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.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sleuth of Baker Street in Mid-Winter of 2015

Sharon and I are in Toronto for a long weekend. When we booked the getaway we thought we might have warmer temperatures in Toronto than Saskatchewan in January. In a weather surprise it is actually a touch warmer in Saskatchewan this weekend. Beyond visiting family one of the reasons to come east was a chance to visit the Sleuth of Baker Street Mystery Bookstore. I always visit my favourite bookstore when I come to Toronto.

Late Thursday afternoon J.D. Singh was working by himself. Most of the time either J.D. or Marian takes care of the store.

The store continues to be full of mysteries and thrillers. Following my pattern in recent visits I restricted myself to purchasing 5 books. It is hard not to walk out with bags of books.

While there are lots of books there are not as many complete series. I was looking for Don’t Cry, Tai Lake which is the 7th in the series by Qiu Xiaolong. Several were on the shelf which is more than most stores but not that volume. J.D. said he would look for a copy for me.

My first choice was Tokyo Kill by Barry Lancet which is the second in the series featuring Jim Brodie from San Francisco. I had really enjoyed the first book, Japantown, and am looking forward to Tokyo Kill.

It has been some time since I read the Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville. While I found it harrowing and very violent it was so memorable I have been meaning to get the next in the series, Collusion, for some time and it became my second choice on Thursday.

I took a look around for some Australian crime fiction but J.D. says it remains as difficult as ever for him to get mysteries from Australia.

I had picked up Trinity Six by Charles Cumming for my third book but as I was looking at books highly recommended by J.D. and Marian on a display shelf at the front of the store I saw The Anarchist Detective by Jason Webster. I asked J.D. for a preference between them. He rightly said they are very different books and said he had really enjoyed Webster but thought I should start with the first in the series, Or the Bull Kills You. It became my third choice.

Looking for a Canadian mystery I saw on the same shelf, Last of the Independents by Sam Wiebe which is noted as Vancouver noir and was the winner of the 2012 Unhanged Arthur Ellis Award for best unpublished new crime fiction that year. The Unhanged Award is an effort to promote the publication of worth unpublished Canadian crime fiction.  Last of the Independents was my fourth choice.

I mentioned to J.D. that Anthony Bidulka is very unhappy with the quality of publication of his latest book, The Women of Skawa Island, which is the second in the Adam Saint series. Just over a week ago he cancelled a delayed book launch signing in Saskatoon when he discovered the book had significant printing errors in the published book which had not been present in the copy he had read. J.D. said it was not a shock. He said the publisher of Last of the Independents had gone through more than one printing because of such mistakes. He said he had numerous flawed copies of the book in the back of the store.

My fifth choice was not actually crime fiction. I was taken in by Tough Crimes – True Stories by Top Canadian Criminal Lawyers edited by C.D. Evans and Lorene Shyba. The book contains twenty stories of major Canadian criminal trials by a lawyer who participated in the trial. Two of the stories are by lawyers I know – one is a law school classmate and the other a good colleague in the Saskatchewan bar. Each lawyer talks about one important case in their careers and about how it affected them. I have already dived into the book and the stories are fascinating.

There were several other customers in the store while I was there. I hope the store can stay open for years to come. I have been visiting it for over 20 years.
Sleuth of Baker Street and Update on Sleuth and 2012 Trip to Sleuth and Sleuth of Baker Street in Mid-winter of 2015 in Toronto, Ontario whose website is http://www.sleuthofbakerstreet.ca/


  1. Bill - It sounds as though you've been having a great time. And the bookstore sounds fabulous. I agree that the more of these kinds of shops stay open and do well, the better! You got some good reads, too.

    1. Margot: As well as a great visit to Sleuth we went out to Niagara-on-the-Lake where Sharon did some shopping and we had a wonderful 5 course tasting menu with paired wines at the Peller Estates Winery Restaurant on a quiet night. There was but one other table and we were able to sit beside the fireplace. We could have stayed all night.

  2. Bill, J.D. Singh sounds like a first-generation Indian immigrant to Canada. I like his bookstore and his knowledge of books, which can be of great help to people having difficulty in deciding which books to buy. I also like the way you choose your five books. One can make up one's mind only if one knows one's books well, which, clearly, you do.

    1. Prashant: I am not sure of J.D.'s background. I doubt there is a person in Canada beside Marian who can match his knowledge of crime fiction. Thanks as well for the kind words about myself.

  3. This sounds like a fabulous bookstore - lucky you to get the chance to visit. Makes me want to go to Toronto.

    1. Moira: Thanks for the comment. Fabulous is apt. I wish I lived closer than 2,500 km from Toronto. Sleuth is one of many fine reasons to visit Toronto.

  4. Good to here that this store is still going strong. I remember reading of your previous visits to Sleuth on Baker Street. I met JD at Bouchercon when it was in Chicago back in 2005.

    Odd that JD says it's hard to get Australian writer's books in Toronto. Soho Press publishes a couple of excellent Australian writers and he should have no trouble getting those books from the US directly if not through his Canadian distributor. I guess he means getting Australian published books from Australian writers. Anyway, I'd recommend Garry Disher and Adrian Hyland, both Australian and both published in the US by Soho Press, or Soho Crime I guess they now call themselves. And Soho doesn't remove the local color or change words the way one unnamed publisher does with Paul Cleave's books set in New Zealand. You'd never know his books take place in Christchurch the way they "Americanize" the books.

    1. John: Thanks for the comment. You were right to raise what Australian books are unavailable. It is the Australian books that have not found North American publishers. I believe J.D. said it would even be difficult to get them from England. J.D. is a memorable guy.