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, July 18, 2013

2013 Harper Lee Prize Winner – Havana Requiem

The winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction in 2013 was announced earlier this week. It is Havana Requiem by Paul Goldstein.

The other books on the shortlist were:

1.) The Wrong Man by David Ellis; and,

2.) Defending Jacob by William Landay.

The ABA Journal invites readers to vote on which of the three books on the shortlist should win the prize. Havana Requiem was also the winner of the Readers Choice poll with 39.63%. Defending Jacob was 2nd with 38.97% and The Wrong Man was 3rd with 21.4%. What was noteworthy to me was that 1,519 votes were received by the ABA Journal.

On the University of Alabama Law School website for the Prize Goldstein is quoted as follows:

“Apart from its many other virtues, To Kill a Mockingbird was the first the novel to show me that it is possible to write about law and lawyers in a profoundly human, as well as literate, way. More than fifty years later, it is impossible to study any of the better lawyer-heroes of today’s novels without finding Atticus Finch looking back at you. I like to think that Michael Seeley, the hero of Havana Requiem, embodies not only Atticus’s integrity, but also his unvarnished nobility, and the Harper Lee Prize is not only a great honor for me, but evidence that perhaps I got it right.”

The site further sets out his distinguished legal career:

Goldstein is a member of the bars of New York and California and, since 1988, been of counsel to the law firm of Morrison & Foerster LLP, where he advises clients on major intellectual property lawsuits and transactions. He has regularly been included in the annual volume Best Lawyers in America.

Since 1985 Goldstein has been the Lillick Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. He has testified before congressional committees on intellectual property legislation, been an invited expert at international governmental meetings on copyright issues, and he is a member of the editorial boards of leading intellectual property publications in England, Germany and Switzerland.

He has served as visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Patent, Copyright and Competition Law in Munich, Germany, and he is a member of the founding faculty of the Munich Intellectual Property Law Center.
His website is http://paulgoldstein.law.stanford.edu/.

With regard to fiction he had written Errors and Omissions and A Patent Lie prior to Havana Requiem.

I have not read any of Goldstein’s books. I need to go looking in bookstores.

I am currently reading The Wrong Man after receiving strong recommendations from commenter Kathy D. I am enjoying the book and thank her for pushing me to read the book.

Congratulations Professor Goldstein!



  1. Thanks, Bill, for the mention on The Wrong Man. I found that book very enjoyable and the protagonist a smart, witty lawyer.

    I read the first book in David Ellis' series and will look for the second one. It is a good vacation book.

    Havana Requiem is the one of three that I didn't read but I will. I read two other books by Paul Goldstein in this series. His character has integrity.

    Defending Jacob is quite a complicated book. It is well-written, brilliant, in fact, so I give it an A, but it was a difficult story to read. It's not only a legal but a psychological thriller. Suspense and menace build.

    Since the story is told in the first person, the anguish is even more heart-felt by the reader. I needed a vacation after this one or a light read.

    On other legal books, am reading Larry D. Thompson's Dead Peasants, a light, fun story with a millionaire Texas attorney now doing pro bono cases for poor people -- which hit at corporate greed.

    And the excellent legal mystery -- and educational book, The Collini Case by German attorney Ferdinand von Schirach. It takes us back to WWII horrors, international law and the German legal system -- and deals with prosecutions -- or not -- of Nazi war criminals. A heavy tome but worth reading.

  2. Kathy D.: Thanks for a very interesting comment. You have added a lot to my post with your information on the shortlist authors and other legal fiction.

  3. Bill - Thanks very much for the rich background information on Goldstein and on The Wrong Man. I always like learning a little more about the authors whose books I read. And although I confess I've not (yet) read this one, it certainly does sound really interesting.

  4. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I hope your leisure reading takes you into the courts of our nations in the near future.

  5. I am on page 40 of Havana Requiem.

    Although it deals with substantive issues, like artists' rights to their music and to funds earned on its sales, it is a lot of fun.

    I had forgotten Paul Goldstein's sense of humor and I've smiled several times already.

    It's also about a maverick lawyer who wants to pursue cases that help people -- he's principled -- but working in a huge private law firm with global ambitions.

    It's worth reading. Since I've read two previous books featuring Michael Seeley, one of which dealt with AIDS medications' use for poor countries, and I enjoyed them, I thought I'd like this one.

    However, so far I think it's the best of the three.

  6. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment. I want to read it but I want to read the book more before I read the comment. I will be back to respond to your comment when I have read the book.

  7. Havana Requiem becomes quite heavy, an international thriller as it were.

    It kept me up, nearly wringing my hands at times so it's not an easy book but intelligent. I don't agree with the author on everything but his writing kept me up turning the pages until the wee hours anyway.