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, May 14, 2011

A Settling of Accounts by Douglas Schmeiser

6. - 519.) A Settling of Accounts by Douglas Schmeiser – My first year law criminal law prof, Doug Schmeiser, has written a novel that defies easy classification. Calgary lawyer, Jeff Phillips, is defending a young man charged with sexual assault. On the eve of the preliminary Jeff encounters an attractive young woman with whom he ends up spending the night. He is shaken to the core when he discovers the next day she is the complainant. Instead of revealing the liaison he continues with the prelim. I did not understand why Doug allowed a knife to surface at the prelim rather than requiring it to be a part of the Crown disclosure. Awaiting the trial the novel examines Jeff’s life growing up on the farm near Bruno and attending law school at the University of Saskatchewan in the 1980’s and then joining a large Calgary law firm. In the big firm, as an articling student, he is drawn into a conflict between an oil company, Amulet Oil, he represents and the ranching Prentice family from near Cochrane. Eventually a trial takes place over the effects of flaring gas. The trial result is inevitable based on the evidence. The ending to the book is less predictable. Not surprisingly, I enjoyed the descriptions of life in rural Saskatchewan and Alberta and becoming a lawyer with a country upbringing. I understand the pull of the land. Knowing every bit of our home quarter from working on the land produced a connection I have never had with my office building. What did surprise me were the legal proceedings. They occasionally either varied from actual procedure or tried to create suspense where there was actually no chance of success. The book flowed well and I found myself eager to find out what happened next in the story. I hope Doug writes more fiction. I believe another novel, following accurate legal procedure, would be even better without restricting the plot. (Jan. 23/10)


  1. Bill - I always so much appreciate your expertise as I read your reviews. I know what you mean about the value of authenticity, too; I look for that myself when I read. I think that in general, authors do better when they accurately depict what goes on in whatever context they're describing and as you say, it's certainly possible to do that without taking away from the suspense/engagement value of a story.

  2. Margot: Thank you for the generous comment. I appreciate reviewers who use their life experiences as a part of your review. I appreciate the combination of personal connection and objective reflection in your reviews.