Vernon author Robert J. Stampe has released his debut novel, The Port, which weaves together memories of the author’s life in Manitoba and a chilling murder-mystery plot. (Contributed)

Vernon author Robert J. Stampe has released his debut novel, The Port, which weaves together memories of the author’s life in Manitoba and a chilling murder-mystery plot. (Contributed)

Vernon author’s debut novel spins memories of Manitoba into murder mystery

Bob Stampe’s novel, The Port, is available at local bookstores and online

A Vernon author’s debut novel combines memories of living in small-town Manitoba with a suspenseful murder mystery plot, and can now be found on local bookstore shelves.

Robert (Bob) Stampe spent years writing articles, short stories and poetry after retiring from a long career in the aviation industry, working as a RADAR technician for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) up until 1995.

When the idea for a novel set in a small northern Manitoba town caught hold of him several years ago, it wouldn’t let go.

The Port is a murder mystery set in Churchill, Man., in the summer of 2012.

The security chief at the grain terminal port has been murdered, and an ex-cop from Toronto, hired to replace him, is threatened and assaulted by unknown people who want him to leave. He decides to stay and see it through.

Deceit, drugs, action and avarice — with a little romance thrown in for balance — pace the story to an exciting conclusion.

In addition to his work for the RCAF, Stampe worked for Transport Canada (now Nav Canada) as an electronics technologist. Both careers took him to all corners of the country, including Canada’s far-reaching northern communities, and his stories and poetry reflect the many places he’s lived.

READ MORE: New Sylix children’s books teach kids about the eco-system

“Our young family would go for Sunday drives around Churchill and surrounding areas, as far as the roads would take us. The people, the community, and that distinctive northern terrain made an impact that stayed with us to this day,” Stampe said.

One day, about six years ago, Stampe’s mind wandered back to those days in Churchill, where he once completed a job for the local port authority that required him to climb to the peak of their huge grain elevators to change a radio antenna.

“That memory came to me during a period that I happened to be reading a lot of crime fiction about Mexican and South American drug cartels. I couldn’t help but think of how a drug cartel might take advantage of a busy port in a remote location like Churchill,” Stampe explained.

With that, the seed of an idea for his first novel was planted. And when he found his protagonist, a longtime cop looking for a major life change, the story began to take shape.

“It began sporadically, but I kept coming back to it. I’d wake up at five in the morning sometimes with an idea or a memory I wanted to incorporate. It took a long time, but the story is finally finished,” he said.

Renowned New Brunswick mystery writer, Chuck Bowie, had this to say about The Port: Think nothing happens in small-town Canada? Add in a touch of big-city crime and let Robert Stampe blow one northern town wide open with his visual, layered and suspenseful style.”

The Port was recently published by FriesenPress and is available in all formats at several online bookstores, which can be found by visiting the author’s website, robertstampe.com.

A limited number of soft-cover copies can also be found at Indigo/Cole’s Bookstore in Vernon’s Village Green Mall.

READ MORE: Kelowna filmmaker gets funding to create new ‘Local Heroes’ documentary


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

Books

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Students from Summerland’s Okanagan College often posed for photographs on the Big Rock. The rock was on the northern slope of Giant’s Head Mountain. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Summerland’s Big Rock had been deposited during last ice age

Rock was once a prominent feature on Giant’s Head Mountain

The Fortunato family received the Bill Neilson Volunteer of the Year Award for their efforts with the Summerland Skating Club. (Contributed)
Summerland Skating Club members recognized for efforts

Three awards presented to members of Summerland club

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

(Stock photo)
EDITORIAL: The freedom to read

Books have been challenged many times in the past

The dam at Thirsk Lake, west of Summerland, was expanded in 2007. A crack has now been discovered where the old and new portions of the dam meet. (Summerland Review file photo)
Crack at Thirsk Dam to be examined

Reservoir west of Summerland was expanded in 2007

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

Numbers of new COVID-19 cases for the week of Feb. 14 to 20 appear to be trending down for all local health areas in the North Okanagan-Shuswap. (BC Centre for Disease Control map)
Colours on COVID-19 map getting lighter for North Okanagan-Shuswap

Number of new weekly cases reported by BC Centre for Disease Control drop throughout region

Royal LePage Place, along with the adjacent Jim Lind Arena are the two ice arenas operated by the City of West Kelowna..—Image credit: contributed
$442,200 to replace aging ammonia chiller at West Kelowna arena

West Kelowna is the recipient of a provincial grant to replace the ammonia chiller

The husband wife team of Brett Turner and Olivia Fobert are the bakers and makers behind Joy Road Catering who are opening up a pop up bakeshop this May in the former Craft Kitchen. (Facebook)
Pop-up bakeshop opening in downtown Penticton

Joy Road Catering’s Bakeshop will be offering breads, pastries, lunch bowls and a marketplace

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

‘“We will vote to keep the government going’

Major renovations are planned for the Centennial Outdoor Rink in Vernon. - Photo submitted
$695K grant to get Vernon rink ready for next season

Provincial funding will go toward replacing chiller at Centennial Outdoor Rink

Smoke dissipates as fire crews respond to smoke that was billowing from a residential building in the 400 block of Fourth Avenue SE in Salmon Arm about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Jim Elliot-Salmon Arm Observer)
Residents displaced following Salmon Arm apartment fire

Crews were called to the scene at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 24

A chocolate banana cream pie, similar to the smaller version pictured, baked by the Shuswap Pie Company’s Tovah Shantz, fetched $5,000 in this year’s Heritage Week pie auction fundraiser for R.J. Haney Heritage Village and Museum. (Shuswap Pie Company photo)
Made-in-Shuswap pie fetches $5,000 in fundraiser

Heritage Week pie auction raises $51,500 for R.J. Haney Heritage Village & Museum

BC49 logo
$75K lotto ticket sold in Vernon

Check your tickets, someone is winning big through the BC/49

Most Read