About Me

My photo
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.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Publish or Perish by Margot Kinberg

69. – 630.) Publish or Perish by Margot Kinberg – Nick Merrill is a graduate student in the Department of Educational Studies at Tilton University in Pennsylvania. He is making steady progress in his program. He has developed some promising educational software called Learn It!!! His promising academic career is enhanced when he wins the departmental fellowship.
            Personally life is more complicated. He has been carrying on an affair with Carrie Woods, a professor in his department, while also in an intimate relationship with Angel Shaftson.
            Merrill’s personal and professional lives collide shortly after he gets the fellowship. After discovering the interdepartmental relationship Rose Shelton, another graduate student, is convinced the affair gave Merrill an unfair advantage in the fellowship process. Shaftson is equally angry when she learns of the affair.
            Within the university Merrill is facing conflict with his departmental supervisor, Connor Hadley, over Hadley’s use of the Learn It!!! software in support of his tenure application.
            There is no shortage of suspects when Merrill is murdered.
            Professor Joel Williams, a former police officer, had known Merrill who had been observing his classes. Wanting to find out what happened he starts making discreet inquiries around the campus and with former colleagues.
            The investigation proceeds logically. It is a well plotted book that gave me insight into the turbulence of academia. The competition for place and advancement is fierce. It is a complex world. Trying to keep track of the roles within the department and the committees is challenging. Not surprisingly, with the author a university professor, the book is at its best inside the department.
            At the same time the book lacked drama for me. Everyone at the university is so earnest. All are efficient and good at their jobs. Beyond the major conflicts setting up the suspects things go so smoothly. There are no minor irritations or disagreements.
It is an unusual investigation in the scrupulousness of all involved. Everyone at the university is careful not to interfere with or bother the police.
I wish I could have learned more about the characters. There is little information on their backgrounds and motivations.
Margot kindly provided me with a copy of the book. I appreciate her sending it to me. Having read her blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist, for almost a year I can see her voice in the book. She also sent me the second book in the series, B-Very Flat. I am looking forward to reading and reviewing it in the new year. (Dec. 17/11)


  1. Bill - Thank you for this kind review :-). I'm so glad you liked this one and I truly appreciate your taking the time to write about it. One of the things about writing one's first novel is that there is always so much to learn no matter how many books one's read. You're quite right I think that I didn't focus as much on the character development as I could have. It's one of those things that simply writing teaches one. Again, my thanks for your review!

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. After I have read B-Very Flat I expect to send some questions to have a further post on questions and answers.

  3. Bill - I'd be honoured - thank you :-)