The Review Newspaper

Local doctor tops CBC’s list of recommended holiday mysteries

When Dr. Melissa Yuan-Innes isn’t tending to her patients in the emergency room, she’s probably writing about murder under the pen name Melissa Yi.

Yi’s latest thriller, Human Remains, heads CBC Books’ holiday list of top ten books “for those mad for mysteries.” The next two names on the list are Maureen Jennings, whose popular Murdoch mysteries have also become a television series, and #1 New York Times and Globe and Mail bestseller Louise Penny.

So how does it feel to join such distinguished company, especially when Yi still has her demanding medical day job?

“It feels fantastic,” says Yi, laughing. “I e-mailed Louise Penny to tell her about the list, and she was kind enough to answer, ‘It IS thrilling, isn’t it?’”

Yi’s acclaimed medical crime series follows Dr. Hope Sze, a likeable intern at a Montreal hospital. In Human Remains, Hope finds a dead man with a bag over his head outside an Ottawa stem cell lab. She tries to resuscitate him, and when that fails, she tracks down his murderer.

“We have a saying in medicine, ‘They’re not dead until they’re warm and dead,’ because you can get so cold that you lose your pulse, but as soon as we warm you up, your heart starts up again,” says Yi. “My first reaction, and therefore Hope’s reaction, is always ABC—airway, breathing, and circulation. But we’re used to working in a hospital, not out on the street, in the snow, in dim light, on someone who may or may not be dead.”

Yi is inspired by her work at her hospitals in Cornwall, Alexandria, and Ottawa, Ontario, as well as her busy home life. Hope’s little brother bears resemblance to Yi’s son, and the family Rottweiler made her literary debut in Human Remains as well.

Yi is hard at work on her next Hope Sze novel in between emergency room shifts. Yi says, “Holidays are always busy. Drive carefully, and try not to break a hip.”

It may indeed be safer to stay inside and curl up with a copy of Human Remains.


By Melissa Yi

Windtree Press. 257 pp. $20.99 trade paperback, $3.99 e-book (

Available in Vankleek Hill at the Review, in the Alexandria area at R&L’s Book Nook and Fassifern’s General Store, and in Cornwall at Coles Cornwall Square and Wholehealth Pharmacy.

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Award-winning author of Human Remains, which was selected as a CBC Books top ten mystery and a must-read mystery by CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter