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, May 24, 2015

The 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction Shortlist

A few days ago the American Bar Association Journal and the University of Alabama Law School announced the shortlist for the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.

The finalists are: 

1.) My Sister’s Grave, by Robert Dugoni;

2.) Terminal City, by Linda Fairstein; and,

3.) The Secret of Magic, by Deborah Johnson

With previous winners being John Grisham (twice), Michael Connelly and Paul Goldstein there is going to be a new winner this year.

Dugoni was on the 2012 shortlist for his book, Murder One. I read that book and thought it an excellent legal thriller. I exchanged emails with the author on a legal ethics issue arising in the book.

I have read books by Fairstein but not for over a decade.= 

I am not familiar with Johnson. 

The members of the selection committee this year are Roy Blount Jr., author and humorist; Wayne Flynt, author and Alabama historian; Mary McDonagh Murphy, independent film and television writer and producer; and Michele Norris, NPR host and special correspondent. 

Information on the books can be found on the ABA Journal website which announced the shortlist at http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/2015_harper_lee_prize_voting/. As in previous years readers of the Journal can help pick the winner by voting online at the Journal. The public, through the book attracting the most votes, effectively becomes a 5th selector whose vote is recognized as an equal vote to each of the selection committee members.

Unlike previous years none of the judges are practising lawyers. It does not make sense to me not to have at least one practising lawyer on the committee to judge a prize of legal fiction.

As I did last year I am going to read the books on the shortlist so I can prepare reviews and my choice for the Prize prior to September. As with this year’s shortlist for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Canadian Crime Novel I have not read any of the books on the Harper Lee Prize shortlist.

The Prize will be presented on September 3 in Washington as a part of the Library of Congress National Book Festival.


  1. Bill, all three authors, Robert Dugoni, Linda Fairstein, and, Deborah Johnson, are new to me and it'll be interesting to see who wins the 2015 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.

    1. Prashant: Thanks for the comment. Fairstein is by far the best known of the trio.

  2. Thanks, Bill, for letting us know who the finalists are. It will indeed be very interesting to see who the winner is for this year. I'll look forward reading your reviews.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I hope this Award will get further recognition with the publication this summer of Lee's second book.

  3. Interesting books: I must read Murder One first.

    FYI: Linda Fairstein was an attorney, then became a prosecutor in Manhattan and was the head of the sex crimes unit for years.

    1. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment. I think you will like Murder One.