Stratford author publishes seventh book, 24 Booke Street, in Joel Franklin Mystery series

With a total of 32 books in his ongoing Joel Franklin Mystery series either published or in progress, Stratford author Ron Finch has been keeping busy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, Finch announced the release of his seventh book in the series, 24 Booke Street. The story picks up in 1937 and once again finds the titular police detective with a bent for communicating with the paranormal investigating a crime in Chaseford – a fictionalized version of Stratford – that is somehow connected to the spirit world.

This time, the home of one of Chaseford’s most prominent families has burned to the ground, and Franklin believes Evan Donnelly, an unscrupulous moneylender involved in many of the town’s problems, may have been responsible. With nothing but rumours to guide him, Franklin uses his gift to communicate with Sadie Morgan, a local woman who died under mysterious circumstances roughly 12 years prior, to unravel a shadowy history that could shed light on the mystery at hand.

“Several months before (I began writing this book), my son phoned me up and said, ‘Hey dad, we found a (19th-century) gravestone in our backyard.’ They live in another small town in Perth County … in a small house that’s been there for a while. The other peculiar thing about it is when they bought that house there was a picture on the wall of an old woman … and he told me, ‘When we’re in there, I think she’s watching us,’ ” Finch said.

Wondering who that woman was and whether she was somehow connected to the gravestone in his son’s backyard, Finch came up with the character of Sadie Morgan, the long-dead, previous owner of 24 Booke St. – the house the prominent family moves into after their house burns down at the beginning of the book.

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At this point in the series, Finch said Franklin has gained some renown for his ability to solve complex and high-profile crimes with seemingly little evidence. Of course, Franklin isn’t solving these mysteries alone – he has the help of Chaseford’s spirit population – but he can’t divulge his paranormal-investigative methods without risking both his personal and professional reputations.

Through extensive research into local history and by adding small details in his books that lead to future mysteries in Franklin’s continuing adventures, Finch said his recurring characters and the world he’s built in and around Chaseford keep evolving organically, leading to the development of more and more Joel Franklin Mysteries.

While each story is distinct, Finch said the message he wants his readers to take away stays the same: “Don’t believe everything you think.”

“Do you know how many problems are caused when you don’t double-check things before you come to hard, fast conclusions?” Finch said. “These guys that burned down that house, they believed that they were at the right place. They believed the people living there were evil, and that’s why they set the fire. But they were at the wrong place because they didn’t look past what they thought they knew.”

Electronic and paperback versions of 24 Booke Street can be purchased at