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.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carre

37. - 500.) A Most Wanted Man by John Le Carre – (This post looks back to a book I read in 2009.) Issa Karpov, half  Chechen / half Russian, barely makes his way to Hamburg after being imprisoned and tortured in Russia and Turkey. Issa denies he has been a Islamist radical. With the aid of a Turkish family he manages to find Annabel Richter, a lawyer devoted to helping immigrants seeking to stay in Germany. She is haunted by the deportation of another young Russian and will not let it happen again. She realizes Issa is no ordinary fugitive as he has particulars for a bank account in Brue Freres, a private bank, run by Englishman Tommy Brue. It was an account established by Issa’s corrupt father in the end days of the USSR. It is a Lippanzer account – a black account which turns white just as the horses change colour when they age. Richter seeks to find a way to keep Issa in Germany and let him fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor. At the same time the multiple German competing intelligence agencies have their eye on Issa and want to use him for their own ends. The interested agencies expand to include those of England and the U.S. I almost hate to read Le Carre’s books. The recent works have been so grim in their endings. As I read this book I dreaded what was going to happen to Issa. The cruelty of Western intelligence in battling Islamic terrorism is frightening especially if you are non-Caucasian and non-Western. If the book’s casual willingness to cast aside laws is correct there is a depressing lack of difference between Western democracies and the dictatorships of the rest of the world. There is no humanity, only competition among the intelligence agencies. I am not sure I am up to reading another Le Carre book. He does have the great talent shared by P.D. James of creating amazing characters. I know I will not forget Issa. It was a book to remember for my 500th book of the decade. (Sept. 17/09)


  1. Bill - I think you put your finger on one of the themes that really runs through le Carré's work: that depressing lack of difference among countries in the way they go about intelligence gathering, espionage and so on. It's a very dirty, dirty business and le Carré makes that clear. I take his stuff in measured doses for that reason...

  2. Margot: I do not like Hollywood endings to every book I read but I find Le Carre grim. I like your description "measured doses".