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.

Monday, April 18, 2016

More Bookshops in Canada's Booktown

Tulips at Butchart Gardens
In my last post I wrote about two of the six bookstores in Sidney, British Columbia. Sidney is Canada’s only booktown.

After visiting Beacon Books and the Military and History Bookstore my next stop was at Tanner’s Books. The store provides readers with a wide variety of new books. What makes the store unique are two areas. It has a huge magazine section with over 2,000 magazines and 40 newspapers. In the back is the absorbing Travel and Nautical Room. Within the room are over 500 maps and nautical charts. As well there is a large collection of travel and nautical books.

I spent some time in the Mystery section. The photo shows a selection of the books in the section that includes books by Peter May I have read and reviewed.

Next door is The Children’s Bookshop. It is a bright airy bookstore with a large collection of children’s books. The website for Sidney as Booktown describes the books available:

We have books on everything from A to Z: airplanes, bears, cooking, drawing, Encyclopaedia Brown, fairies, growing up, Harry Potter, inuksuks, jokes, kites, little girls, mermaids, Nancy Drew, ordinary kids, pirates, quilting, rocks, sisters, totem poles, underwear, volcanoes, Waldo, x-rays, yearlings, and Zambonis.

Moving down the street is The Haunted Bookshop. Beyond having a great name it is Vancouver Island’s oldest bookshop being founded in 1947. It was nice to see a bust of Shakespeare welcoming book lovers.

Inside is an intriguing combination of out-of-print books and ordinary secondhand books. Antiquarians will enjoy the opportunity to look for books.

I took a look at the paperback mysteries. There is a modest selection.

On the way out of the store I noticed a few paperbacks on a table. On top was Alison Gordon’s book, Safe at Home. While glad to see her mysteries in the store I was sad that they were on the clearance table at $1.00 per book. I guess I had hoped she was a more significant author whose books kept their value. I bought Safe at Home.

My last stop was at Galleon Books and Antiques. With regard to books:

This shop specializes in non-fiction subjects, including BC history, Exploration, First Nations, Military, and Art History. Antiquarian and collectible books can also be found.

There is a greater assembly of antiques and collectibles than books in the store.

After completing the tour of the books Sharon and I walked abit along the waterfront and decided our next stop would be the Butchart Gardens. They are among the most beautiful in the world. Below is a photo of part of the Sunken Garden.


  1. Bill, I like the names of these bookshops. We don't have niche bookstores in Bombay, or anywhere else for that matter. I like the idea of buying books and then taking walks through the garden and along the waterfront. I have bought many secondhand paperbacks, including contemporary fiction, for 50 cents to a $1, and I often wonder why they are selling so cheap. The authors deserve better. I also realise that fewer people are reading paper books these days and those that still do, read them on their smartphones.

    1. Prashant: Thanks for the comment. I was glad to be in town that valued paper books and independent bookstores. None of the 6 stores is a part of a chain of bookstores.

  2. Those gardens look beautiful, Bill! And Sidney sounds like a terrific place - the kind you could spend days in, just browsing in the bookshops. I'm really glad you highlighted these three; they sound like wonderful places to lose yourself.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. The Butchart Gardens are magical in their beauty. Sharon and I also enjoyed formal English tea looking out over rows of tulips across lawns with an ocean bay in the background. I felt I was living in episode of Downton Abbey.

      It is a good thing Sharon was with me in Sidney or I would never have seen anything beyond the bookstores.

  3. What a lovely city with all those lovely book stores and other beautiful places to visit. I am beyond envious of those book stores.

  4. TracyK: Thanks for the comment. There is a lot to experience in that part of Vancouver Island. The area is also a developing wine region. Sharon and I enjoyed wine tasting at one vineyard and cider testing at a winery less than 10 minutes from the airport.

  5. I really enjoyed reading about the booktown - how long has it been there? When I lived in Seattle we visited Vancouver Island several times, but not Sidney - if I'd known it was there I'd have made the excursion...

    1. Moira: It was 1995. I did not realize Sidney was a booktown until this trip to the Island. I hope it can long remain a booktown.