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.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Deep House by Thomas King

(24. - 1163.) Deep House by Thomas King - Thumps DreadfulWater is drifting. He is getting adjusted to his lover, Claire, having a baby by another man. She prefers to have him visit her and the child, Ivory. Sheriff Duke Hockney has returned to duty after prostate surgery. Thumps is wondering what to do as a photographer as digital cameras have overwhelmed conventional cameras. The pandemic has eased away and life is gradually returning to normal.

He joins the Sheriff to investigate the arson of a van at a site on the edge of the reservation that had been a test facility for paint on plywood. Colourful panels stand up to be weathered by Montana.

The location is near Deep House, a slash of a canyon in the prairie with boulders the size of houses. Walking through the Deep House is risky with access difficult if someone is injured.

Searching for the berries of an uncommon plant so Moses can make tea, Thumps takes some photos with a digital camera to see how the contraption works. When the images are examined an arm appears in the background. The missing driver of the van has been found.

Internet records disclose the van came from the paint company in California that had provided the test panels.

As the Sheriff and Special Deputy Thumps investigate, a complex story involving paint emerges.

In the interconnected world of the 21st Century corporate intrigue involving Montana is plausible.

Beyond his love life, Thumps personal life is enlivened by his cat, Freeway, who provides him with some delightful distractions.

The dialogue is easy between Thumps, his fellow citizens in Chinook and the residents of the nearby reservation where he grew up. There is the relaxed humour of country folk comfortable with their lives. There is no pretence, no effort to be cool, no desire to impress.

Breakfast at Al’s diner is a daily ritual for Thumps who is discontented should his favourite stool be occupied. Despite his diabetes, Thumps loves the hearty fare. Cooley Small Elk often meets him there.

The pages move swiftly along.

This Thumps story does not really involve the reservation and its residents. The action is in Chinook and the test site on the edge of the reservation. I hope the next book goes back to the reservation.

Deep House was the 2023 winner of the Whodunit Award for Best Traditional Mystery in the Crime Writers of Canada Awards of  Excellence.



  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Bill. It sounds timely, and the mentions of post-pandemic life sound interesting, too. And Thumps sounds like a well-drawn character. As for the setting, I've read series, too, where the original setting (whether it's a small town or a reservation or someplace else) is the most effective setting.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Thumps is becoming one of my favourite characters. As usual, it is as much because of his personal life as the plots of the mysteries. King has a strong understanding of rural Western North America and reservations (reserves in Canada).

  2. I was incredibly lucky to hear Thumps voiced by Graham Greene way back on CBC when King's first book was published. It made a wonderful book even better.
    Chris Wallace

    1. Chris: Thanks for the comment. Graham Greene sounds perfect for Thumps.