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, April 26, 2012

Book Launch in Saskatoon for Dos Equis by Anthony Bidulka

Tonight Sharon and I attended the book launch of Dos Equis, the 8th book in the Russell Quant series, by Anthony Bidulka. The event was in the Prairie Ink Restaurant at the McNally Robinson bookstore in Saskatoon.

The event was a great success with mystery lovers jamming the restaurant. The restaurant, with a seating capacity around 75, was filled before we got there. Even when the manager scrounged every chair in the store there were not enough seats. Sharon and I waited half an hour in line to get a place to stand in the restaurant. I estimate there were 150 - 200 people at the launch.

Included in the crowd were many members of Anthony’s family. His partner, Herb, took photos through the evening. We met his mother Johanna who was in from the farm near Prudhomme. His sister, niece and grandniece also made the trip from Melfort.

Anthony and the restaurant staff had arranged free snacks including fruit to dip in the chocolate fountain, small tortillas, chips, guacamole, salsa, rice and beans. Everyone was offered a complimentary drink of either beer or dirty banana.

It was a wonderful, happy, vibrant atmosphere.

Anthony explained Dos Equis sees family and friends headed to Mexico with Russell on this adventure. He read from the book about two friends, Anthony and Jarrod, accompanying Russell’s mother, Kay, on her first airplane flight. Kay does not fare well with airport security having thought the rules Russell carefully explained to her were only guidelines. She sparked so many warning lights she receives a full body pat down. She says she wished the young security officer had just given her a massage. The whole security line is brought to a halt as her carryon bag has a padlock and she cannot find the key. Once removed security is not happy that she was trying to take on to the plane a jar of borscht and a container of perogies.

The evening proceeded to a question and answer session.

Each book is set partly in Saskatoon and partly in some distant location. Anthony said he sees the story develop and then puts it in a locale that works with the story. However, he continued that he was not following that path with the next book. During a month of travel in southeast Asia he had especially enjoyed Vietnam and readers can expect to see the next book involve travel to that country.

Anthony was asked how he came up with Russell Quant. He said over a decade ago he was a Chartered Accountant who wanted to become a writer. He was looking to come up with a distinctive character who would stand out in the crowded mystery world. Intending to follow the dictum of writing about what you know he wanted to set Russell in Saskatoon. He wondered if there was enough crime for a P.I. in a city with less than a dozen murders a year. In the end, he made Russell’s home in Saskatoon. He gave Russell a love of travel and good food. As well Russell is a gay man who grew up in rural Saskatchewan. What Anthony actually knew least about was a private investigator.

On the evolution of the series he said that when he wrote the first book he had in mind plots for 4-5 more in the series. As he finished the last of the original ideas he realized that the characters had become so much a part of him that their voices directed him forward to new stories.

Anthony announced that he has created a new character, Don Saint, who will be featured in a book, When the Saints Go Marching In. Saint, a disaster recovery agent, will travel from Saskatoon to calamities around the world.

The book signing lineup was so long Sharon and I went for supper next door. When we returned over an hour later the line had dwindled and we visited with Anthony and Herb for a few minutes. Anthony is a warm and witty man with a superb memory. He recalled our older son had written an essay on one of the Russell Quant books for a university English course on mysteries.

If you get a chance to attend an author event with Anthony it will be fun.

I can hardly wait to read the book.


  1. Bill - I am so very glad the evening went so well. And thanks for sharing the "behind the scenes" look at how Anthony Bidulka started his characters. I'm very much looking forward to "meeting" Don saint, and of course, eager to read Dos Equis. Bidulka is a talented man and I'm happy to hear he's also friendly and funny in person.

  2. how wonderful that a book event should be so very well attended! I haven't come across this author before so he is now added to my list, thank you.

  3. "Saint, a disaster recovery agent, will travel from Saskatoon to calamities around the world."

    Not only original but very timely in our new world order where the planet itself is in rebellion and giving us all a run for our money -literally and figuratively.

  4. Maxine: Thanks for commenting. Anthony said he is the envy of many mystery authors having a packed restaurant for his book launch.

  5. John: Thanks for the comment. Have you been reading end of world fiction recently? Saint will certainly have no shortage of disasters to attend. Anthony said he has completed the book.

  6. Margot: Thanks for the comment. There is a good chance Anthony will be in your area sometime. He said he is in demand for panels being considered a somewhat exotic author since he is from Saskatoon and gay. He is also often available as he loves to travel.

  7. Bill - it was a pleasure to have both you and Sharon at the launch. Sorry for the long waits!

  8. Anthony: Thanks for the comment. We look forward to seeing you again at other events and future book launches. I am enjoying Dos Equis. May long lines greet you everywhere.