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.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Will You Buy a Book From a Bookstore that is New to You?

Just over a week I put up a post on how I bought books during the pandemic. (The post is just below if you scroll past the review of the The Power Couple.) There were a few comments including one from KathyD. She is a regular commentator on book review blogs and resides in New York. Her comment was:

I miss bookstores and browsing in the library. There are no bookstores near to my apartment building. But I had an appointment and had to take a cab and walked over to an Amazon store. I could only go in for a few minutes, but I was so happy to see a huge selection of books. And I looked at fiction on display. I enjoyed my few minutes. It’s like going into a bakery. 

The library closed in March and so I did buy books. I treated myself and then loaned them out to friends. Now the library is open for stop and grab, so books are set aside and one rushes in and out. Nothing to browse is set out.

I do miss bookstores. I was on a roll reading, then stopped. Now I’d like to restart again, but I have work to do. I must get back into the books. A close friend passed away at the end of September, and I think that’s when I lost the reading zest. But there’s nothing like escaping into fiction, especially mysteries. I’ve got the Grisham and Connelly books on library reserve. 

If anyone wants to order books from a wonderful bookstore, I can recommend another one. Some good friends moved to Duluth, Minn. a few years ago, bought a building and turned it into a bookstore called Zenith books. It has a lovely website, and they are only too glad to ship out books.

Curious to visit Zenith I looked up their website which is https://www.zenithbookstore.com/

At the top of this post is a photo of the exterior of their store. What a clever design. It looks so inviting. I wish I was closer to Duluth.

As I looked around the website and thought about Kathy’s comment I decided I would try ordering from them. While I live in another country books do freely cross the border.

Their mystery box concept intrigued me and I have written to them to see if they ship to Canada. If they do I plan to buy a mystery box with a request for crime fiction, especially legal mysteries or Minnesota mysteries. I have requested they check my list of fiction authors to avoid sending books I have already read.

As I reflected further I thought I would list a couple of my favourite independent bookstores and encourage readers of the blog to consider reaching out to purchase in person or online from a bookstore they are unlikely to have purchased from in the past. Maybe we can give a boost to some independent stores.

I would refer readers to:

1.) McNally Robinson in Saskatoon. They also have a store in Winnipeg. I enjoy their selections and their lovely cafe, Prairie Ink - https://www.mcnallyrobinson.com/home

2.) Sleuth of Baker Street in Toronto. It is my favourite bookstore anywhere. You can read more about it in posts I have listed in my page on Mystery Bookstores - https://sleuthofbakerstreet.ca/

Each store will take good care of you.

I invite readers of the blog to provide in comments their own recommendations and links to independent bookstores near or far. Even better would be to hear you have made an order for a book or books from a store that is new to you.

Thank you again to Kathy for her inspiration.


  1. I'm so glad your interest in this bookstore was aroused, Bill. Independent bookstores have really been having difficult time during this pandemic (and, truth be told, they were before, too). Generating online interest in a bookstore is an effective way to increase sales, so I'm glad you posted this. I hope you'll be able to purchase from them.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I think readers who appreciate independent bookstores need to do more promote them. I will post in due course on whether I was able to buy some books from Zenith.

  2. Thank you for that lovely blog post. If I lived in Duluth, I'd be at Zenith Bookstore constantly, browsing and buying books.

    And I often see the shop promote books by Minnesota authors, and pre-pandemic, they often had authors' events with local writers.

    The owners are great people.

    I do love independent bookstores. Wish there were some in my neighborhood.

    Hope this works out favorably. Hope you and your family have a good holiday, despite the pandemic.

    1. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment. I am in contact with Zenith. I appreciate the holiday wishes.

  3. I hope you'll be sharing with us whether Zenith ships to Canada and, if so, the contents of your mystery box(es)!

    1. Debbie: Thanks for the comment. Zenith does ship to Canada. I will be reporting further in due course.

  4. Replies
    1. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment. They let me know in an email.

  5. Replies
    1. Col: Thanks for the comment. The world is a better place with bookstores.

  6. Absolutely! Going into a bookstore is like going into a bakery. Instant happiness.

    1. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment. Well put. I will remember the phrase.

  7. Libraries, too! My second trip to the library today in the nine months of pandemic. Even though no books are shelved for browsing, I picked up my four books on reserve. It was still an up to enter the library, even if we can't browse.

    1. Kathy D.: Thanks for the comment. Just dropped off a box of books I am donating to the library. My spirits are lifted whenever I enter a library.