Becky Citra with her new book “Murder at the St. Alice.” (Contributed)

Harrison’s St. Alice Hotel featured in new murder mystery novel

Author Becky Citra will be releasing her book at the museum on March 16

The year is 1908, and 16-year-old Charlotte O’Dell is working in the dining room of the St. Alice Hotel.

Living among a cast of quirky characters, Charlotte soon makes herself at home with the staff and guests. But the hotel is not as genial as it seems, as a murder leaves guests reeling and Charlotte a suspect.

This is the plot for Becky Citra’s latest book Murder at the St. Alice, published in October 2018 by Coteau Books. The book is her seventh historical fiction novel and her second book set in Harrison Hot Springs.

“I found the hotel, the St. Alice Hotel, quite fascinating,” Citra said.

She had first come across it while doing research for her book Finding Grace, based in Harrison Hot Springs during the 1950s and ’60s.

RELATED: Children’s novel set in Harrison, circa 1950

As a child growing up in Vancouver, Citra had often visited Harrison Hot Springs with her family.

“It just kind of intrigued me to … go back on my memories of Harrison Hot Springs and build it into a novel.”

During her research for Finding Grace, Citra was introduced to Bev Kennedy, local historian and volunteer at the Agassiz Harrison Museum. Together, they researched the hot springs during the mid-20th century, and planted the seeds for Citra’s next book.

“Bev Kennedy found an original letter, written by a guest in 1908,” Citra said.

“In the letter, the guest kind of alluded to a mysterious illness, so from there I got the idea of doing a murder mystery at the St. Alice Hotel.”

RELATED: A new year to reflect on your heritage

Citra doesn’t often write historical fiction — the majority of her 20 published books are contemporary,. But all are written for children and teens, thanks to her many years of experience as an elementary school teacher.

“I’ve never been interested in writing adult fiction,” Citra, 64, explained. “I like writing for children.”

Citra has won numerous awards for her books — Finding Grace won no less than five awards — but that’s not the best part of her career, she said.

“The best part I think is when I meet the kids,” she said.

That’s what Citra will be doing in Agassiz on Saturday, March 16, during her book launch for Murder at the St. Alice at the Agassiz-Harrison Museum.

The book launch will go from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. on March 16. Readers will get a chance to ask Citra some questions about her work, as well as get signed copies of her books and hear a selection from Murder at the St. Alice.

“I think it’s such an exciting thing when kids love to read,” she said. “So I like to be part of that.”



grace.kennedy@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Unsworth to receive $90,000 for new playground

Playground to be ready for students in the fall, says ministry of education

Fraser River Cleanup hits the hotspots around Chilliwack

The 12th annual river cleanup is March 23 and the goal is attracting more youth

VIDEO: Antique gun show a big hit in Chilliwack

The annual Historical Arms Antique Show has a huge variety of guns, knives, antiques and more

Gas prices spike in Lower Mainland

Two of B.C.’s major fuel suppliers are undergoing maintenance

Volunteers help with Gwynne Vaughan Park spring cleanup

Warm weather draws gardeners to Gwynne Vaughan Park for annual cleanup

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

B.C. argues it cannot stop Trans Mountain, but it can protect environment

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says only Ottawa has the authority to decide what goes in trans-boundary pipelines

Dutch tram shooting suspect arrested, say police

Police say three people were killed in the shooting Monday and five wounded

Canada extends Iraq and Ukraine military missions to 2021 and 2022

Extension is part of efforts to curb Russian aggression and to fight against Islamic militants

WestJet suspends 2019 financial guidance after Boeing 737 Max grounded

The company has 13 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft grounded by regulators after the Ethiopian crash

B.C. poverty plan combines existing spending, housing programs

Target is to lift 140,000 people out of poverty from 2016 level

Avalanche warning issued for all B.C. mountains

Warm weather to increase avalanche risk: Avalanche Canada

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick retires

Jody Wilson-Raybould has accused Wernick of pressuring her to head off criminal charges for SNC-Lavalin

Temperature records dating back to 1947 broken in B.C.

The Squamish airport recorded the hottest temperature in the province (and Canada) on Sunday: 21.3 C

Most Read