When Bill Mackay, a middle-aged autistic man, is brought from the group living home in which he has resided for many years to a new institution in Edmonton, Canada, his guardian and aunt, 75-year-old Marion Mackay is fearful for his ability to adjust, but due to Marion's own declining health, she believes she must move closer to her daughter in Edmonton. Bill is particularly loathe to leave his special friend Mavis Elves, a wheelchair-bound woman he considers a special friend. No sooner is Bill moved into his new residence--the Clive Center--in Edmonton than he is involved in an altercation with a nurse. When the nurse is found murdered the next morning and Bill is found asleep in his bed clutching a knife which turns out to be the murder weapon, Marion is overwhelmed. She calls Claire Burke, a friend in Edmonton, who she knows has a special needs daughter and who also knows Bill and Mavis. Claire wastes no time in stepping in and stepping up when the local police seem ready to railroad Bill for the murder without searching for any other potential suspects. Claire is a go-getter and, along with her pal Tia, not only works to clear Bill of the murder rap, but also begins a major campaign to bring Mavis to Edmonton permanently and to ensconce the two friends along with another in their own home. Along the way, Claire and Tia's efforts involve a side trip to the Barbados as well as some unexpected run-ins with the real killer. But never fear, Claire Burke is a multi-tasker if there ever was one--and those tasks include sleuthing for killers!
Emma Pivato spent her formal career working as a psychologist in various settings and teaching in a graduate program at Athabasca University. She also did some writing along the way, first an edited work, Different Hopes, Different Dreams (1984, 1991), Alberta stories about families having children with developmental disabilities. Later she published some academic and literary articles dealing with topics ranging from philosophical to practical - the development of a specialized wheelchair, for example. In 2013 she published her first Claire Burke mystery novel, featuring individuals with disabilities and other characters with various personality quirks. The 8th volume in this series will be out soon and the 9th is underway. But in the last few years her focus has been on putting together the present memoir ...and along came Alexis, which describes the numerous joys and challenges that Alexis and her family have experienced together.