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.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen

59. – 519.) The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Adler-Olsen – I had been looking for the book for some months as bloggers around the world recommended it. Finally, it arrived in Saskatchewan in later summer and I was able to buy a copy. It is a great book.

Carl Mørck drew me in. The veteran homicide detective, having barely surviving an attack that killed one colleague and left another paralyzed, is designated to lead the newly created Department Q to investigate, in the words of his superior, “cases that have been shelved, but are of particular interest to the public welfare”. He would have found it easier to be fired than to deal with unresolved, long ago, crimes that have the least priority within the police services.

As I read the book I was reminded of character after character from other mysteries I have appreciated.

Department Q brought to mind the new Open-Unsolved Cases department to which Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch is assigned after coming out of retirement.

Mørck is struggling to deal with his responsibility in the attack. Should he have reacted differently haunts his thoughts. I thought of Chief Inspector Gamache in Louise Penny’s latest books caught up in doubt and guilt over his actions in the battle that left colleagues dead and injured.

It is hard for Mørck to resist dark regrets when his partner, Hardy Henningsen, is lying paralyzed in a hospital bed wanting his friend to end his life. In an effort to convince his colleague that life still has meaning he pulls him into the investigation. Hardy brought to mind criminalist Lincoln Rhymes in Jeffery Deaver’s books staying alive because he can participate in and even lead investigations from his specially designed wheelchair.

Having been actually cast down into the basement Mørck is ready to coast along until retirement. In Craig Johnson’s Junkyard Dogs a deputy, Santiago Saizarbitoria, has lost his spirit to be a police officer though physically recovered from a bullet wound. Saizarbitoria has “bullet fever”.

Mørck is gradually brought out of his lethargy by one of the most unique assistants in crime fiction. Assad is to take care of cleaning and administrative needs in the one man Department Q but the Syrian immigrant has a boundless energy and enthusiasm that sets him motivating Mørck to do his job. While totally different in background and appearance Assad reminded me of Archie Goodwin cajoling and pushing Nero Wolfe to carry out investigations.

Shamed into reading the file of beautiful politician Merete Lynggard missing for the past 5 years since disappearing on a ferry traveling from Denmark to Germany Mørck becomes intrigued and begins to investigate the file.

When Mørck finds a significant flaw in the past investigation he is revitalized and pursues the investigation with vigor and determination. Finding the flaw is a moment I have experienced in some court cases. You read and work and talk and think and review. It is a special thrill when you find the piece of evidence or case authority that will win the case.

I found myself as eager as Mørck to check out the next thread in the investigation. The book moved ever more swiftly to a striking and memorable conclusion. It is a strong candidate for Bill’s Best of 2011.

I will be buying the next in the series as soon as it makes its way to Western Canada. (Oct. 30/11)


  1. Bill - Oh, I am so very happy you liked this book as much as you did :-). I also consider it one of the best books I've read lately. The characters drew me in, too, and to me, it's clear that Adler-Olsen has laid the groundwork here for a solid series as Mørck and Assad get to know each other better and as Mørck continues to get on with his life. A definite winner.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. It is wonderful to find a great new series.

  3. Hi! I found your blog by way of Gail Bowen's website, and it's great to find other book bloggers in Saskatchewan. I'm a big fan of mysteries, and looking forward to discovering more canadian mystery authors from your site!

  4. Bella: Thanks for dropping by the site. I have taken a quick look at your site and will be back. Gail is a wonderful writer and a better person.

  5. Excellent review, Bill, which reminds me of how much I enjoyed this book (UK title: Mercy). Like you, I'm looking forward to the next in the series.

  6. Maxine: Thanks for the comment. I have a hard time understanding different title names in different English speaking countries. At least once I bought a book before realizing I already had the book under a different title.

  7. Now this is one that's new to me, Bill. But I am definitely interested. It's going immediately onto my TBR list! Thanks for a terrific review.

  8. Yvette: Thanks for the kind words. I look forward to a future review of the book on your blog.

  9. This sounds great - thanks very much Bill as I had not heard of it. I shall definitely seek it out - thanks again.


  10. Sergio: Thanks for the comment. It is a very good book.

  11. While I am a little late coming to this book I found it fantastic. It was disturbing and riveting at the same time. The characters were great and I love how he included Assad. Copenhagen is a very multicultural city, but not a very well integrated one. I doubt there are many Danish books that include a middle eastern character and portray them in such a positive light. I also found the translation to be excellent. I am always a touch leery when reading a translation as definitely not all are created equal, but I thought this one was excellent. Probably because I just lived there I also found the descriptions and imagery of Copenhagen fantastic. Many parts of the book brought me right back to living there, whether it be the parliament, the cafes in the latin quartre or the murder in the park. I would definitely read another book by Adler Olsen, and I hope he is able to develop the duo of Assad and Morck.

    1. Michael: Thanks for the comment. I appreciated you providing your thoughts. Your perspective as a recent resident of Copenhagen that the city and its people were well portrayed was welcome. I had thought the book sounded real. I hope to hear from you again when you have had a chance to read the next in the series. You might be able to find it if you look around the den on your next trip home!