlight on Sally and quickly noticed that their childhood relationship had more layers than she initially realized.

When Does The Next Gail Bowen book come out?

Gail Bowen doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is What’s Past Is Prologue and was released on September, 6th 2022. It is the newest book in the Joanne Kilbourn Mystery Series.

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