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.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dos Equis by Anthony Bidulka

23. – 655.) Dos Equis by Anthony Bidulka – Russell Quant has spent a long year away from Saskatoon plagued by regrets over the ending of his last case and in sorrow over the end of a relationship because of his career. The usually chipper sleuth has been very depressed. With the passage of time he has reconciled himself to his losses and is now ready to return home.

Russell provides a poignant reflection:

"It’s been said gay people experience a retarded adolescence. We’re too busy fighting doubt, fearing revelation, hiding who we are, to deal with the all other “regular” stuff adolescence throws our way. We have to do that later. Maybe this past year had been my time. My adolescence.”

In Zihuatanejo, Mexico, his favourite destination in Mexico, he is startled by a phone call from his old antagonist, Jane Cross, the Regina private detective. She is asking for his help. On his way back to Saskatoon he stops to see her in Regina but is stunned when he finds her dead on the floor of her office.

He has no time to deal with the shock for he is attacked in her office. His assailant escapes but not before leaving a clue unlikely to be detected by a straight male detective. Russell smells the distinctive notes of Tom Ford cologne. While upset over the attack Russell is impressed by his foe’s taste in male fragrance.

Back in Saskatoon Russell is greeted eagerly by friends glad to see him return. Only his first dog, Barbra, is aloof. She is not happy he has been away a year.

Russell is determined to help find the killer of Jane. After all, the network of Saskatchewan private detectives, especially gay and lesbian, is tiny.

Searching out the people involved in Jane’s last files takes him out of Saskatoon to the village of Muenster. It is a place I know well having graduated from St. Peter’s College at the Benedictine abbey adjacent to Muenster. I keep hoping Russell will return to his rural routes for a future adventure based in the country.

At Muenster he speaks to a couple of ladies about Jane discussing her investigation into the death of an elderly and wealthy female neighbour.

The mystery features a winter death well suited to Saskatchewan.

A new man, J.P. Taine, enters Russell’s life in an unconventional way and Russell is swiftly smitten. They work together on the investigation.

J.P. and Russell find a document that refers to an ending fee with for an elderly woman. It is a creepy but very clever euphemism for a contracted murder. Anthony, the former accountant, noted that it was a deduction on an income statement.

As they struggle through computer searches J.P. suggests a Saskatchewan winter evening walk to clear their minds. Russell hesitates:

“Are you crazy? It is almost ten at night. Not to mention that with the wind chill it’s probably minus forty. And, in case you havcn’t noticed, it’s snowing like mad out there.”

They go for the walk.

Ultimately Russell, his friends and his family all head south to Zihuatanejo to solve the mystery and enjoy some time away from the brutal Saskatchewan winter. Anthony’s descriptions of Zihuatanejo have me ready to jump on the next flight. It would have been even harder to resist going had I been reading the book in January.

Anthony’s colourful witty language is best on display with regard to his 70 year old mother, Kay, taking the first airplane flight of her life with his friends, Anthony and Jarod. I described the passage in my post on the book launch.

The characters are better than ever. Anthony has created a vibrant community of friends and relatives for Russell in Saskatchewan.

The mystery itself gave me some problems. The concept was not as credible as I would have liked. It is hard to say more without compromising the story.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I find myself sailing through Anthony’s books eager to learn what is going to happen next in Russell’s busy life. (May 6/12)


  1. Bill - Thanks for this excellent review. I'm so glad that you enjoyed this one, and I'm very much looking forward to reading it myself. One of the things I like best about Bidulka's work is the set of characters so it's good to know they just as well-drawn here as I've come to expect. I'm sorry to hear about Jane Cross' murder though; I kinda liked her and thought she made a good contrast to Quant. I liked their exchanges.

  2. I haven't read the review yet as I have bought the first one in the series to read, based on your earlier interview & recommendation. I guess it will take me a while to catch up!

  3. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I regret Jane's departure but am glad Anthony is not predictable in who will stay a character in the series.

  4. Maxine: Thanks for the comment. No problem. You can catch up on reviews anytime.

  5. I too had a difficult time saying farewell to Jane. I enjoyed writing her characters, especially as a foil for Russell. Death and grieving is a difficult thing to deal with in a crime novel. You don't want to have the grief overwhelming the characters, and thus the book, yet you must give the seriousness of the event its full due. This is why I recorded the death of another character, Kelly, as happening in between books.
    Thanks for the review, Bill, and thanks Maxine & Margot for the other good comments.

  6. Anthony: Thanks for the comment. Your 50 Experiment was wonderful to follow and I can see you and Herb are having a good time in southern France. I am glad you are keeping the series dynamic. I do not think it would be bad for grief to overwhelm characters during a book. It happens in real life. I also appreciate your answers to my questions. They will be posted this week.