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.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Hercule Poirot comments on Tom Mead's sleuths Joseph Spector and George Flint

I, Hercule Poirot, have been invited by Monsieur Guillame - I prefer the elegant Guillame to the prosaic William - Selnes to comment on Monsieur Joseph Spector and Inspector George Flint, the sleuths in Death and the Conjuror by Tom Mead much as my esteemed colleague, Nero Wolfe, and I did for Monsieur Selnes in a post upon the Old Man in the Corner, the thoughtful sleuth of Baroness Orczy.

Monsieur Selnes has provided me with a copy of his review of Death and the Conjuror. In the words of Monsieur Wolfe I found the review satisfactory. While the review was moderately helpful for assessing the sleuths I, the diligent man that I am, carefully read the book myself.

Let me start by putting to bed or is it rest - the English language can be so clumsy - the calumny upon Mrs. Christie, repeated in the book, that she may have faked her 11 day disappearance back in 1926. Mon Dieu! Nothing could be further from the truth! Ms. Christie was enduring an emotional upset. I shall not descend into the gutter to explain the source of her mental anguish but let me be exceedingly clear. She was ill, not a faker.

Getting back to Monsieur Spector and Inspector Flint. 

I heartedly concur with the good inspector that the number of deaths in locked rooms has reached the level of an epidemic in London. It is time the many sleuths of this great city combined with the police officers at the Metropolitan Police - I abhor the contraction of the Met - and Scotland Yard to promptly solve these crimes and deter the commission of further locked room murders.

I admit it took me a while to realize Inspector’s Flint’s relationship with Monsieur Spector may have been modelled on my connection to the good Inspector Japp. Indeed, Inspectors Flint and  Japp are equally dogged - my colloquial English is improving - in the pursuit of the wicked. With the aid of a sleuth possessing a superior intellect they can solve the most difficult of murders.

I have some admiration for the apparel of Monsieur Spector. While nothing can compare with a finely tailored three piece suit and hat, he does dress with a degree of flair. Though his black velvet suit is vulgar he carries a silver headed cane. I do appreciate the drama of him wearing “a black cloak lined in crimson silk”. I have secretly aspired to such a cloak. If only Mrs. Christie would listen to my entreaties. It would go so well with the moustache I have so carefully cultivated. She is so stubborn.

Monsieur Selnes has advised me that he wishes the sleuths of the 21st Century dressed with the style of Monsieur Spector and myself. He confided that he would love to own a black cloak with crimson silk lining.

Were Monsieur Spector and I to meet we would enjoy smoking together. The intense smoke of my tiny Russian cigarettes would be matched by the pungent smell of his “narrow, dark cigarillos”.

I was dismayed that so little of Monsieur Spector’s background was revealed to explain his experience with the deductive process. I am positive there are tales of intrigue in his past. 

Monsieur Spector’s process of deduction is sound. It is clear he has spent a lifetime using his little gray cells.

I was surprised when Monsieur Spector referenced the categories of locked room murders set out by John Dickenson Carr. I have never needed to draw upon the approaches of other sleuths and their authors but if a sleuth needs help Monsieur Carr is a master of the locked room murder.

I, myself, would also have started by analyzing how the killer left the locked room.

It is interesting, as with many sleuths and authors, how little attention is paid to the actions of the housekeeper in the book. While not a servant she has the anonymity of domestic staff.

I do not care for the conjuror’s tricks of Monsieur Spector. Illusion is not a part of my life. Deduction is the essence of a sleuth. I would prefer magic be kept upon the stage. Monsieur Selnes advises me he enjoyed the clever deceptions of Monsieur Spector.  I sigh in exasperation. 


Mead, Tom - (2023) - Death and the Conjuror


  1. It is very helpful, not to say instructive, to read M. Poirot's commentary on the book. It was very kind of him to take the time to write a few thoughts. And by the way, I completely agree about Ms. Christie's 11-day absence. First of all, it is no-one else's concern what she did or where she went during that time! Second, she made it clear she did not wish to discuss it. To me, that settles the matter. As to the comments on the book, they are enlightening (but what else would I expect?).

    (This is absolutely brilliant, Bill! You outdid yourself here, and I enjoyed it very, very much.).

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I have passed on your comment to M. Poirot and he has asked me to advise you that he was pleased you enjoyed his commentary. He specifically instructed me to say that praise from a distinguished academic and blogger with great knowledge of his books moved him.

      For myself, thank you for the kind words. I am glad you enjoyed the post.

  2. I just finished the sequel to Death and the Conjurer and immediately referred it to a couple friends of mine. It’s quite fun to try to puzzle out!

    Although M. Spector’s illusions and clothing may seem rather gaudy or garish to you, M. Poirot, I must admit that I’m quite a fan of both! Perhaps it’s my enthusiasm for theatre showing, but I love a good performance and if you’re to have a spectacular show, you must dress the part. At least on the illusions, it seems I may share M. Selnes’ opinion.

    I’d like to ask M. Poirot, do you have any murder mystery novels that you’re quite fond of? I must admit I’m rather lacking in my repertoire of such mysteries and would love any recommendations you have to share! If M. Selnes has some favorites he’d like to recommend, I’d love to know those as well. I thank you both in advance!

    - Aurora

    (P.S. This is a fun read and I think I may peruse your blog when I have more time!)

  3. Thank you Mme. Aurora. It was kind of you to comment on my thoughts. I anticipate that either myself or M. Selnes will soon read the second in the series. We are glad you enjoyed it.

    While I respect the opinions of yourself and M. Selnes you are both wrong! Finely tailored clothes are the epitome of fine clothing.

    While I like to exercise the little grey cells by reading I choose not to recommend books. I fear Mrs. Christie would be jealous were I to prefer another author. No character wants to antagonize their creator.

    As for the books favoured by M. Selnes he will reply below.

    All the best!

    - Hercule Poirot

    (Aurora: Thank you for your clever and entertaining comment. As to book recommendations I would encourage a pair of exceptional Saskatchewan authors - Gail Bowen and Anthony Bidulka. You can find reviews and other posts about them on the page at the top of the blog titled Saskatchewan Mysteries by Author. I hope you will return to my blog and provide more comments. - Bill)