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.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Three Pines: The Amazon Prime Series


Through the fine blog The Rap Sheet I learned that Amazon Prime will be showing in 2022 a T.V. Series, Three Pines, made by Left Bank Pictures. I am a touch embarrassed that I had not realized a series based on Louise Penny’s books. I say “based” as the Prime press release says it is an “original scripted series”. There will be 8 one hour episodes filmed this fall and early winter.

The T.V. series will be the second time the Armand Gamache mysteries have been put on film. In 2013 the first book in the series, Still Life, was adapted for a T.V. movie which was filmed by and shown on Canada’s public broadcaster, the CBC. Penny was a producer of the movie.


In my review, a link is below, I thought the movie was alright but concluded it was fundamentally flawed by the casting of British actor, Nathaniel Parker, as Gamache. The movie created a lot of interest among the readers of the books. My review is the second most read post on my blog.


I was unhappy with Parker’s “urbane English accents”. That was unfair as Penny had in the books that Gamache learned English while resident in England.


What I consider fair is that Parker never fit my image of Gamache from the books. Both in appearance and mannerisms I did not feel Parker was a distinguished French Canadian.


For the new series English American actor, Alfred Molina, has been chosen to play Gamache. He is also a producer of the series.


Molina has had a wide and varied career. At looper.com he is described as having been:


... in an array of movies and TV shows, including “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Chocolat.” However, he’s perhaps best known as the villain Doc Ock in Spider’Man2,” …


In the Amazon press release Christina Wayne, head of Canadian Originals at Amazon Studios gushes:


“Alfred Molina perfectly embodies the cerebral and compassionate nature of Gamache, and leads a tremendous cast.”


Above is a photo of Molina. In it he is an excellent visual image of the Gamache I imagine from the books.


As to capturing Gamache’s character I will have to be convinced. 


It remains hard for me to understand why a French Canadian actor was not chosen for the role. I expect it was an issue of name recognition. Getting a well known English / American actor is bound to be easier to promote but much harder to be credible in the role. Choosing Parker did not go well.


There is style and je ne sais quoi to French Canadians that is difficult to master.


The press release describes Gamache as:


…. A man who sees things that others do not: the light between the cracks, the mythic in the mundane, and the evil in the seemingly ordinary. As he investigates a spate of murders in Three Pines, a seemingly idyllic village, he discovers long-buried secrets and faces a few of his own ghosts.


I pray the series focuses on Gamache as a thoughtful man rather than the typical American detective willing, even eager, to use violence to solve murders.


I am hopeful for the series as Left Bank Pictures produced one of my favourite series in recent years, The Crown


There is apparently going to be an indigenous component to the series by the indigenous actors named in the release. Indigenous story lines will be a definite departure from the themes of the books.


The press release says Emilia di Girolamo will adapt the novels as lead writer with Catherine Tregenna writing two episodes. Di Girolamo is a British writer who is best known as a screenwriter for the T.V. series, Law and Order: U.K.


In creating a series based on a long running mystery series I wonder whether Three Pines will be more like Bosch or Longmire. In Bosch there was a main story that ran through each season with an individual storyline in each episode. Longmire had a season story but was more focused on a mystery in each episode.


I thought the movie Still Life struggled to capture the nuances of the books. I believe Gamache and the other residents of Three Pines are better suited to a series.


The series is being filmed in the Eastern Townships of Quebec and the city of Montreal where the books have been set so I expect the series to be visually stunning.


What I have been unable to determine is whether Penny has a role in the series. From the press release through various articles none have spoken of her being an active participant. As noted above she was a producer on the movie 8 years ago. As noted in another post, a link is below, I set out some of her reservations over letting her books becoming movies or a T.V. series


Three Pines is definitely a series I want to watch next year.

****

Reviewing the Movie Adaptation of Louise Penny's Still Life



Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Flat Out Delicious by Jenn Sharp

(31. - 1103.) Flat Out Delicious by Jenn Sharp (Photography by Richard Marjan) - Saskatchewan is known for farming. Vast fields of wheat, canola and barley dominate the southern half of our province. While we are known for feeding the world there has been a steady growth in smaller food adventures. Flat Out Delicious is a guide to 167 Saskatchewan food artisans with great photos.

Sharp travelled around Saskatchewan conducting over 150 interviews as she assembled information on farms, restaurants and all sorts of other food ventures.


Not too many years ago Sharon and I would visit markets and unique restaurants in Toronto and Vancouver. On trips to Europe we would marvel at the foods and drinks available in the countryside and wish there could be such food options in Saskatchewan.


For a time I thought the long distances between our communities and the sparse population of the province meant it was too difficult to sustain food artisans. We have just over a million people in a province nearly the size of Texas and almost three times the size of the United Kingdom.


As I live outside Regina and Saskatoon I will focus my review on ventures that I personally know in rural Saskatchewan.


Hodgson Farms is located a few kilometers from Melfort where Sharon and I live. I know Susan and Mark. I see Susan Thursdays in Melfort at their outdoor market venue. The book discusses a pair of their specialities - cantaloupes and oversize strawberries. I was startled when I first saw their cantaloupes for they are grown outside rather than in greenhouses. While frost threatens crops in spring and fall the Hodgsons have learned to grow Halona cantaloupes in Saskatchewan. They have wonderful flavour much more vibrant than the cantaloupes grown thousands of kilometers from Saskatchewan and trucked here. Our granddaughters Hannah (3) and Hazel (2) loved the Hodgson Farms cantaloupes when they visited us this summer.


Just over 100 kilometres to the northeast of Melfort is the Mabel Hill Restaurant and Marketplace at Nipawin. We have enjoyed several meals. I wrote a post (a link is below) about our 40th anniversary meal at Mabel Hill in August of 2019.


Michael Brownlee is the accomplished chef and owner of Mabel Hill. Flat Out Delicious quotes him on his philosophy:


“I wanted to see what’s possible - what you can grow every day and every year and how it can be changed into something absolutely beautiful.” Guests are invited to walk through the gardens, samplying the produce before sitting down for a meal. “The idea is to offer a sense of place.”


He is an excellent host with the occasional special touch for patrons. At a subsequent visit Michael provided us with cantaloupe liqueur. While it came from Italy, maybe someday local cantaloupes will be used.


Last month Sharp and her crew from the Flat Out Food Series were back at Mabel Hill on another long summer tour around the province. On her Facebook page she talked about “harvesting ingredients” from the gardens for the night’s supper.


She provided a photo of a beautifully set up table of their meal at Mabel Hill.



Saskatchewan has some of the best honey in the world. Kitako Lake Honey produces high quality honey about half an hour south of Melfort. I know the owner Steve. I represented his parents when they established the business.


Steve moves his bees to gain honey from specific flower sources such as dandelions or clover. His approach reminds me of my father who was passionate about selling only alfalfa and clover honey from our farmyard when I was growing up at Meskanaw. Dad did not move his hives around but there was enough diversity in the area he could place hives where most of the blooms would be alfalfa or clover.


Unlike our apiary (my Dad never used that official name for a beekeeping business) Kitako creams its honey at “low temperatures so as not to damage the heath properties”. Our honey just naturally granulated.


Kitako has an interesting Facebook page (a link is below).


From my experiences, you can trust the information provided in Flat Out Delicious. Their descriptions are fair and accurate. They do not puff up ventures. It is an excellent book that food lovers can rely on for finding wonderful food places and food people in Saskatchewan. I would savour spending a full summer using the book to go from artisan to artisan around the province.

****

Our Fortieth Anniversary

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Berlin Life in Germania

In my review of Germania by Harald Gilbers I focused on the crime fiction aspects of the book in which Richard Oppenheimer, a former Jewish police inspector, is called upon by SS Haupsturmführer Vogler to aid in the investigation for a serial sexual predator. I spoke of the book being fine fiction with a criminal case as its theme. The book provided a vivid portrayal of life in Germany late in World War II. Fellow blogger, Margot Kinberg, commented on that post that the book looked to have a lot of “richness”. Her remark was apt. The book is rich in details. This post will provide illustrations. A warning that some may find the information spoilers.

Oppenheimer and his wife, Lisa, live in a Jewish House whose inhabitants are intermarried couples with one spouse Jewish and the other non-Jewish. I knew being in an intermarried or mixed marriage provided a level of protection from deportation to the death camps for the Jewish spouse but I had never heard of Jewish Houses where such couples were grouped together.


 Judenhäuser were not ghettos so much as designated housing for the mixed marriage couples. Doing a little research some couples survived the war living in such housing.


The Museum Blindenwerskatt said about 8,000 Jews survived the war in Berlin with most of them in mixed marriages.


The investigation takes Oppenheimer into a home for the Lensborn. While he had thought it a form of brothel to create babies to maintain the German population he finds the actual circumstances more complex.


He finds that the organizers are not seeking to undermine marriage. For women unable to find a partner they are “considering offering help” in the form of “procreation helpers” but trials were unsuccessful because of the low quality of men who volunteered.


The doctor in charge of the home then recounts a bizarre idea of Heinrich Himmler:


“Did you know, the Reich Leader SS advocates a fascinating theory. He has found proof that procreation helpers existed in Teuton and Dorian times …. The chosen man had to mate with her on the ancestral grave at night and remained anonymous in the sexual act.”


Returning to reality, what caught me off guard was how ordinary life continued in Berlin a year before the end of the war. Electricity, telephones, gas, water, trains all continued to be available. People went to work each day. They drank with friends, went to the cinema and enjoyed time in the parks of the city.  Bombs would cause damage. Repairs would be made to infrastructure and bombed out Berliners would seek refuge with family and neighbours. I realized life had to continue but had not considered how much of life remained routine.


However, the bombing is growing more intense. After attacking London with V-1’s the retaliatory attacks on Berlin are larger and more often especially in Central Berlin. Oppenheimer walks through the devastation of a bombing as he goes to the Reich Chancellery. Bodies, rubble, the occasional time fused bomb going off create a form of hell on earth. 


Gilbers writes:


It might be a controversial question whether all humans were equal before God, but there was no doubt in regard to the bombs; they claimed any life.  


In real life I knew a woman who had been an air raid warden during the bombing Blitz of London. Forty years later she could not be in a room with popping balloons.


Life’s little pleasures are rationed to the point of rarity. Oppenheimer’s new status as an investigator for the Nazis lets him enjoy a cup of real coffee or a cigarette. As well, he gains easy access to the methamphetamines that many people, not just the military, use to keep going.


There is a mix of historical figures amidst the fictional characters.


Oppenheimer meets up with ctual Berlin police officer Arthur Nebe. He was a rival with Oppenheimer in the Berlin police force. While neither as skilled nor as successful on examinations as Oppenheimer,  Nebe achieved his ambitions by becoming an early Nazi party member, moving up in the ranks, and avidly pursuing anti-Jewish policies.


Later Oppenheimer meets a fictional police colleague who spent time in Poland where he participated in the murder of thousands, mostly Jews. He reflected the ordinary Germans who carried out the Holacaust. Every German had choices during the war. He tells Oppenheimer the few who refused to murder were berated but had no futher punishment. Oppenheimer wonders if his regret is over committing murder or self-pity at being ordered to kill men, women and children.


Hilde introduces him to members of the traditional German intelligence service under Admiral Canaris who are working for Germany and against Hitler. They have insights into the investigation not revealed by Vogler.


In one of the most surreal scenes I have read in a historical novel the German Nazi leader Goebbels, wanting Oppenheimer to have freedom to investigate, orderss:


“For my part, you are suspended from affiliation to the Jewish people until the end of the investigation. Until then, you are to be treated as an Aryan.”


When convenient for the Nazis, a Jew becomes an Aryan.

****

Germania by Harald Gilbers


Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Germania by Harald Gilbers

(27. - 1099.) Germania by Harald Gilbers (translated by Alexandra Roesch) - The Jew and the Nazi. A sleuthing team I never expected to encounter.

Dread dominates life in Berlin in May of 1944. Dread of the almost nightly bombing. Dread of the SS or SD knocking on the door in the middle of the night. Dread of a message a loved one has died at the front. Dread the Allies will win. Dread the Nazis will achieve “ultimate victory”.


There is yet another level of dread In the Jewish House where Jews, tenuously protected by their marriages to non-Jews, are resident. 


On a spring Sunday the SS summons Richard Oppenheimer, a police inspector before his dismissal from the force because he is Jewish, from the House to investigate a gruesome slaying. A young woman has been slain and sexually mutilated. (There are more details than I needed but not too many.)


Why would the SS want a Jew wonders Oppenheimer? Hauptsturmführer Vogler knows that Oppenheimer worked on a highly public case of a sadistic sexual serial killer. While it would be perilous to decline Oppenheimer is also drawn to be able to investigate again. 


A meticulous methodical investigator he carefully and, where possible, personally investigates the case. His thoroughness and skifull questions move the case ahead.


As with numerous sleuths he has his own organization of the information gathered. He pins cards to a wall in the form of a circle. Particulars of the victim are at the centre. Notes on circumstances and potential suspects fill other cards. When information favours a suspect the card for that suspect moves closer to the centre. (I was reminded of Maisie Dobbs using the back of rolls of wallpaper for notes in different coloured pens with lines connecting notes.)


Vogler has a true Nazi’s disdain for Jews and, even though he increasingly needs to solve the crime, he holds back information from Oppenheimer.


Nazi leadership can control and manipulate the media but rumours are beyond their reach. The average German knowing the media is unreliable, even deceitful, is alert to every rumour. Were it to circulate there is a sadistic sexual predator in Berlin public stability would be at risk. 


More women die.


The book defies easy associations. Promising connections prove to be only partially connected. Leads are elusive. Oppenheimer is not dismayed. He moves on. He is a precise and relentless man.


He has a friend in Hilde, a doctor, divorced from a senior SS officer. Sundays they share conversation and confidences.


It is clear Oppenheim is seeking a clever killer who can move bodies around Berlin. The prospect the killer might be a senior Nazi is yet another reason for dread.


The unknown killer rages against “National Socialism being infected by prostitutes”. The killer’s identification of women deserving death because they are whores is expansive.


The SS and other Nazi organizations are startling in their complexity. There is constant conflict as they compete internally and externally for power. How is an outsider, especially a Jew, to understand all the machinations within the National Socialist groups? There are almost too many acronyms to remember. 


It is ironic, even diabolical, that Oppenheimer penetrates levels of secrecy within Nazi officialdom. Oppenheimer has a unique experience in being a Jew entering inside Nazi officialdom but how can he assist this evil empire  that has killed millions of Jews? No officals are concerned over the safety of Berlin women. Their goal is to protect the Party, discreetly find the killer and avoid public unrest. Yet Oppenheimer has made a commitment to find a killer and save more women from brutal death.


Though the investigation is intensive, progress is painfully slow.  A month into the investigation  the killer strikes higher within the Nazi hierarchy. Gilbers skilfully builds the tension.


Within every page is the underlying stresses for Oppenheimer of potential arrest and the risk of death from the sky. Oppenheimer is barely at ease. Even when he is with Lisa or Hilde it is so difficult to relax. 


Gilbers has written an impressive book that happens to be crime fiction. The characters are interesting and fully drawn. He clearly knows Berlin. Germania is a powerful portrayal of life in that beautiful city which is being destroyed night by night while the vicious governing Nazi regime disintegrates day by day. And the mystery is well crafted. 


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

New books from Louise Penny and Gail Bowen and Hillary Rodham Clinton

I do not look ahead often in the publishing of books for, as I peer around my home office, I see unread books in too many places. However, as fall is close upon us there are books being published by  a pair of authors I love.

Today was the publication date for Louise Penny’s new Armand Gamache mystery, The Madness of Crowds. I will not provide any summary of the plot as I look forward, especially with favoured authors, to the surprise of learning the theme by reading the book.


The Madness of Crowds will be the 17th book in the series. Last year’s book, All the Devils Are Here, was set in Paris. While I enjoyed the setting I hope this year Gamache is back in Three Pines. 


The village of Three Pines has become an iconic setting. I am confident in saying it is the best known fictional location in Canadian fiction not just Canadian crime fiction.


I have read all the previous books in the series.


Next will be Gail Bowen’s addition to the Joanne Kilbourn Shreeve series on September 7. Titled An Image in the Lake it will be a milestone in the series as the 20th book. 


While Gail has been retired as a university professor of English for a few years she continues to write quality mysteries.


She has been one of the few authors I read that has sustained excellence throughout her long series. Several authors have disappointed me as they neared and/or passed 20 books in a series. While I loved the early letters of the alphabet in the Kinsey Milhone series by Sue Grafton I was down to enjoying the later letters.


For interested readers Gail has a stylish new website - https://www.gailbowen.com/ - with particulars of her books and semi-weekly newsletters at the bottom of the home page. She as skilled at writing small essays as full length novels.


Once again I have read all of Gail’s books.


Louise Penny has another book, State of Terror, coming out on October 12, 2021. No thriller will get more hype this fall as her co-author is Hillary Rodham Clinton. Having one of the most famous living Americans is bound to stoke interest in the book. I am certain it will be a bestseller the week it is published.


As I am not sure whether I want to read a hybrid author book I broke my own rule of not wanting to know about the contents by looking at a blurb from Simon & Schuster.


Ellen Adams, the newly appointed Secretary of State, and her team cope with terrorist attacks that lead them into an “international chess
game involving the volatile and Byzantine politics of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran; the race to develop nuclear weapons in the region; the Russian mob; a burgeoning rogue terrorist organization; and an American government set back on its heels in the international arena”.


With America’s former Secretary of State as one author and one of Canada’s foremost crime fiction writers it has excellent potential.


I was intrigued by Hillary Rodham Clinton using all three names to identify herself. I had thought she had not always used the three names. In a brief search I learned from the Washington Post and The Atlantic in articles from 2015 that she was Hillary Rodham for some years after she married Bill, moved to Hillary Rodham Clinton as Bill ascended in American politics all the way to the White House, became Hillary Clinton when she made her runs to become President and now, at least for writing, is back to Hillary Rodham Clinton.


I remain undecided if I will buy the book.


Tuesday, August 17, 2021

A Concern Over the Best Canadian Crime Novel Criteria

As I read through the quintet of books making up the shortlist for the 2021 Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence for Best Crime Fiction novel I noted that all five books were set outside Canada.

The Finder was set in Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Scotland and the United States.


Obsidian was set in California and Montana.


Hurry Home was set in Colorado and North Dakota.


The Historians was set in Sweden.


How a Woman Becames a Lake was set in Washington state.


I admit that I was discouraged that the five books most readers would expect were the best entrants for “Best Crime Novel” did not include a book set in Canada.


Reading the criteria for submissions I realized that books are limited to being entered in one category. I am confident the rationale is to prevent an accomplished book sweeping the Awards in multiple categories.


The restriction to one category becomes important with regard to “Best Crime Novel” for publishers and authors of books set in Canada had the choice of entry in the “Best Crime Novel” or the “Best Crime Novel Set in Canada”.


I was glad to see the importance of crime novels set in Canada being recognized through the new category.


I am sad that it means fewer books set in Canada will be entered in the “Best Crime Novel” category. This year the 29 books entered in “Best Crime Novel Set In Canada” could not be in “Best Crime Novel” which had 51 books entered.


By the limitation to one category I consider the “Best Crime Novel” category to be diminished and somewhat misleading and possibly in error for the actual “best” novel could be part of the “set in Canada” category.


I know there were novels set in Canada entered in the “Best Crime Novel” in 2021 but the shortlist illustrates it will be more difficult, potentially unlikely, that the “best” Canadian crime novel will be set inside Canada.


I view the criteria as significant because I believe the “Best Crime Novel” is considered the premiere award in a literary competition that gains the greatest recognition. In the video announcing this year’s winners it was the final award announced. I doubt many realize that the current criteria means the exclusion of many Canadian novels. 


I understand the dilemma for the CWC but it would be my preference that novels set in Canada could be entered in both categories. I consider that a category titled “Best Crime Novel” should have all Canadian novels eligible.


Saturday, August 14, 2021

The Finder by Will Ferguson

(26. - 1098.) The Finder by Will Ferguson - What an amazing opening! Atsushi Shimada is the sole policeman on the small island of Hateruma which is one of the Okinawa Islands hundreds of kilometres south of Japan’s main island. The residents are far more Okinawan than Japanese. They maintain their own religious traditions with spirits abounding and local secret noro priestesses.

An agitated foreigner comes upon the island. With no crimes to solve and no order needing maintainance, Officer Shimada decides to occupy part of his day by finding the foreigner to talk to him. The search takes him to Cape Takana, officially the most southerly point in Japan. 


With rising tension he enters the observatory and finds the foreigner dead, killed by a shotgun blast, and a journal of his life which ends:


When I look ahead, I see only darkness. I can find no way forward, no way back, and with the dying of the light I find myself -


It is the eloquent testament of Bill Moore who grew up on Shankhill Road in Belfast. Adept at finding things he becomes a clever thief stealing works of art and artifacts. Agent Gaddy Rhodes from Interpol has tracked him to Okinawa.


And then Ferguson twisted the plot. The foul mouthed obsessive Rhodes with the flyaway hair insists to a meeting of officials from Japan, the U.S. and the U.K. that the dead man is not Moore. No one wants to believe her so no one does.


“The Finder”, a small man, has escaped again to find, usually by theft, more objects and secretly and skillfully and profitably return them to the public world. Rhodes has retrieved several of the objects found by “The Finder”.


Returned to desk duty in America, how can Rhodes pursue “The Finder”?


The story turns to New Zealand where travel writer, Thomas Rafferty, is in Christchurch when the earthquake of 2011 devastates the city. He has a restless soul. After a lifetime of journeying Rafferty is a shambling man drifting across countries as he writes stories to the exact word count commissioned. Ferguson plays upon his experience as a travel writer writing satiric, sometimes biting, examples of clichéd travel writing. All countries in Rafferty’s almost endless writings were “lands of contrast”. It is much easier to re-write the same story time after time than try to distinguish the destinations.


And then amidst the destruction:


The dust that plumed upward had not entirely settled, and a figure moved through this purgatorial dimness. A small man, impeccably dressed. The sort of man who seemed to be wearing a bowler even when he wasn’t. He was carrying a large fold of paper under one arm, blueprints of some sort, with two heavyset construction workers accompanying him in hard hats and reflective vests.


A colourful pursuit in New Zealand becomes rather murky. While beautifully written this section was a challenge at times. Over 60 pages later the digression ends and Rhodes, derisively referred to as Our Lady of the Cubicles, re-appears The book returns to the chase.


The chase becomes more complicated as a love affair becomes involved:


One always falls in love over trivial matters. It’s

why love so rarely lasts.


Added in the chase is a quest for a trivial item


I never anticipated the resolution.


The Finder is a great chase with sleuth and villain and supporting characters all brilliant. Ferguson has created characters who are srikingly individual. Their personal backgrounds are generously developed and give context to the story. I only wish they had a little less noir in their lives. There could have been joy as well as darkness.


Ferguson vividly captures the physical settings, the residents and the nature of life in each of the countries visited by the characters. There is an apt description of the world:


“Bigger than you imagine. Smaller than you’d think.”


It was by far the best book in the shortlist for the 2021 Best Crime Fiction Novel in the Awards of Excellence of the Crime Writers of Canada. 


Saturday, August 7, 2021

Commenting on Sleuth Olympics


Earlier this week Margot Kinberg at her excellent blog on her website, https://margot-kin-berg.com/, posted an imaginative post called Sleuth Olympics. In the post she created an Olympics for crime fiction sleuths. Here is a link - 

https://margot-kin-berg.com/2021/08/05/sleuth-olympics/.

Margot occasionally puts together posts featuring crime fiction sleuths of past and present. They are invariably witty and often thought provoking.

As I read the post I was caught up in the concept of the Sleuth Olympics and wrote a comment featuring Canadian sleuths participating in these Olympics.

The portion of the comment setting out competing Canadian sleuths I mentioned is:

Pub Crawl - Fred: Well, well, well, what a sight! Jed “Hammerhead” Ounstead (A.J. Devlin) is carrying a 2” x 4” board in his massive left hand while drinking a perfectly poured Guiness with his right. He’s putting down the Guiness. What’s going on?

Peggy: Oh my goodness gracious! He just broke the board over his own head! And now he has challenged the other contestants to break boards over their heads! Pub crawls in the colonies must be amazing!

Fred: I think I just heard Morse say somewhere will have to freeze over before he does something as daft as hitting his head with a board.


Outdoor skills - Joe: We have a late entrant. Mattessie Kitogitak (Scott Young) has just arrived with his team of huskies pulling him on his sled. 

Brad: It is amazing since we have no snow!

Joe: Now Brad, Mattessie has one of those ultra new sleds with the frictionless runners designed to glide over all surfaces.


Gourmand Finals - Lisa: I am sorry to advise that Russell Quant (Anthony Bidulka) has just withdrawn. He thought the final event was drinking flights of acquavit instead of a fourth meal today (preliminaries, quarter finals, semi finals and now finals).

Paul: He should have known better. The Gourmand events are all about food. 

Lisa: It always would have been hard for a youngster such as Quant. Gourmand is weighted to the seniors who have worked decades to expand their stomachs to accommodate the demands of four multi-course meals in one day.


Academics: Marlena: And don’t forget Canada’s second entrant, Randy Craig (Janice MacDonald) from Edmonton. I hear as an English professor she is a strong contender in the fastest reader event.

Seth: No surprise there. It is amazing how swiftly those professors flip through the pages of the designated essay.

Marlena: A cynical person might wonder if they are actually reading the essay.

Seth: I am shocked Marlena, just shocked, that you would think an academic might not fully read an essay.

I could see Sleuth Olympics being a regularly scheduled post for Margot. Being fiction she can hold the Olympics whenever a flight of fancy takes her. And there is almost endless variety of events that could be contested. Knitting, Pub Crawling, Outdoor skills, Eating and Academics are just a few of the areas in which crime fiction sleuths are talented. Other events could involve the Longest Book Marathon, Shortest Crime Fiction Story and Fewest Bodies Per Page (I refuse to recognize an event for Most Bodies Per Page though there would be far more entrants than for Fewest Bodies). 

I consider it in bad taste to have Most Depressed or Dysfunctional Sleuth. Were it allowed I expect Scandinavians to sweep the medals.

While Margot did not describe the medals I expect they would be the traditional circle in shape with an embossed page bearing the words of the event. Not for crime fiction sleuths to have oddly shaped awards draped around their necks.

I am sure the living Canadian authors of my comment (A.J. Devlin, Anthony Bidulka and Janice MacDonald) are proud of  their sleuths whom I am sure were all medal winners, except for Russell Quant. I am sure Russell, with some training in eating multiple big meals a day (his creator loves food), would be ready for the next Sleuth Olympics.

Please drop over to read Margot's post on the Sleuth Olympics and her other intriguing post.