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, February 5, 2021

Visiting the New York City Public Library

In my last post I reviewed The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davies. I bought the book as Marian at the Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore in Toronto had recommended it on the store newsletter, Merchant of Menace. As well, I was drawn to a book featuring the Main Branch of the New York Public Library.

In June of 2004 our family was in New York City. Our younger son, Michael, was a member of a Chamber Choir at the University of Calgary. They had been invited to join other choirs in New York City to perform with the Atlantic Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall. They were singing the North American debut of a Mass titled The Armed Man which had been dedicated to the victims of the war in Kosovo. It was an amazing experience to see Michael singing at Carnegie Hall.

We stayed in a hotel near Herald Square which meant we were but a few blocks from the Main Branch. (It also meant we were close to the brownstone of Nero Wolfe.) As someone who routinely visits libraries while on vacation the Library was high on my list of places to visit in Manhattan.

As we walked up to the Museum the Lions, Patience and Fortitude, at the main entrance were as memorable symbols of a library as any I have experienced.

The grandeur of the building was inspiring.

We made a tour of the library enjoying the experience.

What drew me the most was the huge Rose Main Reading Room. The photo to the right illustrates the room but cannot convey the majesty of the room.

The long tables with reading lamps were so inviting.

Later in the week I needed to do some work so, while the others went to see  The Producers on Broadway, I went to the library and settled in at the main reading room. I enjoyed the chance to spend a few hours in a great reading room.

I have not been able to visit again. We have not been back in New York for more than a day since that trip. Should we get back to New York for another visit I will be returning to the library. Every book lover should visit the library. It is almost a pilgrimage for those who worship books.

Sadly it is currently closed because of Covid 19. Hopefully it will soon be open for readers.

I would be interested in readers of the blog who have been to the library providing a comment on their experience with the library.


Davies, Fiona - (2021) - The Lions of Fifth Avenue


  1. What a lovely trip you had, Bill! Thank you for sharing your memories and your photographs with us. I love visiting libraries, too, when I travel. You never know what you'll find, and there's nothing quite like the experience. I hope you'll get back to the NYPL at some point.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. i wish I could say the photos are mine but I did not take them. The NYPL experience is special for readers.

  2. Thanks for the gorgeous picture, Bill. I have not visited it, but you make a very strong argument that I should the next time I am in NYC. The reading room of the main library at Columbia University in NYC is quite impressive as well, but your picture shows that NYPL beats it hands down. If and when you are in Philadelphia, I strongly recommend a visit to the Fisher Fine Arts Library of the University of Pennsylvania. Gorgeous!

    1. Christophe: Thanks for the comment. I hope you are able to visit the Library. I will have to make a visit to Columbia University if I am able to get back to NYC. I am just as interested in the Fisher Library. Thanks for the recommendations. They look wonderful.