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.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd

1. - 514.) A Duty to the Dead by Charles Todd – The mother/son duo start a new mystery series with Bess Crawford, an English nurse, set during WW I. Their Ian Rutledge series is set after the War. It only occurred to me that I read several series (Todd, Airth, Winspear) where the effects and experiences of WW I are pivotal to the series but I cannot recall a single series where WW II is as important to the lives of the characters and the nature of the mysteries. The book starts impressively with Crawford injured in the sinking of the Britannica, a hospital ship, by a mine. The uncertainty and confusion and danger of a sinking ship are vividly described. As she recovers Crawford reflects on the message entrusted to her by Arthur Graham, a dying English officer, who had asked her to take word back to his brother that he lied for the sake of his mother and what happened must be set right. Honouring her obligation to the dead she travels to the Graham home Owlhurst, Kent. The message is received but the family appears unresponsive. About ready to depart she is drawn deeply into the Graham family affairs by volunteering to nurse Peregrine Graham who has pneumonia. Peregrine, the oldest son, was placed in a local asylum as a teenager 14 years earlier for killing a maid in London. Crawford  delves into the twisted family history of the Grahams as she feels the need to carry out, not just deliver, Arthur’s final message. She needs all her determination to find out what must be set right. I did not like the method of the solution. It did not flow well and felt contrived. It was interesting to have internal voices play a role though not to the extent and importance of Hamish in the Rutledge series. I would read another as Crawford is fascinating. Possible hardcover. (Jan. 1/10)

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