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Island author Susan Juby imagines murder in world of social influencers

A Meditation on Murder continues comedic mystery adventures of Buddhist butler detective
Nanaimo author Susan Juby’s latest novel, A Meditation on Murder, is now available. (Image courtesy Harper Collins/Delgado Photography)

For Susan Juby’s calm and collected butler detective, coping with the unreal world of social media influencers might be every bit as hard as solving the case.

This month, the Nanaimo author released her second murder mystery novel, A Meditation on Murder.

The sequel to 2022’s Mindful of Murder finds Buddhist butler Helen Thorpe dragged in front of social media by wannabe influencer Cartier Hightower while trying to solve the bizarre killings of content creators.

Juby said she finds the culture of social media influencers fascinating. Her research took her to a posh hotel in downtown Vancouver and a hair ‘blowout bar’ in Yaletown, and it wasn’t hard to draw inspiration for the Cartier character.

“I had a lot of fun on the internet finding people who were very keen to influence and who were not terribly successful,” Juby said.

She also quickly recognized that coping with the influencer circuit would put her protagonist in some uncomfortable situations.

“For a person like Helen who’s a Buddhist and a butler, who cares about decorum and is very self-effacing and not front-facing … this world would be uniquely difficult for her to deal with…” Juby said. “Especially if you write comedy, which I do – it’s a murder mystery, but it’s a comedic murder mystery – you need foils. Helen is very understated, what a comedian might call a straight man or a straight person, and then she’s surrounded by these very big personalities.”

Following the success of Mindful of Murder, Juby’s publisher asked for two more novels in the series. She’s currently writing the third book which will be set close to home in Nanaimo Harbour, and beyond that, Juby has countless ideas for adventures for her butler detective.

“We haven’t seen [a character like] Helen before. I write her because I would like to be Helen. I would like to be more like Helen,” the author said. “I think that’s why people like to read the books, is a lot of people would like be be more like Helen or at least have someone like Helen in their lives.”

While busy with writing and author readings for A Meditation on Murder, Juby is also a creative writing professor at Vancouver Island University and speaks highly of her students.

“A number of our students have already published and I know that of the current crop, there are going to be many published writers,” she said. “I think we have the best creative writing students around. They’re a delight and tons of talent in that program.”

A Meditation on Murder was released Feb. 6 and is now available in bookstores and online at

READ ALSO: Nanaimo author Susan Juby releases murder mystery set at island spiritual retreat

About the Author: Greg Sakaki

I have been in the community newspaper business for two decades, all of those years with Black Press Media.
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