How would Dief have done it?

Tessa Holloway
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New murder mystery book celebrates Diefenbaker's legacy

John Diefenbaker may not be here to accept gifts for his birthday on Sept. 18, but there are 50 free copies of a book available for others interested in the former prime minister.

How would Dief have done it?

John Diefenbaker may not be here to accept gifts for his birthday on Sept. 18, but there are 50 free copies of a book available for others interested in the former prime minister.

The book, titled The Mystery of the Moonlight Murder, is the first in the historical fiction novel series called "Leaders and Legacies" aimed at youth aged 10-14.

The series will feature fictional stories of all of Canada's prime ministers, and likely some sports, science or other important figures, with the goal of getting youth interested in Canadian history.

"What we will do is keep the consistency of choosing adventures of these prime ministers somewhere between 11 and 13. We want the John Turners, the lesser-knowns, like Joe Clark and John Turner right up to (Wilfrid) Laurier and (John A.) Macdonald," explained author Roderick Benns.

He said Diefenbaker was an obvious choice for the first book.

"Just because he was part of that great surge westward that helped redefine this country. He was just the only prime minister we had who lived an authentic pioneer lifestyle," he said.

In the story, Diefenbaker and his brother, Elmer, watch as their neighbour is shot to death in a field under the light of the full moon, which ignites a frenzied search for the killer.

A man from the local Cree band and family friend is arrested for the murder, but Diefenbaker becomes convinced he's innocent, and sets out with the man's daughter Summer Storm to prove it.

Benns said he tried to show the qualities Diefenbaker later became famous for, such as his strong sense of justice, while also including a section at the end of the book to tell readers which part of the story are fictional, and which parts are true.

"Diefenbaker was also a wonderful advocate for aboriginal and First Nations rights, appointing the first aboriginal senator (and) giving aboriginal people the voting franchise," he said. "Even though the book is fiction, I tried to foreshadow his later years by giving him an adventure that would put all those skills to the test."

To enter the contest, go to www.fireside publishinghouse.com, click on the link titled "Happy Birthday Dief" and fill out the form.

In all, 25 copies will be given to individuals while 25 will be given to teachers and librarians, who are asked to use their work emails to distinguish which category they are in.

The contest opens at 10 a.m.

tholloway@paherald.sk.ca

Organizations: First Nations

Geographic location: Canada

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