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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.

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Rain by H.N. Hirsch

(15. - 1198.) Rain by H.N. Hirsch - Professor Marcus George is startled when one of his graduate students, Kenny Glick, is worried about being charged for murder. His girlfriend, Cathy Yaeger, had died. It was reported as an “accidental death”. Marcus takes Kenny home to meet his partner Bob Abramson who has a solo criminal law practice. Reluctantly, Bob says he will talk to the police and prosecutor’s office.

Before he can investigate Kenny is called in for an interview. It is a setup for his arrest. A second autopsy has determined Cathy was strangled.

Kenny’s father writes a cheque for the $2,000,000 bail.

While there are no errors in describing Bob’s early interactions as a lawyer they did not feel quite right. I doubt a reader who is not a lawyer would have that feeling. As the book went on Hirsch’s portrayal of Bob’s work building the defence got better.

Life is good for Marcus and Bob in San Diego in 1995. Their relationship is excellent. They have a loving dog, Oscar. Marcus is an accomplished professor, an expert in political rhetoric. Bob has a thriving practice. They live in a neighbourhood called Normal Heights - a name they “thought hilarious when they first heard it”. They are thinking about adopting a child. I was glad to read about a loving couple in a long term relationship. It is uncommon enough in crime fiction to be memorable.

Not everything is positive in their personal lives. Every family has its challenges.

Bob looks into Cathy’s life. She was a method actor who was “serious about it, and wanted every kind of experience in life” to aid her. Experiences included exploring “some unusual sexual scenes”. Kenny encouraged her to be with other guys. There was “some kink”.

Bob thinks the case for the prosecution is weak. The primary issue is how Cathy received the Demerol that was in her system plus alcohol.

It was interesting to read the interviews of witnesses. It does not happen often in Canada. I have never interviewed the parents of a crime victim. It is a rare case where the victim’s family is not angry towards the accused.

To Bob’s frustration, Kenny doles out the truth of his sexual relationship with Cathy. Kenny ignores Bob’s exhortations to be honest with him. Trying to conceal information from your lawyer is so foolish.

Bob understands he needs an alternative to Kenny being the killer. If there is a trial Bob will have a difficult decision on whether Kenny should testify. A client who is careful with the truth is susceptible on cross-examination.

There are competing investigations by the police and Bob’s investigator but readers are not given much information on the police efforts beyond the initial disclosure.

The trial tries for drama but with modest success. The evidence of witnesses was abrupt. I had to grit my teeth over the dramatic licence that was taken.

Bob and Marcus are good men with genuine emotions. They are likeable characters. They remind me of a real life gay couple I know well who are a teacher and a lawyer and very likeable. Both the fictional and the real life couple survived the AIDS decimation of gay men in the 1980’s. 

I was reminded of Gail Bowen (a university professor) whose books feature Joanne Kilbourn (a university professor) who has had two husbands who are lawyers. She has a loving family with the difficulties of real life families. In most of her books she includes the lawyers of her life but limits their involvement.

It is a nice book that moves briskly. I would have preferred that it focused on university life.


  1. Is this a standalone or part of a series?

    1. Series. Please see my reply to your comment on Facebook.

  2. It sounds as though this was a bit of a mixed bag, Bill. And I know what you mean about wanting to grit your teeth when something isn't realistic. I don't like taking too much license, either. That said, though, it does sound interesting.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. Bob and Marcus are appealing and interesting characters.