Hang Down Your Head

Hang Down Your Head by Janice MacDonald


Hang Down Your Head

A Randy Craig Mystery, Book 3


Randy Criag has a talent for finding trouble, no matter how good she tries to be. Maybe she shouldn't date a cop. Maybe she should have turned down the job at the Folkways Collection library—a dream job that became a nightmare when a rich benefactor's belligerent heir turned up dead. Randy tried to be good—honest!—but now she's a prime suspect with a motive and no alibi in sight.

Advanced Praise

Join folk music maven and Edmonton original Randy Craig for a roller coaster read with more twists and turns than the West Edmonton Mall’s Mindbender. Hang on to your hat for Hang Down Your Head. It’s Janice MacDonald at the top of her game.

Suzanne North, author of the Phoebe Fairfax mystery series

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival, the city itself and the fascinating politics of funding research in the arts lend a rich texture to this engaging mystery with the twisty end. If you enjoy folk music, you’re in for an extra treat. Once again, Randy Craig is a down-to-earth, funny and realistic amateur sleuth: it’s good to reconnect with her.

Mary Jane Maffini, author of The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder

I have been a performer at the Edmonton Folk Festival for 20 years. I always knew there were a lot of characters there, but until reading Janice’s book, I never thought of the festival itself as a character, and a fine place for a murder mystery!

James Keelaghan, Singer / Songwriter—


This book, narrated in Randy's clever inner dialogue, was a pleasure to read.

Merrill Young, Reviewing the Evidence

[Hang Down Your Head] is a fun read for anyone interested in Canadian folk music, Folkways Records, or the constant internal reflective analysis brought about by life in academia. ...MacDonald captures the spirit and idiosyncrasies of folk festival culture perfectly....[and her] balance between amused observation and enthusiastic participation will remind any ethnomusicologist of why we are drawn to our field.

Gillian Turnbull, Journal of Canadian Society for Traditional Music

What's special about Hang Down Your Head is the obvious expertise and care author Janice MacDonald puts into the back storythe folk music legacy that is part of our Canadian fabric.

The Hamilton Spectator

Hang Down Your Head is a "testament to MacDonald's love of Edmonton's folk festival and the music it celebrates.

The Edmonton Journal

In Hang Down Your Head, MacDonald does a great job of playing tour guide to the reader, as she takes us through the streets, the parks, and the university in Edmonton. Her writing is witty and descriptive. The mystery is intricate and well-plotted. You can actually feel yourself as being part of the Edmonton Folk Festival, that is, if you're not too busy scouring the crowd for a murderer.

Linda Wiken, Mystery Maven Canada

Book Club Questions

Book Club Questions for Hang Down Your Head a Randy Craig mystery by Janice MacDonald

  1. Whatever Randy finds for an occupation, it always revolves around the university or college world. Is this a valid position for her, or is this her Achilles heel proving she has not yet matured and engaged with the real world?
  2. Randy has been seen to “read” the real world through the filter of fiction and now through the elements of song. Is this necessarily a bad thing?
  3. The Smithsonian Folkways Collection and the U of A’s folkwaysAlive! project see commoner music – traditional, folk and blues – as being vitally worthy of curation and celebration. What is it about folk music that makes it worth all the trouble?
  4. Randy is attracted to Woody, obviously. What strings does he pluck that Steve hasn’t managed to? Is Randy right in her ultimate choice? Should there be romantic elements in a mystery novel?
  5. To read here, you would think that Edmonton is one long festival in the summertime – and you’d be right. Why do you think this burst of summer celebrations should erupt so far north?
  6. So much of this novel depends on having an alibi – do you ever wonder whether you should pay attention to having a ready back story?
  7. Is folk music really the music of the folk, or has it been eclipsed by some other genre.
  8. The series explores various nooks and crannies of academe. Since campuses are more like each other than the towns or cities where they are built, does something happening on campus make it feel more real, since it’s an actual place and tangible buildings or more ephemeral?
  9. Randy is considered a “gifted amateur” in the world of detective fiction. What do you think this term implies?
  10. Do you play an instrument? Do you think it gives you a different relationship with music than those who have no musical background?

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