This weekend, Harbourfront Centre will be buzzing with true crime fanatics and avid mystery readers. From June 7–9, MOTIVE Festival will bring together crime and mystery storytellers from around the world to celebrate the best these thrilling genres have to offer.

“This year’s MOTIVE Festival offers experiences for all crime and mystery fans whether you get your thrills on the page, screen or podcast,” said Roland Gulliver, Director of the Toronto International Festival of Authors. “It’s a special opportunity to get behind the scenes on how the most captivating stories are created.”

MOTIVE is more than a book festival—you can catch screenings, including Murdoch Mysteries and Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, free forensics workshops, and conversations with true crime podcasters! 

Whether you prefer cozy mysteries or police procedurals, page-turning thrillers or gritty crime podcasts, you will find something to enjoy in the lineup of 40+ events! 

Here are some of the MOTIVE Festival events we think you’ll love.

Tea, Cake & Murder  

Enjoy tea, butter tarts, and a thrilling whodunnit at this fun morning of mystery! Authors Kate Hilton and Elizabeth Renzetti will dive into the secrets behind their latest book, Bury The Lead

A scandal shakes the cozy cottage town of Port Ellis when the lead actor in the town’s play ends up dead on stage. When reporter Cat Conway gets tangled up in the mystery, she soon becomes a suspect and a target for the murderer.

When: June 9, 11:30am

Twisted Tales of Family Secrets

Love a good domestic thriller? Bestselling authors Ashley Audrain and Shari Lapena will unpack the chilling themes of dark family secrets and twisted relationships explored in their latest books.

Audrain’s The Whispers is a chilling tale about the dark realities of motherhood, as four women grapple with the events that led up to a young boy falling out a window. Lapena’s heart-pounding thriller Everyone Here is Lying is a gripping mystery set in a supposedly safe neighbourhood, where a child’s disappearance reveals dark secrets lurking behind closed doors.

When: June 9, 4:30pm

Feather Dusters and Foul Play

This is a must for mystery lovers! In 2022, Nita Prose won the hearts of readers with her cozy mystery The Maid, which introduced us to the awkward yet resilient protagonist Molly. 

Prose will share all about her sequel, The Mystery Guest, where Molly finds herself in trouble again when a famous author turns up dead. 

When: June 8, 2:00pm

To Speak For The Dead

Can the true crime genre be a catalyst for social change? Join Laurah Norton, host of the hit podcast The Fall Line, and Sarah Weinman, author of many acclaimed true crime books, as they talk about the impact of true crime and forensic science.

From the tireless work of solving cold cases to the power of speaking for those who can’t, this convo will shed light on the role of true crime in addressing societal injustices.

When: June 9, 2:00pm

FREE Forensic Science Workshops

Flex your detective instincts at these FREE hands-on forensic science workshops, offered in partnership with U of T. 

Try your hand at blood splatter analysis, learn about fingerprinting and human remains identification, and engage with forensics professionals at these immersive workshops.

More details, dates, and times here.

Creative Masterclasses

Whether you’re a budding mystery writer or an aspiring true crime podcaster, take in valuable insights from industry experts at these MOTIVE masterclasses. Learn tips and tricks for crafting compelling plots and settings, how to bring a cast of characters to life, and techniques for captivating audio storytelling.

MOTIVE runs from June 7-9. See the full schedule of events here.