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.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

“L” is for Paul Levine

For my entry this week in the Alphabet in Crime Fiction meme hosted by Kerrie Smith at her blog Mysteries in Paradise I have selected Paul Levine. He is one of the most humorous writers of legal mysteries. I have read 3 books in his Solomon and Lord series.

In addition to writing several other series he is an accomplished screenwriter noted for writing numerous episodes of JAG.

Anyone who posts the following about his legal education and career on his website has humour at the core of his life:

Paul is a graduate of Penn State University where he majored in journalism and the University of Miami Law School where he majored in the swimming pool. He passed the Florida Bar exam in his first try in what he suspects was a computer glitch.
He is the recipient of Penn State's Distinguished Alumnus Award and has served as an Alumni Fellow in the university's College of Communications. In law school, he served on the national championship moot court team and was an editor of the Law Review.

Paul was a trial lawyer with the mammoth, filthy rich international law firm of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where he did not even pretend to know all his partners' names. He specialized in "complex litigation," cases so abstruse that even lawyers charging 500 bucks an hour didn't fully understand them. Paul tried hundreds of cases and handled appeals at every level, including the Supreme Court. Along the way, he filed expense accounts nearly as creative as his legal briefs.

He taught communications law for a time at the University of Miami. I expect he provided his students with more humour than the average professor of law. For some reason law professors are not noted humourists.

His website provides the following on the Solomon and Lord series:

THE DEEP BLUE ALIBI was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe award, and KILL ALL THE LAWYERS was a finalist for the International Thriller Writers award. TRIAL & ERROR was called a "quick and tightly crafted caper" by Publishers Weekly, which also praised the book for its "endearing wit and memorable characters." (The magazine also called the novel a "fine rainy day read," but Paul insists it can be read in any weather, short of a category 4 hurricane).

The reviewfromhere.com blog has an interview with Levine from last year which includes:

            Is there an author that inspired you to write?

    John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series had a big 
    impact. So did Carl Hiaasen’s novel, “Tourist Season.” The
    mixture of humor and suspense really influenced my work.

Authors on the Air has an online oral interview with Paul Levine that describes him as an “Author, Wind Surfer, Foodie and more!” One of the interviewers is a former trial lawyer.

While the timing of his career is not clear from his website he said he began his legal career in the early 1970’s during the Authors on the Air interview.

While writing the Lassiter series he was not satisfied with his female characters and, wanting to create a better feminine character, came up with Victoria Lord.

The Solomon and Lord books I have read are:

1.) Solomon v. Lord – I loved the book. It is the funniest legal mystery I have read;

2.) The Deep Blue Alibi – It is a very good story with a dramatic opening featuring a speedboat blasting out of the ocean at Solomon and Lord;

3.) Kill All the Lawyers – I was somewhat disappointed in the book which spent very little time in the courtroom and was focused on Solomon.

Each book in the series is noteworthy for Solomon’s laws such as:

4. You can sell one improbable event to a jury. A second “improb” is strictly no sale, and a third sends your client straight to prison.”


  1. Bill - An excellent choice for L and I do like Solomon's Law #4. It's as relevant for crime fiction novels as it is for courtrooms...
    To me it's always refreshing when an author can weave humour into novels and even more when a person doesn't take him or herself too seriously.

  2. Very funny! I do enjoy humor in my mysteries. I will have to see if the library has any of these books!

  3. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I think Levine set a good ratio of improbables for all aspects of life!

  4. Peggy Ann: Thanks for commenting. There is a good chance he will be in the library. He has been a popular writer for twenty years.

  5. A very interesting post about a very interesting author, of whom I had not heard. I usually don't go for much humor in mysteries, and haven't read many legal mysteries, but these do sound very good. And I love that he was influenced by John D. MacDonald. Are the Solomon and Lord books set in Florida?

  6. I love humor in mysteries, including in legal-themed works.

    To me if dialogue, including in the courtroom crackles, the book is good.
    Nothing beats humorous courtroom jousting by prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges.

    I'm putting Solomon v. Lord on my TBR list right now.

    P.S. I used to read Steve Martini's Paul Madriani legal mysteries. Some were quite witty.

  7. TracyK: Thanks for the comment. The Solomon and Lord series is mainly in Miami with the secondary setting Key West.

  8. kathy d.: Thanks for the comment. A spirited court battle will draw me deeply into a book.

    I enjoyed one of Madriani's books but have not read another for quite awhile.

  9. I haven't read any of Paul Levine's books, but I do like humor in books, so I'm going to try the library for some of his books. Thanks for the review!

  10. Some of Michael Connelly's Mickey Haller legal mysteries have courtroom banter going on, as in The Fifth Witness.

    William Deverell had quite a bit going on in his last book. I'd assume in the prior books, too.