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, October 7, 2013

Reflections on Posts in the 2013 Crime Fiction Alphabet Meme

 For the 2013 Crime Fiction Alphabet meme hosted by Kerrie Smith at her blog, Mysteries in Paradise, I decided the post for each letter of the alphabet would have a personal connection for me. The theme proved as interesting as I had hoped.

Among the early letters "B" allowed me to highlight that the three leading writers of mysteries in Saskatchewan all have surnames beginning with the letter "B". Anthony Bidulka, Gail Bowen and Nelson Brunanski all write fine mysteries set in Saskatchewan. Next week I am going to have a review of The Gifted, Gail's newest book in the Joanne Kilbourn Shreeve series.

"C" was the most unique post. It was a review of Showdown at Border Town by Caroline Woodward. It is the third book in the Leaders & Legacies series featuring the adventures of young Canadian Prime Ministers. This book featured a youthful Paul Martin in the vicinity of Windsor, Ontario. What made the book unique is that the author, writing for the YA market, is a teenager from Ottawa who won a contest to write the book.

"F" set me to thinking about Female Fictional Lawyers. It was my most popular post of the Alphabet it had 436 page views. We live in an era where a majority of law school graduates are women. We shall see if become the majority in legal mystery fiction.

When thinking of an "I" post I looked to one of my bookcases where I had a copy of The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton. The simple appearing Father is actually a brilliant investigator drawing on the information shared with him by criminal parishioners. It is hard to see how a rather dumpy cleric solving mysteries with his brains would be published today. He is the opposite of flashy.

At "L" I was able to draw upon my experience as a lawyer to describe Real Legal Fiction. Where readers are accustomed to legal fiction being stories involving lawyers there are real life legal fictions. Examples include corporations, deemed to be individuals so they can own property and carry on business, and child adoption, where children are deemed to be the children of adopting parents.

For "P" I discussed Canadian author Louise Penny becoming one of the movie producers for the adaptation of Still Life, the first book in her Inspector Armand Gamache series. I subsequently wrote a review of the movie which was telecast last month. While I enjoyed the movie I think she should continue to make being an author her career. I am currently reading How the Light Gets In, the just published 9th book in the series.

The book I wished could have been the best in the alphabet was The Third Riel Conspiracy by Stephen Legault. The entry for "T" featured a mystery set at Batoche, about 125 km from where I live, set at the time of the Riel Rebellion in 1885. A book involving the history and geography of my area excited me. The book was alright but I had hoped for more. For a reader wanting to learn of pioneer life in Western Canada and its history the book is worth reading.

The visual images from Red Mandarin Dress by Qiu Xiaolong will stay with me for a long time. The beautiful red Mandarin dresses in which the murder victims were clothed were at the heart of the mystery.

My favourite book came at "Y" with The Shaman's Knife by Scott Young. Matteesie Kitologitak was a larger than life Inuit sleuth I would like to have known better but Young only wrote two mysteries with Matteesie. Life in Arctic Canada comes alive in the books and Matteesie is a lively character.

It has been another interesting 6 month journey through the alphabet. I encourage readers to go to Mysteries in Paradise to read of the posts of other bloggers of the meme.


  1. Bill - Thanks for your reflection. One thing I very much enjoyed about your posts is the variety of novels you chose. And I thought it was clever that you connected each post to yourself in some way. That's a unique approach. And I am very much looking forward to your review of the new Joanne Kilbourn mystery.

  2. Margot: Thanks for your generous comment. I appreciate your kind words.

  3. This post makes an excellent to-read list.

  4. Anthony: Thanks for the comment. I had not thought of the post in that context when I was writing the post.

  5. Bill, I'll be sharing this post with my Mysteries Only Book Club, aka The MOB.

  6. Ilonka: Thanks for the comment. I hope the MOB enjoys the post. It is a clever name for a group of mystery readers.