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.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Buying in Hawai'i

My resolution not to buy books while on vacation in Hawai'i lasted no longer than the first library I visited on O'ahu. A couple of days into the vacation Sharon and I visited shops in an old sugar mill. After learning at one shop how they grew coffee and cacao beans and a different store how they made soap from locally grown plants I saw a sign for the Waialua library.

The staff told me it is the smallest library on O'ahu. After enjoying a chat I saw they had a book sale of used books. I could not resist buying a copy of "V" is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton for $0.25.

A few days later we were at the giant, 290 stores, Ala Moana Shopping Center in Honolulu. Having already broken my resolution I went to Barnes & Noble to buy some Hawaiian mysteries. I was sadly disappointed. I was not surprised when a clerk told me they did not have a designated section of Hawaiian mysteries. I was dismayed when she took me to the Hawaiian section of the store where she thought there was Hawaiian fiction only to find there was no collection of Hawaiian fiction. When asked about looking on the computer she advised they could only search by title and author. Having failed to buy Hawaiian crime fiction I comforted myself by buying a classic, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, that I had never read. (My next post will be a review of the book.)

Determined to buy a Hawaiian mystery I spent some time on the internet researching and writing down titles and authors of Hawaiian mysteries. When we returned to the mall I went back to Barnes & Noble with my list of approximately 15 authors. It was discouraging that only 3 of the authors had books in the store. I did buy Murder Leaves Its Mark  by Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl. I chose the book as it was set, albeit almost 80 years ago in Hale'iwa on the North Shore. We were staying a few kilometers out of Hale'iwa at the beach.

A few days later we were in Kāneʻohe and another library lured me. The city library turned out to have its own bookstore with thousands of books for sale. I decided on a A Lawyer's Journey by Morris Dees with Steve Fiffer (an autobiography). When they told me it would only cost $0.25 again I felt guilty. While not much of a gesture I did pay $1.00 for the book. The staff told me they keep the prices low to keep the books moving out of the store.

My book buying would have ended but for driving by the BookEnds store in Kailua after a meal at Buzz's Original Steakhouse which advertises itself online as the restaurant President Obama eats at when in Hailua. The President made a good choice.

BookEnds turned out to be a nice store jammed with books. The mystery section covered over half the back wall. There was a comprehensive selection of American mysteries. Authors from outside the United States were few in number.

I picked out Village of the Ghost Bears by Stan Jones. It is the 4th book in the Nathan Active series. This weekend I will be posting some Q & A with Stan.

I also bought a book for which I do not know anything about the author or the plot. It is One Blood by Graeme Kent featuring Sister Conchita and Sergeant Kella. I was attracted by its setting in the Solomon Islands. It is not Hawai'i but it is at least set in the Pacific. As I chose the book I realized it has been too long since I just bought a random mystery that looked interesting and had neither read reviews nor received recommendations about the book.

For the remainder of the holiday I avoided library signs and never saw another bookstore.

The holiday turned out to be a typical book vacation for me. I completed reading 4 books while buying 5 books. I do have good intentions about the TBR piles.


  1. Bill, I like the idea of reading books by authors based in the places you visit. As a reader I think it helps you to identify with the place and its people and their culture. There must be a book of fiction on most places in the world. The Waialua Library looks like a wonderful place to spend some time in, browsing and buying books. Reading four books while buying five more is a good ratio that I need to follow. I am glad you had a lovely (and fruitful) vacation. Thanks, Bill.

  2. How wonderful that you and your spouse were able to vacation in Hawaii, one of the most beautiful locations on earth.

    And what luck to find books for 25 cents. Morris Dees is a good guy; the book about him should be quite interesting.

    I read Graeme Kent's first book Devil-Devil, which featured the characters you mention. The setting in the Solomon Islands is unique. I enjoyed the book and learned quite a bit about the history of the islands and how people lived at the time the book was set.

    It's too bad you couldn't find more Hawaii-set crime fiction while there.

  3. Bill - I'm so glad you had a good trip to Hawai'i and of course, I'm delighted that you found so many good bookshops. I always look for bookshops too when I travel. It sounds as though you got some terrific books, too. I'll look forward to reading your reviews of them.

  4. Hello,
    I have been visiting your blog.
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    Greetings from Algarve, Portugal
    Paulo Gonçalves

    I invite you to visit my blog

  5. Prashant: Thanks for the comment. Looking for books written in and about places I visit has given me something book related to look forward to on trips.

  6. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment.

    I have started reading the Dees book and he is engaging lawyer writing vividly of fighting on behalf of the downtrodden.

    I will keep looking on each vacation for books related to the places being visited.

  7. Margot: Thanks for commenting. Whenever I come across a good bookstore it really brightens my holiday.