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Literature / Detective Lane Mysteries

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Series of mystery novels by Garry Ryan, centering on the investigations of gay Calgary police detective Lane. Supporting characters include Lane's life partner Arthur, his partner on the police force Harper, and an expanding circle of family members, friends, and colleagues as the series progresses. Somewhat unusual within the gay detective subgenre in that the author is straight.

Installments to date include:

  • Queen's Park (2004) – Lane tries to determine the whereabouts of a mayor who embezzled millions of dollars from his town and attempted to rape his nephew before disappearing. Establishes Lane's relationship with Arthur and explores his outsider status as the only openly gay man on the police force.
  • The Lucky Elephant Restaurant (2006) – Lane and Harper attempt to locate the missing daughter of a local conservative radio personality; the mystery puts them in contact with the Vietnamese immigrant community of Calgary. Arthur's nephew Matt, who has cerebral palsy, comes to live with them. Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Mystery.
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  • A Hummingbird Dance (2008) – Investigations into the death of a teen and the disappearance of a cowboy inflame tensions with Calgary's First Nations population, forcing Lane to act as intermediary. Lane's niece Christine joins the household.
  • Smoked (2010) – Lane and Harper's efforts to decipher a child abuse case cause them to run afoul of high ranking members of the police force.
  • Malabarista (2011) – Arthur struggles with a cancer diagnosis while Lane investigates the death of an Eastern European war criminal who had been living incognito in the city. Introduces a new sidekick for Lane, department whistle blower Keely Saliba.
  • Foxed (2013) - The body of a child reported missing a decade earlier is discovered, and the evidence points to a ruthless developer. However, when Lane and Keely investigate, it puts their families in danger.
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  • Glycerine (2014)

Tropes seen in this series include:

  • Abusive Parents: Bobbie Reddie. Dr. Joseph Jones.
  • Asshole Victim: Numerous times, including an embezzler/rapist, a hit-and-run driver, and a war criminal.
  • Canada, Eh?: A very deliberate aversion: Calgary native Ryan makes a point of depicting the cultural diversity of his home town.
  • Corrupt Cop: Calvin Smoke.
  • Crime of Self-Defense: Ernie in Queen’s Park
  • Cult: Christine escapes from one.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Harper's nephew's name changes from Chris to Glenn between the first and second books.
  • Family of Choice: Lane and Arthur gradually assemble one, taking in Arthur's nephew Matt and Lane's niece Christine.
  • Hot Scientist: Gender-flipped with forensics expert Dr. Fibre.
  • Kick the Dog: A couple of literal and very brutal instances in The Lucky Elephant Restaurant and another in A Hummingbird Dance.
  • Kill It with Fire: Ernie's Nanny, to Les and Marv. In a moving car, no less.
  • No Social Skills: Dr. Fibre, again.
  • Puppet Shows: In-universe, performed by Aidan in A Hummingbird Dance.
  • Really Gets Around: Arthur and Lane's nosy next-door neighbor, Mrs. Smallway, turns out to be a swinger.
  • Stepford Smiler: Bobbie Reddie.
  • Straight Gay: Detective Lane. Arthur not so much, although on occasion he will dial his stereotypical gay mannerisms down (or up) if he thinks the situation calls for it.
  • Suddenly Ethnicity: Not played for the usual comic or anvilicious effects, but Arthur's Middle Eastern heritage isn't mentioned until several books into the series.

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