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, September 30, 2017

What to Take Reading on a Cruise

Sharon and I are getting ready to leave on a Mediterranean cruise. While she is reviewing her clothes and perusing combinations I am thinking about the books I want to take with me. In terms of the suitcase I am willing to give up some clothes to have the books I want with me. I still prefer reading paper books over electronic books so most of my choices will be carried by me overseas.

I had intended to have already read Louise Penny’s new Armand Gamache mystery, Glass Houses, but have gotten sidetracked by some other books. Glass Houses will be the 13th book in a series which has now become Canada’s best known mystery series. Glass Houses spent 3 weeks on the New York Times Hardcover Fiction bestseller list before fading off a week ago. I have loved the series though there have been a few that disappointed me. Since the last book in the series, A Great Reckoning, was one of the best I am very hopeful. Glass Houses will be the first book Penny has written since her husband, Michael, died last year after a long struggle with dementia.

A year ago Attica Locke won the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction with Pleasantville featuring Houston lawyer, Jay Porter. I thought it was an excellent book and looked up Black Water Rising, the first book featuring Porter. I found it in one of the Fair’s Fair used bookstores in Calgary. It has spent almost a year on my latest TBR pile so it is time to get it read. Regular commentator, Kathy D., recently advised me in a comment that Locke has a fine new book out, Bluebird Bluebird, which does not have Porter as lead character.

Toronto author, Anna Dowdall, recently contacted me asking if I would be interested and reading one of her two books featuring Sally Ryder. While I do not take up every author offer I decided to try a book by Dowdall and chose After the Winter, the first in the series.

I will have one electronic book on the laptop. Russ Atkinson is the author of a police procedural series, the Cliff Knowles mysteries. He contacted me as he is starting a new cozy series and invited me read The  Cryptic Crossword Caper. Russ described the puzzles in an email to me:

There are several puzzles in the book which can be worked by the reader, including a hybrid cryptic crossword, a Sudoku, and two cryptograms. These provide clues to the murder. The crossword and Sudoku are available online where they can be worked interactively or downloaded and printed out to be worked on paper. Details on how to do so are available in the Appendix.

Since I occasionally enjoy a crossword puzzle and Russ is a lawyer (retired he advises me) I took him up on his invitation. It will be the first crossword puzzle mystery I have read since 2004 when I read Puzzled to Death by Parnell Hall.

For a 5th book I am debating whether to take a work of classic crime fiction, He Who Whispers by John Dickson Carr, or a legal mystery, The Color of Law by Mark Gimenez. I have read a few of Carr’s books while Gimenez is a new author to me. Coincidentally I bought both books in Jacksonville at the Chamblin Bookmine store while on holiday in the spring in Florida.

Do not be surprised if I succumb to temptation and buy at the airport bookstore the newest Scott Turow book, Testimony. Jeffrey Toobin, well known for his legal commentaries on CNN, describes the book as Turow’s most ambitious and most complex book. I have been eyeing Testimony in bookstores through the summer. 

Actually I have yet to read all the books I take on cruises. We will be back on the Marina and there is a 2,000 book library on the ship. I have always ended up getting books from the ship library and spending as much time reading them as reading the books I brought with me. I do intend to leave on board for the ship library any of my personal books I have read while cruising.

17 comments:

  1. Wonderful vacation, cruise on the sea while reading and enjoying beautiful sights and food.

    Await your book reviews, especially of legal crime fiction, including Turow's "Testimony." I haven't read one of his works for a long time, but was uptodate at a certain point.

    A crossword puzzle doer myself, I am intrigued by The Cryptic Crossword Caper. However, I am puzzled by Sukokus, and hope I'll learn how to do this, as the NY Times has them often.

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    1. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment. We are looking forward to the trip. I have never completed a Sudoku.

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  2. I hope you have a great time, Bill. And I know just what you mean about choosing the books you're going to take with you. I like paper books, too, but I usually stock up my Kindle when I travel so I can travel more lightly. You've got some fine choices there, and I look forward to your 'cruise stories.'

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    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. The cruise starts in the middle of October so I am getting my most important packing done early. I will be sure to report from the ship.

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  3. Great selection there Bill - Have a great vacation, and look forward to hearing about them when you get back. I'm like Margot - I love the holiday freedom of having endless books on my Kindle: but I respect your wish to hold firm to the old ways.

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    1. Moira: Thanks for the comment. We will not step aboard for a couple of weeks but I will be ready to read. You are making me feel old - sigh - with your reference to "the old ways". Still I willingly carry the burden of paper books being my preferred reading material.

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  4. I remember you talking about that library on the ship before. It sounds just wonderful. I known you and Sharon will have a great time on your vacation.

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    1. TracyK: Thanks for the comment. The library is a wonderful spot on the ship. We are looking forward to getting aboard.

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  5. There's just something about access to a library that invites you to select books, even when you already have a plentiful supply to hand! Despite owning many second hand & ebooks, I still come back from town with books from the local library in the shopping bag.

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    1. Spade and Dagger: Thanks for the comment. I also have never lost the sense wonderment I had when I first entered a public library and learned I could read any of the books. With so many books on TBR piles I do admit I have been getting fewer books at the local library.

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  6. Libraries rule!

    I still only read paper books, and even when I have stacks of them at home, I browse the library's shelves.

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    1. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment. I vividly recall my awe at entering the Main Branch of the NY City Public Library in Manhattan 13 years ago. It was the same awe I had entering my first public library in the basement of a small schoolhouse in rural Saskatchewan when I was in Grade Two. I love libraries.

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  7. I was the youngest person to get a library card at age three in Manhattan's Greenwich Village.

    I still love to go to libraries, even though shelves have been culled of many books, and one has to reserve books now. But that doesn't take away the wonder of libraries.

    I love that there is a children's floor with special programs and even dvds to borrow. And that retirees can sit and read for hours.

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    1. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment.

      Youngest library card holder is an achievement of which to be proud.

      I wish I could show you our library in Melfort. I find it a warm and inviting place for all who love reading.

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  8. Bill, I wish you and Sharon a wonderful and memorable holiday, and happy reading too! Personally, I doubt I'd be tempted to read on a Mediterranean Cruise, except perhaps at bedtime. I'd probably stand on deck and look out to sea all day long.

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    1. Prashant: Thanks for the good wishes. I hope you will get a chance to go on a cruise. They are wonderful escapes.

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