Although Crystal Beach amusement park (1890-1989) is all but a distant memory for most, there are still plenty of people who do their best to keep the memories alive. Take, for example, A.A. Blair, a Canadian author who is publishing a fictional book titled Mystic of the Midway. Blair, a self professed Crystal Beach devotee, fell in love with the amusement park during his youth. As a child of the 80’s, Blair’s connection with the Park allowed him to craft a spellbinding tale that will appeal to mid-grade readers (ages 7-11). Here’s the plot:
After a horrible accident, Effie and her family speed away to their summer cottage to escape the tests and doctors’ appointments. The promise of a relaxing family getaway is short lived when Effie stumbles across a mystery that threatens to destroy her family.
Effie enlists the aide of her detective brother, Jimmy, along with her long time Crystal Beach friends Lydia and her mischievous little brother Sniff. As their investigation deepens Effie begins see and hear things that couldn’t be real.
Effie struggles to overcome self-doubt and the realization that her idyllic vacation spot isn’t what it seems to be. Trying not to lose faith, Effie embraces her new abilities hoping the whispers and signs will lead her and her friends to the answers they need to save her family.
It’s great to see a book based on a regional (albeit long gone) destination, which is directed towards a younger reading audience (without being a children’s book). The plot of Mystic of the Midway sounds like a lot fun for a reader of that age. After all, a fictional book, based on a very real place and time along this region’s own storyline, adds to the atmospheric allure. It’s going to be a wonderful conversation piece for any family that is familiar with the amusement park.
Mystic of the Midway is being published by Histria Books, an independent publishing house (under Histria Kids imprint), and is scheduled to be released on September 28, 2021.
“We’re very excited that part of Southern Ontario will be featured on the world stage. We’re hopeful that Histria’s ability to reach such a broad audience will spark interest and inquiry into our local history,” author A.A. Blair explains. The distribution partner will be The Casemate Group.
Anyone interested in preordering the book can do so at histriabooks.com. And while Blair is putting the finishing touches on the book, he’s reaching out to the Western New York and Ontario residents who might want to share their photos of Crystal Beach in the early 80’s. Send photos to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lead image: Wikimapia | Photo by Cathy Herbert