About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction - Sing a Worried Song

William Deverell, in Sing a Worried Song, has lifetime defence counsel, Arthur Beauchamp, retained by the Province of British Columbia as a special prosecutor to handle the second trial of Randy Skyler charged with murdering Chumpy the Clown.

At the close of the case Skyler threatens Beauchamp. The second half of the book has a predictable follow-up to that threat.

In real life Deverell acted as Crown counsel in the trial of John Wurtz and used its inspiration for the murder trial in Sing a Worried Song.

Jay Clark in a biography of Deverell on the author’s website sets the scene:

John Wurtz and Daniel Eyre were driving west from Toronto to check out Vancouver while sharing a novel titled The First Deadly Sin, and speculating about whether the murder of a stranger might, as in the novel, produce an erotic thrill. Wurtz took the fantasy seriously, and in Vancouver picked up a loner and stabbed him to death (57 times with a pair of scissors) in his basement suite.

I remember reading The First Deadly Sin. It was an excellent book if creepy at times.

The real life John Wurtz was as unhappy as the fictional Randy Skyler with the Prosecutor:

Wurtz underwent a lacerating cross-examination, became tied up in his lies, and after conviction, while being led off to serve a life sentence, he passed by counsel table and whispered to Bill: “One day, I’m going to get you.”

While Sing a Worried Song has a conventional approach for the vengeful Skyler the follow-up in the real life Wurtz case was far more unexpected and intriguing:

A few years later, the police warned Bill that Wurtz had escaped from Kingston Pen. He hasn’t surfaced since, though his parents subsequently received by mail a mysterious urn with ashes from an unknown source. Bill, whose writing studio is a cabin in the woods, says he will often jump on hearing the sound of a twig breaking or the wind whistling through the cedars.

In a Vancouver Sun article published at the end of Sing a Worried Song it said the ashes had been sent from a Florida crematorium to Wurtz’s family in Ontario.

Deverell also wrote a script for a CBC radio series about the Wurtz case.

I wish Deverell had used the continuing uncertainty of the Wurtz conclusion in Sing a Worried Song. I wonder if he thought it would not be credible. Wondering whether Wurtz was still coming for revenge would certainly had acted upon the psyche of a “worried man”.

The real life story is a striking example of the unpredictability of actual events.
****
(Vancouver) Deverell, William - (2011) - A Trial of Passion; (2011) - Snow Job; (2012) - I'll See You in My Dreams; (2012) - Removing Indigenous Children from Their Families in Crime Fiction; (2012) - "D" is for William Deverell; (2014) - Kill All the Lawyers; (2014) - The Lawyers of Kill All the Lawyers; (2015) - Sing a Worried Song

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sing a Worried Song by William Deverell

(22. - 819) Sing a Worried Song by William Deverell – Arthur Beauchamp Q.C. (pronounced “Beecham” Arthur would prefer) is back in court. The twist is that the trial which occupies the first section of the book takes place in 1987 when Arthur, in his later prime (his 50’s), is retained by the Government of British Columbia to prosecute a murder trial mangled by the prosecutor of the first trial which ended in a hung jury.

It is a shock to see Arthur acting as Crown Counsel. He has stood for the defence through his career. He is temporarily lured to the other side by an interesting trial and the willingness of the Government to pay him $500 per hour.

Handsome well-to-do Randy Skyler came to Vancouver from Ontario with his best friend, Manfred Unger, to attend Expo ’86. While they are there Chumpy the Clown is murdered.

Chumpy the Clown is the nickname of Joyal (Joey) Chumpy, a resident of the infamous East Hastings, where he roams the streets in afternoons and evenings busking with a harmonica in his clown attire. He attracts enough donations to keep him in beer. Unfortunately, he also cruises the streets late at night seeking male companionship and is killed.

The police investigation puts Skylar in Chumpy’s dumpy apartment because of a fingerprint on a beer bottle. At the first trial defence counsel almost won acquittal when a sloppy crime scene investigator miscounted the bottles and opened the way for an argument the bottle with the Skyler fingerprint had been planted.

For the re-trial Arthur ensures the forensic evidence is handled correctly.

What he does not anticipate is that Skyler’s friend, Manfred Unger, will not testify to what he had said in his original statement to the police and at the first trial. Arthur fumes and threatens the recalcitrant witness before skilfully showing how a hostile witness is handled in court.

As with every book in the series the trials are fascinating as befits an author who spent his lifetime in the criminal courts of British Columbia.

There is a dramatic ending to the trial which leads to the second half of the book set 25 years into the future in 2012.

Arthur is continuing his retirement in Garibaldi Island in the Gulf Islands near Vancouver. While no longer stressed by the demands of criminal defence work Arthur is still plagued by worry:

He must stop continually seeking reasons to be unhappy. Maybe’s there’s a group. My name is Arthur, and I am a worrywart.

Every day Arthur finds much to worry about in his life.

The colourful residents of the island do provide distractions. One of the more unusual, if that is possible on the island, is the annual Potlatch, the Marijuana Growers Fall Fair, in which local marijuana growers meet with buyers from the mainland to negotiate the sale of their crops and compete for the McCoy Cup, “named after a local sculptor caught green-handed with a heroic half-ton of cannabis”.

In Sing a Worried Song Arthur’s wife, Margaret, spends most of the second half of the book in Ottawa tending to her duties as the leader of Canada’s Green Party.

Left alone on the island Arthur is inexorably drawn towards a return to court when a local, Dogmar Zbrinjkowitz, known to all as “Dog” is held in custody and charged with trafficking after selling an ounce of marijuana to a ludicrously disguised auxiliary police officer. “Free Dog” tee shirts are but one manifestation of the local efforts to save Dog.

I really enjoyed the first half of the book and the trial in the second half.

It is a good book but sagged a bit for me in the second half. All the distinctive personalities of the islanders and their antics wearied me. As well, while the second half is clever and often funny the connection to the first half was limited. It would have worked better for me if there had been two separate books.

The ending was predictable by the end of the first half. While an ending does not need to be startling (I dislike extra twists) it is difficult to create tension when a reader knows how a book will end. A surprise ending with real continuing tension would have occurred had Deverell drawn upon the real life ending from what happened after the actual trial that inspired the book. My next post will discuss that trial.
****
(Vancouver) Deverell, William - (2011) - A Trial of Passion; (2011) - Snow Job; (2012) - I'll See You in My Dreams; (2012) - Removing Indigenous Children from Their Families in Crime Fiction; (2012) - "D" is for William Deverell; (2014) - Kill All the Lawyers; (2014) - The Lawyers of Kill All the Lawyers;

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Stripped by Brian Freeman

30. – 440.) Stripped by Brian Freeman – With a busy week at work and Rotary Conference I have been away from the blog. I return with a review of a book I read in 2008 by Brian Freeman.
****
Jonathan Stride has moved to Las Vegas to be with his lover, Serena Dial. He has joined the LV police force as a detective. Stride is adapting to LV but it is not easy for a Minnesotan. A call to deal with a man killed while engaged with a prostitute becomes a media murder when the victim turns out to be M.J. Lane, the son of wealthy and reclusive movie mogul Walker Lane. Stride starts working the case with Amanda Gillen. Each thinks the department is punishing the other by pairing them with a partner with whom no one else wants to be partner. Amanda is the first transsexual detective (still retaining male sexual organs) I have encountered in fiction. At the same time Dial is pursuing the killer of a young boy. The murders intersect and lead back to the glory days of the soon to be imploded Sherezade Hotel. The disparate threads are convincingly brought together. It is more thriller than mystery as the story pounds to a conclusion. Excellent. Hardcover or paperback. (July 26/08)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Who Killed Olof Palme?

  In Killing Pilgrim the 1986 assassination of Olof Palme is conducted by a member of the Yugoslavian Secret Service. The motive involves the sale of nuclear centrifuges. Interested in seeing what theories exist for the killing of the Swedish Prime Minister I was astonished in internet searches how many different groups and individuals have been identified as the potential killers. It is a conspiracy lover’s dream.

Sweden thought they had the murderer when Christer Pettersson was convicted of the murder. He was permanently affected by a head injury he suffered as a young man and was prone to violence. Described as a petty criminal, drug user and alcoholic in Wikipedia he was identified by Lisbet Palme at a lineup. His appeal was allowed because the murder weapon could not be found, he had no clear motive and the lineup was flawed. Later he may have confessed. There are allegations, probably weak, that he mistakenly killed the Prime Minister thinking he was a rival drug dealer.

Victor Gunnarsson, a Swedish right wing extremist, was initially arrested for the murder but released as eyewitness evidence of his presence in the area of the murder was frail. He was killed in America by the ex-fiance of a woman with whom he was involved. As often happens with the deceased several acquaintances claimed he had confessed. 

One of the more unusual groups identified was the Kurdish PKK, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Some members of the Party living in Sweden had conflict with the Swedish government. Probably the greatest reasons to doubt them were the efforts of the Turkish government to tie the PKK to the murder.

More plausible are the allegations against the apartheid government of South Africa who allegedly murdered Palme, an outspoken opponent of apartheid, because the Swedish government was secretly providing money to the African National Congress. Three different men were named by separate accusers as the killer of Palme. I doubt the South African government would risk the international complications of killing Sweden’s leader for the uncertain prospect of ending the payments to the ANC. Even if Palme were dead the payments could continue to be made.

More outlandish is the claim that the murder was instigated because Palme had received information that the Swedish armaments company, Bofors, had concluded a shady arms deal with India. The motive is questionable as killing the Prime Minister was unlikely to cover up the deal and there was a subsequent scandal.

Another author, Anders Leopold, claims a Chilean fascist, Roberto Thieme, killed Palme because he had given asylum to numerous Chilean leftists after the coup against Salvador Allende. The motive makes little sense to me as there were Chileans given asylum across the Western nations. One of them ended up in Melfort. I know another in Saskatoon.

The German weekly, Die Zeit, claimed Palme was murdered by right wing Swedish police officers. I very much doubt that a conspiracy within the Swedish police could have been maintained in secrecy after the assassination.

John Ausonius, a racist stock broker turned bank robber, was a suspect until it was established he was in jail on the night of the murder.

Solely on the basis of motive I doubt the conspiracy theories. Crime fiction fans certainly recognize the allure of conspiracies. They are far more interesting the lone killer acting for personal motives.

Conspiracy aficionados cannot accept that President Kennedy was killed by Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone. I became convinced it was Oswald when I visited the Museum in the Book Depository building and saw the distance and angle Oswald would have had to shoot Kennedy. It was easy shooting. Oswald, trained in the American army, would have found the shots straightforward.

As with Kennedy I think there is an important issue related to how the killing of Palme was done. One of the more unusual aspects of the Palme murder is that the weapon was a .357 Magnum revolver with a 4” barrel. It is a large handgun. It is distinctive and loud. I cannot see a hired killer using a .357 Magnum.

Swedish police diligently searched for 10 stolen .357 magnum revolvers. In Widipedia it states:

Out of these all have been located except the Sucksdorff revolver, a weapon stolen from the Stockholm home of Swedish filmmaker Arne Sucksdorff in 1977. The person who stole the weapon was a friend of drug dealer Sigvard "Sigge" Cedergren, who claimed on his deathbed that he had lent a gun of the same type to Christer Pettersson two months prior to the assassination.

While the lineup involving Pettersson was conducted improperly there is the visual identification by Palme’s widow who was slightly wounded in the attack.

I think, as with most assassinations, it was a lone troubled killer, Christer Pettersson, who killed Palme.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Killing Pilgrim by Alen Mattich

(21. - 818) Killing Pilgrim by Alen Mattich – (DDB) I was grabbed in the opening chapter. The Montenegrin, top assassin in the Yugoslav Secret Service, is in Stockholm in February of 1986. He is on a solo mission to kill “Pilgrim”. It has something to do with Swedish centrifuges sold to Belgrade and then sold on by the Yugoslav government. Patiently stalking his quarry the Montenegrin finds him unguarded on a winter night and kills Pilgrim on a quiet Swedish street. He has assassinated Olaf Palme, the Prime Minister of Sweden. 

Five years later Yugoslavia is breaking down. Slovenia has already broken away. Croatia has declared independence. Serbia is clinging to the concept of Yugoslavia. Serbian and Croatian nationalists are arming and forming militias. 

Western Canadian pizza magnate, Zlatko Horvat, has returned to his native Croatia where he forms an ultra-nationalist militia and is profitably smuggling arms into Croatia. Abruptly he is made Deputy Minister of Defence. 

War is coming. 

With Yugoslavia collapsing Marko della Torre is in administrative limbo. Formerly a member of the UDSB, the national secret service, his Zagreb unit is being assigned to Croatian Military Intelligence. 

Della Torre is better known within the Secret Service as “Gringo”. He spent several years of his youth in America where his father was a professor for a time.

Della Torre is still recovering from a bullet wound sustained when Bosnian killers tried to kill him in Zagreb Cowboy (a book I am going to have to read). 

To gain some money he sold some UDSB files. One is the Pilgrim file. While the documents of the Pilgrim file are sketchy and do not reveal the name of the target the sale of the file created alarm. 

Della Torre, while the new Army bureaucracy tries to find a role for him, is sent on some meaningless fact finding assignments. 

On a visit to his father he meets a stunning American researcher, Rebecca Vees, who is researching “the development of the Glagolitic alphabet” (the research involves Slavonic languages.) 

A short time later his world is jolted when Rebecca turns out to be a highly skilled American intelligence agent. It is never clear which agency employs her. Not the least of her weapons is her beauty and sensuality. 

Croatia is desperate to find international friends and none would be better than the United States. If Croatia can help America it will do anything to please the U.S. 

While it is not clear why America wants the Montenegrin, Della Torre is directed to help the American agents.  

There is the same pervasive tension of Alan Furst’s pre-World War II books. Nations are preparing for war and intelligence agencies have urgent instructions. What the spies do can have great consequences in the looming conflict. 

Della Torre is caught between a pair of killers. He knows the Montenegrin, a vicious retired killer though well connected and well protected. He is accompanying Rebecca, an amoral killer herself. 

Rebecca is a predecessor to the American intelligence agents who, after 9/11, ranged the world wreaking vengeance on America’s enemies.  

It is a complex thriller which is a rarity in my recent reading experience. Della Torre is living in dangerous times. Readers cannot help thinking of the devastation about to be unleashed in the Balkans. The plot is subtle darkness. 

Killing Pilgrim is well worthy of being on the shortlist for the 2015 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Canadian crime novel. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Pinkerton's and Old Bill Miner

The Pinkerton National Detective Agency plays an important role in Swedes’ Ferry by Alan Safarik. The investigation into a bank robbery in Bismarck where the bank manager was killed involved both the United States and Canada. James J. Hill, President of the Bank and The Great Northern Railway called on the Pinkerton’s because they had operatives in both nations. 

Having not heard of the Pinkerton’s undertaking 19th Century investigations that involved Canada and the United States I did some online research. 

The Pinkerton’s were definitely involved in investigations covering both jurisdictions. A prominent case even involved railways. 

The case at the end of the Century involved Bill Miner. He had a variety of nicknames including “Old Bill” and “The Grey Fox” and “The Gentleman Bandit”. 

In Canada there were very few train robberies. Unlike the American West Canadian trains were not subject to holdups. 

Most sources say Miner was the first to rob a Canadian train. At least one source claims there was a robbery sometime earlier in Ontario. 

In September of 1904 Miner and two confederates held up the CPR transcontinental train about an hour out of Vancouver. While they netted $6,000 in gold dust and $1,000 in cash and possibly bonds they were frustrated as a larger quantity of gold dust had not made it on to the train. 

In Call in Pinkerton's: American Detectives at Work for Canada by David Ricardo Williams the Pinkerton’s were swiftly called by the CPR and the B.C. Police because of their past experience in pursuing and catching Miner. Assistant Superintendent, James E. Dye, was soon on the scene and confirmed the robbers were led by Miner.

Frank W. Anderson, in Old Bill Miner: Last of the Famous Western Bandits, explained that the key factor in identifying Miner as the leader was the politeness of the robber. Miner was purportedly the originator of the robbers’ demand “Hands Up!” The phrase was used in the robbery. As well at the end of the robbery the leader warned the engineer to back up carefully and to have a good night.

Dye followed tracks south into the state of Washington but could not find further evidence of the group.The investigation had more farce than glory for the Pinkerton’s.

A man they said was acting suspiciously was arrested. It turned out he was a detective on another case.

A boat supposedly stolen to aid the robbers’ escape had actually just drifted away.

Lastly, three men arrested in northern Washington were actually homesteaders.

 

Dye returned to Seattle.

 

Miner was not actually caught until he committed another train robbery in 1906 further north in B.C. near Kamloops. 

Tried and convicted he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Gaining the trust of prison staff he promptly escaped in 1907 and returned to the U.S. 

Though over 60 he continued to be involved in robberies. He was eventually arrested in Georgia and convicted and escaped and was recaptured and died in prison in 1913. The Pinkerton’s did find him after his last escape in Georgia.
****
Safarik, Allan - (2015) - Swedes' Ferry

Friday, June 5, 2015

Swedes’ Ferry by Allan Safarik

(20. - 817) Swedes’ Ferry by Allan Safarik – It is a rare mystery that combines the old West of America and of Canada. Swedes’ Ferry is an interesting look at life in the border country of 1894. 

Just north of the border that spring a lone rider arrives at the small ranch of Bud Quigley. Known only to Bud as Tall Bob (he had made arrangements to get a horse from Bud a couple of weeks before) the rider has pushed his horse to the extreme. Initially it is not clear if the horse which has been grazed by a bullet will survive. 

Flush with cash Tall Bob purchases another horse and directs Bud to kill the chestnut gelding with white socks to avoid complications. Unable to kill a beautiful horse and always eager to make some money Bud does his best with some dye to disguise the horse and sells the chestnut to a travelling man. 

While unsure of what happened Bud believes Tall Bob has run afoul of the law in the U.S. He is correct. Tall Bob has been to Bismarck, North Dakota where he single handily robbed the First National Bank of a payroll for the Great Northern Railway. Unfortunately, in trying to get away Tall Bob accidentally shot and killed the bank manager. 

James J. Hill, the imperious president of the Great Northern is upset, less with the death of the manager than the audacity of a crook robbing his railway. He already has the Pinkerton's on contract to help break up union efforts at organizing railroad workers.

Four months after the theft Hill summons William Pinkerton of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency from Chicago to Saint Paul to demand progress: 

“…. Let’s start moving on this matter. I want my damned money back! Damn it, I don’t care how much money I have to spend to get it back I want the same damn bills, the very same pieces of legal tender that were taken from my bank. If you have to shoot the bastard to bring him in, then shoot the smart bastard right in the forehead, just like he shot that poor soul who worked for me. Everybody concerned will be served notice that robbing me doesn’t pay and I’ll be a happy man again.” 

Directed by Hill to take a personal role in the investigation Pinkerton travels to North Dakota and gathers a team together to conduct the investigation. 

From the bullet casing found at the robbery site the Pinkerton's decide to look north as well as south of the border. 

American police and the Canadian Northwest Mounted Police confined their investigations to their country and did not venture across the 49th parallel marking the border. The Pinkerton's see no borders in their investigations. I had not thought about how a private detective agency is not hamstrung by borders. (It was an era where no one had to be licenced to be a private detective.) It gives the Pinkerton's far greater flexibility in investigations. 

A lead takes the Pinkerton's to Regina, then a part of the Assiniboia Territory, and the headquarters of the Northwest Mounted Police. 

Where most books speak highly of the Mounties such as the intrepid Sargeant Durrant Wallace in The Third Riel Conspiracy by Stephen Legault, which takes place in 1885 and is partly set in Regina, the Northwest Mounted of Swedes' Ferry are ill-trained and barely able to patrol the plains. 

I was caught off guard by the identity of Tall Bob. 

Tension builds as the Pinkerton's gather and digest information. 

The conclusion to the book is striking and unusual for a Western, let alone a Western mystery. 

It is a good book. It does not sparkle. It is historically accurate. It is well worth reading. 

I consider it a perfect book for my blog friend, Prashant C. Trikannad, of the Chess, Comic Books, Crosswords, Books, Music, Cinema blog. Residing in urban India he has a passion for books set in the old West of America. This book will let him expand his Western experience to Canada.
****
I am glad to report that Swedes' Ferry becomes the 17th book I have read for the 8th Canadian Book Challenge (13 books are the Challenge) which is well beyond what I have read in any previous Canadian Book Challenge. I hope to get more Canadian books read before the Challenge closes on June 30.
****
Related: The Pinkerton's and Old Bill Miner

Monday, June 1, 2015

None So Blind with Spoilers

Barbara Fradkin
In my last post, a review of None So Blind by Barbara Fradkin, I said I could not write about the major issue of the book without setting out what I consider spoilers. This post delves into that question and will have spoilers. Beware!

In None So Blind, the convicted murderer, James Rosten, has been protesting his innocence for 20 years. Urged by Inspector Michael Green to let it go and apply for parole he makes the application. Crucial to the application is an admission of fault by Rosten. While not quite as critical in real life as in fiction accepting responsibility and expressing remorse are important in gaining parole in Canada.

Rosten provides a delicate expression of regret. Green describes it:

Damn it, Green thought as he sat back in frustration. Clever bastard. Nowhere in his carefully crafted appeal was there an actual, unequivocal admission of guilt. He had left that to his parole officer.

Marilyn Carmichael, the mother of the victim, after a lifetime of condemning Rosten shocks everyone by filing a letter of support for his release.

Rosten is granted parole. Shortly after his release he breaks parole and is found dead in his beloved cabin, an apparent suicide.

Buffeted by Rosten’s sudden death Green is troubled by the idea that Rosten, having endured 20 years of jail protesting his conviction and now free, would take his own life.

His life is sent into turmoil when he receives a letter from Rosten posted before death. It reads:

I’ve been blind. I’ve spent twenty years pursuing the wrong villain. Lucas didn’t kill Jackie, but I have a horrible suspicion who did. I just have a couple of tests to run and I will prove it to you!

Green must confront the possibility that he and the Canadian judicial system convicted an innocent man 20 years ago. Has Rosten been killed by the actual killer of Jackie Carmichael to prevent Rosten from disclosing the real killer?

Green recognizes that he was but a cog in the system. There were other police, prosecutors, a jury and judges (trial and on appellate) who participated in the prosecution. Yet he knows he was a zealous young officer determined to find every bit of evidence that would convict Rosten. He was not objective.

Alluding to the real life Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, the “Ken and Barbie” couple who killed young Canadian women, Green realizes that Canadians at the time of the murder trial of Rosten were all too ready to convict a well-educated, somewhat cocky, university professor to avenge the death of Jackie Carmichael

How do a police officer and the rest of the judicial system react to a possible miscarriage of justice? There is great reluctance to revisit the conviction.  Green’s superiors are quite content with the pathologist’s finding of suicide.

In the real life Saskatchewan case of David Milgaard the police and prosecutors have never been satisfied they were wrong. Even the conviction of Larry Fisher for the murder for which Milgaard was wrongfully convicted has not convinced them.

For Green it is a quest for justice. If Rosten was not the killer then the real murderer must be found and Rosten must be cleared and his murderer discovered.

Green’s superiors are ready to blame him should the whole mess blow up. Green is undeterred. I was reminded of Georges Picquart, the French Army officer, who persisted in fighting, at great personal cost, the cover-up of the wrongful conviction of Alfred Dreyfus. As with Picquart it is a matter of personal integrity for Green.

Few fictional detectives must face they have identified the wrong person as killer. One of the reasons we like crime fiction is that the sleuth gets the killer. To have the detective a mortal who does not get it right is an approach few writers are willing to take in their books.

Two of the best mystery writers have gone part way.

In The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly the plot involves a re-investigation of the Dollmaker killings. Harry Bosch had killed the original suspect. While it addresses the police getting the wrong killer there was no conviction involved.

In my review of Chasing Darkness by Robert Crais I said:

Elvis Cole is stunned when the LAPD alleges a murder suspect, Lionel Byrd, that he cleared 3 years before was actually a serial killer whose victims also include the murder for which he was cleared. Elvis, the World’s Greatest Detective, cannot believe that his work set free a killer. With the confidence/arrogance of those who cannot admit mistake Elvis and Joe Pike set out to find the real serial killer.

In both books the authors have their detectives face being wrong but they cannot bring themselves to actually have the detectives being mistaken about an innocent man.

Does Fradkin, in None So Blind, take the step of actually having Green deal with being wrong and sending a blameless man to prison for murder? You will have to read the book if you want the answer. 
****
Fradkin, Barbara - (2015) - None So Blind