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.

Friday, March 18, 2016

A Leaders & Legacies Quintet

There have been five books published in the Leaders & Legacies series by Fireside Publishers with the publication of The Wail of the Wendigo which I will reviewed in my next post. The diversity of backgrounds to these young men, they are between 11 and 13, who became future Canadian Prime Ministers should inspire young Canadians that any young Canadian has the opportunity to become Prime Minister.

The first in the series, The Mystery in the Moonlight Murder, will always remain closest to my heart as it features, John Diefenbaker, the only Saskatchewan born future Prime Minister. It is set in 1908 near Borden, Saskatchewan where Diefenbaker’s father had homesteaded and was teaching school. Young Diefenbaker grows up working hard on the farm while acquiring an education in a one room school for his elementary education. It is a struggle as the family works to establish a farm and Diefenbaker’s father is so busy between teaching and farming.

The second book, The Legends of the Lake, is set in rural Ontario near Kingston almost a century earlier in 1928 and involves, John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister. Macdonald’s father is operating a flour mill which uses the water from a waterfall. Macdonald also works in the mill when he is not away at school in Kingston. The Macdonald family is doing well but is certainly not wealthy.

The third is Showdown at Bordertown set in the area of Windsor, Ontario across the river from Detroit. It is set in 1950 with young Paul Martin. His father, Paul Martin Sr., is a federal government Member of Parliament for the Liberal Party. At the time of the book Martin Sr. is the Minister of Health for Canada. The Martins live comfortably in a middle class neighbourhood.

Martin Jr. (never known as Jr.) is the only living Prime Minister to be the subject matter of a book and participated in the project including writing the foreword and joining the author, Caroline Woodward, for a book signing event that garnered great publicity.

Most unique about this book is that it was written by a teenager who won a contest to write the book.

The fourth book, The Hero of Hopewell Hill, returns to the 19th Century. It is set on the coast of New Brunswick in 1888. Richard Bennett, our 11th Prime Minister, is living on the family farm. His grandfather had owned a prosperous shipbuilding business but the advent of steel hulled ships brought an end to the family business. Bennett’s father main focus is his blacksmith business. Bennett is expected to work hard on the farm even though he is only 13. Bennett’s mother understands his desire to become a teacher as she had trained as a teacher.

The fifth book, mentioned above, is The Wail of the Wendigo, and features Pierre Elliot Trudeau when he was 11 years old. Trudeau grew up in Montreal. While his father came from a modest background he has prospered and owns a chain of gas stations in Quebec. Despite the Depression of the 1930’s the Trudeau family is doing very well financially.

The five future Prime Ministers come from four different provinces.

Of the quintet four come from rural backgrounds which is not a surprise. Until after World War II most Canadians did not reside in major urban centres.

There is no consistency in the occupations of their fathers.

None of the mothers worked outside the home in jobs. Once again these books are set at times when relatively few women had occupations away from home. Certainly three of the mothers worked on the farm or in the family business.

I acknowledge there is not as much inspiration for girls in reading the series. All the Prime Ministers of the series have been men. It will remain that way in future books as Canada has had but one female Prime Minister, Kim Campbell, and she was in power for only a short time before an election decimated the Conservative Party.

What is common to the character of these boys who became Prime Ministers is that they came from families who valued education, hard work and discipline. Those traits remain a sound foundation for young Canadian boys and girls. 

I look forward to future books in the series to provide more interesting adventures about the men and woman who have been our Prime Ministers for 149 years.


  1. Oh, it is good to hear there's a new entry into the Legacies and Leaders series, Bill. I think that's a fine series, and a great way for young people to learn about Canada's prime ministers. I'll be really interested in your review of the new one. It's interesting, too, that you mention that there's less inspiration for girls in the books. I agree with you. At the same time, of those I'm familiar with, the female characters are not stereotyped. And I think that adds to the stories.

    1. Margot: Thank you for the comment. Thank you for noting female characters are not stereotyped in the series. I agree and appreciate you filling in that gap.