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.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Back from Cruising

Hannah Rae Selnes
Just over a month ago Sharon and I set off for Barcelona and back-to-back cruises on the Marina around the Mediterranean. I had plans for considerable reading and the occasional post about the books I would be reading but – sigh – technology faltered and I became distracted.

Marina is a beautiful ship with the Oceania Cruise Line. It has a capacity of 1,250 passengers and approximately 750 crew. Sharon and I enjoy our time aboard.

The technological flaw for blogging is the satellite based internet. It is far slower than the current average Wi-Fi on land. It does not reach even “moderate” high speed. Occasionally, especially when in port you can access the net fairly well though live video is almost impossible.

Most days, as with these cruises, the ship is in port during the day. Sharon and I, like our fellow passengers, like go ashore for formal and casual excursions. Thus we are not on the ship during the best “ship” time for the internet.

Where real problems arise is when the ship leaves port. While the internet system can usually handle modest wind it is inconsistent when the wind rises. To put up posts becomes difficult. Adding photos is time consuming and at times, impossible.

The ship’s internet person estimated there about 500 passengers trying to be on the net when we are at sea.

Having gone cruising with the goal of not being frustrated it became easier not to try posting.

At the same time I freely acknowledge I am easily distracted on the ship.

Team trivia twice a day occupies Sharon and myself. There will be up to 8 members on a team and we had a wonderful group on the first cruise. We were called the Vagabonds Plus. We had such a good time together Sharon and I invited the group to our cabin for champagne, cheese and fruit to celebrate. On the night before that cruise ended we organized a formal dinner together.

We also did well in winning Big O points which can be redeemed for ship merchandise. We left the ship with two sweatshirts, a ball cap and a tee shirt.

When not at trivia we were also deciding each late afternoon and evening whether to attend high tea or spend some time on deck or listen to the pre-dinner dance band or eat dinner or watch the nightly show in the theatre lounge or attend the post-show music at another lounge.

I faithfully carried my current book around the ship but reading suffered. Blogging felt too much like work.

There were a lot of fellow passengers with books. I found it notable that e-readers are not dominant. Over the past few years of cruising there are a significant number of e-readers on each cruise but they have not been increasing in number and, I would say there are more readers of paper books.

As the second cruise was concluding I was planning to get back to blogging promptly on our return to Canada. It did not happen for a good reason.

Sharon and I flew from Rome to Frankfurt to Calgary where we immediately went to the home of our son, Jonathan, and daughter-in-law, Lauren, to meet our first grandchild, Hannah Rae, who had been born while we were on the cruises.

We spent as much time as we could over the next 5 days with Hannah, Lauren and Jonathan. Sharon and I love holding the baby. After having sons Sharon was excited to have a girl in the family.

Then I ended up with a cold and, on our 7 hour drive home from Alberta, we underestimated the weather and drove through a winter storm. My associate, Brandi, and I had a stressful drive.

Last night Sharon and I were at the Melfort Public Library team trivia contest. After 10 rounds with 150 points at stake we were tied with the local Museum team at 122. I knew the answer to the tie breaker question and our team, the Vagabonds, were the winners!

Now I return to blogging. I admire those bloggers who can post, without fail, their way through the distractions of life. I am not one of them.


  1. Some things trump blogging, Bill. Congratulations on the newest member of the family! She's fabulous, and I know you'll be terrific grandparents. I'm glad you got back safely, despite the weather. And I'm glad you had a good time on your cruises!

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Hannah is lovely. The journey home was more memorable than we wanted and we had excellent cruises.

  2. The cruise sounds marvellous, I loved hearing about it. And your new granddaughter sounds even more marvellous - all congratulations to you and Sharon, what a wonderful new stage in life!

    1. Moira: Thanks for the comment. We are proud grandparents. Every baby is special. When she is your grandchild the specialness is overwhelming.

  3. I am glad you and Sharon had such a good time on the cruise, Bill, but I admit I was focused mostly on your beautiful new granddaughter. Just lovely and so much to look forward to. I also admire your prowess in Trivia.

    1. TracyK: Thanks for the comment. Most cruises Sharon is sad to see the end. This year she was ready to get on that plane to Calgary.

      Thanks for your kind words on Trivia. I find it fun to play.

  4. Congratulations on becoming grandparents - there is nothing else like it! Hannah Rae is a gorgeous wee thing - so bright!

    1. Debbie: Thank you. Hannah Rae has made this November bright and beautiful.

  5. Yes, the beautiful new granddaughter is definitely this month's highlight. She looks healthy and happy and eager to be out in the world.

    I'm sure you and Sharon will get used to the seven-hour drives to Calgary, and maybe once the winter is over, you will be visited by your son and his family.

    Aside from that exciting event, your cruise sounds great, especially Trivia and the meals, and the fun with other people.
    And what about the reading?

    I have been reading a Jake Lassiter/Solomon/Lord book in the few minutes I have for reading these days, and laughing constantly. Jake just said sometime so hilarious, yet risque about the Patriot Act that I laughed but can't repeat it. At any rate, he is a proponent of the Bill of Rights, can't blame him.

    So, enjoy Hannah and your family. You'll have fun over the holidays.

    1. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment. Jonathan, Lauren and Hannah are making a pre-Christmas visit. We are really looking forward to seeing them.

      I did not get the reading done that I expected. It seemed like I had too many other things going on during the cruise.

      I am glad you are enjoying Solomon and Lord. I do find it sad that you feel you cannot repeat a comment from a book of popular fiction.

  6. Oh, I can't repeat it because it's a bit obscene. While I think it's funny and I laughed, it's a bit much for me to repeat.

    It's on p. 72 of "Bum Rap."

    This book is so silly, but very witty. Not reading it for the brilliant legal strategy, but for the humor. That is necessary to get through today's news.

    1. Kathy D.: I have read the Solomon and Lord series but not the Lassiter series. Levine has a wicked wit.

  7. Read it when you need a good laugh. The cop-lawyer banter is hilarious. They haven't even gotten to a courtroom yet and I'm laughing away. Fun. Plot almost doesn't matter in this book.

    1. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment. In the Solomon and Lord series I thought the books were at their best when they combined courtroom scenes with out of court antics.

  8. Well, don't miss "Bum Rap" by Paul Levine. I just laughed out loud in the courtroom scenes and those in the judge's chambers.

    I thought of my father who loved humor and liked legal mysteries. He would have been laughing out loud at 2 a.m. while reading this book in the living room after everyone else had gone to bed. I'm going to read more in this series, as well as try to find some Solomon v. Lord books.

    So, your blog's legal mysteries' section got me into reading Levine's books.

    1. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment. I hope you will share more about your father in future posts. He sounds like an interesting man.

      That my blog inspired you to read an author's books inspires me to keep writing posts.

  9. My father was a Renaissance person. And he always read a variety of books. When he was in his fifties, he took a course in the Chinese language.
    I looked at his pile of books one day and saw a book about the Chinese language, one on Japanese history, a book about saiing, whiich he loved, one with math puzzles (he was a math person) and a novel. He would just switch books depending on his mood, and he'd always read the New York Times. He also read humorous books, classics and contemporary. And he liked mysteries with logic, as John Dickson Carr's locked-room mysteries or legal crime fiction.
    He got me started on mysteries with Sherlock Holmes when I was 15 or so. He was a very good, principled person. He was an activist, too, especially on civil rights and against war.
    And if I brought a note home from school that an ill student needed blood donations, he'd get up early the next day and make his contribution, without uttering a word about it.

  10. Kathy D.: Thanks for the moving memories of your father. I wish I could have known him. There are too few men of honour and principle in the world.