Voting ends Dec. 1 for Best Indie Crime Novel of 2021. <em>The Corpse with the Iron Will</em> by Cathy Ace has been shortlisted for the prize. (Special to The News)

Voting ends Dec. 1 for Best Indie Crime Novel of 2021. The Corpse with the Iron Will by Cathy Ace has been shortlisted for the prize. (Special to The News)

Maple Ridge author shorlisted for international crime novel award

The Corpse with the Iron Will is the 10th book in the Cait Morgan Mysteries by Cathy Ace

A Maple Ridge author has been shortlisted for an international prize for best indie crime novel.

The Corpse with the Iron Will, the 10th book in the Cait Morgan Mysteries series by Cathy Ace has been shortlisted for Best Indie Crime Novel of 2021 by Crime Fiction Lover – one of the very few award competitions which allows the reading public to vote.

The story is set in a fictional area inspired by Whonnock, explained Ace. The book references Maple Ridge, Mission, and Surrey.

So far each book in the series has been set in a different country. This is the second book set in Canada, said Ace, where characters Cait Morgan and her husband Bud Anderson, a retired cop, who are in all of the books, are finally at home.

“The reason, rather than having them globe-trotting for this book was because I wrote it during the pandemic, but I didn’t want to write a pandemic book. But I did want to write a book that forced my characters to reexamine home, community, and security,” said Ace.

Ace describes this book – like all of her other books – as a classic whodunnit-style, closed circle mystery, meaning that only a few people could have done it.

The Corpse with the Iron Will opens with the death of Morgan and Anderson’s next-door neighbour on his property halfway up a little mountain called Red Water Mountain. He was in his 90’s and diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

“The suspicion is it was a natural death,” said Ace.

However, it is soon discovered that the death wasn’t so natural, and the discovery of human remains on his property, gives rise to questions about how well Morgan and Anderson really knew their neighbour.

Ace used the names of real people who live in the Whonnock area. She contacted people that she knew and asked if she could use their names.

“I’m not going to tell you if you’re a goody or a baddy, are you a suspect or are you a helper – and they all said yes, absolutely,” said Ace.

RELATED: Ace shortlisted for two national awards

ALSO: Meet Maple Ridge mystery writer

The book is also dedicated to two late friends of Ace’s who died when they were in their 90’s, who Ace said, contributed an enormous amount to the community and inspired herself and her husband to become great gardeners.

The book has been also been chosen by book club One Book Whonnock for their winter title this year.

Helmi Braches, who organises the club, noted the book was chosen because the book is set in Whonnock, their neck of the woods.

“Though it’s a total work of fiction, we’re enjoying ‘location-spotting’ as we read, and we’re looking forward to a lively discussion when our group meets with the author to chat about the book early in 2022 –pandemic rules allowing,” said Braches.

“They are going to have great fun doing location spotting,” said Ace.

To vote for The Corpse with the Iron Will for Best Indie Crime Novel of 2021 go to Voting closes on Dec. 1.

The book can be purchased from Black Bond Books in ValleyFair Mall, 22709 Lougheed Highway in Maple Ridge or at Totally Bookish at The Junction in Mission or from Ace herself by emailing

Ace has already released the 11th book in the series, The Corpse With the Granite Heart, on Nov. 5, that is set pre-Christmas in London, England.

“It is inspired by my love of Shakespeare,” said Ace.

“My books are very traditional in that they’re like (Agatha) Christie. There’s no blood or forensic stuff on the page, there’s no sex on the page, there’s no foul language on the page. They are suitable for all audiences, really,” added Ace.

Most of Ace’s books are also available at various local Fraser Valley Regional Libraries.

Anyone can join in the One Book Whonnock project, by contacting Helmi Braches by emailing

For more information about the author go to

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