Midnight?s Delight
John H. Baillie
Self-published 2007
226 pages

Midnight’s Delight by John H. Baillie is by no stretch of the imagination a standard mystery novel. Here, the imagination is indeed stretched, so those salivating for a mysterious circumstances, track down clues, book ‘em Dano whodunit need read no further.

This mystery novel is a collection of vignettes that sometimes has the feel of a vintage detective movie complete with narrative, mood music, and the occasional sultry and seductive siren. Quirky characters, unusual events, and shadowy figures slip between this reality and the next while the mundane morphs into the strange and fascinating or back into the dull and ordinary. The common human thread in Midnight’s Delight is self-named Jason Midnight, a Private Investigator who enjoys The Young and the Restless, busses around town to his cases, and lives with a virtual soundtrack playing in his head.

His psyche, which appears vastly more stable than his clients’, is held together by forays into bizarre investigations of odd and unusual circumstances which contain more than a smattering of the supernatural and cause reality to be questioned at every turn.

Storylines in Midnight’s Delight by John H. Baillie, entertaining in their own right, involve obsessive love, an over the edge artist, vanishing vehicles, Viking trials by fire, and the ever-Canadian hockey game. Some end as mysteriously as they began. Others wrap up nicely. Those that leave readers to reach their own conclusions can’t possibly resolve and satisfy in any kind of conventional sense so it’s best not hold such expectations and risk frustration.

More interesting are the deeper levels where lurks a pervading undertone of darkness; that place within the human psyche wherein lie our deepest fears and failings, paranoia, obsession, ostracism, greed … Certainly John H. Baillie’s explorations of the darker and seedier sides of life produce the most compelling stories.

John H. Baillie is an interesting, unconventional author who does not write by the rules. He is a broad, imaginative thinker who clearly possesses a quick mind and a sharp sarcastic wit. Rare glimpses into his offbeat humour are highly entertaining. More would have been welcome. His dialogue involving foreign accents is spot on funny.

Baillie’s weird unusual landscapes set the tone well and his choice to immerse his stories in the style and flavour of home town Winnipeg was a novel treat that was enjoyed and appreciated by this reader.

Those who prefer a blend of mystery and fantasy with a heavy emphasis on the latter will enjoy Midnight’s Delight by John H. Baillie. Its succinct and self-contained chapters make it an easy read.

Available at Amazon Canada only