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 19, 2012

Canada's Arthur Ellis 2012 Short Lists

Tonight, in a rolling series of short list events across Canada in 3 of the 4 ½ time zones that make up Canada, the Crime Writers of Canada announced the short lists for the Arthur Ellis Awards. There were events with representative authors in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. The short lists are:

Best Crime Novel

A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny, St. Martin’s Press
Before the Poison by Peter Robinson, McClelland and Stewart
I Am Half-Sick of Shadows by Alan Bradley, Doubleday Canada
I'll See You in My Dreams by William Deverell, McClelland and Stewart
The Guilty Plea by Robert Rotenberg, Simon & Schuster

From the lists I have only read books from the Best Crime Novel list. I have read A Trick of the Light, I’ll See You in My Dreams and The Guilty Plea. I loved all three of them. I am going to have to think which of the trio I would pick as the “best”.

Best First Novel

The Man Who Killed by Fraser Nixon, Douglas & McIntrye
The Survivor by Sean Slater, Simon&Schuster
The Water Rat of Wanchai by Ian Hamilton, House of Anansi Press Inc.
Tight Corner by Roger White, BPS Books
Watching Jeopardy by Norm Foster, XLibris

Best Crime Book in French

La chorale du diable by Martin Michaud, Les Editions Guélette
Pwazon by Diane Vincent, Editors Triptyque
Pour Ne Pas Mourir ce soir by Guillaume Lapierre-Desnoyers, Lévesque Éditeur

Best Juvenile or Young Adult Crime Book

Blink & Caution by Tim Wynne-Jones, Candlewick Press
Charlie's Key by Rob Mills, Orca Book Publishers
Empire of Ruins by Arthur Slade, HarperCollins Publishers
Held by Edeet Ravel, Annick Press
Missing by Becky Citra, Orca Book Publishers

Best Crime Nonfiction

A Season in Hell by  Robert Fowler, Harper Collins
Hot Art: Chasing Thieves and Detectives Through the Secret World of Stolen Art by Joshua Knelman, Douglas& McIntyre
The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by Steven Laffoley, Pottersfield
The Pirates of Somalia by Jay Bahader, Harper Collins
The Weasel: A Double Life in the Mob by Adrian Humphreys, Wiley

Best Crime Short Story

A New Pair of Pants by Jas. R. Petrin, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
Beer Money by Shane Nelson, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
The Girl with the Golden Hair by Scott Mackay, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
The Perfect Mark by Melodie Campbell, Flash Fiction Magazine
What Kelly Did by Catherine Astolfo, North Word Magazine

Best Unpublished First Novel - “Unhanged Arthur”

Gunning for Bear by Madeleine Harris-Callway
Last of the Independents by Sam Wiebe
Snake in the Snow by William Bonnell
The Rhymester by Valerie A. Drego
Too Far to Fall by Shane Sawyer

The winners will be announced at the annual banquet which will be held in Toronto this year on May 31.


  1. These writers are among the very overlooked crowd. We rarely get any of them published in US editions. Louise Penny, Alan Bradley and Peter Robinson are the only writers I know in all these lists. Always an education for me in contemporary crime fiction when I stop by your blog!

  2. BTW - I love that award and the history of who Arthur Ellis was is even more interesting.

    "1865 – Arthur B. English was born in England. He was the cousin of England’s official hangman John Ellis. Arthur English became the hangman in the Middle East and South Africa. English then became the Official Executioner for the Dominion of Canada in 1913. His pseudonym was Arthur Ellis. He officiated at 549 executions. He died in 1938 and is buried in the Mount Royal Cemetery, Quebec. Arthur Ellis continued to be the pseudonym of the Canadian Executioner until the last execution in 1962, and abolition of capital punishment in 1976." - from the Windsor Jail website.

  3. Bill - Thanks for sharing this. There's an entire group of authors here that I haven't yet had the chance to "meet."

  4. I am planning to read more by William Deverell at some point, but so far have only read the first in the series, so it will take me a while to catch up to this one.

  5. Kerrie: Thanks for dropping by the blog.

  6. John: Thanks for the comment. I think we are a high point for quality mystery writing in Canada and other countries.

    I consider choosing Arthur Ellis as the name for Canadian Mystery Awards an inspired choice.

    The story of the name has a kind of delicious creepiness.

  7. Margot: Thanks for the comment. The books listed look forward to meeting you.

  8. Maxine: Thanks for the comment. There is no need to rush. I find the Deverell books are not dependent on being read close to the time of being written. They read well whenever I get to them.

  9. I just finished I'll See You in My Dreams, quite a feat by William Deverell.

    It has everything I look for in a good legal mystery, great issues brought up, crackling courtroom dislogue, compelling characters (some of them likeable, some not) -- and lots of laugh-out-loud wit.

    Also, on the issues, I was so glad to see Deverell championing the cause of the Canadian Indigenous peoples and revealing some of the heinous history of their mistreatment.

    My only worry was how those in the LGBT community would feel about some of the gender issues.
    I wonder about that.

    All in all, I was delighted by the book. Am looking for more books with Arthur Beauchamp.

    This is the only book of Deverell's in my library system, however, I see that Abe Books has April Fool, so I will get that.

  10. kathy d.: Thanks for the comment. You have provided a good review in your comment. I also thought it was an outstanding book. I do not think authors should shift plots to avoid issues.