While many slowed down during the coronavirus pandemic, a Regina man found a way to stay busy writing and publishing novels.
Keith Landry, a retiree, wrote six new books during the pandemic on top of rewriting Allumette Island Massacre and Three Other Canadian Crime Stories — his first book originally released in 2019.
His novels tell the stories of the past mixed with a bit of fiction or what he calls “imagination.”
“A lot of my stories that I’ve written about are based on things that have happened in communities that I’ve lived in or lived near to,” Landry said.
His grandfather, who served as a high constable in Pontiac County in west Quebec in the 1930s, inspired Allumette Island Massacre after sharing a story with Landry when is was younger.
The book tells the story of Michael Bradley who was sentenced to death by hanging after killing five family members.
“(My grandfather) was the first police officer along with a sheriff and somebody else that attended the mass murder,” Landry said.
“For the next two, two and a half years, it became a spectacle in the area. Newspapers wrote about this murder right across Canada and in the northern part of the United States.”
The book’s main character is detective sergeant JP Dalpe, who leads the investigation.
Dalpe is also the lead character in three more of Landry’s books: Dalpe’s Crime Chronicles, Dalpe and the Nazi and Dalpe and the Communist Spies.
The 71-year-old also wrote Murder Tales from the Archives, a novel about eight true crime stories that happened across the country including in Saskatchewan, along with Motley Crooks: Canadian Crime Stories from the Early 20th Century.
Landry doesn’t only write crime. Another book he wrote during the pandemic is The Boarding School at the end of the dirt road.
The story is about two brothers from Ottawa who moved to Wilcox, Sask., to attend Athol Murray College of Notre Dame after their mother passed way and a father who could not take care of them.
Landry attended Notre Dame when he was younger and created a fictional story around his experience.
“Notre Dame had an old boy system in those days, and that meant that the new boys were expected to do a lot more around the school,” Landry said.
“That was a good system except for a few people who abused it. I bring in the stories of abuse that went on the year I was there.”
Prior to the pandemic, Landry said he didn’t get around to writing as much as he would have liked. When he finally found the time, he put his head down and got to work.
“I had a busy work life and a family to raise,” Landry said. “Eventually, after a number of years of being retired and a little less able to get around, I started to write.
“I write, research and market all on my own. It takes up an entire day right through until about 10 or 11 in the night.”
Landry does point to a number of people who continue to be at his side ready to help fulfill his dream.
“I have a friend of mine that’s my age, someone I went to school with and he does a lot of work for me on it,” Landry said. “He’s a lawyer in the Ottawa area and he reads the stuff for me and checks for consistency. He keeps me out of trouble.
“My wife does proofreading and editing. I get reviews from friends (and) my friends buy my books.”
Landry’s daughter in-law has also helped with a couple of illustrations. To those involved, he calls it a “village of old guys like me and really lovely ladies that have aged.”
Landry uses Joose Publishing in Regina as his publisher company. His books can be found on Amazon.