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, May 30, 2015

None So Blind by Barbara Fradkin

19. - 816.) None So Blind by Barbara Fradkin – I am late to this series featuring Inspector Michael Green of the Ottawa Police. None So Blind is the 10th book in the series.

It is a challenging book to review because to give a summary of the story is to spoil the story so I turn to an approach I use occasionally in reviews. This post will avoid spoilers. My next post will get into a discussion I want to have about the theme of the book that will involve some spoilers.

None So Blind had a slow start.
Green is mired in reports as a new Superintendent is insistent that she receive a “thorough briefing on all personnel, policies and procedures under her command. The three dreaded p’s of his administrative duties”. Green is not a talented bureaucrat.

In the midst of his paperwork he receives yet another letter from James Rosten who is 20 years into a life sentence for murdering Jackie Carmichael.

Rosten had been a rising biology professor when he had a personal relationship with his student, Jackie. After she was found strangled, the investigation led by a young Green, focused on proving Rosten guilty.

Rosten has staunchly maintained his innocence and has plagued Green with detailed letters over the years explaining why he was not guilty and challenging the evidence.

While in prison Rosten has been assaulted by other inmates and is now in a wheelchair.

The latest letter is one of his shortest:

                HE WINS!!!!

Rosten is referring to the death of Lucas Carmichael, the stepfather of Jackie. Rosten was convinced Lucas was the killer.

Green, as with all the letters, is unconvinced that Rosten is innocent.

The letter does prompt Green to visit Marilyn Carmichael who had fiercely campaigned to have Rosten convicted. Marilyn finds her grief over the death of her husband extending back to the never ending sense of loss from Jackie’s death.

Upset when he finds Rosten has written to Julia, Jackie’s sister, Green travels to the penitentiary to visit Rosten. Green finds a broken man, physically and mentally, who is ready to change. He tells Green:

“You’re right, time to let it all go. I’ve done what I could do, to no avail, for myself or for them. I won’t bother them anymore, if that’s what you came about.”

Unlike many police officers, Green wants Rosten to have a future. Green believes Rosten has served his time and he urges Rosten to seek parole.

The story takes off when Rosten makes the application to be released. Marilyn’s appearance at the parole hearing and her letter to the parole board are startling.

What happens because of the parole application challenges Green and will be the subject of my next post.

None So Blind is a thoughtful book with a fascinating sleuth. Green is the child of Holocaust survivors. His aged father, Sid, is still alive. Green is in the midst of a successful second marriage. He has a 20 year old daughter from his first marriage and two young children from his second marriage. Not enough mysteries have a sleuth wrestling, while solving crime, with the domestic issues of pre-school children and an elderly parent whose health is in decline.

By accident I have read consecutive mysteries that are police procedurals involving Ottawa Police Services. None So Blind happened to be the second book in the pile of 5 mysteries on my table that make up the shortlist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Novel in Canada. As set out in my last post listing the winners None So Blind did not win the Award.


  1. Green does sound like an interesting character, Bill. And I do like the sort of domestic situation he has - nice to see a detective who is functional! I'll be really interested in your next post - about the appeal. One of the other things that strikes me about this is the look it seems to give at the impact of prison on a person. I think that prison probably really does change people.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. It is uncommon for a mystery to really look at the consequences of life in prison.