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.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

“E” is for Jill Edmondson

As we reach the 5th letter of the alphabet in the Alphabet in Crime Fiction meme hosted by Kerrie Smith at Mysteries in Paradise I am remaining in Canada for another week with “E” is for Jill Edmondson.

Her academic credentials include a B.A. in History from York University and an M.A. in Integrated Studies from the University of Athabaska in Alberta.

Jill has had varied work experiences including pharmaceutical R&D, advertising, and bartending.

She is currently teaching in Toronto.

What has made Jill special to me is her sparkling personality. A good example comes from her blog below where she takes a short bio of herself at Iguana books (plain) and adds her personal comments (bold italics):

Edmondson is the author of the Sasha Jackson mystery series. There’s a thin line between Jill and her sleuth Sasha, although Jill has never worked at a phone sex hotline (I'm pretty sure my uncle Doug believes I worked my way through college at a smut line!), and Sasha isn’t a language geek. (For fun, I read books about language (English or Yiddish usually), language history and evolution, word origins, and about grammar.) By day, Jill is a post-secondary communications professor and ESL assessor (that means I evaluate non-native English speakers in their ability to use/write/comprehend English).

When she’s not writing whodunits or busting people for improperly using semi-colons (just skip them all together if you don't know what a subordinate clause is), Jill enjoys bumming around any country where they speak a Latin-based language. (I went to Italy this summer and - surprisingly - spoke French most of the time).

She is amongst the most candid people I know. I have never had a dull exchange of emails with Jill. Ask a question, any question, and be prepared for an uninhibited answer.

I have never had an author provide me an anecdote to rival the condom covered cucumber she received as a tip while working as a real life bartender. I remain confident the story will appear in a Sasha Jackson mystery.

I have had two excellent Q and A with Jill. The first was after reading her first two books. The second followed her third book. You can find my reviews, Q and A and Thoughts on Q and A on the blog under the Rest of Canada.

One of the events in her life that led her to writing mysteries was serving as a judge for the Arthur Ellis Awards. She said she read 57 mysteries in 4 months and called it “like a boot camp for how to write a good crime novel” in the University of Athabaska’s newsletter for the Master of Arts – Integrated Studies.

Even when writing academically Jill is engaging. (I have not often found reading academic articles as entertaining as Jill.) She has posted her essay From Spenser to Yeats: Jane Yeats, That Is or Feminism's Version of the Hard-boiled Sleuth is on the Wagon and Rides a Harley Essay on the Thrilling Detective website. Here is a link to the essay.

She starts the essay with a flourish:

Start with one serving of fingertips severed during a rather unfortunate version of Miller time.

Blend in a blinding hangover buttressed by a British beer.

Add the roar of a Harley drowning out the raspy hacking of a heavy smoker. Simmer until cynical, edgy and acerbic.

Then garnish with a loaded gun, an attitude and a leather-jacketed protagonist.

Voilà! That's the recipe for the archetypal hard-boiled detective, except in this case the hard-boiled sleuth wears a bra and answers to the name Jane Yeats.

What first drew me to her series was her character, Sasha Jackson. She is a memorable private detective walking the streets of Toronto. She is irreverent in the manner of Elvis Cole. She swears with the best hard boiled detectives in fiction. She is witty, if sometimes too sarcastic. She has the good sense to have chosen a lawyer as her lover.

While I enjoyed the book I was less excited about the plot of the first book, Bride and Groom. I have found Edmondson continually improving her mysteries in Dead Light District and The Lies Have It. I am looking forward to the fourth in the series.


  1. Bill - You've made an excellent choice for E! Jill is not only a very talented author and a down-to-earth, open person, but also she's a friendly, warm and helpful colleague. I like her very much personally and I'm glad you featured her.

  2. I love when authors are friendly like that. Her mysteries sounds wonderful. Thank you for recommending them. I'm going to take a look at them.

  3. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I would be interested in your thoughts concerning her essay on hardboiled female detectives.

  4. Clarissa: Thanks for the comment. Both Jill and Sasha are entertaining characters.