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.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

H.P. Tergersen & Sons and Icelandic Crime Fiction

I am departing from my series of posts on WW II and choices for a post on the H.P. Tergersen & Sons store in Gimli, Manitoba. Sharon and I were in Gimli for the 5550 Rotary District Annual Conference when we took a walk Saturday afternoon.

Across the street from the hotel was an old looking store that captivated us on entry.

There were genuine hardwood floors and an old fashioned cash register (beside the computer terminal) and a stock of contemporary clothing.

The history of the store is summed up on a Manitoba Heritage site:

     This General Store was constructed in 1898 by Hans Pjetur
     Tergesen and opened for business on January 1, 1899. It has
     been owned and operated by three generations of his
     descendants. It is the oldest operating general store in Manitoba
     and an excellent example of a rural community store. The
     vernacular-style building is a rectangular wooden structure with
     a flat roof. A wooden parapet with a bracketed cornice gives the
     building a more imposing appearance. The interior possesses
     most of its original furnishings.

As I looked around I saw that a second part of the store was a bookstore.

I told Sharon I would see her in awhile and headed for the books.

There was a nice selection of fiction and non-fiction but what stood out were the large selections of Manitoba books and Icelandic literature.

A large number of Icelanders settled in Gimli and area on the edge of Lake Winnipeg. Their descendants make up the largest group of Icelanders outside Iceland. While the town currently has about 2,000 full time residents there are a large number of summer visitors to the beautiful area.

It was a pleasant surprise to see shelves of Icelandic crime fiction that had been translated into English. I would never have dreamed of encountering one of the largest collections of Icelandic crime fiction in Canada in a general store in rural Manitoba.

In fact Lorna Tergersen in an article published in the Interlake Enterprise last year stated:

     I believe our store has the largest collection of Icelandic and
     Scandinavian books in North America,” says Lorna who was a
     book representative for several Canadian publishers in the 1980s
     before she devoted herself to Tergesens in the early 1990s.
     “Local authors are also popular and one of the latest best sellers
     is ‘Vikings on a Prairie Ocean’ by Glenn Sigurdson, a
     prominent Canadian lawyer who grew up in a Lake Winnipeg
     fishing family.”

She went on to say their book sales are back up after a drop off about 3 years earlier because of e-books.

I could not leave without buying a book though I restrained myself from more.

Torn between the Manitoba section and the Icelandic section I opted for a Manitoba book, A Candle to Light ths Sun, set in the 1930's that I had not heard of before going to Tergersen's. There is a special story about the author that I will add as a post after I read and review the book later this year.

I wish I had more shopping surprises like Tergersen's. Sharon would say it is because I go buying rather than shopping and do not go into enough new stores to find surprises.


  1. Oh, what a great find, Bill! I'd have told my husband the same thing and gone off to explore that shop. I didn't know that there was an Icelandic connection to Manitoba. I'm not surprised, though; it makes sense. It's good to know that book shop celebrates that part of Manitoba's history.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Tegersen's helps make Gimili unique. Many of the Icelandic settlers fished Lake Winnipeg which is the 10th largest lake in the world.

  3. This place sounds great and I would have picked up some of the Icelandic books if I had been there. And very interesting to hear about the Icelandic settlers in Manitoba.

    1. TracyK: Thanks for the comment. It was a hard decision on what to buy in the bookstore.

  4. That's fascinating - who'd have been expecting Icelandic books in exactly that spot... Life always has something out-of-the-ordinary to offer, doesn't it?

  5. Moira: Thanks for the comment. I agree the out-of-the-ordinary is alawys around us. Travel and a willingness to look around can certainly enrich our lives.