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.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

2020 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction Shortlist

The shortlist for the 2020 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction has been announced by the University of Alabama. The following books from the 21 entries were chosen:

1.) The Satapur Moonstone by
Sujata Massey;

2.) The Hallows by Victor
Methos; and,

3.) An Equal Justice by Chad Zunker.

I have already read The Satapur Moonstone and thought it an excellent book. I plan to read the remaining two books on the shortlist and provide my reviews and thoughts on the best book.

It is interesting that it is the second year in a row Massey has had a book on the shortlist. Last year it was The Widows of Malabar Hill, the first in the Perveen Mistry series.

I am not familiar with the other two authors.

The press release from the University of Alabama School of Law did not include any reference to the ABA Journal. In recent years the Journal has invited readers to vote for their choice on the shortlist with the readers choice to be one vote for the winning novel. I will be watching the Journal to see if readers get a vote. I thought it good way to promote interest in the Award.

The judging panel for 2019 will be:

         A'Lelia Bundles, author and journalist
         Dr. James A. Crank, UA associate professor of
         English specializing in American literature and
         Jesse Holland, journalist, author and  
         Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Kluge
         Center in the Library of Congress
         David Mao, associate president and chief 
         operating officer for Georgetown University 
         Law Center
         C.E. Tobisman, attorney and winner of the 2018 
         Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction

Of that group I know C.E. Tobisman having read her book, Proof, which was the 2018 Prize winner.

The Award will be presented later this year. There were no particulars about the presentation. Traditionally it has been given out at the Library of Congress during the National Book Festival.

Following my reading practice I plan to read the shortlist and provide posts on each book and my thoughts on the winner.

It is a special year for the Prize as 2020 is the 10th Anniversary for the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.


  1. Good for Sujata Massey. I love this series set in India, based on the first woman lawyer in that country in the 1920s.
    I don't know the other two books.

    However, here is a book review by the NY Times reviewer, Janet Maslin, about Scott Turow's latest legal mystery. And by her opinion, it's a terrific read. I can't wait. Here is her review:

    I can't paste it in but if you do a search for Janet Maslin, you will see a web site where her reviews are posted. It's the latest one.

    1. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment. Her lawyer is a true pioneer for women in the law.

      I am not going to read the review of Turow's latest book right now but expect to buy it shortly.

  2. Thanks for sharing this list, Bill. I've been wanting to read the Massey (I remember your fine review of it). And I always like to at least know what's on the list, even if I don't get to all of the novels.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I am sure you will find interesting the mystery, Perveen Mistry's life and her journey to becoming a lawyer and practising law.

  3. Oh, you don't want to know about the plot so no reading reviews. I have reader-friends like that.

  4. Yes. Every mystery reader has his/her own habits. I don't know if this would violate your own preferences, but I just watched and hear a wonderful interview by Barbara Peters, owner of The Poisoned Pen bookshop in Arizona, with Scott Turow.
    There was a lot of history, discussion about his prior books and his decision to become a lawyer, some about the new book, and alot of humor. His characters do things that surprise the author!
    I loved it. Could easily spend my time watching these author interviews.
    But if it would spoil your reading of the latest book, then perhaps you could watch the video after you read the book. It's well worth it.

  5. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment. I will indeed wait to watch the video. I am not sure if saw back in 2012 my younger son, Michael, (then in first year law) and myself wrote reviews of "One L" which is Turow's thinly fictionalized version of his first year of law school at Harvard in the 1970's. I wrote a further post on my thoughts of our experiences. You can links under Turow on either my Author Index - Fiction page or my Legal Mysteries page.