Bruce Allen Powe

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THE BEAN COUNTER


Ted Harrow is perched on the knife-edge of transition. His life as an Ottawa civil servant is over, a casualty of government downsizing and revenge from his rivals. His wife Noddie is in Nova Scotia to bury her mother and to protect her claim on the family house, which is being challenged by her two bothers.

When Ted joins Noddie in Nova Scotia, he is plunged into two mysteries. The first is the shipwreck of a vessel that mysteriously appeared in their secluded bay; the other involves the death of six local men involved in the rescue and salvage operation. Dark rumours, suspicion and threats engulf the tight and fractious community. Ted’s analytical skills are pressed into service by one of the widows. Another puzzle concerns Noddie’s brothers. They are camped out in the house trying to wrest it for themselves, yet they have more splendid digs elsewhere.

The pleasure in the novel is the portrayal of the place and the people. The spice is provided by the questions. And the meaning is glimpsed in the hidden depths of motives and grievances.

Bruce Allen Powe is the author of six highly acclaimed novels, including his classic novel The Aberhart Summer, which was adapted for several successful stage productions, and has been in print since 1983.

Manuscript available

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ALDERSHOT 1945

"A solid historical whodunit with a great plot... The historical background is excellent, and Powe makes great use of his first-hand knowledge of the period and his extensive research into the events. A terrific novel, and not just for history buffs."

- The Globe and Mail


Bruce Allen Powe, author of the much loved classic novel The Aberhart Summer, reaches back to his wartime experiences for this tale of murder set against a tapestry of scandal and chaos.

In July 1945, restless, war weary Canadian troops were stationed in Aldershot England, awaiting transport home to the Pacific front. Subsumed in boredom and longing, they watched newsreels that showed American soldiers getting first passage on troop ships. The Canadians went crazy and tore up the town.

Amid the turmoil, a Canadian army officer, Lt. Col. Ambrose Wellesley, is shot between the eyes while he is sitting at his desk. The last person to see him alive was the beautiful Claire Evans, his clerk and, secretly, his lover. Two detectives investigate the case: Tim Bollock, for Scotland Yard, and Canadian officer Hugh Horobbins.

The detectives delve into the complex life and dealings of Ambrose Wellesley, a charismatic rogue with a hideaway in London and a taste for fancy wines and fine clothes. Wellesley was high spirited and callous: he outfitted an ambulance as a mobile pleasure palace and brothel.

It is Wellesley, even in death, who commands our attention as the detectives uncover his ingenious and extensive black market trade in smuggled army supplies and medicines. There is a court martial - the murderer is sentenced to death - and a surprise ending.

On one level, the novel resembles a period piece Law and Order. But in his clear, authentic voice, Bruce Powe adds other dimensions. We meet the lonely soldiers who've fallen in love with local English women, only to be jilted when their husbands come home from overseas.

We feel the simmering rage, dislocation, disconnection, and violence which erupt in frustration. And there are strange alliances bred in alien soil.

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THE ABERHART SUMMER


"You should have been there that day in 1935, when the future was born in cool, drizzly twilight at a racetrack. Only then would you understand what this is all about."

And so Doug Sayers recounts the suspicious death of his best friend Babe--Babe, age 15, found hanging by his neck.

Set in Edmonton, Alberta at the depth of the Depression and at the threshold of WWII, Bruce Allen Powe recreates the political turmoil of an era hospitable to demagogues even on the remote Canadian prairie.

At a giant rally at the racetrack evangelical preacher, William "Bible Bill" Aberhart, began his crazy rise to political leadership by promising $25 a month to every family in the province.

Babe and Doug join the throng but Babe disappears, leaving to meet his sweetheart Diane. The personal obstacles besetting two teenagers in love become hostages to the emotional fury and social hysteria of the times.

But it is Doug Sayers, years later, home from the War, weary, wounded, surprised, and intent on preserving the truth of Babe's murder, who brings us into the future.


REBIRTH OF A CLASSIC: It is very rare for a novel to be reissued, especially after more than a decade in out-of-print limbo. Such is the power of The Aberhart Summer to live in memory and once again on the page.

First published in 1983, it appeared to wide acclaim, then faded. A successful stage adaptation in 1998/99 prompted a new edition.

NeWest Press CAN/00/Reissue

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THE ICE EATERS

"The best Canadian novel of 1987," a personal and literary quest by an urban business man through the Yukon.

Lester & Orpen, Dennys

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Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Bruce Powe served overseas in the Canadian army and received an M.A. in economics from the University of Alberta. His succession of jobs in journalism , government, politics, advertising, PR, and the corporate world offer fertile ground for his fiction.

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