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, January 12, 2015

Bookmark Inspiration for the Outer Hebrides

When I bought The Lewis Man at a Chapters store in Calgary I received a book mark. Sometimes bookmarks barely register with me but this bookmark was unique. On one side it had a small map in the upper left hand corner of the Outer Hebrides superimposed on a lovely photo of a house (Johnny’s house) on the edge of the sea with the machair going down to the ocean. On the other side was a larger map with circles marking points on the islands with the following explanation:

Visit the locations in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides that inspired Peter May’s award-winning Lewis Trilogy.

Below the map was noted the website – www.petermaytrail.com. I thought it a simple and brilliant bit of marketing for book and the Hebrides.

Because of the bookmark I was inspired to look up the website. It is sponsored by the Outer Hebrides Tourism Industry Association. It is great to see a series of books is inspiring visits to the Outer Hebrides.

You can make a journey through the islands looking up the actual sites used by May in creating the trilogy. An example is the photo below of the fictional town of Crobost. As explained at the website May used two towns for his town:

As the basis of the story, the villages of Adabroc and Skigersta were amalgamated to form the village "Crobost" in the books. This meant the houses which are strung out along the crest of the hill above the beach at Port of Ness and the little harbour at Skigersta all formed part of the village of Crobost. Crobost was where Fin grew up and near Port of Ness, where the first murder takes place.

On my cover of The Lewis Man is a picture of an old boat. At the top of this post is a photo of the real harbour with some small boats with one showing traces of purple paint:

Skigersta harbour is where Peter May imagined to be "Crobost" harbour….. The harbour is where his father renovated an old boat, painted it purple and called it after his wife, Fin's mother.  Fin remembers his youth as purple. This was following his father's find of a drum of purple paint, whilst beachcombing. The result was that every door, shelf, cupboard, skirting board and his boat were painted purple!

After his parents died Fin grew up with his Aunt. There is a photo below of the house:

This derelict house was the house that Peter May imagined to be Fin's Aunts house. Set overlooking the bay at Skigersta harbour, the window in between the dormers was Fin's room. Fin went to stay with his aunt, as a youngster, following the death of his parents. It was a cold and miserable place, made colder by an aunt who treated him well enough, but never loved him.

I get cold looking at the house which was never a home for Fin.

I think more publishers and tourist authorities could gain some visitors with comparable bookmarks and travel trails for books set in other distinct locations.


  1. Bill - I agree; that's a great tie-in between a book and its setting. I love the idea of being able to take a virtual tour of a place and see the things (houses, beaches, etc..) that inspired the author. And I'm sure it's sparked more interest in and tourism to the Outer Hebrides.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I had to hold back from looking at the photos of the places featured in The Chessmen. I shall be one an early buyer once it is published in Canada.

  3. My husband has always wanted to visit the Outer Hebrides. Looks like a lovely place to visit. I have not started reading that trilogy yet. Looking forward to it.

  4. TracyK: Thanks for the comment. We were looking and commenting on each other's blog at the same time. I am far more interested in visiting the islands after reading the first two books in the trilogy.

  5. Bill, I enjoyed this post as I'm always on the lookout for innovative bookmarks, even unintended ones like clothes tags and labels that make curious bookmarks. I liked reading about Outer Hebrides and can see why its tourism industry association chose bookmarks to attract tourists and readers to this beautiful place.

    1. Prashant: Thanks for the comment. I like bookmarks as well. Our local library has twice had contests for children to design a bookmark for the library. We printed several hundred copies to hand out to library patrons. Each time we had a colourful unique bookmark.