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, March 23, 2018

The Inspiration for Body on Baker Street

My last post was a review of Body in Baker Street by Vicki Delany. I enjoyed the book as I have enjoyed all of the books I have read that were written by Vicki.

After completing the book I wondered if the inspiration for the murder could have come from the book of another Canadian mystery writer. 

I emailed Vicki and she promptly and candidly responded. I appreciate her willingness to reply to my questions. Our exchange is below

I enjoyed reading Body on Baker Street and will have a review posted shortly.

In reading the book I was struck by the use of a bottle of poisoned water as the method of murder. I thought of Deadly Appearances, the first book in the Joanne Kilbourn series by Gail Bowen. In that book the fictional Premier of Saskatchewan, Andy Boychuk, is speaking at a political picnic. A carafe of water is sitting upon the trailer bed from which he is addressing the crowd. He dies after drinking the water which has been poisoned.

I was wondering if you might have been inspired by Deadly Appearanecs in your choice of death for Renalta Van Markoff. If not I would be interested knowing what led you to the poisoned water.

I admired your creation of a fictional series with a specific plot in a Body on Baker Street. I was reminded of Another Margaret in the Randy Craig series by Janice Macdonald. In that book Macdonald also created a fictional author and series. Considering your very varied sleuths might you have been tempted to actually write a series featuring the Desdemona Hudson you created within Body on Baker Street?

If you are able to reply and are willing, I would put up this email and your response, as a post.

All the best.

Bill Selnes

Hi, Bill. Always happy to talk books.

I have read Deadly Appearances, as I have most of the Kilbourn series, but that was a very very long time ago.  Probably when the book first came out.  So I don’t remember any details.  In my case, the setting came first – the book signing – meaning I wanted the author to drop dead in front of the room full of people. I then had to think about how to accomplish that. Poison was the obvious way of doing that , short of having someone stand up with a gun and shoot her – not much mystery there.  But it had to be obvious that the poison was taken within the last few minutes, so that the people in the room, and no others, would be the suspects.   It also needed to be fairly obvious that it might not have been intended for someone else, as would have been the case if she’d had tea in the tea room earlier.

One of the problems with writing several cozy series is trying to come up with new and original ways of bumping people off, but keeping it polite.

Come to think of it, I have written something similar to the Desdemona Hudson series.  Have you read any of my Klondike Gold Rush mysteries? Published by Dundurn from 2008 – 2013. I never thought of it before but Fiona McGillivray in that series is somewhat similar.




  1. Thanks to both of you for this interesting exchange. I always enjoy learning about how authors get the inspiration for their work. It's fascinating, too, to see how different crime writers use different methods of murder, etc.. I appreciate your sharing this.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I wonder if anyone has tried to catalogue all the methods of murder in crime fiction. There certainly have been some ingenious means of killing.