The Wayback Machine -

Fire on the Runway


Cover design by Jesse Hooper

By the mid-twenties, as Torontonians move to the beat of the Jazz Age, war is the furthest thing from their minds. Then a fatal grenade explosion outside a west-end hotel room breaks the rhythm. The room’s registered occupant, a mysterious European woman calling herself Lucy, disappears before she can shed any light on the incident.
Police detective Paul Shenstone believes someone is trying to assassinate Lucy. Once he has found her, he will learn the reason: she has uncovered dangerous secrets about an illicit rearmament scheme that threatens world peace. Naturally, Paul must protect Lucy and pursue her attackers. At the same time, his own experience as an infantry officer in Flanders compels him to go beyond his police function. He has to help Lucy get her message to the corridors of power, so that a new war may be prevented.Find an author interview on the subject of this book on the publisher’s site.
“Historical reconstruction is Bradshaw’s forte (his early Victorian mystery, Death In The Age Of Steam, was short-listed for an Arthur Ellis Award) and he’s at the top of his game here with mysterious maidens and hot jazz.” (Margaret Cannon, The Globe and Mail)


Buy from


In 1926, a police detective made roughly $40 per week.
What some things cost:
streetcar (day)
streetcar (night)
nurse’s uniform
Parker pen
man’s topcoat
modish frock
electric washer
electric frig
model T Ford
“I felt like the only witness. Lifting my eyes from the Examiner, I looked out of the Queen streetcar just in time to see a window blown out of the end of the Beaconsfield Hotel. No one else seemed to notice. The accompanying blast, I’ll give you, was muffled— not crisp like an engine backfiring in the street or one of the pyrotechnic bangs in the sky on Victoria Day.
Mills bomb type hand grenade

Mills bomb type hand grenade

“Still, it surprised me that no other passengers reacted as though they’d heard it or thought it mattered. Perhaps they were preoccupied with the September heat wave, or the jobs they were rolling towards for the last time before the Labour Day long weekend, or what appliances were on sale at Eaton’s department store. My own thoughts were running along less tranquil lines. I’d just been reading an article about one of our war heroes.”
Leaside Airfield

Leaside Airfield between the Wars

Fire on the Runway

A Paul Shenstone mystery by Mel Bradshaw

Paperback 272pp
ISBN: 978-1-45970-335-3
Page last updated 2017-08-02

Mel on Google Plus