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.

Friday, July 15, 2016

2016 Winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction - Pleasantville

Yesterday the University of Alabama and the American Bar Association Journal announced that Pleasantville by Attica Locke was the winner of the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.

I am currently reading my way through this year’s shortlist for the Prize. I have just finished Allegiance by Kermit Roosevelt. I am currently reading Tom & Lucky and George & Cokey Flo by C. Joseph Greaves. I will then read Pleasantville.

I wish I could read more and faster so that I could complete the shortlists I have chosen to read in recent years before the Awards were announced.

I had decided to read Pleasantville last of the short listed books as I had received recommendations it was an outstanding book.

As I have done in recent years I will be writing reviews of each of the books on the shortlist and then providing my opinion on which was the best book.

In the past two years I have agreed with the choice of the judging panel. In 2014 the winner was Sycamore Row by John Grisham and in 2015 it was The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson.

The readers of the ABA Journal have a say in the selection process. For 2016 had their votes decided the Award there would have been a different winner.

The ABA Journal said its voting readers were divided as follows:

        1.) 24.01% for Pleasantville;
        2.) 31.6% for Tom & Lucky and George & Cokey Flo;
        3.) 44.39% for Allegiance.

In its press release the University of Alabama Law School provided information on Ms. Locke:

Attica Locke’s first novel, “Black Water Rising,” was nominated for a 2010 Edgar Award, an NAACP Image Award and a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. It was short-listed for the Orange Prize in the United Kingdom (now the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction). Her second book, “The Cutting Season,” published by Dennis Lehane Books, is a national bestseller and is a winner of the Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. A graduate of Northwestern University, Locke was a fellow at the Sundance Institute’s Feature Filmmakers Lab. She’s written scripts for Paramount, Warner Bros, Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Jerry Bruckheimer Films and HBO and is a writer and producer of the Fox drama “Empire.” A native of Houston, Attica lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.

The Award will be presented on September 22 at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. during National Book Festival.

Congratulations to Attica.


  1. I'm delighted to hear that Pleasantville won, Bill. I confess I haven't read the rest of the short list, so I have no basis for comparison. But I thought it was a very well-written novel. I'll be interested in what you think of it when you read it.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Anticipation is growing to read Pleasantville.

  2. Excellent choice - this is a really grown-up, well-written novel.

    1. Marina: Thanks for the comment. The book is increasingly well recommended.

  3. It's a book I've been meaning to read...

    1. Moira: I am reading it right now. It is an excellent story.

  4. Yippee! For the third year in a row I agree with the panelists awarding the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. Pleasantville is a well-written book. A friend in Houston thought it excellent, too.