Showdown at Border Town:

An Early Adventure of Paul Martin

“The bottom line: There’s trapdoors, crooked policemen, codes to crack, an investigator in a fedora and kids outsmarting adults. This makes a pretty cute Christmas gift for political geeks of any age – get them a flashlight so they can continue reading after lights-out too.”

— Sonya Bell, iPolitics

He’s the deficit-slaying former finance minister and prime minister. But in the pages of a new novel, Paul Martin is also a crime-fighting kid detective. Showdown at Border Town: An Early Adventure of Paul Martin, is a young adults’ novel starring Canada’s 21st prime minister as a 12-year-old who solves a mystery involving his kidnapped friend, an illegal bootlegging operation and corrupt police officers.

— Jill Mahoney, The Globe and Mail

“Step aside Frank and Joe Hardy; take a hike Nancy Drew! Paul Martin’s got your number and…he’s going to out-sleuth the lot of you!”

— Tim Wynne-Jones

“Showdown at Border Town is an excellent novel for young people.”

— CM Magazine

The Legends of Lake on the Mountain:

An Early Adventure of John A. Macdonald

“This is a well-told and lively tale, excing, human, funny …at times scary, of an adventure by a young boy who would grow up to become Canada’s first Prime Minister.”

–Richard Gwyn, “Nation Maker — Sir John A Macdonald: His Life, Our Times”

“John A. Macdonald is…haunted by the murder of his younger brother, James, in this lush novel filled with fresh insights into John A.’s character, his cunningness, and his charisma. Finally, we have John A.’s story told in three dimensions; each character, whether family member, friend or colleague leaves an indelible mark on our memories. Roderick Benns’ dialogue lifts off the page. This is as close to John A. telling the story of his own life as we are ever going to get.”

— Patricia Phenix, author of “Private Demons: The Tragic Personal Life of John A. Macdonald.”

“I think it is wonderful that…John A’s adventures as a boy will now become as legendary as his feats when he was Canada’s leader.”
— J.L. Granatstein, author of “Who Killed Canadian History?”

“The two works from the Leaders & Legacies are a delightful addition to Canadian History for teachers and students. Within beautifully crafted stories, Mr. Benns has managed to give us remarkable insights into the characters and personalities of two of Canada’s prime ministers. Both make for compelling reading, difficult to put aside. No longer are they merely names and dates in our history, but “real” persons who demonstrate the intelligence and shrewdness that made them great leaders of their times.”

— Douglas Davis, curriculum, Edmonton Public Schools

“…an inspired choice of setting… Let’s hope that Benns’ books will lure reluctant readers away from their video games and transform them into history buffs. Recommended.”

— Canadian Review of Materials (CM Magazine)

“…the writing is top-notch. I deem this book to be world-class YA fiction. Expertly edited and skillfully written and plotted, the narrative flows smoothly and the novel really takes you back in time on a journey of great adventure.  Final word – 4.5 stars! I loved the book, and I highly recommend it to young readers. And if you teach Canadian history, then you should have a copy of this book (and the other in the series) in your classroom.”

— Bryan, school principal, ‘Goodreads’

“…gives a convincing sense of the character and strengths of the boy who will become the first Prime Minister of the Dominion of Canada.”

— Dr. Andrea Deakin (Deakin Newsletter Review)

“All the excitement is drawn together by key political struggles that shaped our nation’s identity…an excellent add-on to upper-elementary social studies curriculum…a great educational resource…”

— Things I Think About (book reviews)

In the Leaders and Legacies Series Benns is able to blend Canadian history through the fictionalized mysteries and adventures of John Diefenbaker and John A.Macdonald. Through the characters and events in this series he is able to promote diverse perspectives, and does this in in such a way that will intrigue students across the grade levels, and will evoke questions and curiosity.

— Saskatchewan Library Association

“The Legends of Lake on the Mountain is an exciting pick for younger readers. Highly recommended.”

— Midwest Book Review

“His descriptions of life in Stone Mills, and conditions of the day, are well-researched and smoothly incorporated into his narrative. His exploration of the conflicted feelings young John must have endured after witnessing the death of his brother are also evocative and sensitively done.”


The Mystery of the Moonlight Murder:

An Early Adventure of John Diefenbaker

“Finally, a book about John Diefenbaker…the first in Fireside Publishing House’s new Leaders & Legacies series of fictional adventures experienced by Canadian PMs in the days of their youth.”

— Maclean’s Magazine

“…an engaging and entertaining read…your characterization of Mr. Diefenbaker’s family members…leapt from the pages…”

— Rob Paul, Diefenbaker Canada Centre

“…excellent history…recommended.”

— Canadian Review of Materials (CM Magazine)

 “A new inventive historical fiction series…”

— Canada’s National History Society

“A riveting read that’ll keep readers glued to the page, ‘The Mystery of the Moonlight Murder’ is a top pick.”

— Midwest Book Review

“Roderick Benns does spin a yarn that will captivate…”

— The Regina Leader-Post

 “Roderick Benns is a masterful storyteller. Even though the target demographic is youth, I still found it difficult to put the book down.”

— The Journal, Saskatchewan

“A unique idea for our great country! The Leaders and Legacies series is a wonderful way to introduce children to Canada’s leaders. Our Prime Ministers have left us an important legacy to uphold as Canadians. Their values are captured in this exciting new series.”

–Dr. Avis Glaze, Edu-quest International

“A great read! Mystery and suspense with realistically drawn characters…this book would be an asset to every classroom for its contribution to Canada’s history.”

— Helen Irene, retired teacher

 “What a great way to introduce people and issues of the past. When using great fiction, we can begin to ‘see’ and understand what it was like for people then, and how that influenced what and who we are today. Loved it!”

— Nicole Snow, Superintendent of Education, Sudbury Catholic District School Board

Books of Distinction


Signed copies of Fireside books by the Prime Ministers of Canada!

Great gifts and collectibles. Find out more here.

Roderick Benns

Roderick Benns