Thursday, September 25, 2008

Murder in Queen Street Art Studio

It’s murder at Studio4Ward on the capital’s main street – murder with a 300 pound corpse nailed to the wall.

(Cover photo by Angela Crabbe)

“I came into the studio and noticed that Mr. Cranbury was naked and nailed to the wall. Then painted in candy cane red and white stripes,” said WhiteFeather, one of four artists with studios at Studio4Ward on Queen Street. “Apparently, I’m a suspect.”

The murder of Art Cranbury, beer can artist and fictitious owner of the building that houses Studio4Ward and Backstreet Records, is the subject of Biff Mitchell’s mystery “Boston Jonson in Murder by Art,” which was released as an ebook novella earlier this week by Double Dragon Publishing.

“I wrote the story to promote my next novel ‘Boston Jonson in Murder by Burger,’ to be released this November from Double Dragon,” said Mitchell. “The building housing Studio4Ward and Backstreet Records has exactly the kind of otherworldly mood that fits into the Boston Jonson stories, and the people there are among the most fascinating in the city.”

“So, why create new characters,” said Mitchell, “when I know people with the kind of charismatic personalities to make the story work. With their permission, I even used their real names.”

“The lead character in ‘Murder by Art’ is an investigative consultant in the year 2060 who uses insults and Zen to solve murders,” said Mitchell. “I’m certain that by then the world will be taken over by consultants.”

“I changed the personalities of the characters somewhat to fit the story,” said Mitchell. “For instance, WhiteFeather is one of the most compassionate humans I know, but not in the story, especially with the 300 pound body of one of the worst people she’s ever met hanging on the wall.”

“I sent copies of the story to all the characters, WhiteFeather, Marie Fox, Andrea Crabbe and Eric Hill, from Backstreet Records,” said Mitchell. “They all got a kick out of the story and, amazingly, they’re still my friends.”

“Eric isn’t an artist at the studio,” said Mitchell. “He’s the owner of Backstreet Records, which plays a key role in providing clues to the murder. Plus, the atmosphere in Backstreet provides exactly the kind of juxtaposition of time that fits into the kind of cyberpunk that I write.”

"I haven't killed as many people as I've been accused of,” said Hill. “ I'm not that much of a workaholic. More of a hobby than a calling, really."

“The photo used on the cover was taken by Andrea Crabbe,” said Mitchell. “It shows a collection of animal skulls from WhiteFeather’s studio. She uses them in her art.”

Mitchell is working on a second Boston Jonson novella, this one set in coffee shops around the city.

About the Book
“Boston Jonson in Murder by Art” is available as an ebook download from Double Dragon Publishing (
ISBN-10: 1-894841-26-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-894841-26-9
Genre: Mystery
eBook Length: 37 Pages
Published: September 2008
Imprint: Double Dragon Publishing
Link to Book:

About Biff Mitchell
Biff Mitchell is the author of three novels and numerous short stories, many of which appear in the award-winning Twisted Tails anthologies. Originally from Toronto, he lives in Fredericton, where he writes novels at the Second Cup Coffee Shop and short fiction at the Harriet Irving Library. Mitchell’s next novel, “Boston Jonson in Murder by Burger,” a satire on big business, is set in Saint John 70 years in the future. Double Dragon Publishing in Ontario will release it this November. Mitchell as a website at

About WhiteFeather
WhiteFeather wants to get the hell out of Fredericton, with all of this weird stuff going on, especially in her own studio. She'll be leaving in 2009 to complete her Master of Fine Arts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Until then, you can bet she'll be making more of the disturbing art she's known for, out of human hair and bone. None of this is fiction.

About Eric Hill
Eric Hill likes music, flightless birds and the letter S.

About Marie Fox
Marie Fox is a painter who draws inspiration from fashion, nature and her dreams.She also passionately adores many shades of red.

About Andrea Crabbe
Andrea Crabbe is a visual artist living and studying in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Buttery oil paint, scrumptious words, and vintage, previously chewed treasures are just a few of the bits of life that thrill her.


Biff Mitchell
Phone: 506-455-BIFF (2433)
Email: (preferred)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Murder In My Washroom

A sonnet by Wordsworth?

No! A quote from Burger ...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Murdered Contract

I murdered the contract and then signed it. Murder by Burger will be coming out from Double Dragon Publishing in November 2008.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Murder by Beer?

It was a dark and drunken night at the James Joyce Pub when murder scratched its ugly talon into the heart of the party and left my eBay murder victim dead again, head flat on the table, cloned beer seeping from ears and mouth ...

Monday, April 23, 2007

I Murdered My Water Cowgirl Dream

It was in a moment of madness, a moment of spiritual mayhem, unpardonable by law of human forgivenes or compassion. It was a sin against the self and against all the self stood for.

I ... Biff Mitchell, the sad husk of humanity displayed to the left ... own the domain name

What could any red-blooded man born of human flesh want more in life than the right to say, "Yes, I owne Galaxies have gone to war over less. Mythologies have enacted noble deeds and created timeless heroes and heroines in the name of lesser domains.

And I owned it. It was mine. All mine! And what did I do? Why, I tried to sell it. But it was for a good cause. I wanted to sell it in the name of my art.

Turned out ... I really didn't need to sell it, after all. All I needed to do was suffer more. All I needed to do was bare my soul, swallow my pride, forgo any kind of life, go deeper into debt, neglect my health, lose all my friends, alienate my son and my daughter, kick my cat, turn my back on sobriety, lose contact with the real world, and ... well, let's not get inot the really tough stuff. In brief, I managed to complete Murder by Burger without having to sell off

So, now I have a finished novel that nobody wants to read and a domain name that nobody wants to buy. Life is good.

Monday, April 16, 2007

BigCrunch - Murder's Beginnings

As I mentioned in my first post on this blog, Murder by Burger started off as a weird story about men in weird shirts that evolved into a story about a big detective dog called BigCrunch. This was way back in 1988. I barely knew how to turn on a computer at the time ... though I had just bought a Tandy 1000 (with no hard drive)and considered myself the technological dandy.

But ... I searched my files and came across the original BigCrunch manuscript. It's not finished and it's very old. I'm not sure if I even write like this anymore. But here's the first few paragraphs ...

Fleaboat arrived at a quarter after twelve. He was a dog. A damned dog. And I was working with him again. But why not? These are the nineties, just a few months away from the big two-triple-zero. These are the wind down years, the years of definition and lavish This-Was-The-Nineties-And-This-Was-The-Century-And-This-Was-The-Second-Millenium photo spreads that turn events into trends. These are the final days when, instead of asking "What next?" everyone is asking "What happened?"

But it's hard to get used to working with a genetically engineered dog wearing a corduroy suit with patches on the elbows, a Harris tweed shirt and a deerstalker hat. At least he didn't wear shoes. There was that much dog left in him. That, and the blood hound head with the big floppy ears spilling out of the brim of his hat. The front paws had been modified to look human, give or take a clump of fur, and his hind legs had been designed for walking upright.

And one other thing was still definitely dog in him. The scratching. He blamed the scratching on the tweed. I blamed it on the dog.

What bothered me most was his voice, or more exactly, his accent. The genetic company, Designer Animals – the company that gave us chickens that laid square eggs and calm gerbils – built a DNA code to produce a talking dog for dog food commercials in Canada, but the team they contracted to train the dog was pulled in from Japan, and the specialist in speech training got his info from a two week vacation in Newfoundland, Quebec and Ontario. When Fleaboat was presented to the board of the dog food company, there was general approval over the matter of leaving out sex organs. They'd also left out the tail, but that could be faked. Then Fleaboat opened his mouth and said in a deep completely non-houndlike voice: "Aye, bejeezuz, I loves dese damn beef nugget. All other taste like the merde, ma chers. It's the bloody beef I loves." He went on for fifteen minutes, teeth flashing and snout twisting around the words, while the dog food barons threw a collective tantrum and cancelled the contract. They decided to go with Clamations.

Jeez ... I hope my writing's progressed since then.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Murder Burger As Weapon of Mass

It was only a matter of time. The burger, once revered symbol of food for the hungry and hurried masses, has become symbol and harbinger of fast food death. God help the North American stomach - it seems that tofu and soy patties just don't have the juice to overthrow the reign of the e-coli patty, rich in fecal content and saturated fat. Let it be said of Twenty-first Century humankind: We hate our arteries.

Here's a few links to the world of burger as weapon of mass ...

The Murder Burger

Murder Burger

Redrum Burger (Murder Burger)

Murder Burger Redux

Fast Food Nation

Super Size Me