CORNWALL, Ontario – Cornwall doctor and author Melissa Yuan-Innes, pen name Melissa Yi, will be launching her latest book at a virtual event in partnership with the Cornwall Public Library on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Titled White Lightning, this latest story follows Dr. Hope Sze as she investigates a Prohibition Era mystery. Featuring gangsters, disappearances and ghosts, her latest novel is being hailed as “a mysterious and moving story that I found entirely compelling on every page,” by Rosamund Small, Dora Award-winning playwright.
“A masterfully distilled, 180 proof thriller,” said Nathalie Gamache, MD and The Gin*eco*logic artisan distiller, who helped lend Yi inspiration for the book.
“Nathalie Gamache, an artisan distiller in Vancouver, offered to make a custom gin for my main character, Hope Sze. I started researching gin and murder and soon found myself knee-deep in Al Capone and Prohibition. I visited la Maison de Bootlegger in Charlevoix, Quebec, and found evidence of bootleggers in the 1000 Islands, the St. Lawrence River, and Nova Scotia. But since three quarters of banned alcohol flowed from Windsor to Detroit, I sent Hope to a fictional bootlegger inn in Windsor,” said Yi.
Yi explained that White Lightning has taken her a year to write and saw her dive deeply into research not just around prohibition, but also anthropology, archaeology and more.
“I started online courses in forensic anthropology and archaeology,” Yi explained. “When I was in Nova Scotia this summer, I visited the Age of Sail Museum, because the south shore was a battleground between the Temperance Movement and the rumrunners, which was what they called illegally transporting alcohol across water. La Maison de Bootlegger is one of the last Prohibition buildings left standing in Quebec; cities like Montreal destroyed the old architecture. I even wrote part of White Lightning as a play in a playwriting course at George Brown College. And I asked my emergency medicine colleagues across Canada and the US for tips on modern-day murder and resuscitation. Between the research and the pandemic, I’m starting to explain why I couldn’t write it any faster!”
White Lightning is the ninth installment in the Hope Sze series, which follows Hope as she completes her medical residency in Montreal, but seems to run into murder and mystery at every turn.
Currently, Yi is over 22,000 words into writing her next book, and while she is unsure what the final product will be, she is currently exploring the world of forensic psychology.
To participate in the launch of White Lightning, please sign up online at the following address: https://www.library.cornwall.on.ca/events/virtual-speakeasy-book-launch-white-lightning-melissa-yi