- Bill Selnes
- 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.
Friday, April 29, 2016
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
League Baseball, right up there with the superagents and the
major-market GMs. In exchange for a fee rumored to be in
the mid-six figures, Tiff designs a custom on-field look for
each of her clients, making recommendations on everything
from uniform styling and grooming to the song that plays
when walks up to bat. In an era when start athletes earn
several times their annual salary in endorsements, Tiff was
one of the first consultants to recognize the primacy of an
athlete's image, the importance of building a unique and
Sunday, April 24, 2016
the stories moving very quickly, so describing actual game
action was not something I felt I could (or should)
include. Too, while I love baseball and could discuss—at
great length—the endless subtleties and nuisances of the
game, I wanted (and want) the novels to appeal to more
than just baseball fans.
Eventually, Diggy figures out what I have in mind, and I
deliver: a slider outside, about a foot off the plate, that
bounces and sends up a puff of dust.......
I throw another slider in the dirt that Barrow takes for ball
I plant my left foot on the rubber and stare in. For the third
time, Diggy gives the signal for the changeup low and inside. I
shake him off, and then let him cycle through all the signs,
refusing them all one by one. When he returns to the change I
I was reminded of The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. In that lovely book Harbach’s plot line includes wonderful descriptions of game action. A powerful plot line involves the hero, Henry Skrimshander, suddenly becoming unable to throw accurately from shortstop to first base. The mind is interfering with the fundamentally simple skill of throwing the ball.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
For the first time in four years I have already read one of the books on the shortlist. Earlier this year I read The Night Bell. I regret to say it was not one of my top Canadian reads of the last year.
Once again it is my intention to read and review and rank the books on the shortlist for Best Novel.
One good thing about not having read most of the Shortlist for Best Novel means I am introduced to some new Canadian mystery writers.
Of the remaining nominees I am glad to see Jayne Barnard on the Shortlist for Best Unpublished Novel. She is a Facebook friend and a true devotee of crime fiction.
The full shortlists are:
Peggy Blair, Hungry Ghosts, Simon & Schuster
John Farrow, The Storm Murders, Minotaur
Andrew Hunt, A Killing in Zion, Minotaur
Peter Kirby, Open Season, Linda Leith Publishing
Inger Ash Wolfe, The Night Bell, McClelland & Stewart
Best First Novel
J. Mark Collins, Hard Drive, iUniverse
David Hood, What Kills Good Men, Vagrant Press
Ausma Zehanat Khan, The Unquiet Dead, Minotaur
Alexis Koetting, Encore, Five Star
Brian R. Lindsay, Old Bones, Volumes Publishing
Jeremy Bates, Black Canyon, Dark Hearts
Alison Bruce, Deadly Season, Imajin Books
M.H. Callway, Glow Glass, Carrick Publishing
Barbara Fradkin, The Night Thief, Orca Book Publishers
Brian Harvey, Beethoven’s Tenth, Orca Book Publishers
Best Short Story
Karen Abrahamson, With One Shoe, The Playground of Lost Toys, Exile Press
Hilary Davidson, The Seige, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine
Sharon Hunt, The Water Was Rising, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine
Scott Mackay, The Avocado Kid, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine
S. G. Wong, Movable Type, AB Negative Anthology, Coffin Hop Press
Best Book in French
Luc Chartrand, L'Affaire Myosotis, Québec Amérique
Jean-Louis Fleury, L'affaire Céline, Éditions Alire
André Jacques, La bataille de Pavie, Druide
Jean Lemieux, Le mauvais côté des choses, Québec Amérique
Guillaume Morrissette, L'affaire Mélodie Cormier, Guy Saint-Jean éditeur
Best Juvenile/YA Book
Robert Hough, Diego’s Crossing, Annick Press
Jeff Ross, Set You Free, Orca
Kevin Sands, The Blackthorn Key, Aladdin
Allan Stratton, The Dogs, Scholastic
Stephanie Tromley, Trouble is a Friend of Mine, Kathy Dawson Books
Best Nonfiction Book
Gary Garrison, Human on the Inside: Unlocking the Truth about Canada’s Prisons, University of Regina Press
Dean Jobb, Empire of Deception, Harper Collins Publishers
Debra Komar, The Bastard of Fort Stikine: The Hudson’s Bay Company and the Murder of John McLoughlin Jr., Goose Lane Editions
Jerry Langton, Cold War, Harper Collins Publishers
The Dundurn Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel
Jayne Barnard, When the Flood Falls
Alice Bienia, Knight Blind
Pam Isfeld, Brave Girls
J.T. Siemens, Better the Devil You Know
J.G. Toews, Give Out Creek
Monday, April 18, 2016
|Tulips at Butchart Gardens|
Saturday, April 16, 2016
It is a beautiful weekend on the island with the tulips and fruit trees in blossom. Sidney's downtown has planters filled with flowers. Coming from Saskatchewan where last weekend it had reached -16C it was a lovely welcome to the Island.
Beacon Street is the main shopping street stretching from the highway to the ocean. In a 5 block stretch are 6 bookstores. It is remarkable to find 6 bookstores in a community of 11,500 people. During the day I stopped at all of the bookstores.
The first was Beacon Street Books. On the Sidney Booktown
website it is described as:
A general bookstore of secondhand books – 4,000 sq.ft. – thousands of good used books covering categories the Arts,
Classics & Literature, General Fiction, Nature, Travel, Nautical, Music, Reference,
Canadiana, Self-Help, and the Sciences. Browse in our Modern First
Editions and Authors Signed editions, and look through our
collectable, rare, and antiquarian books.
I looked through the general mystery section of current books. There was a nice selection but I restrained myself.
My next stop down the street was at the Military and History Bookshop. The store had the largest collection of military books I have seen since I was at a comparable bookstore in the other booktown I have visited, Stillwater, Minnesota.
As you enter the store there are a pair of mannequins in Canadian uniforms. In the hand of the female mannequin in a naval uniform is a copy of the book She Went to War - The Rhonda Cornum Story by Rhonda Cornum.
I spent quite awhile browsing in the sections dedicated to World War II and left with two books.
The first, Seduced by Hitler by Adam LeBor and Roger Boyes is about the choices made by people who lived under Nazi rule in and outside Germany during WW II. The decisions made by ordinary Europeans during the war have long fascinated me.
The second, How Papa Won The War by Gordon Wagner, is an autobiography of a veteran who grew up in rural Saskatchewan and served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the war. He spent time on duty in Canada, England and India.
In addition to the beautiful flowers Sidney has lifesize statues of people sitting on benches along Beacon Street.
Next to Tanner Books is a statue of an older woman reading a book. A town putting up statues with a reading theme is impressive.
After my tour Sharon and I finished the day in Sidney with a Pier Platter (smoked trout, citrus prawns, smoked salmon, crusted tuna, pickled salad, olives, almonds and flatbread) and fresh salmon main course at Haro's Restaurant.
My next post will cover the remaining four bookstores in Sidney.
(I took the photos for this post with my trusty IPhone Plus.)
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Saturday, April 9, 2016
Helly Hansen was founded by Norwegian sea captain, Helly Hansen, and his wife, Maren Margarethe. The company has been making outerwear to deal with all climates for almost 140 years.
Thursday, April 7, 2016
You're right, Alaska's a very small state, except geographically, I often say that we have zero degrees of separation up here, meaning everybody seems to know everybody. Think of us as a 650,000 square mile village!
So, yes, I have met Sarah Palin, though it might be an exaggeration to say we know each other. I remember the encounter, but I'm sure she does not.
It was in 2008 when she was running for governor. My boss at the time was a Palin supporter. I shook hands and exchanged pleased-to-meetchas with her when we met her plan at the Anchorage airport. So, if that qualifies as 'knowing' the former governor, put me on the list!
She has not responded, so I don't know if she's aware of it or not. Seems fairly likely since, as noted above, Alaska is basically America's largest small town.
I didn't have it reviewed expressly for libel risk, though, as you note, a couple of lawyers advised me on various aspects of the story. And my very experienced agent read it from cover to cover.
As far as techniques for avoiding libel, I made it abundantly clear in the text of the story that Helen Mercer is *not* Sarah Palin. Helen is from Chukchi; Sarah is from Wasilia. Helen is identified as Alaska's second woman governor; Sarah was the first. Helen's husband races dogs; Sarah's husband races snowmobiles; Helen was in the Alaska Legislature before being elected governor; Sarah was never in the Legislature; and so on -- there are other biographical differences, but probably too many to list.
And the most important difference: Sarah Palin has never been involved in a murder case!
Funny you should mention that. As you may recall, Tina Fey did an amazing impression of Palin during the 2008 presidential race. At one point, Fey-as-Palin said, "I can see Russia from my house."
Hilarious, and absolutely sounds like Palin, even if she never said it.
Which takes me to my point: I still run into people from outside Alaska who are of the firm belief that Palin really did say it! They are shocked and a little disappointed to hear it was only a send-up on Saturday Night Live!
Good question! Legally, you can; politically, probably not!
You have my permission to use my responses.
Me too! I'll have to find a way!
Thanks again for the great questions, and for your interest in the Nathan books!
Monday, April 4, 2016