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, November 15, 2012

Where is Bill Reading?

Since I began blogging I believe I have been reading more varied crime fiction. In particular, I think I think I have been going more outside North America in terms of authors and the setting of books. Yet “believing” and “thinking” can be wrong. Consequently, I took a look through my reading to date in 2012 to see if my beliefs and thoughts are backed up by a review of my actual reading this year. In this post I will list the countries in which I have read mysteries, the locations within the countries and how many books per country. The list goes in a descending order by the number of books per country. As always, no list fits all categories. At the end are a couple of books that did not have a primary country for their setting. My list is based on setting not residence of author.

Thankfully, Canada was first on the list. I do not say it will be so every year. This year I read 13 books with Canadian settings. Leading the way was Ontario which was the setting for 5 books. Tied for second with 3 books each was my home province of Saskatchewan and British Columbia. I read 1 book from each of Quebec and the Northwest Territories.

The United States with 10 books was the country with the second largest number of books read. Settings were California (3), Chicago (2), Wyoming (2), Florida (2) and Boston (1).

Three countries tied for third with 3 books per country.

From England I read one book set primarily in London, a second book split between London and rural England and a third was set in Yorkshire.

I read 3 books set in Australia. One took place in rural Victoria, another was in a distant suburb of Melbourne and the last was set in the vastness of Northwest Australia.

The third country with 3 books was South Africa. I read two set in and around Capetown. The third took place near Durban.

There were a pair of countries with 2 books.

I read books from Italy that were set in Sicily and Naples.

My reading included two books from Sweden. One took place in northern Sweden and the other was in Goteberg.

There were 6 countries with one book set in that country.

I read a book set in Shanghai, China.

There was a book set primarily in Auckland, New Zealand with a secondary setting in Brisbane, Australia.

I read a book set in Moscow during the time of the U.S.S.R.

My reading had a book set in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

One book took place in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The sixth country was Norway with the book set in Bergen.

Two books could not be tied to a single nation. One moved from Northern Africa to northern Europe during the book. The other had the characters almost equally spending their time in Germany, France and Italy.

I also read some non-fiction. Two were set in the United States, one in Saskatchewan, one in England, one in Germany and the last one in several European countries.

As you were reading this post were you trying to figure out the characters and authors by the settings? I was not making this post like one of the wonderful quizzes of Margot Kinberg at her excellent blog, Confessions of a Mystery Novelist. It would be impossible to know all of the books be the limited information but some should be easy. If you think you identified any of the books feel free to list in a comment or an email the books you have determined.

By my count I read 44 mysteries so far this year set in 12 specific countries. With Canada and the U.S. accounting for 23 books just under half of the books were set outside North America. Having completed the post I realized it does not really tell me if my horizons have broadened unless I go back to looking at the settings of the books I have read before blogging. I will check out the settings of my 2010 reading and make that the subject of my next post.


  1. Bill, 44 mysteries so far this year is impressive. I might have touched half that number. You have covered crime-fiction set in some of the major countries of the world. I can't guess any of the authors or titles though I'd like to learn the title of the book set in Moscow given my interest in fiction during the Soviet era. Could you, time and space permitting, mention the names of some of the books you would recommend? Many thanks, Bill.

  2. Very good.

    I'm trying to make my GRC and need two more books set in Africa, although I'd like to avoid blood and gore.

    I must say that I'm so glad you introduced a group of us to Russell Quant. I just finished Amuse Bouche, which Margot Kinberg so kindly loaned to me. I needed an easy, stress-free mystery set in a nice location, and humor. And I got it! Delicious escapism. And I laughed. (And a dog, too, a good draw for me.)

    So I'm on the road to read more.

    Wow, between Kilburn, Alsberg, Quant and then books by Barclay, Rotenberg, and more, I could spend a year here! And it would be pure escapism.

  3. Bill - You've read a very nicely varied group of books! I need to do the same thing - look at the countries where the books I read are set. I don't usually choose books based on their location but it would be interesting to see where I stand...Hmmmm...You've got me thinking, for which thanks.

  4. I'm not really a competitive perosn, but I feel compelled now to see if I outdid you. ;^) I've read considerably more books, but I doubt I covered the globe as impressively as you did with only 44 books. I'll be back with my report.

  5. Prashant: Thank you for the comment and kind words.

    The Soviet book was The Holy Thief by William Ryan. It is a powerful story.

    On recommendations I will have Bill's Best of 2012 at the end of the year. For now I would like to refer you to my post on the books I read for the 5th Canadian Book Challege which ended on July 1 this year. The summary post is the first post to come up if you click on the label for the 5th Canadian Book Challenge. My favourite mysteries were Gail Bowen's book, Kaleidoscope, and L.R. Wright's book, The Suspect. Good reading!

  6. Kathy D.: Thanks for the generous words.

    You have spoken of several of my favourite Canadian mystery writers.

    Russell Quant has a genuine wit and has made me laugh aloud while reading.

    I hope your reading will continue to take you north to Canada. We are glad to have your reading visits.

  7. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I try not to read to rack up countries but I equally try to read to be diverse. Where is the boundary. I will be very interested to hear where your reading travels have taken you this year if you decide to review the locations.

  8. John: Thanks for the comment. You have the most interesting comments. I look forward to your report on your reading around the world. I will be most interested to see if you found vintage crime novels from different parts of the world.

  9. Bill, thank you for mentioning the Soviet book (I'm intrigued by the title and what's inside) and I look forward to your Best of 2012 list.

  10. Prashant: Thanks for the comment. I hope you get a chance to read The Holy Thief.

  11. This is timely post for me. I just joined a challenge to read 80 books in different countries in five years. I won't be upset if I don't reach that goal but it will be a motivation to spread out my reading. If I am at a loss for mysteries for some countries... because I would like to stay with mysteries where possible... I will come here.

  12. TracyK: Thanks for the comment. Drop in any time to check world locations. I am sure you will be able to accomplish your challenge.