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, October 13, 2011

Leaders & Legacies series - The Mystery of the Moonlight Murder

Today’s post is the second of three posts involving The Mystery of the Moonlight Murder. Tuesday had a review of the book. My next post on Saturday will discuss personal experiences related to John Diefenbaker.

I had not been aware The Mystery of the Moonlight Murder was the first in a Young Adult Canadian history series until I read the book.

On author Roderick Benns website, http://www.roderickbenns.com/, the series is described:

“The ‘Leaders & Legacies’ series is truly a first in Canadian publishing. This historical fiction series for ages 11 and up stars none other than our own Prime Ministers as mystery-solving, adventurous youth.”

It is a great concept for a series. The collective knowledge of our country’s history by our young people is incredibly low. In a 2007 study, http://www.dominion.ca/YoungAdultHistory3.pdf, of 18 to 24 year old Canadians only 26% knew the date of Confederation, the year we became a country. (Margot Kinberg on her great blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist, occasionally has quizzes about mysteries. This post is not intended to be a quiz but she has inspired me to ask readers if they know when Canada became a country? The answer is at the end of the post.) In the study young Canadians were given a basic history test. 82% failed the test. It was not a difficult test. The pass rate in Saskatchewan and Manitoba was 29%. While it is hard to be proud of a 29% pass rate was a 10% increase in test performance for the two provinces from 10 years earlier.

In The Mystery of the Moonlight Murder readers, in the context of a good mystery, learn about the settlement of Western Canada, how farming was conducted by pioneers, what was expected of kids living on farms at that time, the transition faced by Indian people from hunters to farmers and the grievances of Metis (part French and part Indian) that led to a rebellion.

The second in the series - The Legends of Lake on the Mountain: An Early Adventure of John A. Macdonald – has been published. It features an adventure involving our first Canadian Prime Minister.

Benns website includes suggestions for teachers on how to teach Canadian history.

It is a brave concept directly seeking to combine mysteries and history for young Canadians. I hope it can succeed. History has always been most interesting for me when I am reading about people within the events of history.

I will be looking for The Legends of the Lake on the Mountain.

The answer to my one question quiz: Canada became a country in 1867.


  1. Bill - Many thanks for your insights on this new series. What an exciting concept to blend mystery and interesting fiction for young people with history. I'm in favour of anything actually that gets young people interested in books and stories, and if it also has something to say about history, so much the better.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I equally hope the series will be successful.