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, January 2, 2013

Bill's Best of 2012 (Fiction)

For the past 13 years I have listed my best of the year. The choices reflect the year when the books were read by me. They are not always the year the book was published.

My headings reflect my mix of reading, fiction and non-fiction, and an arbitrary personal category, most interesting, for books that I liked beyond the traditional categories. This year all of the fiction read was mystery fiction. This post will set out my fiction picks. On Friday I will have my other picks.

During the year I read 57 books which is an average reading year for me.


1.) The Suspect by L.R. Wright – The first book in the Karl Alberg series set in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia was my favourite fiction of 2012. Written in 1985 the book opens with 80 year old George Wilcox reflecting on his murder of his fellow elderly neighbour, Carlyle Burke, and deciding not to confess and see if the RCMP can find the evidence to charge and convict him. I have also read the second book in the series, Sleep While I Sing, and am looking forward to reading more mysteries involving Alberg.

2.) Kaleidoscope by Gail Bowen – The 13th book in the Joanne Kilbourn Shreeve series written by Saskatchewan author, Bowen, sees Joanne retiring but not to a quiet life of ease with paraplegic lawyer husband, Zack Shreeve. After their garage is bombed they move into a condo owned by a wealthy Regina developer. When he is killed Joanne delves into the complexities of property development, municipal politics and urban Indian issues as she searches out the killer. It is Bowen’s 4th book on to make Bill’s Best. The earlier books were Burying Ariel in 2000, The Endless Knot in 2007, The Brutal Heart in 2008.

3.) Trackers by Deon Meyer – A brilliant South African thriller that features at least 26 different types of tracking. Set in Capetown Lemmer is a professional tracker while Milla Strachan, a 40 year old housewife, leaving a loveless marriage is an amateur tracker. Meyer also provided some interesting answers to questions concerning the book and his writing.

3.) Blessed Are the Dead by Malla Nunn – Another book set in South Africa. In the early 1950’s Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper and his African Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala are called from Durban into the countryside on the edge of the Drakensberg Mountains to investigate the death of a young woman. It is a vivid exploration of life in apartheid South Africa and an excellent mystery.

Kerrie Smith at her excellent blog, Mysteries in Paradise, is compiling a collection of 2012 Best lists. Please take a virtual trip down to Australia. There are lots of interesting lists.


  1. Of your four I have only read one, TRACKERS, and it will be appearing on my own list when I finally finish the post. I've got BLESSED ARE THE DEAD (published here under a different name) to read this month and am looking forward to it as I've really liked Nunn's first two books.

    I have just discovered a copy of the L.R. Wright book available via my library - last month all the libraries in the state where I live joined their catalogues together so we can now order books from any one of a couple of dozen libraries which looks like it's going to make it easier for me to track down stuff like this.

  2. Bill - You have an excellent list here. You've got a solid variety and I always respect that. And I am glad you liked Trackers as much as you did. I think Deon Meyer has an awful lot of talent. And as far as I'm concerned, you can't go wrong with a Gail Bowen.

  3. Have you read either of Scott Thornley's two novels? I tried 'Erasing Memory' last week but just couldn't get into it. You may have better luck.

  4. Bill, while going through your list I realised I've not read enough Canadian authors. This is something I have to improve this year and your advice will be highly appreciated.

  5. Bill, a very Happy New Year to you and your family! As Jiescribano says, I'd been interested in your recommendation of Canadian authors, as I haven't read much Canadian fiction. TRACKERS is one book from your Best of 2012 fiction I want to read.

  6. I found a copy of THE SUSPECT last year and never got around to reading it. I'll make sure to get to it this month. Thanks for reminding me about Malla Nunn's book. I received an ARC fromthe publisher and never read it. I chose instead to read Paul Cleaves' new book which I liked in spots, but was far too long for nothing more than a rehsash of a typical revenge story I've seen on US TV repeatedly.

  7. Bernadette: Thanks for the comment. I look forward to your list.

    I hope you enjoy The Suspect.

    In Saskatchewan we now have library cards that let residents get books at any library or order from any library in the province.

  8. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Gail is an excellent writer and a fine person. I hope you get a chance to meet her. Each of you is both an academic and a mystery writer.

  9. Dr. Evangelicus: Thanks for the comment. I have not read any of his books.

  10. Jose Ignacio: Thanks for the kind words. I look forward to you making a reading trip to Canada.

  11. Prashant: A Happy New Year to you and your family! Thanks for the comment. I believe you will enjoy Trackers. It is a very good book.

  12. John: Thanks for the comments. I hope you get a chance to read The Suspect.

    I expect to read Cleaves this year though, after your comment, it will not immediately reach the top of the TBR pile.

  13. I loved 'The Suspect' and 'Trackers' too Bill. Good choices!

  14. Sarah: Thanks for the comment. I am glad we shared a couple of great reads.

  15. Bill, looks like four good picks. How did you narrow it down to four? The Suspect was on my list. I had owned the book for a while but your review this year pushed me to read it ... And it was so good. Two of your authors are ones I want to read soon: Deon Meyer and Gail Bowen. Malla Nunn I am not familiar with, but now I am interested. Very nice list.

  16. TracyK: I make up my find that there are 3-5 and make the list. In reserve I have up to 3 books that make the Most Interesting list. This year that list had only 1 crime fiction book.

    Thanks for the kind words on The Suspect.

    I hope you get to read Deon and Gail and Malla.

  17. GREAT list....I enjoy mysteries and historical fiction.

    My list of 2012 Favorites is below.


    Silver's Reviews
    My Favorite Books of 2012

  18. Elizabeth: Thanks for the comment. I appreciate you becoming a blog follower.

  19. I have read three of the four books listed here, and agree they're excellent books.

    Glad that I recommended L.R. Wright's The Suspect since you enjoyed it so much.

    Malla Nunn's books are excellent, in my view, too. I've read the three published so far.

    And I liked Kaleidoscope and am going to read several books by Gail Bowen this year.

    Also, want to give an honorable mention to Russell Quant's character in Anthony Bidulka's books. They got me through a tough time; the humor was delicious. I look forward to reading more.

  20. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment.

    I appreciate we have enjoyed many of the same books.

    Russell Quant is also a favourite companion of myself.

    I hope the tough time has passed for you.