Nosy Parker

There’s a loud banging on Mrs. Weiner’s side of the car. David and Michael are pounding each other and the car, wailing for their mother. The car has honest-to-God electric windows, which I’ve never seen before. They lower with an even hum. Mrs. Weiner smacks her kids back like a lion tamer. 

It’s 1967 in Montreal, the Expo is in full swing, and Audrey Parker has just moved with her dad to Notre-Dame-de-Grace, a whole new neighourhood full of different kinds of people to spy on. Audrey is a lot of things: articulate, disarming, forthright. And, as her father reminds her often, indecently nosy.

Audry scribbles every observation down in her notebooks – from which foods her new teacher eats for lunch, to how blue the water is in Greece, to what time the one-legged man across the street gets home. She is certain she will soon root out a murderer or uncover a mystery. But there’s only one mystery that really matters to her. Her mother. Who was she? How did she die?” Why won’t her father ever talk about her? 

Over a year of Audrey’s life, we bike with her through the streets of NDG, encountering stray animals, free-range kids, and adults both viciously cruel and wonderful. And we walk with Audrey across the threshold from childhood to adolescence, where she will discover the truth about her mother. 

Blending humour and sadness as expertly as ever, author Lesley Crewe – who has so often captured Cape Breton perfectly on the page – turns her incisive observations for the first time to the NDG of the 1960’s, where she grew up. 

Excerpt

There’s a loud banging on Mrs. Weiner’s side of the car. David and Michael are pounding each other and the car, wailing for their mother. The car has honest-to-God electric windows, which I’ve never seen before. They lower with an even hum. Mrs. Weiner smacks her kids back like a lion tamer. 

“DON’T MAKE ME GET OUT OF THIS CAR! I SWEAR TO GOD!” 

She starts honking the horn again and Mr. Weiner opens his front door and waves happily at his family.

“FRANK! COME AND GET THE BOYS!”

“When are you coming home, Mommy?” they whine together.

“WHEN I’M GOOD AND READY, NOW BE GOOD BOYS AND I’LL BRING YOU BACK  A TREAT. FRANK!”

The happy Frank comes over to the side of the car and sticks his head in the window. “Hello, Maureen and Audrey. I hope you have a nice day.”

“Thank you,” we say in unison.

He kisses Mrs. Weiner’s red lips and she gives him three kisses back, and then he picks up his sons, one in each enormous arm, and throws them over his shoulders. They are still kicking and screaming. 

“Goodbye, honey!” She waves out her car window and doesn’t even look behind her to see if there’s a car coming before she veers into the street, almost knocking her husband off his feet. 


You can also purchase Lesley Crewe novels on Amazon or at Chapters Indigo and fine bookstores everywhere!