Gloria has been a  member of Crime Writers of Canada since 2008. Cheat the Hangman was a finalist in the 2009 CWC Unhanged Arthur Ellis contest and was published by Imajin Books in 2011. She won the 2010 Unhanged Arthur Ellis award with Corpse Flower which is presently awaiting publication and she is working on the sequel, Murder by Moonflower. She lives in Guelph, Ontario and wishes she was thirty years younger so she could dress like a Goth all the time, not just at book signings.

Gloria Ferris

Follow me on Twitter @GloriaFerris

CHEAT THE HANGMAN by Gloria Ferris

Shortlisted for the Crime Writers of Canada Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award

Lyris Pembrooke’s life is forever changed when she inherits her late uncle’s antique-filled Georgian mansion and discovers a small corpse hidden in the tower room, an old mystery that becomes Lyris’ obsession and forces her to acknowledge that she will find the answers she seeks only through the intervention of Leander, her spirit guide, and her own budding psychic talents – if she dares to cross that threshold .


                “Cheat the Hangman” was not the first mystery I wrote about Lyris Pembrooke and her adventures at Hammersleigh House. The first story was called “Family Secrets”, not terribly catchy. Just plain terrible. I knew when it was done that it read like a Victorian maiden’s diary. If one word would do, I used twenty. There was some good writing in there, but those passages were buried by too many words. It was unfixable and I almost gave up.

But I loved the characters and setting, so I set it aside and started a new story where the first one left off. I was working full time and raising a family, so I wrote on weekends and holidays. I worked at a nuclear power plant as a technical writer and I believe that editing operating procedures helped me with my fiction. When you write instructions like: “TURN Valve V22 one-half turn left”, or “DO NOT open gasket while pump is in operation” all day long, adverbs and adjectives flee your vocabulary.

Novel number two was done. I edited many drafts. Something was still wrong. Maybe the title again? “Family Sins” wasn’t any better than “Family Secrets”. I set it aside as well and started a third novel, featuring a different small town and different characters. My sister-in-law, Donna Warner, an experienced editor, who is now my publicist, editor, and chief butt-kicker, wanted to read the  new novel I was creating.

I don’t like anyone scrutinizing my writing until I’m done with it, so I handed her novel number two, “Family Sins” – are you still with me? – and said, “Here. Read this one.” I figured she would throw it back at me and say, “This really sucks. I’ll pass on the one you’re writing now.”

Instead, she said, “You know, I think we can do something with this.” Huh? Before I knew what was happening, the new book was set aside. Donna made some editorial suggestions, I allowed a few other people to read and make suggestions,  and I added a paranormal element to the story. Finally, one summer afternoon, we were sitting around the dock at Donna’s cottage daintily sipping a few coolers trying to come up with a better title for the newly edited (again) “Family Sins”.

I have to confess I’m not great at titles (in case that isn’t already blaringly obvious). We spent hours tossing around words to Name This Novel until I was ready to call it “Quits”. Literally. It was Donna who suggested “Cheat the Hangman” and immediately I knew it was the one. It was perfect.

We clinked bottles and I sent the manuscript to the2009 Crime Writers of Canada Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award contest. I was ecstatic to be one of the five finalists in a national contest. The road to publication has been a long one, but well worth it. “Cheat the Hangman” has been published by Imajin Books and reviewers have called it various things, ranging from hilarious, spinetingling, chilling, Southern Ontario Gothic, romantic, entertaining, to a nonstop guessing game. Wish I had time to tell you what happened to novels one and three. It’s a very exciting codicil.




Page Numbers Source ISBN:1926997239

Publisher:Imajin Books (August 23, 2011)


Product Description(From Amazon)

Lyris Pembrooke unearths a terrible family secret in the old mansion she recently inherited. Investigating the tragedy, she delves into the psyche of a damaged WWII soldier, aided by her irrepressible spirit guide and the family psychic.
After inheriting Hammersleigh House from her eccentric great-uncle Patrick, Lyris Pembrooke makes a grisly discovery in the tower room of the Georgian-style mansion―the mummified remains of a child.
To uncover the mystery, Lyris is aided by family psychic Aunt Clematis and Leander, a spirit guide with an attitude, who prefers hanging out with Winston Churchill and John Lennon. While nurturing a new relationship with Blackshore’s Chief of Police, avoiding her controlling ex-husband’s demands, hosting this year’s family reunion and engaging in a psychological battle with the mansion’s butler, Lyris is taxed to her limits.
During an oppressive summer heat wave, a tear in the gossamer veil that separates past and present forces Lyris to finally accept her psychic destiny. Driven to find out who murdered little Tommy Pembrooke sixty-eight years ago, she begins a journey back in time.

“Cheat the Hangman” book trailer:

Thanks, Gloria for taking the time out of your busy schedule to visit with us today!!

**Check at for our thoughts on Gloria Ferris'”Cheat the Hangman” in a few days!**

**Part of the 25 Days of Christmas giveaway with Imajin Books,check 12/1/2011  post for details**



  1. I enjoyed the post – sorry the path was rocky! Love the excerpt for Cheat the Hangman – sounds like a fun read. Adding to the TBR list.

  2. The title alone has me wondering what's up with this book, always a big plus for me.
    The book trailer is pretty neat, more questions with need to know answers.
    Thanks for sharing today, adding Gloria Ferris to my growing list of TBR's!


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