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, November 28, 2013

A Cold White Sun by Vicki Delany

A Cold White Sun by Vicki Delany – Trafalgar, British Columbia schoolteacher, Cathy Lindsay, is out for an early morning walk with the family dog, Spot, on the first day of the spring school vacation. As she briskly strides down the path on the edge of the mountain near her home she is struck down by a single shot fired from a shotgun behind her. Constable Molly (Moonlight) Smith answers the call and finds Lindsay dead in the snow.

There is no obvious suspect. Lindsay does not have any apparent enemies. Life at home with husband, Gord, was tolerable. Colleagues generally like and respect her. She is neither a community activist nor politically active nor involved in any protest movements. There is no activity in which she is engaged that created animosity.

For Smith, Sergeant John Winters and the other members of the police department it means a long hard investigation looking into the details of Lindsay’s life. They will have to search for a piece of evidence to lead them to the killer.

In her personal life Smith has been reflecting on her relationship with boyfriend, Constable Adam Tocek of the local RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) detachment. They have been living comfortably together. Has the time come to make it permanent or is it time to move on?

Smith is adjusting to the new relationship of her mother, Lucky Smith, with the town’s Chief Constable, Paul Keller. Smith’s father has died a few years ago and she realizes her gregarious mother is bound to establish a new relationship but she finds herself not ready for her mother to have a sexual relationship.

Trafalgar is a small community. As the police probe information comes from personal connections as much as from formal interviews.

The police learn that Lindsay was very interested in math teacher, Mark Hamilton. Publicly he has shown no interest her. Of interest to the police is his military background. Before becoming a teacher he had been a soldier in the Canadian army and served in Afghanistan. Could there have been a personal as well as a professional relationship?

The police examination of Lindsay’s family is painful. Gord is confused and disorientated by the death of his wife. Daughter, Jocelyn, normally a bubbly 10 year old is devastated by the death of her Mom. Son, Bradley, a sullen teenager cannot figure out what to feel about his Mom being gone. On an ordinary late winter morning their lives have changed completely and they cannot understand why.

Frustration grows as the police struggle to find leads. Lindsay has had an average life.

Delany skillfully portrays the family lives of the police and other characters. It is not a mystery in which the characters lead solitary lives. Her characters deal with the daily challenge of family relationships.

Delany does equally well in evoking the central B.C. setting of the book. The weather and geography are essential parts of the book.

In the combination of family and mystery I was reminded of the Joanne Kilbourn series of Gail Bowen. I am drawn to reading mysteries in which the characters have real families in clearly defined settings.

The end is startling. I did not see it coming.

The sixth Smith and Winters mystery is the first I have read. I will be reading more of the series. (Nov. 23/13)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Great Grey Cup Sunday

Grey Cup
In my last post I set out my induction into the Football Reporters of Canada wing of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame last Sunday morning.

In late afternoon I took the media bus to Taylor Field where the Grey Cup game, the championship of the Canadian Football League, was being contested between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

Saskatchewan has hosted three Grey Cup games but this was the first time the home team, the Roughriders, had played for the Cup in their own Stadium.

My thoughts on the game are set out in the column I wrote which can be found on the Melfort Journal website at http://www.melfortjournal.com/2013/11/25/surreal-sunday.

The level of excitement in Saskatchewan over the Rider victory has never been matched in our history.

It has become a tradition, better described as a superstition, for professional football players not to touch the Grey Cup unless they have won the Championship. (The same tradition applies in hockey for the Stanley Cup.)

After winning the Cup it is a happy tradition for the winning team to drink from the Cup and the Riders were certainly following that tradition in their dressing room after the game.

As with most Canadian sports fans I believe having a cup for the winner is much better than the sculptures used as trophies by the NFL and Major League Baseball. Drinking from a Cup is far more a celebration than getting your photo taken holding the trophy.

The winter will not be as long in Saskatchewan with the Riders winning the Cup.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Induction into the FRC Wing of Canadian Football Hall of Fame


Holding my Induction Plaque
Today has been a special day for me. This morning I was inducted into the Football Reporters of Canada wing of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.

For 36 years I have been covering the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League (CFL) for the Melfort Journal. During those years I have been writing a column for the Journal called "On Sports".

Each year my wife, Sharon, and I have been driving from Melfort to Regina for each Rider home game. Prior to my sons graduating from high school they would be with us.

It is a 300 km drive to Regina. The 600 km round trips have totalled 180,000 km since 1978.

In my acceptance speech I said the 6 hour drives in the van have given me a lot of time to think about football and life.

In my speech I discussed how and why I came to write a sports column:

"When I grew up on the farm at Meskanaw the CFL was a distant league. I had no access to a daily paper. Few games were on T.V. I listened to games on the radio.

I have always loved words. I enjoy reading, speaking and writing. I like organizing words to inform, to explain, to persuade. I realized early in my life that my greatest skill was the ability to use words.

I have equally loved sports through my life. Whether playing sports, not well I admit, or organizing or coaching or teaching or refereeing or watching I have a passion for sports.

I have wanted to know "why" as early in my life as I can remember.

Writing a column has let me write words about sport and ask why since 1978."

It was an honour I never expected. I am the first journalist from a weekly newspaper to be inducted.

I have not been posting this week as I have been caught up in the activities of Grey Cup Week in Regina. (The Grey Cup is the equivalent of the Super Bowl.)

The Saskatchewan Riders are both playing and hosting the game. Our whole province has never been more excited.

I will put up my next post about the game.

Today has already been a great day for me.



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thoughts on a Dan Brown Quartet

Over the past 10 years I have read four of Dan Brown’s books – Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Symbol and Inferno.

I can recall the Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore recommending Angels and Demons. My review of the book included:

It is an exceptional thriller that weaves together particle physics, medieval art and architecture, God's existence, science's explanations of life, ambigrams and the history of the Catholic Church.

I purchased The Da Vinci Code as soon as it was published.

Shortly after I read The Da Vinci Code I summed up the book:

It is a dizzying journey into 2,000 years of Christian and non-Christian symbols with the extravagant symbolism of Da Vinci at the core of the book.

It tied for my favourite fiction of 2003.

Some years earlier I had read Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln. Even before the book was mentioned by Brown in The Da Vinci Code I could tell that Brown was following a comparable thesis that Jesus had not died on the Cross and had actually fathered children.

I subsequently read the trial judgment in the author’s claim against Brown for plagiarism. I thought the case weak before it was tried and the trial judge crushed their claim. As common with books with historical themes they had drawn extensively on previous authors. Claiming to be a work of history also doomed their claim for Brown could freely draw upon its premises.

(It became the most unusual of judgments when it was revealed the judge had placed a coded message within the judgment through random italicized letters.)

Six years later I read The Lost Symbol. I concluded:

It is a good not great thriller. I expect the Mason hierarchy will be as unhappy as Catholic leaders if readers believe everything in the book is true.

For Inferno I said:

The book is a breathtaking chase while Langdon determines the meaning of symbols in word, art and sculpture as a looming catastrophe faces the world.

I have admired in Brown’s books how he assembles and integrates historical information in his books.

I thought that Angels & Demons and The Da Vinci Code worked best out of the quartet as they had the grandest sweep of history. While I found their characterization of Catholicism unfair they each covered a compelling historic theme. In particular, in The Da Vinci Code, seeking to trace through centuries of history symbols purporting to show the descendants of Jesus left me eagerly turning the pages.

I do not know what themes Brown could have come up with for the successor novels but neither the Masons in The Lost Symbol nor Dante in the Inferno could match either Angels & Demons or The Da Vinci Code.

I found The Lost Symbol the weakest of the four books. While Brown remained credible Langdon having to decode the symbols relating to the pyramid in Washington that leads to the Ancient Mysteries actually stretched reality more than Jesus purportedly surviving crucifixion.  

I was glad to see Professor Langdon return to Europe for Inferno. Brown’s combination of history and symbols works better for me in a European setting where Brown can draw on far more centuries of symbols. I do acknowledge that it was hard to be objective in reviewing The Lost Symbol when I had found The Da Vinci Code brilliant.

I thought Inferno had the best ending of the quartet. As I do not want to write spoilers I will not venture into the conclusion of the book. It had a subtlety not often encountered in thriller fiction.

Ultimately, Brown wrote his blockbuster too early in his writing career. His subsequent books pale in comparison with The Da Vinci Code. I hope he can prove me wrong but I think The Da Vinci Code will always dominate memories of Brown as a writer.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Inferno by Dan Brown

52. – 741.) Inferno by Dan Brown – An unknown man calling himself the Shade climbs high in a Florentine building. Speaking in poetic phrases he seeks to protect a masterpiece:

It grows even now … waiting … simmering beneath the bloodred waters of the lagoon that reflect no stars.

As pursuers close upon him the Shade leaps to his death praying he will not be remembered as “a monstrous sinner, but as the glorious savior”.

His masterpiece is to restrain a burgeoning world population about to exceed the earth’s capacity to sustain its people.

Harvard Professor Robert Langdon awakes in a foreign hospital bed with confused images of a silver haired woman echoing in his mind. As he struggles back to reality a young beautiful woman, Dr. Sienna Brooks, explains to him that his head has been grazed by a bullet. He is shaken when he learns it is two days later than his last memory. His mind is further sent spinning when, looking out the window, he realizes he is in Florence, Italy. How did he get there from America? What happened in the lost days?

Before he can assemble his thoughts an attack is made upon the hospital room. A doctor is slain. Langdon barely escapes with Brooks. They go to her apartment where Langdon tries to grasp what has taken place.

At the same time members of the Consortium, a business devoted to facilitating the needs of the very wealthy are viewing a disturbing video from the Shade about Dante’s hell while showing a shimmering bag suspended in water.

Back in Florence a tube sewn into Langdon’s suit coat contains a form of projector that displays Botticelli’s famed painting, Map of Hell, portraying Dante’s Nine Circles of Hell. Upon the image have been put letters but they do not form a known word. Langdon starts drawing on his knowledge of symbols and cryptography to decipher the letters.

Langdon learns Brooks is a genius, an actress as a child who has become a doctor. When he finds her flowing blond hair is a wig and she is bald he confronts another mystery

Tracked down to Brooks apartment by black clad security forces Brooks and Langdon race away to determine the meaning of the letters amidst Florence’s greatest architectural achievements.

At the heart of the mystery is Dante’s Divine Comedy. Over 700 years after it was written the powerful images of his poetry and the images they inspired continue to make The Divine Comedy a powerful work of art.

The book is a breathtaking chase while Langdon determines the meaning of symbols in word, art and sculpture as a looming catastrophe faces the world.

The end was far more complex and subtle than I had expected. It was a genuine surprise to me. I was glad I read the book. My next post will have some thoughts on the quartet of Brown books I have read – Angels & Demons, The Da Vinci Code, The Lost Sympbol and Inferno. (Nov. 16/13)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Black Hats by Patrick Culhane

A few years ago I enjoyed seeing Max Allan Collins at Once Upon a Crime bookstore in Minneapolis. The event inspired me to read Black Hats.
****
42. - 452.) Black Hats by Patrick Culhane – When Sharon and I were in Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago we went to the Once Upon a Crime bookstore to see Max Allan Collins talk about writing. He wrote this book under his pseudynom. Collins writes mysteries (alone and with collaborators who include his wife and under the pseudynom), screenplays, graphic novels (Road to Perdition) and comic books. He is also a move director. He said he can write a novel in 2-3 weeks when he starts actually writing. He said he did not know how many books he had written.
 
I was captured by the premise of the book – aging Wyatt Earp confronting Al Capone in 1920 in New York. I had never realized that Earp lived until 1929. In the book he goes to New York to help Doc Holliday’s son, Johnny, who is operating one of the first speakeasies. Johnny has been threatened by the Italian gang of which Capone is a member. In New York Earp joins up with Bat Masterson who in fiction and real life became an early 20th Century sportswriter in New York. The spoken language has a convincing Western flavor. The story is well done. It does not have the many twists of some stories. The violence is limited. Earp is no saint but he is a hero. It was a satisfying honest story. It may be one of the year’s most interesting because of its historical theme. Paperback. (Oct. 12/08)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dishonest Canadian Private Investigators Caught in the Caribbean

Photo from the Toronto Star
In last post I recounted how Canadian private investigators, Cullen Johnson and Elaine White, engaged in the creation of fraudulent evidence especially with regard to offshore bank accounts.

When caught in 2009 they fled Canada for the Bahamas. They would have been well advised to have maintained a low profile but they aggressively responded to the claims against them. They created a website, Superstar Corruption, in which they claimed they were framed with regard to all the allegations of fraud. They continued lashing out at their accusers.

Justice Lee in an Alberta case against them set out:

    ww) In or about July of 2012, Roger and Martin became aware 
    of a website known as www.superstarcorruption. com. From a
    review of the content of that website, it appears that is is a
    website created by, and maintained by, the Defendants. A
    number of segments of the website, titled "The Western Case",
    "Getting Lucky", "Derrick Snowdy, Cunningham and the Gouin
    Brothers", "Closing Observations", and "Concluding  
    Comments", clearly refer to, and pertain to, the Plaintiffs. By
    this website, the Defendants have repeated the Defamatory
    Statements.

In this electronic age it is fascinating and disturbing that both their original website, Internal Affairs at www.internalaffairs.ca and the Superstar Corruption site at www.superstarcorruption.com remain active and can be accessed.

Had they maintained a low profile I suspect they might have been able to avoid extradition but they arrogantly continued their frauds and drew the attention of American authorities.

Earlier this year, after 3 years in the Caribbean, Global News of Canada reported that they were picked up in the Turks & Caicos Islands for an immigration charge and then extradited to Virginia. Last month they agreed to plead guilty to American criminal charges.

An excerpt from the statement of facts signed by Johnson finally admits to the criminal actions:

3. Clients seeking to locate funds that had been stolen from them, or who believed that relatives or former spouses had hidden money or were otherwise trying to trace lost, missing or stolen assets, hired the defendant and/or his companies and/or co-conspirators to investigate the location of such assets. The defendant and co-conspirators would produce reports of information to such clients, which purported to contain financial and other information subject to the clients' requests.

4. Rather than providing valid information, the defendant and co-conspirators provided the client-victims with false and fraudulent data and fabricated banking records, purporting to show that the assets or monies that clients sought had been moved from one banking institution to another in countries such as Monaco, Greece, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Latin America and the Caribbean. The conspirators convinced victims that for additional payments, they could continue to trace the funds to their final destination. The defendant and White provided this information in so called "Confidential Reports" to clients, via facsimile and e-mail that contained bank account numbers, balances and fund transfers that, in truth and fact, as the defendant well knew, did not exist.

5. In or about 2009, the defendant and White were charged by the Ontario Provincial Police in Canada with crimes related to this asset tracing fraud. The defendant was arraigned and assigned a trial date, but shortly thereafter and being fully aware of the charges, fled Canada, traveling first to the Bahamas, and then to the Turks & Caicos Islands, where the defendant and White continued to operate this fraudulent asset tracing business on U.S. and Canadian victims.

6. From 2006 through 2011, victims of the asset tracing scheme wired the conspirators approximately $1,021,738.60 to bank accounts under their control in Canada, Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Crime paid well for several years but the pair are facing a bleak future.

Canadian lawyers have learned a harsh lesson because of Johnson and White that reports from private investigators must be verified. Relying on the integrity of licenced investigators allowed Cullen and Johnson to cause great pain and harm in Canada.

I expect to see a book and/or movie based on the dangerous duo in the near future. Just reciting the facts makes for a full plot.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Real Life Canadian P.I.'s Manufacture Evidence


Often when I read crime fiction in which it is alleged there is a conspiracy against the good guy or the creation of false evidence or a scheme to frame someone I am skeptical. Well, after reading about real life former Canadian private investigators, Cullen Johnson and Elaine White, I will have to more willing to accept such stories are credible.

The incredibly brazen Johnson and White manufactured evidence for years to be used in Canadian court cases.

They were successful for several years partially because of their professional backgrounds. In a Canadian Lawyer Magazine article it was stated:

The fact lawyers were hoodwinked by Johnson and White is no surprise given the couple’s professional pedigrees. What’s known about White is she once worked as an investigator for a subsidiary of Lindquist Avey, a well-regarded forensic accounting firm in Toronto in the ’90s later purchased by Kroll. Johnson was a police officer with the Toronto Police Service, where he enjoyed success during his 20-plus years on the force. He became an assistant in the chief’s office, a detective sergeant in the intelligence branch, and spent a number of years with internal affairs. Colleagues recall him as a competent and scandal-free officer.

The Canadian Lawyer Magazine focuses on the story of Eric Cunningham, a marketing executive and former Member of the Provincial Parliament for Ontario, who was in the midst of divorce proceedings when a multi-million dollar claim was made against him that he had secreted funds off shore.

The article states:

In the case of Cunningham, they presented Blaneys with an impressive-looking 59-page, single-spaced dossier, replete with bank account numbers, dollar amounts, and wire transaction records — for the most part fiction

Cunningham went through a multi-year struggle to clear his name and is now suing his wife’s lawyers, Blaneys, and others for the fraud.

In Alberta Cullen and Johnson provided false information in a family estate case involving the Gouin brothers. In the trial judgment for defamation by the brothers against Johnson and White Justice Lee summarized:
       
[52]  In the present case, the Defendants used their businesses to sell fake financial information about one person to a person who wanted to find "dirt" on another in order to sue that person. The sale of such information has wreaked havoc on the lives of innocent people, financially and emotionally. Notwithstanding the fraudulent nature of the financial information sold in this case, the Defendants continue to insist on the accuracy of the information they provide. These Defendants have hidden in Bahamas in order to avoid facing charges in both Ontario and the United States for this same conduct. Their disregard for honesty and the justice system, and the callous manner in which the Defendants have conducted themselves, define the very circumstances by which punitive damages should be awarded.
 
The consequences of their actions went beyond financial harm. Canadian Lawyer sets out another case in which it was alleged Lorraine Teicht, who was the lottery ticket buyer for herself and a group of co-workers who jointly purchased tickets, had taken money from a winning ticket:

White and Johnson produced a report saying Teicht had indeed stolen the lottery winnings and stowed the cash offshore. Driven by this false information, Teicht’s co-workers harassed her for months, causing Teicht to have two nervous breakdowns and other health problems.

The ticket had actually been stolen by the variety store owner who had sold the winning ticket.

Charged with fraud by Ontario police in 2009 Johnson and White fled Canada to the Bahamas. My next post will continue  the Johnson and White saga to the present day.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Business of Dying by Simon Kernick

In this post I put up a review I wrote in the fall of 2008.
****
44. - 454.) The Business of Dying by Simon Kernick – Dennis Milne, a London detective, moonlights as a hired killer of bad guys avoiding justice. His vigilante justice is turned upside down when he is set up by his employer and kills two customs officers and an accountant. As he struggles to deal with his actions he attempts to resolve the murder of an early teenage prostitute. Trying to reconcile his lawful pursuit of criminals with his own criminal actions is difficult. As he moves forward each of the plots becomes more complex. There were too many bodies for me. The book drew me swiftly forward as I wondered what the consequences would be for Milne. I concluded that anti-heroes are not my favourites. While I sometimes tire of the hero always solving the case I dislike the hero being a murderer. Should the anti-hero be rewarded for killing bad people? Many would favour such action but when did the anti-hero become God? Milne settles for justifying his actions to himself. Good. Paperback. (Oct. 21/08)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Cover Reveal for Open Secret by Deryn Collier

In this post I am participating in a cover reveal for a new book, Open Secret by Deryn Collier. The image next to this post is the first portion of the reveal. The book is being published on April 8, 2014 by Simon & Schuster.

Open Secret will be the second book in a series featuring Coroner Bern Fortin. An excerpt from Simon & Schuster’s page for the book provides the following about the book:

After the abrupt end to his military career Bern has settled into an uneasy peace in his new life in Kootenay Landing—a peace he knows can’t last. Out for a fall hike, he discovers Dr. Juniper Sinclair, the town’s lone doctor, attempting to revive small-time drug dealer Seymour Melnychuk, who has been shot in the forehead. In a seemingly unrelated incident, Gary Dowd abandons his van while crossing the US border. Gary is a local father of two, an accountant, and a steady, predictable guy. He’s also been best friends with Seymour Melnychuk since elementary school.


The first book in the series was Confined Space.

Deryn provides the following about herself on her website:

Deryn Collier grew up in Ottawa and Montreal and is a graduate of McGill University. After a very short career as a federal bureaucrat she ran away to the mountains of BC where she has been ever since. She has worked in a log yard, a brewery, as a doctor recruiter and a communications consultant.

Deryn’s first novel, Confined Space was shortlisted for an Arthur Ellis Award for best unpublished first crime novel by the Crime Writers of Canada. It was published in Canada by Simon & Schuster in 2012.

Deryn lives in Nelson, BC with her family and blogs about crime fiction and life in the mountains www.deryncollier.com.

The remaining parts to the cover reveal can be found at:

Wednesday, Nov. 6: A Bookworm’s World
Friday, Nov. 8: House of Crime and Mystery

I am looking forward to reading Open Secret especially as I have not read mysteries set in central B.C.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Furies by D.L. Johnstone

Furies by D.L. Johnstone – In bustling Alexandria, over 2,000 years ago, Decimus Tarquitius Aculeo, a proud Roman merchant, is reduced to poverty by the sinking of two fleets of ships carrying grain for him. He had recklessly borrowed, at ruinous interest raters, from moneylenders. When the ships sank they ruthlessly descended on Aculeo seizing every asset.

Aculeo’s beautiful wife, Titiana, judges him a fool and returns to Rome with their son, Atellus. Her wealthy family soon finds a new husband for her.

Aculeo is leading an aimless existence in a small apartment with his slave. Xanthias, and gradually drinking his way through the meagre amounts he can raise from the sale of Titiana’s jewellery.

Former friends who equally lost their fortunes blame Aculeo for persuading them to invest with him though it is obvious he has lost as much as anyone.

Alexandria is a city of extremes. There are numerous fine buildings and prosperous districts. At the same time a much greater part of the city is composed of slum level housing and acute poverty. In the book there is no middle class. A resident is either a member of the rich elite or desperately poor. Aculeo has moved the heights to the depths.

The strength of the book is in its descriptions of Alexandria and its history. I learned a great deal about the city.

The book was a good example of the challenge of names in ancient crime fiction. There are so many unfamiliar names for such matters as people, government and religion (objects, buildings and principles).

For many of the characters it was easy to tell if they were good or bad by their appearance.

It was hard to maintain interest in the story when the main characters are extremely poor and living bleak dark lives. I believe I can enjoy stories where the characters are poor but prefer not everything be grim about them.

Aculeo is muddled at times, no doubt from the large quantities of cheap wine he consumes, which left the plot for periods unclear to me.

Aculeo is roused from his listless life by reports that Iovinus, an associate of his deceased business partner, has not drowned with the sunken fleet but is in Alexandria. As he searches for Iovinus there are murders of women with which Aculeo becomes involved. I did not find the combination of mysteries worked well together. I think it would have been better to have concentrated on either the financial mystery of the missing ships or the cruel murders of young women.

I did find Sekhet, an aged healer and funeral attendant, a fascinating character. She had better potential to be the sleuth with her clever mind and unusual combination of skills.

I admired the ending. It was not predictable and suspenseful.

A reader interested in mysteries set in ancient times will find the book interesting. I thank the author for sending me a copy of the book (Nov. 1/13)