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.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

White Sky, Black Ice by Stan Jones

Kerrie Smith's Crime Fiction Alphabet community meme on her website Mysteries in Paradise has reached the letter "J". I am posting an outstanding Alaskan mystery by Stan Jones. Bernadette from Reactions to Reading had mentioned it was waiting for her on her eReader last week in her post for "I". Having enjoyed reading White Sky,Black Ice I decided to make it my post for "J". I thought the second in the series, Shaman Pass, was even better. The author has a fine website and has been prompt in replying to emails.


7. - 470.) White Sky, Black Ice by Stan Jones – It is always exciting to find a new character in a setting outside a major city with a mystery unique to the area. Nathan Active is an Alaskan in the same way the Joanna Kilborn of Gail Bowen and the Russell Quant of Anthony Bidulka are Saskatchewanians. Active is an Alaskan state trooper stationed in his home village, Chukchi, on the northwest slope of Alaska. With the ocean to the west and tundra to the east there are few more remote areas. The indigeneous population is the Inupiaq (the people). Eskimo is a pejorative term. Active was born to an Inupiaq mother who put him up for adoption. He is dutifully putting in time at Chukchi but eagerly looking forward to getting transferred to Anchorage. He has doubts about the suicide of Charley Clinton. Most in the community believe that Charley was driven to suicide because of a curse put on his father’s family by a shaman. Active has doubts about someone shooting themselves in the Adam’s apple with a rifle. Active is asked by his birth mother to help find a missing husband, Aaron Stone. With the aid of local pilot, Cowboy Decker, he finds Aaron, also an apparent suicide by shooting himself in the Adam’s apple. With no curse, a happy family life and a good job at the Grey Wolf copper mine there is no reason for Aaron to kill himself. Local leader, Tom Werner, is advocating the residents vote to ban alcohol. Drunkeness is devastating the community. As Active pursues the investigation he finds romance with Lucy Generous (her grandmother sets them up). The characters are real people. The author captures the Inupiaq contraction of English verbs vividly. The descriptions of the vast Arctic are powerful. Jones must have lived in the winter of northern North America. It is interesting how English has its regional variations. A snowmobile is a snowgo. I look forward to the next book in the same way Maisie Dobbs captivated me last year. Hardcover. (Feb. 2/09) (Tied for third most interesting of 2009)


  1. Good to see new people participate in the alphabet meme.

    But temptations from Canada also - my, as if my wish list wasn´t more than long enough ;)

  2. Thank you Dorte.

    I have been enjoying your posts for the alphabet meme.

    I also struggle with book temptation. My wife would say my resistance is too low.

  3. I have an advantage there. The books my husband buys cost much more than mine ;)

  4. I hope he appreciates you saving money.

  5. Thanks for this recommendation Bill - it is available for Kindle too :-)

  6. Thanks for the comment Kerrie. I hope you have a chance to read it. The story is set in area about as different in weather as possible from Australia.

  7. I really am looking forward to this one now Bill - it sounds wonderful and as I have always wanted to visit Alaska I am very keen to read books set there, shame I have so many books to read and so little time in which to read them

  8. Thank you Bernadette. I have never been to Alaska but I am familiar with winter. It is snowing this morning in Saskatchewan.