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, September 23, 2022

Butlers in Fiction and Real Life

Sharon I have spent several hundred days at sea on Oceania Cruises. On some recent cruises we have had a stateroom with butler service. We have come to enjoy having a butler. While reading Mindful of Murder by Susan Juby I was reminded of the butlers we have met while cruising.

As shown in the photo above they are formally attired at all times.

As I read the book I thought about how some of the butler skills set out in the book were carried out upon the ship.

1.) “One of a butler’s main jobs is to make everyone comfortable” - Our first cruise ship butler, Akshay, came to see us 2 days into the cruise. He made a friendly inquiry asking “don’t you like me, you never call me”. We said we had never had a butler in our lives. He smoothly advised us what he could do for us and made us very comfortable with calling upon him.

2.) Her butler friends, Gavin and Murray, pack Helen’s suitcase perfectly - Sharon and I have not had a butler pack but our butler skillfully and efficiently moved us to another stateroom and back when there was a waterline leak in our room during a cruise.

3.) Butlers can stand so still with a peaceful air - The ship butlers have a special stillness about them and radiate calm.

4.) They never appear to be standing in judgment - The butlers are completely professional in not projecting  judgment. 

5.) “Gavin and Murray chose a round table in the corner of the lodge. Murray draped it with a freshly ironed white tablecloth. Then she covered that with a smaller pale gray tablecloth. There was something reverent in the way she and Gavin worked.” - When eating in our stateroom the butler would float the table cloth over our round table, precisely place the cutlery and glasses, add a flower, arrange the napkins and then set the first course exactly before each of Sharon and myself. It was a ceremony.

6.) Gavini has a small notebook for jotting down tasks - The ship butlers equally have notepads.

Oceania butlers also provide pre-dinner delights. Each

evening about 5:00 they will bring an hors d’oeuvre. Our favourite is chocolate dipped strawberries with tuxedo shirt fronts. They are as delicious as shown in the photo above. 

Mr. Carson of Downton Abbey would appreciate that the Oceania butlers are consistent in maintaining standards. 

Where they differ from Mr. Carson is that there is not a hint of haughtiness about them.

What real life Oceania butlers have is equanimity, which is described in the book from Buddhist principles as:

“Equanimity is based on the knowledge that everything changes and will always change and that is okay. We find equanimity only by paying close attention to what is happening in the moment.”

Should you be inspired to become a butler The International Butler Academy in the Netherlands has a 10 week course for €14,500.


Mindful of Murder by Susan Juby


  1. It sounds as though you've had very good experiences with butlers, Bill, and I'm glad for you. It must have made that stateroom move so much easier! I've read and heard that a skilled butler makes life run more smoothly. And it's funny you would mention the fictional Mr. Carson. I thought of him while I was reading your post. As you say, he is haughty, but I like the way he seems to anticipate needs, and has ways of just fading into the background hen that's in order.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Butlers are masters of making life easier. I have thought all of us could use butler training. You are right Carson is not obtrusive yet he is always present when needed in Downton Abbey.

  2. What a lovely post Bill, I enjoyed it very much. I am glad you and Sharon can have such wonderful holidays, I am sure it is well-deserved, and the butlers sound splendid. The only thing worrying me is that leak in your stateroom - I'd have assumed I was on the way to a Titanic scenario if it happened to me! Glad it obviously didn't ruin your trip...

    1. Moira: Thanks for the comment. Butlers are wonderful. The leak was far from huge but it was on the main line to the spa. The ship had to shut down the spa for 24 hours. It was amazing how, in a day, the crew fixed the leak and had everything cleaned up. The General Manager also provided some perks for the inconvenience.