About Me

My photo
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, December 22, 2014

The Great Sandhills and Standing Rock

My last post was a review of Cool Water by Dianne Warren in the form of a letter to the young man who had given me the book a few weeks ago. In the book Warren wrote about the landscape of southwestern Saskatchewan where the story was set.

On her website the author has a post about inspirations for her in writing the book which include landscape photos - http://www.diannewarrenauthor.com/book-inspiration/

The book opened with a 100 mile horse race from pioneer days much of which took place in the Great Sandhills. The same sandhills were in the contemporary part of the book.

Tourism Saskatchewan describes them:

The Great Sandhills of southwestern Saskatchewan are a unique 1900 sq km area of active desert-like sand dunes. Native grasses and small clumps of trees such as aspen, willow, and sagebrush flank the dune formations. Mule deer and antelope frequent the area.

Some dunes reach 15 – 20 metres in height.

In addition to wildlife several thousand cattle are pastured in the hills for several months of the year.

Oil and gas exploration takes place in the hills.

About 20 years ago our family had a summer trip around the province which included a stop in the Great Sandhills. Used to either bush or prairie it was an unusual experience to climb up the pure white sand hills and feel we were in a desert.

Warren’s photos above capture those hills which often have grass and/or trees at the base of the dunes.

A huge rock is further featured in the book. Buffalo and now cattle rub up against the rock. While rocks are not special in much of the world they are a rarity in the prairie.

Warren provides a photo of Standing Rock, a large rock on the prairie near Hazlet, Saskatchewan. It is a glacial erratic and stands out in a plain. In fact, it was used as a landmark by settlers of the area. It is 3.35 meters high and 9.14 meters long.

I have been to Hazlet to play Twilite baseball but I have not seen the rock.

I admire how Warren effectively incorporated geographic features of our province into Cool Water.


  1. Bill - Thanks for sharing that natural beauty. I know what you mean about the rarity of rocks on the prairie; Standing Rock looks majestic. And those sand dunes are amazing, too. But to me, the most amazing thing is the variety of landforms and life that you see in just one province.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Our province has a lot of space. It is 1,225 kilometers (761 mi) and 627 kilometers (390 mi) along the southern border with the United States.