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.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

More Bill's Best of 2012 (Non-Fiction and Most Interesting)

On Wednesday I put up a post on my favourite fiction reads of 2012. All were crime fiction. Today I set out my favourite non-fiction books and a personal category I have titled Most Interesting. The latter category includes fiction and non-fiction.


1.) Bush Dweller – Essays in Memory of Father James Gray, OSB edited by Donald Ward (Part I and Part II) – The book is a collection of essays on the relationships Benedictine monk, Father James Gray, developed with Canadians near and far during the 30 years he lived as a solitary at St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster, Saskatchewan. While living alone he formed deep friendships with many people. 21 contributed essays. In our restless, often frantic, world the essays remind us of the benefits of time spent over cups of tea considering our spiritual lives.

2.) Becoming Justice Blackmun by Linda Greenhouse  – Harry Blackmun was a reserved Minnesota lawyer who happened to be a childhood friend of American Supreme Court Justice, Warren Burger. When nominated to the Supreme Court he was expected to be a solidly conservative justice. Instead, he proved independent and gradually became a strong liberal member of the court.

3.) Hitler’s Empire - How the Nazis Ruled Europe by Mark Mazower – Most of my reading of World War II has been on the battles or the leading figures of the great conflict. In Hitler’s Empire I learned how the Nazis governed their vast territories. More specifically it was frightening to read how they were radically transforming the Slavic lands to the East of Germany. The Nazi ethnic cleansing was dramatic.


1.) One-L by Scott Turow (Guest post and my post) – For the first time as a blogger I had both a guest blogger and a dual review of a book. My son, Michael, and I both wrote about Turow’s book on 1st year law at Harvard in the mid-1970’s. We went on to reflect how our respective experiences in 1st year law compared with Turow.

2.) The Invention of Murder – How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime by Judith Flanders (Part I and Part II)– An intriguing look at how Victorian England enjoyed murder cases. The rise of modern newspapers was significantly aided by graphic accounts of murders and trials of those accused. The stage was dominated by re-creations of famous cases. The book also examines the origins of crime fiction. Some of the earliest mystery books were inspired by real life cases. Murder became major entertainment in the 1800’s.

3.) Murder in a Cold Climate by Scott Young – In a prolific career as a writer, Young, ventured into mystery fiction with Murder in a Cold Climate. Set in the NWT in the mid-1980’s his sleuth Inspector, Matthew “Matteesie” Kitogitak, is the first Inuit inspector to be a member of the RCMP. Matessiee feels personally challenged to find a killer who shots a friend of Matteesie in front of him on a plane while the friend is being airlifted to a hospital. The murderer flees from the plane on a snowmobile - a Canadian winter appropriate means of flight. Young was also my "Y" post for the Alphabet in Crime Fiction hosted by Kerrie Smith at Mysteries in Paradise.

I had a good year reading in 2012 but lost ground on the TBR piles. They dare not grow in 2013 or I will have no room left on my home office desk.


  1. Bill - You've got a very interesting list here. I remember when you featured One L in particular and decided then that I wanted to read it. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I hope you read One L. With your academic background I would be interested in your thoughts.

  3. Thanks for this Bill. I used to read loads of non-fiction and now read hardly any at all and I'm not quite sure why - though I am sure part of the reason is work where I spend an increasing amount of time reading very boring non fiction (I work in a senior IT/administrative role in the Health sector so it's all studies and data and management gobbledygook) - when I read for leisure I tend to want to escape :) But I do have a vague resolution to return to facts at some stage...not least because I have quite a few pristine tomes on my bookshelf that I liked the look of but never got around to reading

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these books and I also enjoyed being reminded of yours and your sons reflections on first year law as compared with Turow.

  4. Bernadette: Thanks for the comment and kind words. I know the feeling of wanting to escape after a long day at the office reading documents, reports, emails, letters, memos and court cases. My non-fiction reading is usually as much an escape as crime fiction. I think you would enjoy One L.

  5. Bill, my understanding is that Nazi Germany was much ahead of the Western powers in many critical aspects of global politics during WWII. "Hitler's Empire" reminds me of another book I read and reviewed last year. In "In Secret Armies: The New Technique of Nazi Warfare—Exposing Hitler's Undeclared War on the Americas," John L. Spivak discusses how the Nazi propaganda machine led by Joseph Goebbels infiltrated scores of countries, socially, politically, industrially, and economically, to gain the upper hand in WWII. Hitler's regime had many (undeclared) sympathisers among the elite in both the UK and the US. This book is available free on the internet.

    Books on and about wars are fascinating to read in spite of the great tragedies associated with them. I enjoy reading non-fiction and there is a sense of fulfillment on finishing a book in this category.

  6. Prashant: Thanks for the comment. I think too often the history regarding Nazis before and during WW II gives little attention to those who supported Nazi ideals in Allied countries. There is abundant discussion on the colloborators in Nazi occupied countries but little attention to the sympathizers in England, the U.S. and Canada.