Young-adult mystery author Norah McClintock has died following a nine-year struggle with ovarian cancer. Fellow author and long-time friend Frieda Wishinsky, who visited McClintock shortly before her death, announced the author’s passing in a Facebook post yesterday.
“It was a roller-coaster ride of chemo but she kept writing and speaking despite the side effects and uncertainty. She had tough moments as anyone would but always pulled herself back into her work. She was a passionate storyteller,” Wishinsky told Q&Q via email.
Born and raised in Pointe Claire, Que., McClintock had lived in Toronto for many years. She was the author of more than 60 books for young readers over a career spanning more than 25 years, including several well-received mystery series — Robyn Hunter Mysteries, Chloe and Levesque Mysteries, and Mike and Riel Mysteries (all Scholastic Canada), Ryan Dooley Mysteries (Red Deer Press), and numerous titles for Orca Book Publishers. She was the only female writer to contribute to Orca’s popular Seven Series and Seven Sequels, and joined six other female authors for Orca’s Secrets series. McClintock’s standalone novels were primarily in her beloved mystery-thriller genre, but also included forays into historical fiction (Dear Canada: A Sea of Sorrows (Scholastic Canada) and graphica (I, Witness (Orca) illustrated by Mike Deas, and Tru Detective (Orca), illustrated by Steven Hughes).
“She was one of the finest writers of books for young adults in this country and was a consummate professional,” Orca publisher Andrew Wooldrige told Q&Q after hearing of McClintock’s death. “I have worked with Norah for years on a number of books and knew that we would publish anything Norah wrote, she was that good. I am so glad we were able to publish so many of her titles. We will miss her a lot — she was one of the good ones.”
In addition to being a five-time winner of the Crime Writers of Canada’s* Arthur Ellis Award, McClintock’s thrillers and mysteries were frequent nominees and winners of various awards and honours, such as the Forest of Reading, CCBC’s best books, YALSA’s quick picks, and Junior Library Guild selections. “I used to tease her that she loved murder and mayhem, and she did in her writing,” says Wishinsky. But there was more to McClintock than a love of intrigue. “Fairness was important to her and sticking up for the underdog. She was honest and compassionate in her writing and in person.”
Beyond McClintock’s contributions to the Canadian kidlit community, the immediate outpouring of condolences in response to Wishinsky’s Facebook post indicates that the author touched many on a personal level as well. “She was a non-judgmental friend you could laugh and cry with,” says Wishinsky. “Boy, am I going to miss her.”
McClintock is survived by her husband, Herman Rosenfeld, daughters Quinn and Brooke, son-in-law Yeimy, and grandson Benjamin Michael. No funeral or memorial service arrangements have been announced at this time.
*Correction, Feb. 10: An earlier version of this story stated that McClintock won five Writers’ Trust of Canada awards. The Arthur Ellis Awards are organized by the Crime Writers of Canada.