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Write On Ottawa: The Theatrical Detective

By Alejandro Bustos on October 9, 2015

As someone who loves detective stories, I really enjoy discovering new mystery novels with an interesting twist. That is why I recommend reading Stage Business by Canadian author Gerry Fostaty, which combines the world of theatre with a good old private eye thriller.

Published by local publisher Deux Voiliers Publishing, which is based in  Alymer, Quebec, this fun book follows Michael Dion, an actor who is attracted to a beautiful actress named Amanda Clarke. This initial appeal, however, is soon superseded by a dangerous turn of events when Kyle, the teenage son of Amanda’s friend, goes missing.

Frantic to discover the whereabouts of Kyle, Amanda asks Michael to help find him. This leads our protagonist to become an ad hoc detective, as he launches on a risky search that takes him into the criminal underground.

Using his skills as an actor, Michael is soon confronted with the world of drug dealers, filled with thugs that are threatening Kyle and, eventually, Michael’s life.

Fostaty provides an intimate amount of detail to his characters, which is not surprising, given that he has more than 20 years of experience as an actor on stage, film and television.

“I have always been a storyteller,” says Fostaty, who lives in Aurora north of Toronto. “Being an actor for 20 years allowed me to put on the robes of a character and tell that character’s story. . . . But, those are someone else’s stories, and I wanted to tell my own.”

This desire to create his own work led him to publish As You Were: The Tragedy at Valcartierwhich recounts the 1974 tragedy at the Canadian Forces Base in Valcartier, Quebec when six teenage boys died and 54 others were injured in an explosion.

The book ended up sparking an investigation by the Department of National Defence Ombudsman into the treatment and care of the survivors.


Following the publication of As You Were, Fostaty caught the writing bug and branched out into fiction.

“I felt I was compelled to tell this story [about Valcartier], so that was my introduction to writing a book,” he tells Apartment613. “Once I experienced the writing process with non-fiction, I found I really enjoyed the discipline and the process. I moved on to Stage Business and found that I became embedded in the story.”

Mystery fans will enjoy this well-written novel. For me, I particularly liked the actor-turns-detective twist, as well as the chapters filled with electronic music, drug dealers and sketchy clubs. If you are looking for a relaxing read, then consider picking this novel up.

Looking forward, fans of Stage Business could see a sequel.

“I have a few ideas, and I am certainly looking to write another book,” says Fostaty. “But I have been getting letters and comments that indicate there should be a sequel to Stage Business, so I am taking it seriously.”

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