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, January 22, 2011

Red April by Santiago Roncagliolo

41. – 554.) Red April by Santiago Roncagliolo – Felix Chacaltana Saldivar is a pedantic, even fussy, career assistant prosecutor who has transferred from Lima to Ayachucho, his hometown, in rural Peru. Saldivar reminds me of a former law school classmate who became a senior prosecutor for Saskatchewan. A grisly murder, the victim burned beyond visible recognition, becomes his case. It is the first civilian handled murder case in decades. Over the previous couple of decades the military has dealt with policing as they battled the Maoist Shining Path in the region. With a presidential election near the central government wants to show how the pacified area has returned to civilian rule. Saldivar seeks to follow proper procedures. His carefully worded reports and requests for assistance are ignored. His equally precise personal life is dominated by his close relationship with his mother. He talks to her every morning and every evening. She is dead. I thought about Mackenzie King talking to his deceased mother when he was Canadian Prime Minister. Accepting no one wants an investigation he writes an artful report that causes his superiors to give him more important assignments. However, after his closing report there are more murders. No one wants to hear the terror may have returned. The brutality of the past conflict is stunning. Saldivar becomes that most inconvenient of bureaucrats, a dedicated sincere official using all the correct processes to pursue an unwanted truth. Saldviar’s interactions with other officials are vivid. Thousands are coming to Ayachucho for the famous Holy Week processions. Officialdom rejects even the suggestion of the terror reviving in the mountains. Saldivar plods diligently forward. Doubting the wisdom of his actions he finds he can no longer take the bureaucratically appropriate exit. It is a powerful character portrait and a fascinating mystery. I thought often while reading the mystery how fortunate I am to live in rural Canada. (Oct. 14/10) (Second best fiction of 2010.)

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