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.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Constant Gardner by John Le Carre

40. – 90.) The Constant Gardner by John Le Carre - His best book in years. ---- investigation of his wife's death leads him around the world including Saskatchewan. The author has a sense of our winter as he creates a fictional (Saskatoon) Saskatchewan city. Often sad; always moving. It is a book that will not be quickly forgotten. Probable hardcover (probable only because of some recent novels). (Dec./01) (Second best fiction of 2001)
39. – 89.) Judgment in Jerusalem by Pnina Lahav - A biography of Israeli Chief Justice, Simon Agranat, whose life almost spanned the 20th Century and whose legal/judicial career started in the British Mandate and reached past the Yom Kippur war. An intellectual judge who dealt with all the critical issues in the first 30 years of Israel's history.

38. – 88.) One Palestine, Complete by Tom Segev - A detailed discussion of the history of Arab, Jewish and British relationships during the period of the British Mandate from 1917 - 1948. Conflict between Jews and Arabs has been a full century problem.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly

37. – 87.) The Concrete Blonde by Michael Connelly - Detective Harry Bosch is on civil trial for killing the Dollmaker when he discovers there is another killer copying the Dollmaker. The copycat proves to be even cleverer than the Dollmaker. Another great story you cannot put down. Hardcover. (Third best fiction of 2001)

36. – 86.) The Vicar of Christ by Walter F. Murphy - A complex novel about Declan Walsh who was an American war hero (WW II and Korea), Supreme Court Chief Justice and Pope. The writer skillfully makes plausible what looks like an impossible life. Excellent

35. – 85.) Middle of Nowhere by Ridley Pearson - Seattle police officer, Lou Boldt, deals with the dual challenge of the "Blue Flu" among Seattle police and a clever home burglary scheme. Well plotted. Papberback. (Oct. 10/01)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Personal History by Katharine Graham

34. – 84.) Personal History by Katharine Graham - A superb autobiography of the publisher of the Washington Post newspaper who defied Nixon's administration over the Pentagon Papers and Watergate and was willing to risk jail for her principles. (Oct. 2/01) (Second best non-fiction of 2001)



31. – 81.) Hostage by Robert Crais - A worn out hostage negotiator goes to the suburbs as a police chief and gets caught up in a complex hostage situation. Good but not as great as Demolition Angel. Hardcover. (Sept. 15/01)



32. – 82.) Roses are Red by James Patterson - Alex Cross works to solve a series of extremely brutal bank robberies arranged by the Mastermind. Clever but not a buy. (Sept. 20/01)


33. – 83.) Bitterroot by James Lee Burke - Texas defence attorney, Billy Bob Holland, travels to rural Montana where rape and murder abound. Poetic language but I do not believe Montana is populated by so many stereotypical bad guys. Paperback. (Sept. 26/01)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides

30. – 80.) Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides - A great war story. As the American Army moves through the Phillipines they decided to rescue the Bataan Death March survivors. A moving story of an epic mission. (Aug. 31/01)
27. – 77.) Hugger Mugger by Robert B. Parker - Spenser travels to Georgia to investigate horse shootings. Sparkling dialogue but not one of the best in the series. Paperback (Aug. 15/01) 

29. – 79.) Contrary Blues by John Billheimer - Government auditor, Owen Allison, heads to Contrary, West Virginia where chicanery abounds with a federal bus subsidy. Somewhat implausible start but gets better and better, especially in character development. Paperback(?) (Aug. 29/01)

28. – 78.) In the Beginning by Alister McGrath - A fascinating account of the development of the King James Bible. I learned a lot about the process and politics of Biblical translation. (Aug. 22/01) 


26. – 76.) Red Light by T. Jefferson Parker - Sheriff's investigator, Merci Rayborn, investigates the death of prostitutes (one killed now and one killed 32 years ago). Much more complex in personal relationships than the average procedural. Excellent (Aug. 1/01)


Saturday, December 11, 2010







22. – 72.) Death Benefit by Thomas Perry - A new hero, John Walker, investigates insurance fraud with a seasoned pro, Max Stillman. Their pursuit is intriguing but the ending is obvious and implausible. Paperback (July 2/01)

23. – 73.) A Painted House by John Grisham - A vivid portrayal of farm life in the early 1950's in Arkansas told by a 7 year old boy in cotton picking season. Excellent. Hardcover (July 9/01)

24. – 74.) Thirteenth Night by Alan Gordon - Fool Feste, disguised as the merchant Octavius, in 1201 travels to the Duchy of Orsina to solve the mystery of the death of the Duke. Excellent, at least paperback (July 16/01)

25. – 75.) Special Circumstances by Sheldon Siegel - Mike Daley, former priest and big firm lawyer, conducts a spirited defence of a former partner against a double murder charge of killing two members of his former firm. Very good. Paperback (July 23/01)

The Holocaust on Trial by D.D. Gutenplan

21. – 71.) The Holocaust on Trial by D.D. Gutenplan - The story of the libel trial last year in which David Irving challenged Deborah Lipstadt to prove the Holocaust took place. A fascinating story on the proof of the Holocaust and those who would deny. - Excellent (June 21/01) (Best non-fiction of 2001)

Friday, December 10, 2010

20. – 70.) Pope John Paul II by Ted Szulc - A biography coveing the pope's life to the mid-1990's explains his economic compassion (against capitalism and communism) and religious conservatism (a disciplined, moralistic faith obedient to its leader). Excellent (June 17/01)

19. – 69.) 8 Black Horses by Ed McBain - The "Deaf Man" has a fiendish Christmas plot against the detectives of the 87th Precinct. Interesting but not as plausible. (June 13/01)

18. – 68.) Powerful Prayers by Larry King with Rabbi Irwin Katsof - The American talk show host interviews scores of famous people on their prayers and debates the need and purpose of prayer with his co-author. Excellent (June 10/01)

17. – 67.) Ice by Ed McBain - A superb 87th precient book. The detectives try to solve the killings of a dancer, a small drug dealer and a diamond dealer. They all involve "ice" in various meanings. Excellent; paperback anytime. (June 7/01)

16. – 66.) Folly by Laurie R. King - A new novel away from current series. Rae Newborn works at resurrecting and rebuilding her uncle's burned home in the San Juan islands. Great for 3/4 but a contrived ending. (June 4/01)  


15. – 65.) King Con by Stephen J. Cannell - Beano X. Bates, King Con, links up with a beautiful assistant D.A., "Tricky Vicky" Hart, to gain revenge on Joe "Dancer" Rina. A modern "The Sting" it is ready to be made into a T.V. movie. Maybe paperback. (May 29/01)

14. – 64.) Death in Holy Orders by P.D. James - Adam Dagleish goes to a small Anglican seminary and ends up investigating the murder of a trustee Archdeacon. Well written but not her best. (May 23/01)

13. – 63.) Warlock by Wilbur Smith – Taita works with Pharoah Nefer and Queen Mintaka to unite the Kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt from a false Paroah and a Hykos – Gord; not his best (May 1/01)

12. – 62.) The Xibalba Murders by Lyn Hamilton – Archeologist, Lara McClintoch, travels from Toronto to the Yucatan to solve a murder involving modern and ancient Mayas. A good book but the villain was too easy. Papberback. (Apr. 13/01)




11. – 61.) Darkness More than Night by Michael Connelly – Terry McCaleb ends up investigating Harry Bosch for the murder of a loner with clues featuring Hieronymus Bosch. The plot seemed forced to me. Good but not his best. Still hardcover. (Apr. 6/01)

Thursday, December 9, 2010



10. – 60.) The Devil’s Code by John Sandford – Kidd and LuEllen set out to find why a fellow hacker was killed. They are caught up in unravelling a scheme involving an encryption chip and a hacker attack on the IRS. The preferred communication is e-mail and lots of tips for burglary. A good story; at least paperback. (Mar. 26/01) 

9. – 59.) The Last Precinct by Patricia Cornwell – Chief Medical Examiner, Kay Scarpetta, is personally under investigation for murder while trying to prove the guilt of a modern day werewolf. Hardcover. (Mar. 20/01)

8. – 58.) Mortal Fear by Greg Iles – A serial killer stalks his victims over the internet. An interesting thesis but not his best book. Paperback buy for me. (Mar. 11/01)

7. – 57.) The Kill Artist by Daniel Silva – Another international thriller. Art restorer, Gabriel Allon, is called out of retirement by the Mossad to pursue an old Palestinian rival, Tariq, who is threatening the Mideast peace process. Not as good a book as The Marching Season but a better ending. (Library – paperback) (Feb. 20/01)

6. – 56.) O is for Outlaw by Sue Grafton – Kinsey Milhone works to find out why her first ex-husband was shot. Excellent mystery and study of her character (past and present). (Feb. 14/01)

5. – 55.) Slaves of Obsession by Anne Perry – William and Hester Monk investigate the death of a London arms dealer in a case that takes them to the American Civil War. A good story but not her best. Paperback buy. (Feb. 5/01)

Demolition Angel by Robert Crais

4. – 54.) Demolition Angel by Robert Crais – Former LAPD Bomb Squad member, Carol Starkey, investigates the death of a bomb squad member. A great story with excellent character study. Hardcover buy. (Jan.25/01) (Best fiction of 2001)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


3. – 53.) Dreaming of the Bones by Deborah Crombie – An English mystery set in literary Cambridge with the most stunning plot twist I have read in a long time. (Jan. 19/01)

2. – 52.) A Gathering of Saints by Christopher Hyde – A dark thriller/mystery in which a serial killer and a German spy are pursued with the Ultra secret at stake. Excellent. (Jan. 12/01)

1. – 51.) Tournament of Shadows by Karl E. Meyer and Shareen Blair Brysac – A fascinating history of the English/Russian rivalry over the 19th and 20th Centuries in Tibet, Afghanistan and central Asia. (Jan. 5/01)

BOOKS READ IN 2001

50.) Powers of the Sword by Wilbur Smith – Centaine Courtney and her son, Shasa Courtney, are intertwined with Lothar de la Rey, and son, Manfred de la Rey, between the World Wars in South Africa. Good. (Dec. 30/00)

49.) O Jerusalem by Laurie R. King – Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell travel around Palestine in 1919, in disguise, as part of an operation to unmask an intrigue under way in the Holy Land. Much better than the last one. Paperback buy. (Dec. 26/00)

48.) Tricks by Ed McBain – Another 87th Precinct procedural set on Hallowe’en. Excellent as usual. Paperback buy. (Dec. 21/00)

47.) The Marching Season by Daniel Silva – Michael Osbourne returns to the CIA to help track down rogue Northern Ireland Protestant terrorists trying to break the Easter Peace Agreement. Fast paced / more character development than most thrillers / certainly paperback buy. (Dec. 19/00)

46.) The Lion’s Game by Nelson DeMille – A lone Libyan assassin bent on revenge for the 1986 bombing of Libya is pursued by John Corey – great plot. Hardcover/Paperback buy. (Dec. 8/00)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

45.) A Cinderella Affidavit by Michael Fredrickson – An affidavit featuring imaginary people and events involves a young Boston lawyer in a murder of a policeman, commercial law manipulations and major law firm politics – good, paperback buy. (Nov. 30/00)

44.) Legacy of the Dead by Charles Todd – Inspector Rutledge pursues two faint trails in a Scottish murder case with Hamish’s constant comments in his head. Hardcover. (Nov. 21/00)

43.) The Spinster and the Prophet by A.B. McKillop – The fascinating story of how H.G. Wells stole the work of Florence Deeks of Toronto for his history of the world and the resulting trial over literary piracy. A great book. (Nov. 15/00) (Best non-fiction of 2000)

42.) Jupiter’s Bones by Faye Kellerman – A Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus mystery involving the death of an L.A. cult leader whose beliefs flow from modern physics. Excellent. Hardcover. (Nov. 17/00)

41.) McNally’s Folly by Vincent Lardo (Lawrence Sanders is deceased) – A light amusing caper continuing the series of Palm Beach sleuth, Archy McNally, in which he deals with a psychic to the wealthy. The style is more substantial than the plot. Nice (library). (Oct. 29/00)

Personal Injuries by Scott Turow


40.) Personal Injuries by Scott Turow – A finely crafted legal story about George Mason’s representation of a lawyer turned to trap corrupt judges. Great subplot between the lawyer informant and his FBI minder. Excellent (library). Maybe hardcover. (Oct. 23/00) (Third best fiction of 2000)

Monday, December 6, 2010



37.) The Quiet Game by Greg Iles – Penn Cage returns to Natchez, Mississippi to solve the 30 year old killing of a black man. Lots of plots and subplots. Excellent (Oct. 2/00)



39.) The Heir Hunter – by Chris Larsgaard – A mystery featuring an heir hunter pursuing the descendants of a mysterious German amidst the FBI and the bad guys. Good; paperback (Oct. 17/00)

38.) The Visitant by Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear – The first book of the Anasazi Mysteries. A mystery set in the SW U.S.A. with parallel stories in the 20th Century and the 13th Century. Archeology and witchcraft all together – A good book (library); paperback buy. (Oct. 13/00)

Sunday, December 5, 2010


35.) Isaiah Berlin by Michael Ignatieff – A biography of the famed Oxford thinker who wrote extensively on the concepts of liberty and the philosophy of history. Well written. (Sept. 4/00)

34.) Ghost Walk by Marianne Macdonald – London antiquarian bookseller, Dido Hoare, works to resolve the death of an elderly customer who named her as his executor. Alright, used buy. (Sept. 1/00)

33.) Cimmaron Rose by James Lee Burke – Rural Texas attorney, Billy Bob Holland, defends his illegitimate son on a murder charge. Excellent. At least paperback buy. (Aug. 24/00)

32.) No Dark Place by Joan Wolf – A 12th Century mystery in which Hugh de Leon attempts to find his true identity and who murdered his father. Alright. (Aug. 21/00)

31.) Black’s Law by Roy Black – The famous Miami attorney colourfully tells of 4 criminal cases. An excellent writer. Hardcover buy. (Aug. 15/00)

 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

30.) Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs – The third in the series of Montreal forensic anthropologist, Temperance Brennan. This time biker gangs are the focus. Good; maybe hardcover buy. (Aug. 7/00)

29.) Front Row at the White House by Helen Thomas – A vivid autobiography by the lady who covered U.S. Presidents for 37 years for UPI. Excellent. (July 30/00) (Second best non-fiction of 2000)

 

26.) Time to be in Earnest by P.D. James – A diary of her 77th year. It was nice but I wish she had more discussion of the process of writing mysteries. (July 13/00)


27.) Monsoon by Wilbur Smith – An East African adventure with Tom Courtney, Dorian Courtney, William Courtney and Guy Courtney (the sons of Hal Courtney) around 1700. Paperback buy (July 16/00)


28.) River of Darkness by Rennie Airth – A 1921 English mystery featuring traumatized war veteran, Inspector Madden, pursuing a murderous rural pyschopath. Excellent; paperback buy. (July 19/00) (Best fiction of 2000)

25. – 75.) Special Circumstances by Sheldon Siegel - Mike Daley, former priest and big firm lawyer, conducts a spirited defence of a former partner against a double murder charge of killing two members of his former firm. Very good. Paperback (July 23/01)

24. – 74.) Thirteenth Night by Alan Gordon - Fool Feste, disguised as the merchant Octavius, in 1201 travels to the Duchy of Orsina to solve the mystery of the death of the Duke. Excellent, at least paperback (July 16/01)

23. – 73.) A Painted House by John Grisham - A vivid portrayal of farm life in the early 1950's in Arkansas told by a 7 year old boy in cotton picking season. Excellent. Hardcover (July 9/01) 

22. – 72.) Death Benefit by Thomas Perry - A new hero, John Walker, investigates insurance fraud with a seasoned pro, Max Stillman. Their pursuit is intriguing but the ending is obvious and implausible. Paperback (July 2/01)

Friday, December 3, 2010


25.) Single & Single by John Le Carre – The master moves into the shadowy modern world of international quasi-legal finance. (June 10/00)

24.) The Empty Chair by Jeffery Deaver – The third novel featuring quadriplegic forensic scientist, Lincoln Rhymes, sees him in North Carolina tracking down clues in a rural setting and featuring insects. Excellent; next a hardcover buy. (June 6/00)

23.) Night Work by Laurie R. King – A Kate Martinelli mystery in which she pursues vigilante women killing men abusing women. No more hardcover. (May 22/00)

22.) Chains of Command by William Caunitz – A NY police procedural with good and bad cops and drugs. Alright. His last. (May 15/00)

19.) b.) The Trial of St. Thomas More in Notable Trials (May 19/00)

21.) No Human Involved by Barbara Seranella – A California mystery with junkie/prostitute/auto mechanic caught up in her own murder investigation and multiple murders. Paperback buy. (May 10/00)

Thursday, December 2, 2010


20.) The Runner by Christopher Reich – A thriller set in Germany in the summer of 1945 in which an American military lawyer chases/tracks the Nazi SS officer who murdered his brother and is now after world leaders at Potsdam. Next not hardcover. (May 6/00)

19.) a.) Socrates trial in Notable Trials (Apr. 30/00)

18.) Sweet Forever by George P. Pelecanos - A thriller / adventure set in Washington, D.C. Very dark; often grim; well written; not sure would buy again. (Apr. 25/00)

17.) Hush Money by Robert B. Parker – Spenser and Hawk work simultaneously on cases to gain tenure for a professor and to aid a woman being stalked. Smooth reading. Excellent. (Apr. 17/00)

16.) The Price of Power by James W. Huston – A thriller involving Indonesian terrorists, the defence of an admiral at court-martial and a presidential impeachment for pacifism. Would not buy. (Apr. 15/00)

15.) Defender of the Damned: Gladys Towles Root by Cy Rice – The biography of a very talented criminal defence lawyer (especially sex offences) in L.A. who defined flamboyant with court wear of bright purple outfits, huge gaudy jewelry and hats a yard wide. (Apr. 11/00)

14.) A Taste for Death by P.D. James – A stylish mystery from the English Master in which Inspector Dagleish investigates a double murder in the vestry of an Anglican Church. (Apr. 7/00)

13.) The Brethren by John Grisham – A legal thriller in which a trio of convicted judges carry out schemes from prison. (Mar. 27/00)

12.) Blood Money by Thomas Perry – A thriller in which Jane Whitfield makes mafia money in the billions disappear. (Mar. 19/00)

11.) Loot by Aaron Elkins – A mystery thriller in which an art historian / curator searches for lost Nazi seized masterpieces. (Mar. 15/00)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

10.) The Roar of Thunder by Wilbur Smith – A Sean Courtney thriller set in South Africa at the time of the Boer War. (Mar. 11/00)


9.) Void Moon by Michael Connelly – A dark thriller featuring high tech crime in Las Vegas by a master. (Mar. 3/00)


8.) Last Will and Testament by Frank Thomas – Wills Ancient and Modern, famous, historic and odd – Will (real property) and testament (personal property). (Feb. 28/00)


7.) Timeline by Michael Crichton – A science fiction thriller going from the present to the 14th Century 
(Michael’s recommendation). (Feb.  27/00)


6.) The Attorney by Steve Martini – A legal mystery thriller set in San Diego with a parental abduction and a Mexican drug lord. (Feb. 19/00)
5.) The Mitrokhin Archive by Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrohkin – A history of the KBG in the West. 996 pages. (Feb. 12/00)

 
4.) A Time to Die by Wilbur Smith – A thriller featuring Sean Courtney in Mozambique during the civil war of the late 1980’s. (Feb. 7/00)
 
3.) William Osler: A Life in Medicine by Michael Bliss – A biography of the great Canadian 19th / 20th Century doctor. (Jan. 20/00)
 
 2.) The Conductor by Jerry Kennealy – A police/ international terroirst thriller set in San Francisco. (Jan. 6/00)
 
1.) Scandal at the Savoy by Arthur Rose – The story of the 1923 murder trial of Marie Fahmy. (Jan. 3/00)
 
BOOKS READ IN 2000