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.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Relationship Restaurants in Fiction and Real Life

Weeping Willow

We all have different relationships. Most are personal. Some are with places. All relationships involve memories.

Armand and Reine Marie Gamache, in All the Devils are Here by Louise Penny published earlier this year, have a special relationship with Juveniles, a bar à vins, they visited for the first time 35 years ago when they became engaged in Paris.

As they have many times before, they return to the restaurant, still owned by the same family. They sit at their “regular long table by the wooden bar”. A carafe of their favourite red wine is upon the table and:

Warm baguettes were placed on cutting boards on the table, with a terrine de campagne, a whipped butter, and small bowls of olives.

Margaux, who first served them as a serious five year old, takes care of the Gamaches.

Sharon and I have a relationship with Murray’s Restaurant in Minneapolis that extends back 41 years to 1979 when we visited Minneapolis on our honeymoon. Where Armand and Reine Marie had run into Juveniles because of an “unexpected downpour” we had looked for a restaurant where we hoped to have a special meal to celebrate our time in the city.

Murray’s was a wonderful decision. Always elegant, at that time already open for 33 years, it had the feel of the late 1940’s.

We shared the Silver Butter Knife Steak for Two, a sirloin roast perfectly cooked.

We have returned to Murray’s each time we have been back to Minneapolis and have never been disappointed.

Servers spend decades at the restaurant. On our last visit our server advised us she had been serving at Murray’s for 35 years.

Each visit takes us back to that time when we were just starting our lives together.

New restaurant relationships are made throughout life.

In the Gamache series Armand and Reine Marie love going to the bistro in Three Pines owned by Gabri and Olivier. 

Whether for a fine meal or just a croissant they enjoy sitting near the fireplace.

Their hosts know them well.

In Melfort Sharon and I have been developing a relationship with RJ’s Urban Garden Cafe in recent years.

Set in an old building, lovingly restored, Raianne has created an inviting restaurant to which we make frequent visits.

Their chippers, homemade potato chips with chipotle dip, are a part of every meal we have there. They are usually ordered when we sit down.

Dakota and other servers start writing down a Pepsi before I speak as they take our drink orders.

This past summer a lovely deck was added. Upon the deck now stands a work of art, a weeping willow tree, sculpted by Rob Jüng’s MetalArt of Melfort. Raianne told us it is their family tree and a sign of their resiliance during the challenges of life that come to all of us. 

On her Facebook page she stated:

“The willow tree gives us hope, a sense of belonging, and safety. Furthermore, the ability to let go of the pain and suffering to grow new, strong and bold.

The image of the willow tree is our path to stability, hope and healing” - unknown

The sacred willow reminding us to bend and not break.

Sharon and I have enjoyed many restaurants around the world. We are very glad to have personal relationships with Murray’s and the Urban Garden.


  1. What an interesting topic, Bill! There really are special places like that stay in our minds and our hearts over a long time. I know my husband and I have a few places like that. And, yes, it's there for the Gamaches, too. Hmm.... you've got me thinking (for which thank you!). There are places like that all through crime fiction. I think I feel a post coming on...

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I am glad you and your husband have special places. They enrich our lives. I look forward to that post.

  2. Bill, what a wonderful post. Murray's Restaurant looks lovely and I love that it has been around so long.

    Glen and I used to go to a restaurant called the Good Earth in Santa Barbara (the restaurant is now out of business although Good Earth tea is still sold in stores). We first went there in 1978 on our first trip to Santa Barbara when we were deciding whether to move there when we got married. There was a used bookstore nearby that we continued to visit for years afterwards also. Sometime in the 1980's an outdoor mall was put in downtown Santa Barbara and the Good Earth had to move to Goleta (a nearby unincorporated area). We continued going there and got to know the staff very well. Eventually it went out of business, and we still miss the food and the people. Thanks for bringing back fond memories of that place and time.

    1. TracyK: Thanks for the lovely comment. I appreciated hearing about the Good Earth. It sounds like it was very inviting restaurant. I was very glad to hear of special places for you and Glen. They resonated with me.

  3. What a great story, Bill - I love to think of you and Sharon going back often to a restaurant so far from home. Your whole piece made me smile.

    1. Moira: Thanks for your comment. Murray's will always be special to us. We all need to smile more this year.