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, April 21, 2021

2021 Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence Shortlists

This evening the Crime Writers of Canada announced the short lists for this year's Awards of Excellence on video. It was an interesting way to make the announcement. Congratulations to those listed. I intend to read the short list for Best Crime Novel as usual. As equally customary I have not read any of them.

Best Crime Novel
sponsored by Rakuten Kobo, with a $1000 prize

Marjorie Celona, How a Woman Becomes a Lake, Hamish Hamilton Canada; Penguin Canada

Cecilia Ekbäck, The Historians, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Will Ferguson, The Finder, Simon & Schuster Canada

Thomas King, Obsidian, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Roz Nay, Hurry Home, Simon & Schuster Canada


Best Crime First Novel
sponsored by Writers First, with a $500 prize

Raye Anderson, And We Shall Have Snow, Signature Editions

Chris Patrick Carolan, The Nightshade Cabal, Parliament House Press

Guglielmo D’Izza, The Transaction, Guernica Editions

Russell Fralich, True Patriots, Dundurn Press

Emily Hepditch, The Woman in the Attic, Flanker Press


The Howard Engel Award for Best Crime Novel Set in Canada
sponsored by The Engel Family with a $500 prize

Randall Denley, Payback, Ottawa Press and Publishing

Helen Humphreys, Rabbit Foot Bill, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

Ann Lambert, The Dogs of Winter, Second Story Press

Kevin Major, Two for The Tablelands, Breakwater Books

Katrina Onstad, Stay Where I Can See You, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.


Best Crime Novella
sponsored by Mystery Weekly with a $200 prize

C.C. Benison, The Unpleasantness at the Battle of Thornford, At Bay Press

Vicki Delany, Coral Reef Views, Orca Book Publishers

Winona Kent, Salty Dog Blues, Sisters in Crime - Canada West

Sam Wiebe, Never Going Back, Orca Book Publishers


Best Crime Short Story
sponsored by Mystery Weekly with a $300 prize

Marcelle Dubé, Cold Wave, Sisters in Crime - Canada West

Twist Phelan, Used to Be, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine

Zandra Renwick, Killer Biznez, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine

Sylvia Maultash Warsh, Days Without Name, Carrick Publishing

Sarah Weinman, Limited Liability, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine


Best French Crime Book (Fiction and Nonfiction)

Roxanne Bouchard, La mariée de corail, Libre Expression

Stéphanie Gauthier, Inacceptable, Éditions Québec Amérique

Christian Giguère, Le printemps des traîtres, Héliotrope NOIR

Guy Lalancette, Les cachettes, VLB éditeur

Jean Lemieux, Les Demoiselles du Havre-Aubert, Éditions Québec Amérique


Best Juvenile or YA Crime Book (Fiction and Nonfiction)
sponsored by Shaftesbury with a $500 prize

Frances Greenslade, Red Fox Road, Puffin Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House

Janet Hill, Lucy Crisp and the Vanishing House, Tundra Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House

Sheena Kamal, Fight Like a Girl, Penguin Teen, an imprint of Penguin Random House

Kelly Powell, Magic Dark and Strange, Margaret K. McElderry Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Inc.

Tom Ryan, I Hope You're Listening, Albert Whitman & Co.


The Brass Knuckles Award for Best Nonfiction Crime Book
sponsored by Simpson & Wellenreiter LLP, Hamilton, with a $300 prize

Jeff Blackstock, Murder in the Family: How the Search For My Mother's Killer Led to My Father, Viking Press

Norm Boucher, Horseplay: My Time Undercover on the Granville Strip, NeWest Press

Silver Donald Cameron, Blood in the Water: A True Story of Revenge in the Maritimes, Viking Press

Justin Ling, Missing From the Village: The Story of Serial Killer Bruce McArthur, the Search for Justice, and the System That FailedToronto's Queer Community, McClelland & Stewart

Michael Nest with Deanna Reder and Eric Bell, Cold Case North: The Search for James Brady and Absolom Halkett, University of Regina Press


The Award for Best Unpublished Manuscrit
sponsored by ECW Press with a $500 prize

The Future by Raymond Bazowski

Predator and Prey by Dianne Scott

Notes on Killing your Wife by Mark Thomas

A Nice Place to Die by Joyce Woollcott

Cat with a Bone by Susan Jane Wright



  1. Thanks for sharing this, Bill. I don't always manage it, but I try to read at least some of the shortlist for the best novel award, and it's good to know what's out there this year. I'll look forward to your thoughts on the shortlist as you read the novels.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I hope you can do some reading North of the border.

  2. I don't recognize any of the names of the authors on the Best Novel short list, so I look forward to any thoughts that you share here on them.

    I too was pleased to see an award for Best Crime Novel Set in Canada.

    1. TracyK: Thanks for the comment. I know a couple of the authors for Best Novel. I think Best Set in Canada to be the most important of the Awards.

  3. And I, equally or perhaps more, surprising HAVE read two of the shortlisted novels: the Celona and the Ferguson. That makes the goal of reading the entire list before the winning announcement doable for once.

    Thanks for watching the video and making up these lists for us, Bill!

    1. Debbie: Thanks for the comment and kind words. Good for you having already read two of the books. As of this evening there have been 397 views of the video.

  4. Hi Bill, I'm wondering if you could give me an email? I'm a publicist with a BC-based indie press (TouchWood Editions) and would love to send you some of Iona Whishaw's books - The Lane Winslow mysteries. Set in the fictional King's Cove (inspired by Victoria's Queen's Cove) they're not-quite-cozy mysteries with a lot of historical references from post-WWII Canada. Let me know if you're interested (curtis@touchwoodeditions.com). We do also have a nice amount of books from SK authors!