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, November 26, 2012

The Legends of the Lake on the Mountain by Roderick Benns

The Legends of the Lake on the Mountain – An Early Adventure of John A. Macdonald  by Roderick Benns – The Legacy and Leaders series for Young Adults continues with the second book in a series featuring the adventures of Canadian Prime Ministers when they were between 11 and 13 years of age. It is 1828 and young John A. Macdonald, our first Prime Minister, is 13 years old and residing at the community of Stone Mills (now Glenora) in Prince Edward County near Kingston, Ontario.

His father, Hugh, is running a flour mill powered by a waterfall coming out of the Lake on the Mountain, a lake on a plateau above the town.

It is late summer and John is conflicted about his imminent return to school in Kingston. He enjoys life both in the city and in his small home town.

While helping out at the mill there is still lots of time for John and his best friend, George Cloutier, a French Canadian boy to explore the mountain. John generally tolerates his 9 year old sister, Lou, joining them on their adventures. Her only regret in life appears to be that she is not a boy. His older sister, Molly, is more adult than child and uninterested in exploration.

Their quiet community is shaken when a local farmer disappears and his blood stained shirt is found on the edge of the lake. The anxiety level rises when there are reports of a lake monster. It sounds a lot like the Loch Ness monster with a big head and humps coming out of the water.

With John leading the way the young trio of John, George and Lou climb out on the branches of a huge twisted oak. They extend well into the lake. When the boys end up falling into the lake the creature appears in the lake. The terrified trio rush from the lake.

When the local constable also disappears the community is in an uproar over the missing men and the monster of the lake. Amidst the terror John does not panic and seeks a solution to the mysteries of the missing men and the lake.
At the same time the young people are entranced by a third mystery involving a French admiral from the time of the Seven Years War almost 70 years earlier.

Politics is already of interest to the young John. It is the time of the Family Compact, a group of elite families, who controlled Canada West (now Ontario) by overruling the legislature when they did not like decisions.

John is opposed to the Compact but, foreshadowing his adult life, does not believe in revolution to achieve democracy. He does not want the American model of revolution adopted in Canada to solve the challenges of dealing with an oligarchy.

John is the acknowledged leader of himself, George and Lou. He is already demonstrating the determination and eloquence and intelligence that made him successful in politics. His cleverness in negotiating with a bully will bring a smile to the reader.

For my adult life my image of John has been of him as the “Grand Old Man” of Canadian politics who led the way in achieving confederation in 1867 founding Canada and was re-elected our Prime Minister a generation later. This book has caused me to reflect on John as a young teenager. Few books look into the youth of the famous of the world.

I enjoyed the book. I thought the mystery in the first in the series, The Mystery of the MoonlightMurder, involving the young John Diefenbaker in Saskatchewan was a better mystery. The Legends of the Lake on the Mountain made me want to read the next in the series which involves a young contemporary Primer Minister, Paul Martin, who is still alive.

I continue to hope all who love Canadian history encourage young adults to read the series. They learn of important issues in Canadian history and how they impacted the lives of young Canadians who happened to be our future leaders. (Nov. 21/12)


This book will be my 5th book in the 6th Canadian Book Challenge. I have reached the Double Double level. Each level is named for a Canadian food or drink. Continuing with my single question quiz related to each book in the series does any reader know what a Double Double is in Canada?


  1. BIll - I very much like the idea of sharing stories of these actual historical figures from when they were young. It makes them seem that much more human. Thanks for sharing this story.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I am not aware of a comparable American series. Might there be a series featuring young American Presidents?