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, January 6, 2019

Bill's 2018 Best of Non-Fiction and Most Interesting

My last post set out my favourite fiction of the year. This post will list non-fiction and most interesting, books that were neither the best in fiction or non-fiction but I found very interesting.

In Non-Fiction Bill’s Best of 2018 are:

1.) Sleuth – Gail Bowen on Writing Mysteries– Gail has written a 144 page master class on the art of writing mysteries. I loved her use of examples from her own writing.

She explains why she uses first person narrative:

I like getting inside a character’s head, and I like imagining what life must look like through her or his eyes. It’s a personal call, and I seem to slip into it easily, but it might not be for you.

She encourages writers to make notes of “encounters with people who fire your imagination”.

Whether for reader or aspiring writer it is an excellent book.

2.) Decisionsby Jim Treliving – A co-founder of the immensely successful Boston Pizza restaurant chain Treliving writes about making personal and business decisions. He also provides recommendations on business.

He encourages readers to:

            Trust People with More Confidence in You Than You Have in Yourself

Treliving emphasizes the importance of enthusiasm in life creating stamina and momentum.

In the book he discusses missteps in the development of Boston Pizza. 

He is blunt and invariably direct.

I have kept the book as a reference on making decisions.

3.) Dear Pope Francis– Children around the world were invited to ask a question of Pope Francis. 259 responded with drawings and questions with 30 chosen for this book.

Children ask direct questions and appreciate equally direct answers. Pope Francis is not a conventional Pope. He has reached out to the members of the Catholic church and people in the world who are not Catholic.

There is humour, profoundness and poignancy in the book.

Among the most moving questions was Luca’s question on whether his Mom in heaven would grow angel wings. The Pope’s answer can be found at - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yhIyA-7J8qw

For Most Interesting my choices are:

1.) Full Disclosureby Beverley McLachlin – It is a good legal mystery involving a young female defence lawyer, Jilly Truitt, in Vancouver defending, Vincent Trussardi, a wealthy businessman against a murder charge.

The title reflects the requirement in Canadian criminal law that the Crown prosecutor is required to disclose to the defence the evidence assembled against the accused.

More subtly in the book there are examples of people, including the accused, failing to provide “full disclosure” of what they know to the lawyers.

What made it Most Interesting for me was the author was the Chief Justice of Canada until the beginning of 2018. Within a few months of retirement she is a successful author.

2.) The Vicar of Christby Walter Murphy -This sprawling saga of an amazing fictional life was written over 40 years ago.

Declan Walsh is a war hero, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court and Pope. Murphy makes it all credible.

It reached the list because Declan Walsh becomes a Pope much like the current Pope Francis including the adoption of the name of Francis when he is chosen Pope.

It is a reminder of how many issues involving the Church remain issues from generation to generation.

And then there are the claims of miracle cures attributed to the touch of Francis.

3.) Escape Velocity by Susan Wolfe – It was a legal mystery that did not  need the murder solved in the book. I was intrigued by the legal issues involved in a billion dollar Silicon Valley software company.

The corporation is being driven by a CEO who frustrates long term employees through a short term emphasis on maximum profits while not maintaining a hard earned tradition of quality products.

It was Most Interesting for me in that the author made the main character a paralegal, Georgia Griffin, instead of a lawyer. She explained to me in an email that Georgia was a paralegal so she could legitimately attend major meetings with the participants being unguarded in their comments because she was a paralegal not a lawyer.

As well Georgia has “special skills” for dealing with people from her the con artists of her family.

All the best to readers in 2019.


  1. You had some fine reads this past year, Bill, I'm not surprised that Sleuth made your list. And the rest of your choices make a lot of sense, too. I'm glad you had an enjoyable reading year.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I think Gail would have been a very good professor when she was teaching English at university.