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, October 6, 2012

"T" is for Donald Serrell Thomas

It is late in the week but I have a posting for “T” in The Alphabet in Crime Fiction meme of Kerrie Smith at her blog, Mysteries in Paradise. I am profiling the English author, Donald Serrell Thomas.

Born in 1926 Thomas has been and remains a prolific author. He has written fiction, non-fiction (history and academic) and poetry. He has edited books and been translator of a French book. Wikipedia lists him as the author of over 50 books.

He was a professor of English Literature and is currently a Professor Emeritus at Cardiff University.

For an academic and author of his distinction I had difficulty finding articles and images of him. The photo that accompanies this post was the only one I could find and comes from the Cardiff University website and only remained recognizable in the original size.

He is an authority on Victorian England. Wikipedia states:

He has written a number of books, mostly novels, on a variety of subjects predominantly set in Victorian England. He has also written a small number of non-fiction works dealing with similar subjects/settings, among them a study of the Victorian underworld, and biographies of Robert Browning, the Marquis de Sade, Henry Fielding, and Lewis Carroll.

His 1978 (rev. ed. 2001) biography of Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald highlights the characteristics of that individual which served in large part as inspiration both for C. S. Forester's Horatio Hornblower, and for Patrick O'Brian's Jack Aubrey.

He is noted for his knowledge of the English criminal underworld from the Victorian era to the present.

He wrote both fiction and non-fiction under the pseudonym, Francis Selwyn.
In crime fiction Wikipedia cites “three series featuring the main characters of:
Alfred Swain, an inspector of Scotland Yard.
Sonny Tarrant, a "gangland capo", and
Sgt. William Clarence Verity, a "Sergeant in Scotland Yard's 'Private Clothes Detail'" who investigates the Victorian criminal underground of London, c.1850.”

The Verity series was written under the Selwyn pseudonym.

I have read one of his most recent books, The Execution of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories published in 2007.

In my review I stated:

Arthur Conan Doyle’s combination of penetrating observations, clever deductions, forensic analysis and bold confident actions are skillfully continued by Thomas. It was

I found myself enjoying the Holmes stories and concluded that I liked Holmes better in stories than full length books.


  1. Bill - What an interesting author to profile! He's got a solid background in both fiction and non-fiction and I always find that really fascinating. Lots I didn't know here for which thanks.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. It is hard to think of a more varied writer.