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, March 6, 2011

Thoughts on Questions and Answers with Robert Rotenberg

My thoughts on Robert’s Answers conclude my three days with Robert Rotenberg. Below this post are my posts reviewing the book and the Questions and Answers with Robert.

Through the process of setting up the blogger tour and providing questions and reviewing the book I have appreciated the time and effort made by Anneliese Grosfeld at Simon and Schuster that made The Guilty Plea a good experience.


Answer #1 - I was surprised that Robert found writing about money produced boring scenes. Money is a great subject.

It is also often a difficult matter for lawyers and accused. Few accused have any significant money. Many have no money. I know I will be able to appreciate the rant of Nancy Parish in the next book.

Of fictional characters Mickey Haller, created by Michael Connelly, is realistically dealing with the issue of money with every client.

John Mortimer’s character, Rumpole of the Bailey, was another fictional lawyer always facing the challenges of money in criminal defence.

For those clients with some money many times there is a tension underlying the relationship between lawyer and client over the issue of money. I am sure Robert can address that tension in a future book.


Question #2 - I did not expect Robert was inspired by specific judges when he created his judges but I am sure he was tempted to put a recognizable trait or two from real life in his judges.

Even lawyers sometimes spend too little time thinking about judges as actual people beneath the robes. I am glad Robert works to make his judges rounded people.

It was interesting to see a judge laughing at Robert’s joke that Robert did not know the lawyer the judge thought the character was based on. In court lawyers always laugh at the jokes judges.

Sometimes the laughter can be inappropriate or overdone. I sat in on part of the criminal trial of former lawyer and sports agent, Alan Eagleson, over 15 years ago in Toronto. The judge made a small joke. The lawyers politely laughed. Eagleson laughed almost uproariously. It was barely appropriate for the accused to be laughing and completely transparent.


Question #4 - It was a powerful example in the young boy seeing Albert Fernandez’s father as the hero for influencing his son to do the right thing.

I believe having good lawyers, in court and ethically, reflects reality and makes for better fiction than the sometimes crude caricatures of lawyers opposing the hero lawyer.


Question #5 - A discussion of plausible alternatives within a legal mystery shall have to wait for another day in the future when either I can look back with Robert on his plotting decisions or we look to the plots of different legal mystery authors.

I am going to take Robert up on that “very long lunch” to discuss plot.


Question #6 - I expect it is as great a challenge trying to write about a child as a witness as it is to cross-examine a child. The delicate probing of a child’s recollections can be very tense. There is little chance to challenge answers in the ways lawyers and authors like to confront witnesses.


With his third book well under way I look forward to reading a further legal adventure in Toronto created by Robert.


Any readers in the Toronto area are encouraged to go down to the Eaton Centre on May 6 to hear a discussion between Robert and Eddie Greenspan. Each is a quick witted knowledgeable lawyer with strong opinions. I wish I could be there. Particulars of the event are:

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