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, January 28, 2019

In Extremis by V.V. Drummond Finished

In Extremis by V.V. Drummond - In my last post I started a review of In Extremis. This post contains the remainder of the review. Here is a link to the first post - In Extremis Started.

Among the judge’s documents is a box titled Mandamus. Morgan tells the judge’s widow it relates to a legal charity - a clear legal fiction to any lawyer. The group’s letterhead depicts the classic Justitia (Lady of Justice) but without a blindfold and bears the phrase Mihi Vindictam (Vengeance is Mine).

Mandamus is one of the prerogative writs of English law that were used in Canadian law when I was a young lawyer. An application for mandamus is for an order to command government or an agency of government to carry out the provisions of a law not being enforced.

The surviving members of Mandamus subsequently meet to discuss their actions and the future of the group:

“We, more than others, are aware that horrible crimes and devious
criminals are going unpunished because of flaws in a system we have
devoted our lives to maintaining. To the extent we have been able to, we
have stepped forward to try to arrest that trend. We have, to paraphrase
Dumas, asked the God of vengeance to yield us His place to punish the
“In doing right, are we morally justified in doing wrong? And lastly, are
we doing enough, or are we trying to do too much?”

I have never encountered fictional vigilante lawyers. They made me very uncomfortable.

The book has two stories uneasily connected. There is the detailed steamy erotic story of an older woman and younger man exploring a relationship. At the same time there are the actions of the vigilante lawyers.

There is a common theme of betrayal. Her adultery breaks the oaths of her marriage vows. The vigilante actions of the lawyers breach the rules of conduct for lawyers. I did not find the respective plots worked well together. It would have been better had there been two books.

The vigilante lawyers are more troubling to me than other vigilantes because of their positions within the justice system. Still the concept of vengeful lawyers is a clever plot line that could have made a distinctive and memorable book. As set out above it does not fit with the story of the lusty lovers. Yet In Extremis is a challenging book for it is not simplistic sexploitation.

As the end of the book approaches the police are introduced. It is late in the plot. Their involvement early on would have been intriguing.

The sophisticated vigilante plot line descends to predictability at the end of the book. So much more was possible on this plot line. At the same time in the other plot line there is a genuine surprise at the end with regard to the affair.

Is there a subgenre of erotic suspense? In Extremis is hardly romantic suspense. On which plot line lay the emphasis of the book I note the publisher of In Extremis is eXtasy Books Inc.


  1. You know, Bill, I wondered from your last post how well these plot lines would be connected. I can understand what you mean about suggesting it should have been two different books. Hmm....I'm not comfortable with vigilante lawyers, either. It just doesn't sit well with what I know about lawyers. Your review has been thoughtful, informative, and well-written. I think I'll pass on the novel, though...

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. In Extremis was different.

  3. Thanks so much for your interest in my novel. It's my first, and you have pointed to some things that bothered me, too, after it was in print. I appreciate that you found the two plot lines didn't mesh well enough for your taste. I see now how I might have strengthened that connection, since it was key to the book--the idea that you don't have to depend on clever PIs or cops to solve monstrous crimes. Sharyn and her son solve this case, and it brings them closer together. I appreciate that vigilante lawyers is a scary theme. That's precisely why I chose it. Did you practice criminal law? I'm looking for a criminal lawyer to review some courtroom scenes in the sequel, which focuses on the showdown between Wheeler and Hickey amid the trial of the lawyers.

    1. V.V.: Thanks for the comment. I appreciated reading In Extremis. My practice does include criminal law. If you wished I could review some courtroom scenes. You can correspond with me at mysteriesandmore at gmail.com.