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 14, 2015

The Unhanged Arthur - Last of the Independents

Sam Wiebe in the Vancouver Sun
In my last post I reviewed an impressive debut mystery, Last of the Independents by Sam Wiebe. In 2012 it was the winner of a unique Canadian Award, the Unhanged Arthur.

The Unhanged Arthur is a part of the annual Arthur Ellis Awards presented by the Crime Writers of Canada.

The Unhanged Arthur has been awarded for almost 10 years:

The first Unhanged Arthur was awarded by the Crime Writers of Canada in 2007 as part of the CWC mandate to recognize and promote the careers of promising new crime writers.

Eligible for the Unhanged Arthur are:

The competition is open to (1) Canadian citizens, no matter where they are living, and to writers, regardless of nationality, who have Permanent Resident status in Canada, and (2) who have never had a novel of any kind published commercially.

Contestants need a completed manuscript of 50,000 to 110,000 words.

I have not personally tried to define crime fiction. The Unhanged Arthur uses the following:

“Crime novel” includes capers, detective, espionage, mystery, police procedural, suspense, thrillers and other crime-related sub-genres, and can be set in any time period.

The prize is significant:

The winner will receive the Unhanged Arthur statue along with a cash prize from Dundurn. In addition, the winner's completed manuscript will be read and critiqued by a Dundurn editor, who will have the right of first refusal to publish the novel. The winner is required to allow Dundurn three (3) months to make an offer if they so choose, before the winning manuscript may be submitted elsewhere

The above quotes are drawn from the CWC website on particulars of the Award.

The winners of the Award have been:

2007 - Phyllis Smallman, Margarita Nights 

2008 - D.J. McIntosh, The Witch of Babylon

2009 - Douglas A. Moles, Louder 

2010 - Gloria Ferris, The Corpse Flower 

2011 - John Jeneroux, Better Off Dead 

2012 - Sam Wiebe, Last of the Independents

2013 – Coleen Steele, Sins Revisited

2014 – Rachel Greenaway, Cold Girl

With regard to Last of the Independents the Awards Committee stated:

A thoroughly satisfying read. An opening that grabs you, fast-moving and at times very funny with snappy dialogue, nice writing and intriguing plot. Very professional, and almost ready for publication. Last of the Independents was our unanimous choice as winner of the Unhanged Arthur Award

Dundurn took up their right to make an offer and are the publishers of Last of the Independents.

I think the Unhanged Arthur is a great award and look forward to seeing who wins in 2015. The shortlists for this year’s Arthur Ellis Awards will be announced in late April.


  1. Bill - Thanks for explaining what The Unhanged Arthur is. I really like that title. And from your review of this novel, it's a fine contender. I look forward to seeing those shortlists at the end of next month.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I agree that the title for the Award is clever and memorable. Just as a point of clarification, Last of the Independents won the Award in 2012.

  2. Thanks, Bill, I had not heard of the Unhanged Arthur award. Very interesting information on other winners her also.

  3. TracyK: Thanks for the comment. I wish more Awards had a comparable category.