About Me

My photo
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, April 27, 2012

The Case of Trish Vickers and the Empty Pen

In my daily journey through the blogs I follow I was looking at the blog of Saskatchewan mystery author, Anthony Bidulka, a few days ago and clicked on a link to the New York Times and the remarkable story of Trish Vickers. I went on to read stories about her in The Telegraph, The Mail and the Dorset Echo.

Mrs. Vickers, 59 years old, resides at Charmouth and lost her sight because of diabetes 7 years ago.

She took up writing. Not using a computer she was able to write with a pen on paper with rubber bands stretched across the page to keep the lines separated.

Initially she wrote poetry and then turned to writing a novel.

The Times stated:

Mrs. Vickers told reporters that her book, which she has tentatively titled “Grannifer’s Legacy,” centers on a woman named Jennifer who loses her job, her boyfriend and her great-great-grandmother, her lifelong mentor, and who then successfully rebuilds her life.

Her son, Simon, would visit each week to read back to her what she had written and a volunteer would type up her latest work.

She had a productive stretch of writing one week that had her complete 26 pages. Unfortunately, when Simon came to visit he had to tell her the pages were blank. Her pen had run dry as she started to write and nothing was on the paper.

I thought of how frustrated I get if I manage to lose a few pages on the computer. To have 26 pages disappear of handwritten work would be devastating. Every writer can relate to Mrs. Vickers.

When Simon and Mrs. Vickers could not come up with a means of restoring what she was written they called the Dorset police and asked if the fingerprint section could help them.

The police offered to help and a female expert during her lunch hours, using lights at different angles to read the indentations left by the pen on the paper, was able to recover what had been written.

In The Telegraph she said:

“I could remember the gist of what I had written but there was no way I could have written exactly the same way again,” she said. “I am so grateful. It was really nice of them and I want to thank them for helping me out.”

It is a real life mystery story without a body in sight and a happy ending because of a dedicated member of the police going out of her way.


  1. Bill - Wow! What a terrific story. And I am so impressed that the police were willing to take the time and go through the effort of helping recover what Ms. Vickers had written. That's just amazing on a technical level as well as a clear example of "the right thing to do." Thank you for bringing this story to our attention. What a woman! What a story!

  2. Bill, I totally agree with Ms. Kinberg. This is truly an amazing story. The police coming to Ms. Vickers' aid makes this story even more touching. They knew her sad plight and rushed in to help her. Next time I'm going to think twice before I grumble about my PC slowing down. Thanks for sharing this lovely story.

  3. I was amazed by this story when I read it in my daily paper (The Times) - how inspiring and positive.

  4. Margot: Thanks for the comment. My day was better for having read the story.

  5. Prashant: Thanks for the comment. We take for granted my people providing public service. It was encouraging to see assistance in a special way.

  6. Maxine: Thanks for commenting. We all need to be inspired and reminded we can help others.