Langara instructor publishes second novel, an illustrated murder-mystery : Tough Tiddlywinks

Author Christopher Nowlin with his illustrated novel “Tough Tiddlywinks”.
Author Christopher Nowlin with his illustrated novel “Tough Tiddlywinks”.

Langara criminal justice instructor and part-time criminal lawyer Christopher Nowlin published his second murder mystery novel this January.

Nowlin teaches criminology at post-secondary institutions across the Lower Mainland and has been an instructor at Langara on and off for eight years.

He started casually writing detective stories in law school but only recently decided to get serious about the craft.

Nowlin published his first novel, To See The Sky, with Granville Island Publishing in 2008, and then began work on a second book.

A murder-mystery set in Vancouver

Tough Tiddlywinks, published under A Picture’s Worth Press, is an illustrated murder-mystery novel set in Vancouver during the 2008 recession. It follows a wide cast of characters from activist cyclists to a struggling model as they deal with the ailing economy and the murder of local real estate tycoon Don Dickerson.

The novel took four years to complete with Nowlin spending an entire year painting approximately 100 original illustrations for the book.

Nowlin wanted his book to be a hybrid between a graphic novel and a traditionally illustrated adult novel.

“My art tends to be surrealistic, it’s the style of art I like to create,” Nowlin said. “With my novel, Tough Tiddlywinks, I got the idea of adding another layer to it that’s kind of woven into it nicely. It’s not like a one-genre thing like a graphic novel, but it’s a story with this visual layer.”

Nowlin began to paint while teaching law in England at Newcastle-under-Lyme.

He enjoys the challenges teaching offers

Nowlin balances criminal law work and his teaching career, along with writing. Teaching can be difficult, Nowlin says, but he enjoys the challenge and it helps that he usually gets along well with his students.

Student Jacqueline Woo said she finds Nowlin approachable.

“I have gone to see him during office hours before and he sat down with me for about an hour going over questions with me,” she said.

“It is so difficult to find professors who genuinely care for students and see them as a priority among other life commitments.”

Reported by David La Riviere

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