36. - 549.) The Nesting Dolls by Gail Bowen – Joanne Shreeve (Kilbourn) and Zack Shreeve are looking to enjoy the Christmas season in
when history abruptly intrudes into the celebrations. Retired Supreme Court Justice, Theo Brokaw, and his wife, Regina , have returned from Myra after 27 years in Regina . (The tall lean Ukranian Brokaw immediately brought to mind former Saskatchewan Chief Justice, Ed Bayda.) The lawyers are saddened when they see major mental deterioration in the judge. There is more drama from the past of his partner, Delia Wainberg. Once again a partner’s problems are at the heart of the story. At Ottawa for a choir concert, a young woman with a striking resemblance to Delia, hands her 6 month old son, Jacob, to Delia and leaves the gym. As they search for the mother Joanne and Zack learn the baby is Delia’s grandchild. The adorable Jacob immediately bonds with the Wainberg family. Though his mother, Abby, is found murdered and raped the story focuses on Jacob’s future rather than the murder investigation. (Abby is a brilliant choice for a victim. P.D. James, in Talking About Detective Fiction, discussed the challenge for a mystery author picking a victim that readers will care about, who is “powerfully alive” to readers and a person for whom there is a good reason to be murdered. Abby is “powerfully alive” in her entry into Delia’s life, there is hurt in her violent death and she clearly has a dark secret that brought about her death.) Abby has a partner, Nadine Perault, back in Port Hope, Luther High School . Delia and her husband, Noah, want to raise the grandchild. While better for the story, for a lawyer who does family law the preference given the grandparents in the custody dispute was hard to accept. In real life Nadine would have immediately gained custody of her child. It is very difficult for grandparents to get custody over a parent. Other threads in the story involve Joanne and Zack and their family. Ontario is a lovely 14 year old girl dealing with the challenges of becoming a young woman. Zack’s health as a paraplegic is always precarious. I found myself caring little about the solution of the mystery. I wanted to see what happened to the characters. The threads of the plot came smoothly together with pace accelerating to the conclusion. The solution to the murder was not a mystery. Excellent. (Sept. 11/10) Taylor
- Bill Selnes
- 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.