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.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Dying Light by Henry Porter

40. – 503.) The Dying Light by Henry Porter – I had been long looking forward to Poter’s 5th book. His earlier quartet were excellent. The book gets off to a promising start with Kate Lockhart, a former intelligence officer and now a lawyer just returned to England from New York, mourning the death of her friend David Eyam. As she attends his funeral she finds she is his heir but his solicitor is attacked and documents stolen. There is troubling surveillance and extensive information being sought to register in a hotel. There is a Citizens Watch program that is quite intrusive. As she seeks to find out what happened she is shocked to learn David has faked his death and that the government has unbelievably extensive computer program spying on every English citizen. The Prime Minister, John Temple, is a blandly correct man with a Machiveallan core. Getting ready for an election he is ready to exploit a toxic algae problem. The thriller is unfortunately overshadowed by the Orwellian exploration of government invasion of privacy. It is really an update of 1984 set sometime in the near future. At times I found it hard to believe governments would spy on everyone but it is clearly possible. It was a good book but I found distracting the emphasis on upper level of political and bureaucratic government combining with private interests to pervasively enter people’s lives with closed circuity public cameras and computer searches. I will remember the book. Civil liberties continue to be threatened 60 years after 1984 was written. I have read 3 spy / intelligence novels from England in the past month. Stock and Porter have some optimism in their endings unlike the bleakness of Le Carre. (Sept. 30/09)

Since reading the book the events of The News of the World scandal have occurred in England. The plot has become far more plausible.


  1. Bill - I understand what you mean about a mystery overshadowed by those larger questions and themes. But as you say, these things are not impossible and the implications of government monitoring of citizens are so profound and important that maybe it's not a bad thing that they are raised. I know this sort of thing has been feared, debated, discussed, etc. in the U.S. for a long time, and it's a real issue. Just how much right does the government have, and under what circumstances, to monitor a law-abiding citizen? And what measures (if any) can/should be taken to ensure a reasonable amount of privacy. Important stuff to ponder...

  2. Margot: I agree the theme is important. Unfortunately, I found the focus on government spying of its citizens overwhelmed the story. I think the author could have written a solid work of non-fiction about the topic rather than trying to work it into a thriller.

    After reading Angler, the biography of Dick Cheney, it was clear the government does not care about personal privancy.