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.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Safe at Home by Alison Gordon

Safe at Home by Alison Gordon (1990) - Kate Henry is back in Toronto after spending spring training in Florida with the Toronto Titans. Henry, having covered the team for several seasons, no longer finds Opening Day as exciting as it was when she started writing about the team for the Toronto Planet newspaper.

Setting the story firmly in Toronto is that
Opening Day is the Titans first game in a new stadium with a retractable roof. It is clearly modeled on the Skydome, now the Rogers Centre, which has been the home of the Toronto Blue Jays since 1989.

What does excite Henry is that she can resume her relationship with Staff Sgt. Andy Munro of Toronto Police Services. Putting the relationship on hold for two months while she was at spring training has been hard.

The joy of reunion is interrupted repeatedly as Munro is searching for a serial killer. Three boys have been taken and killed and sexually assaulted.

Munro is frustrated. The victims appear to be random choices. There is no way to protect a metro area with hundreds of thousands of young boys. Will they have to wait for more murders to gain enough information to find the killer?

Back at the ballpark Henry is writing about a transition at first base for the Titans when she gets a call from their outfielder Joe Kelsey.

The Titan player has decided to confide in her. Kelsey comes to her home with Sandy Montgomery. He startles Henry by telling her that he is gay and Montgomery is his lover. He wants Henry to write the story of his coming out to baseball and the rest of the world.

After confirming Kelsey understands the publicity storm that will erupt Henry is delighted to write the story. It will be a story that gets national and international attention. No active major leaguer has come out of the closet.

There is a degree of hesitancy as the day for publication approaches. There is as much apprehension as excitement for Henry.

The reaction to the story is mixed. Acceptance and tolerance and rejection are all present. In my next post I shall write further of the media story.

In an apt example of societal priorities Henry's story on Kelsey's coming out is given greater play on the front page of the paper than the story of the hunt for the serial killer.

Titan players and fans uncomfortable with Kelsey's story find the world has not changed because Kelsey is openly gay.

The book is well written. Not surprisingly Kelsey's coming out dominates the book. I read swiftly wanting to know how he was treated in a world of men not known for their sensitivity concerning sexual orientation.

The mystery was the weakest part of the book. It was not very mysterious. It is rare I can see the solution long before the end of the book. I appreciate it is not easy to have a credible character for the serial killer but there was not enough doubt about this killer. It might have been better to simply have identified the killer early on and made the plot about finding him.
Gordon, Alison - (2011) - Prairie Hardball; (2014) - Night Game; (2015) - Alison Gordon has Died


  1. Alison Gordon had a really effective way of creating the baseball context in her novels, Bill. And I really like the wit that's woven into her novels. It's there, but doesn't dominate the books. That takes talent. This one, though, sounds as though it deals with some serious issues, and I'll be interested in your further thoughts on it.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. She writes well about professional baseball culture. I still long for the mystery writer to really include game action in a book like Chad Harbach did in The Art of Fielding.

  3. Bill, I still haven't read any books by this author but I do intend to. This one sounds very good.

    1. TracyK: Alison was an interesting author. I think you would like her books.