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, March 22, 2014

Spring is Legal Mystery Reading Season

Prior to Sharon and I going on our trip to the Bahamas and Florida earlier this month I said to myself I will not buy any books on vacation because I have lots of books on the TBR piles. I took 5 with me to guarantee I had enough reading material for 2 weeks. It is a good thing I did not swear an oath or I would have needed to go to confession for having grievously sinned.

On the island of Grand Bahama there are no real bookstores. There a couple of places in Freeport that sell some books. H.L. Bookstore is mainly stationery and school texts but they do have a small selection of fiction.

Initially Sharon and I went into the store to look for a coffee table book with photos of Grand Bahama. When the clerk said they had no books of photos I could not resist temptation and checked out the fiction. There were a couple of mysteries set in the Bahamas. I bought Who Killed Sir Harry by Eric Minns. As my recent interview indicates I regretted the purchase.

After we were in Orlando I was avoiding bookstores until Sharon decided to have a day looking around the Florida Mall. Seeing a Barnes & Noble bookstore as we drove to the mall my resistance crumbled and I was soon in the store. I was disappointed they had very few mysteries that did not involve well known authors.

As I was looking through new fiction I came across Identical by Scott Turow. I had been waiting to buy the book since I was not given a copy at Christmas. I rationalized that I was going to purchase it anyway so why not now and a copy of the book left the store with me.

A couple of days later we went on a trip outside Orlando to Winter Haven for a Rotary Club meeting. It was held at the lovely old Garden Ballroom which is part of the Old Towne Square building. After the meeting Sharon found an interesting shop across from the ballroom. Rather than sit waiting for her I went down the street to Book Traders, a used bookstore. I justified this walk by saying to myself that Sharon suggested I check out the bookstore instead of just waiting for her.

When I walked in the store I knew I would be leaving with books. They had a large room filled with books. Unfortunately, they were just starting a going out of business sale. They said they were not having enough business.

As I started looking I realized I was on a roll reading legal mysteries. I had just finished The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly on the beach. I had started Who Killed Sir Harry. I had Identical lined up next to read.

I started looking for legal mysteries. I decided spring would be my legal mystery reading season. (It does not feel like spring today in Saskatchewan. It was -24C when I got up this morning.)

At Book Traders I found too many legal mysteries. After moderate angst over which not to buy I purchased four of them.

The first is Trial and Error by Paul Levine. It is the fourth book in the Solomon and Lord series. I will have a review on it later next week.

The second is A Patent Lie by Paul Goldstein. Last year I had read Havana Requiem, the third book in his Michael Seeley series. Havana Requiem won the 2013 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. I had greatly enjoyed the book. I had been keeping an eye out for earlier books in the series and was glad to find A Patent Lie.

The third is Jury Master by Robert Dugoni. In 2012 his book, Murder One, had been one of the finalists for the Harper Lee Prize. I had enjoyed the book so I looked for an earlier book in the series featuring Seattle lawyer, David Sloane, and decided on the Jury Master.

The fourth is Defending Jacob by William Landay. It was the third book in the finalists for last year's Harper Lee Prize. Regular commenter Kathy D. had strongly recommended the book to me.

I may add another Canadian legal mystery, Kill All the Lawyers, by William Deverell to the list.

Thus I am embarked on reading at least six consecutive legal mysteries this spring. I am half way through the sextet. It is going to be a good spring of reading. I wish I knew when real life spring will reach Saskatchewan.


  1. Bill - I know all too well the allure of bookstores. Bibliophiles are drawn to them like moths to flames. I wouldn't have been able to resist either. And you have gotten some interesting sounding books. I'm interested of course in what you'll think of all of your purchases, but perhaps especially in your views about Defending Jacob. Lots of questions in that book (I think I can say this without spoiling it for you) about juveniles in the justice system. I look forward to your reviews.

    1. Margot: I love your use of the word "allure" for bookstores. It makes them sound sexy.

      While I have deliberately sought to know little about Defending Jacob I understand it is a challenging read.

  2. A Patent Lie is a good read, excellent attorney morality in that book, a lawyer doing the right thing.

    Defending Jacob is good, but I recommend it with the qualification that it is a tough book to read. It may require wine and discussions while reading it or afterwards. It was given raves by the late Maxine Clarke.

    After that, I was happy to go back to John Grisham and Michael Connelly, as well as an easy to read book "Dead Peasants," and so relaxing.

    I have to read Paul Levine's and Robert Dugoni's books, and will add them to my TBR lists, and try to read some in the summer.

    1. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment. Levine in particular would be fun to read in the summer. It is lighter and fast moving.

  3. I think this post should have been named 'confessions of a unstoppable book-buyer' - I think we can all recognize and empathize with your reasoning in the bookshops, and perfectly sensible loosening of the regulations! Look forward to the reviews.

    1. Moira: Thanks for the comment. The acronym COUB is not real catchy but it is an accurate description. It is hard for me to walk past a bookstore.

  4. Bill, it must be a fulfilling experience to read legal mysteries as a qualified lawyer. Your deep understanding of these books would enhance your joy of reading and reviewing them. I'm glad you'd a lovely time on vacation.

    1. Prashant: Thanks for the comment. When done well I greatly enjoy legal mysteries. Our vacation went well.