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, December 6, 2012

2012 Trip to Sleuth of Baker Street

Two weeks ago I was in Toronto for the Grey Cup (the Canadian professional football championship). I made time to take the subway and bus to the Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore. It would not be a trip to Toronto unless I went to the store. My last visit about which I put a post was a year ago.

I arrived early Friday afternoon to find Marian at the store. She said J.D. was visiting in Ottawa. While J.D. was gone she was not alone. Her dog, Percy, was curled up beside the counter at the front of the store. Periodically he would make a circuit around the store to check out customers.

Percy on a visit to the country
On this trip I specifically wanted to look for books from a few Australian and New Zealand writers whose books I had not found in Western Canada. I was to be disappointed. I was not able to get books by Y.A. Erskine, P.M. Newton, David Owen and Vanda Symon. Marian said it is difficult to get books by Australian and New Zealand writers unless they are published in North America or England. She said there is no wholesaler they can deal with in Australia. I will keep poking around used bookstores in the hopes of finding some of their books. An alternative would be another trip to Australia and a first time trip to New Zealand. I doubt Sharon would see the wisdom in travelling thousands and thousands of kilometers to get crime fiction.

While unable to get some of the books I wanted there was an abundance of other choices in the thousands of mysteries and thrillers they have for sale. In the end I forced myself to place only 5 books on the counter for purchase.

Before going to Toronto I had been looking in the November issue of their fine bi-monthly newsletter, Merchant of Menace, and looked at some of the recommendations from that issue.

It has been awhile since I bought a book involving lawyers so I was attracted to Slip and Fall by Nick Santora. It is about a Brooklyn lawyer that J.D. describes as a ham-and-egger which sounds like it might be like my practice.

I have enjoyed the first two books in the Milo Weaver series by Olen Steinhauer. I added the third in the series, An American Spy, from Sleuth.

This year I have started reading Canadian author L.R. Wright. I was able to buy the 4th book in the Karl Alberg series, Fall From Grace.

I found down in the “W’s” the 6th in the Maisie Dobbs series, Among the Mad, by Jacqueline Winspear for which I posted a review on Tuesday.

Looking around the store I checked for Arthur Upfield mysteries featuring Napoleon “Bony” Bonaparte but the only books for sale were early hardcover editions marked at $75.00. As I buy books to read rather than as investments I passed on them.

It is so nice to visit with a bookseller knowledgeable about mysteries. She loves mysteries. Marian knew every author in which I was interested. She basically knew without looking whether they had a book for which I was searching for purchase. She freely offered her perspectives on books I was considering. She is not afraid to tell a customer, if asked, her opinion. She will say if she liked or did not enjoy the books of an author. In the big chain bookstores I am glad if I can find a clerk who can determine from the computer if they have a mystery in which I am interested.

In the just over an hour I spent at the store there were several other customers. None of them left without buying books. I hope Sleuth can stay open for many more years.


  1. Sadly I don't have any books by those authors left on my shelves Bill otherwise I'd happily send them on (I had a giant clean out prior to moving this year and I do tend to pass most books on anyway these days). I may get YA Erskine's second book back on Sunday - I think it went into the pile o' books we swapped at book club last month and we're swapping back this weekend. If so, I'll let you know. Otherwise if I ever review an Aussie book that you'd like to read drop me a line when you see the review and I'll happily send it over if I've not promised it to anyone else (sea mail - it takes a while but is much cheaper than air).

    Your bookshop visit sounds lovely - we don't anything like that here but I did once go to a mystery specialist shop in Los Angeles and I had to be physically dragged away. Heaven!

  2. Bill - It sounds like you had a wonderful time. There isn't a good shop like that - with a real specialty in crime fiction - around here. But I know if I visit Toronto, that shop will definitely be on my itinerary.

    I hope you do get the chance to visit New Zealand. I've thoroughly enjoyed my visits there and I hope that there will be more of them in the future. It's a long trip of course but so well worth it.

  3. Bernadette: Thank you for the comment.

    I appreciate your generous offer. It gives me another reason to read your fine blogs. I expect to take you up on your invitation. It is so hard to get Australian books in paper in Canada. I would have thought it would be easier rather than harder.

    If your travels take you to Toronto and Sleuth don't let anyone tell you that have only an hour for Sleuth.

  4. Margot: Thank you for the comment. You just need to find a conference in Toronto from which you can slip away to Sleuth. You will not be disappointed.

    Sharon and I have thought about going to New Zealand. Now that I know some bloggers there I have even more reason.