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.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

2013 Arthur Ellis Awards

2013 Arthur Ellis Awards - May 30, 2013

And the winner is...

Best First Novel
Simone St. James, The Haunting of Maddy Clare, NAL

Best Novel
Giles Blunt, Until the Night, Random House Canada

Best Novella
Lou Allin, Contingency Plan, Orca Books

Best Short Story
Yasuko Thanh, "Switch-blade Knife" in Floating Like the Dead, McClelland & Stewart

Best Nonfiction
Steve Lillebuen, The Devil's Cinema: The Untold Story behind Mark Twitchell's Kill Room, McClelland & Stewart

Best French Book
Mario Bolduc, La Nuit des albinos: Sur les traces de Max O'Brien, Libre Expression

Best Juvenile/YA Book
Shane Peacock, Becoming Holmes, Tundra Books

Best Unpublished First Novel, aka The Unhanged Arthur
Coleen Steele, Sins Revisited

Derrick Murdoch Award
Lyn Hamilton

The above winners of the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Awards were announced tonight in Toronto at the Annual Banquet held at the Arts and Letters Club.
For those interested in what Canadian mystery writers and guests eat at a banquet the menu was:
Salad of Seasonal Greens with Sweet Pepper, Bocconcini and
Toasted Pinenuts with Basil Caper Vinaigrette
Roast Breast of Chicken with Garlic and Lemon Glaze
White Beans and Tomatoes with Olives and Crispy Pancetta
Grilled Zucchini with Chilies
Tiramisu with Balsamic Strawberries
Coffee and a Selection of Teas
Vegetarian Entrée option:
Antipasto Tart with Grilled Peppers, Artichokes, Olives
& Pinenut Chevre on a Roasted Tomato-Basil Sauce

With regard to the winners, as I stated in an earlier post it was a year when I had not read any of the nominated books. Hopefully my 2013 - 2014 reading encompasses some of next year's nominees as happened in 2012 when I had read 3 of the 5 books on the shortlist for best mystery.
I have read Giles Blunt. He is a fine writer. I have not read some of his most recent books as the graphic depictions of violence in his early books had left me uncomfortable. With the Award for Best Novel I am going to have to consider again reading Blunt.
Congratulations to all the winners! 

Monday, May 27, 2013

“H” is for High Chicago by Howard Shrier

18. – 707.) “H” is for High Chicago by Howard Shrier – My review of High Chicago will be this week’s post for “H” in the Alphabet in Crime Fiction meme hosted by Kerrie Smith at her blog, Mysteries in Paradise.
The second Jonah Geller mystery has the action divided between Toronto and Chicago. In the series Shrier has established a pattern splitting each book’s location between Toronto and an American city. 

Geller and Jenn Rendsepp are the struggling partners in the investigative agency called World Repairs. (Geller insisted on the name drawing on his Jewish heritage from “tikkun olam, the Jewis concept of repairing the world, making it a better place wherever you can.”) 

Geller’s brother, Daniel, has referred the grieving Marilyn Cantor to the agency. She is heartbroken over her daughter, Maya, dying from a fall from her apartment. The police and coroner have concluded it was suicide. Marilyn has to know what happened to cause the fall. 

As the investigation begins Geller re-establishes contact with Daunte Ryan, the former contract killer Geller had helped escape the killing profession. Now an Italian restauranteur Ryan is happy to provide with good food and other assistance. 

Katherine Hollinger, a Toronto homicide detective, invites Geller out for supper. When she suggests Italian, he replies: 

“Of course I do,” I said. “Scratch a Jew, find an Italian. Except on Sunday evenings, when we all convert to Chinese.” 
As Geller looks into Maya’s life he meets her father, Rob Cantor, a developer with a new trophy wife who replaced Marilyn. Cantor is coping with the multitude of issues involved in constructing a huge new building complex on the Toronto harbor front. There are some expensive problems and his partner Chicago billionaire, Simon Birk, is not known for his patience. 

Bodies start dropping and the answers are in Chicago. Geller, lacking any specific means of examining Birk’s businesses, resorts to the Spenser approach of deliberately goading Birk. Geller, trained in the Israeli army in the self-defence techniques of krav magna is ready to deal with the consequences. 

Geller is unlike any American hard boiled detective I have read. He does not carry a gun. Maybe there is a developing sub-genre of unarmed Canadian hard boiled detectives. Jill Edmondson’s Toronto sleuth, Sasha Jackson, also travels the streets unarmed. 

Canada is certainly changing in who can be a sleuth’s assistant. Not only is Jenn a woman she is a proudly out lesbian. I am not sure if America is ready for a tough guy’s sidekick to be gay. 

In the first book, Buffalo Jump, I found the level of violence a concern. I have the same issue with this book. I am finding myself less interested in reading hard boiled detectives because of the amount of blood. I like Jonah as a character. He is multi-dimensional. He has natural wit. He is clever. I wish he had a solution to mysteries that was less graphically violent. I was ambivalent about reading this book because of the violence quotient in Buffalo Jump. I may change my mind if I want to learn more about Geller but I doubt I will

read the third in the series. If you are a reader who enjoys a tough hard boiled mystery with lots of bodies the Geller series is a good choice. (Apr. 24/13)

High Chicago will be the 10th book I have read in the 6th Canadian Book Challenge. I need to read 3 more to reach the 13 books to be read in the Challenge.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear

The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear - The 7th Maisie Dobbs mystery is excellent. It is one of my favourites in the series. Both the mystery and the telling of Maisie's life are superb.

Maisie is approached by wealthy Bostonians Edward and Martha Clifton. Edward was born in England and moved to the United States as a young man. Their son, Michael, while an American, successfully enlisted in the British Army in 1914.

His skills as a surveyor and cartographer were in great demand as the conflict bogged down in trench war. Accurate and detailed maps were needed for artillery fire, assaults from the trenches and defensive strategies.

Michael went missing in 1916. A French farmer, 16 years later uncovers the dugout in which the bodies and his unit have been entombed since the war. Their bodies were shredded with shrapnel. The dugout had been covered up during the shelling.

In Michael's effects were his journal and a series of lettters signed "The English Nurse". The Cliffords retain Maisie to find the nurse. The letters are an emotional tug on Maisie's heart. She is taken back to her exchanges of letters as an English nurse with her Simon, the English doctor she loved during the war. Each set of lovers had been equally careful with names as they used ambulance drivers to bypass the censors. Both The English Nurse and Maisie have lost their loves during the war.

The search shifts from a son's relationship with his girl to murder when Maisie spots an anomally in the death report.

Maisie enters the world on military cartography. I found her journey deep into the Great War fascinating as I learned about a part of military science with which I was unfamiliar.

Maisie's mentor, Dr. Maurice Blanche, powerfully describes the art of the cartographer:

     "Ah, a man who makes maps - an adventurer with his feet on
     "You see the names of far-flung places and want to see who lives
     there, and what paths they travel through life. Ah, but the
     mapmaker, he is one who looks at the land around him and
     interprets it for the rest of us, who gives us the path to our own
     adventure, if you like."

Maisie adds:

     "She wondered if this was how a cartographer might begin his
     work, simply by standing at a vantage point and regarding the
     land he must interpret for others to find their way ..... He must be
     the storyteller and the editor, seeing the curves and movement of
     the land with a practiced eye, and then bringing a mathematical
     precision to the page. If he was wrong, then people would
     become lost on their journey."

Jobs well done have a beauty not always appreciated. I thought back to my youth when maps intrigued me. Distant lands were made real on paper. Coming to present time I read the book on a ship making 10 stops in 8 different countries which meant daily looking at maps of places I had only dreamed of as a boy. Far away lands had come to life for me.

In her personal life Maurice is failing. Having recently lost Simon it is a struggle for Maisie to see her mentor in such physical decline. He sees her as the daughter he never had and to Maisie he is a second father.

Romance finds its way back into her life with the return of James Crompton from Canada. A reader cannot but hope that a new love will let Maisie end her solitary evenings sitting alone in her flat. (May 22/13)

I am looking forward to the 8th in the series. As with other great series I am anxious to see what happens next in Maisie's life both professionally and personally.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

"G" is for Guilty?

In titling this post "G" is for Guilty? I inserted the question mark to indicate there can be an ambiguity about "guilty" in criminal law that is rarely discussed in crime fiction.

All readers of crime fiction and, hopefully, the general public know that in jurisdictions following British legal principles such as the United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Australia and New Zealand a person cannot be found guilty of a crime unless the prosecution has proven to the court that the accused is guilty beyond reasonable doubt. It is an intentionally high standard.

Every accused, a person charged with a criminal offence, starts the legal process presumed to be innocent. Rumpole of the Bailey may have expressed it best in crime fiction by his oft repeated expression, usually after glasses of plonk at Pommeroy's, that the principle of the presumption of innocence is the golden thread at the heart of British justice.

The ambiguity of the question mark in the title to this post starts with the challenge faced by every defence counsel when there are strong facts presented in disclosure by the prosecutor that would show the accused is guilty of a crime but the accused advises the disclosure is inaccurate but can only provide weaker facts.

For Rumpole the situation is simple. He lives by the principle "never plead guilty".

Defence counsel will set out the odds are against being found not guilty at trial are grim in such circumstances but will not advise the entry of a guilty plea unless the accused is prepared to admit the facts necessary for a finding of guilty.

Adding to the mix may be a plea bargain offered by the prosecution that a guilty plea early in the process or to a lesser charge would mean a significantly lower sentence.

In The Guilty Plea author, Robert Rotenberg, a practising criminal lawyer in Toronto deals such a difficutl situation. As set out in my review:

    The evidence is so formidable that, for the first time in my crime 
    fiction reading, DiPaulo explores a guilty plea with his client. A
    plea to manslaughter and a few years in jail is an alternative to be
    considered when a 1st degree murder conviction means 25 years 
    in jail. DiPaulo treads a delicate ethical path in negotiations on a
    guilty plea when Samantha has not admitted killing her husband.
    To plead guilty requires an admission of guilt. I have had
    numerous clients agonizing as Samantha did over whether to
    plead guilty when they did not admit doing wrong.

You will often see judges in real life court rejecting pleas when an unrepresented accused tries to enter a plea of guilty while saying I am only pleading guilty to get it over with today.

Adding to the mix can be legal interpretations of the facts. Did the accused in receiving government benefits that it was determined for which the accused was not eligible commit civil fraud or criminal fraud or just make a mistake? The accused's actions were wrong but were they criminally wrong.

While prosecutors will disagree defence counsel often maintain accused are over charged in the number and seriousness of offences for a given set of facts. The accused is guilty of something but is it the charge or charges laid. A skilled defence counsel can ensure through negotiation with the prosecutor that a guilty plea to the appropriate charge with a reasonable sentence takes place.

Michael Connelly's lawyer, Mickey Haller, is one of the few fictional lawyers to regularly make deals for clients.

Dean Abernathy in Felony Murder by Joseph T. Klempner (1995) is another front line defence counsel who deals with the challenges of guilty pleas.

To add even more issues to the mix in Canada the police and Crown Prosecutor can for minor offences, if the accused is prepared to admit they are wrong though they do not plead guilty, refer the charge to alternative measures. Upon completion of such measures which may include mediation and an apology there is no finding or admission of guilt.

In America there is also the nolo contendere or no contest plea where an accused does not admit guilty directly but will receive a punishment for the charge for which the plea is entered.

I will not get into a discussion of people considering guilty pleas because they cannot afford trials.

Where crime fiction focuses on the clarity of guilty and not guilty in trials the real life world of criminal defence deals with a much subtler set of issues concerning guilty. I hope more writers of crime fiction take up the challenge of writing about negotiations over guilty pleas. I think they are just as fascinating as trials.

This post will be my entry for "G" in the Alphabet in Crime Fiction meme being hosted by Kerrie Smith at her blog, Mysteries in Paradise. Please drop over and see the other entries. Each week has interesting posts on the letter of the week.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Reflections on Female Fictional Lawyers

Being on a cruise ship has certainly slowed blogging. I can get on the internet usually when I want but the motivation level to blog is low.

My last post discussed Female Fictional Lawyers through a pair of academic articles and a list from my reading. In the law.arts.culture blog from the Osgoode Hall Law School, Kate Sutherland set out that lists from the American Bar Association and the Guardian of top fictional lawyers were male dominated. 

Looking at the ABA list it was mainly drawn from from T.V. series and movies. In my last post and this post I am focusing on lawyers from written crime fiction.

Sutherland continued that the pool of female fictional lawyers is smaller. The number of female fictional lawyers in crime fiction may have been lower, even 5 years ago, but I question whether there are fewer in current fiction.

I believe what has skewed the issue is that the trio of most prominent American legal fiction authors - Connelly, Grisham and Turow - all feature males as their primary characters. The authors draw disproportionate attention because of their success.

Not all of their lawyers are male. Connelly has Mickey Haller's ex-wife, Maggie "McFierce" McPherson as one of his lawyers and Grisham has the occasional female lawyer such as Reggie Love in The Client.

If any of them was to make a female lawyer the primary character in a series it is likely that fictional female lawyer would instantly gain public fame.

It seems unlikely to happen because authors have been creating fictional lawyers of their own sex. Grisham is an exception with Reggie Love. Canadian author, Robert Rotenberg, has also created a female lawyer in defence counsel, Nancy Parrish.

The seven authors listed in the William & Mary article - Gini Hartzmark, Lia Matera, Barbara Parker, Carolyn Wheat, Lisa Scottoline, Linda Fairstein and Christina McGuire - are all women who created female lawyers.

In the law.arts.culture blog at Osgoode Law School are mentioned Alafair Burke, Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, Margaret Atwood, Michele Martinez, Ruthann Robson, Cynthia Ozick and Sarah Caudwell. Once again all are women whose characters are female.

In my personal posts under Legal Mysteries I have books by 20 different authors. Beyond Grisham and Rotenberg there are four authors who have made lawyers of the opposite sex their primary characters. They are Rosemary Aubert, Robert Dugoni, Harper Lee and Paul Levine.

I do not think there is a special reason for the infrequency of opposite sex lawyers. The most successful legal crime fiction writer of all time, Harper Lee, made Atticus Finch the best known of all fictional lawyers.

As contemporary crime fiction is often a reflection of the society of the time I expect there to be a majority of female fictional lawyers in the future. In Canadian law schools female students now make up over 50% of the classes. When I started in 1972 my class was the first class in which 1/3 of the students were female.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

“F” is for Female Fictional Lawyers

For "F" in the Alphabet in Crime Fiction meme being hosted by Kerrie Smith at her blog, Mysteries in Paradise, I have chosen the topic of Female Fictional Lawyers.

After deciding on the topic I found a couple of academic articles.

The first was Legal Fictions and the Moral Imagination: Female Fictional Lawyers Encounter Professional Responsibility by Kathryn A. Lee and Elizabeth Morgan, , 10 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 569 (2004). It can be found online at  http://scholarship.law.wm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1153&context=wmjowl

The authors explain the article:

     This article examines eleven books by seven authors, depicting
     seven fictional lawyers. Authors Gini Hartzmark, Lia Matera,
     Barbara Parker and Carolyn Wheat have created female attorneys
     who appear in several books, allowing for more character
     development than occurs in most mystery novels.'

     All three authors are law school graduates, and two have        
     practiced, Parker as a prosecutor with a state attorney's 
     office and Wheat as a Legal Aid attorney in Brooklyn. Lisa
     Scottoline, a University of Pennsylvania law school graduate and
     former Philadelphia lawyer, has also written several legal thrillers.
     Two current prosecutors of sex crimes are also authors: Linda
     Fairstein and Christina McGuire.

While some parts of the article are dense academic language most of it is very accessible and interesting in its examination of how fictional women deal with legal ethical issues.

The second article was in law.arts.culture, a blog at the Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, where there was a post on Women Lawyers in Literature. It can be found at http://lawartscult.osgoode.yorku.ca/2012/09/women-lawyers-in-literature-in-anticipation-of-the-first-meeting-of-the-law-feminism-and-short-fiction-reading-group/#comments.  
In the post the author, Kate Sutherland, speaks about a dearth of women lawyers in literature. Discussing crime fiction she mentions:
    The first examples that occurred to me also come from this genre:
    Alafair Burke’s series featuring Portland Deputy DA Samantha
    Kincaid, Linda Fairstein’s series featuring Manhattan sex crimes
    prosecutor Alexandra Cooper, and Yrsa Sigurðardóttir’s series
    featuring Reykjavik lawyer Thóra Gudmundsdóttir.

The post goes on to discuss a trio of stories written by women involving female lawyers - Weight by Margaret Atwood, The Mother by Michele Martinez; and, His Sister by Ruthann Robson. (I have not read any of them.)

At the end of the article she mentions the additional female lawyers she has identfied:

     In addition to those mentioned above there is Ruth Puttermesser
     from Cynthia Ozick’s The Puttermesser Papers; Judge Josie Jo
     Ford from children’s classic The Westing Game; an array of
     compelling women law students, lawyers, and judges in Lowell
     B. Komie’s short stories; criminal lawyer Cass Jameson from
     Carolyn Wheat’s mystery series; the lawyers of all-female firm
     Rosato & Associates featured in Lisa Scottoline’s series of legal
     thrillers; and, barristers Selena Jardine and Julia Larwood from
     Sarah Caudwell’s series of legal whodunnits. Who else?

I was alittle surprised she had not identified more female lawyers in crime fiction. I have added a comment to the blog linking this post and advising there are a significant number of female lawyers in crime fiction which can be added to her list.

I have read the books involving the following female fictional lawyers who are not listed above:

1.) Defence counsel, Nancy Parrish, in Old City Hall and The Guilty Plea and Stray Bullets by Robert Rotenberg;
2.) Mickey Haller's ex-wife, Maggie "McFierce" McPherson is a prosecutor in The Lincoln Lawyer and The Brass Verdict and The Reversal  and The Fifth Witness (California) by Michael Connelly;

3.) Barclay Reid is the managing partner of a large Seattle law firm and the accused in Murder One (Seattle) by Robert Dugoni

 4.) Victoria Lord is a skilled trial attorney in Solomon v. Lord and The Deep Blue Goodbye and Kill All the Lawyers by Paul Levine

5.) Lily Belle Cleary is a quick thinking witty Florida lawyer in Bone Valley; and,

6.) Rebecka Martinsson is a Stockholm tax attorney in Sunstorm by Asa Larsson

On Tuesday I will add some reflections and observations on female fictional lawyers.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cruising with a Library

My wife, Sharon, our younger son, Michael and myself are crusing from Lima to New York City on the Oceania Cruise Line ship, Marina. One of the reasons I like this ship is the library.

On the 14th deck is a traditional library with a couple of thousand hardcover books. Most are fiction with a healthy selection of crime fiction.

The library has open access to windows looking out over the ocean. Inside the library are big comfortable leather chairs. Around the corner is a free coffee bar which will make up a reader's favourite speciality coffees. (They are included in your ticket.) Cookies are always available to supplement the coffee.

It is hard for me to think of a more inviting place for a book lover. It is a rare time of the day or evening when several people are not in the library.

All of the books are available to be borrowed. The ship requests that each passenger borrow a couple of books at a time.

I went through the crime fiction books. Not surprisingly most are from ongoing series with well known authors. I took back to the state room a pair of books.

I have read some of the books in Stella Rimington's series featuring English spy, Liz Carlyle. The author, the former head of MI-5 is a good writer. I picked up Present Danger from the shelves.

The other book is The Mapping of Love and Death by Jacqueline Winspear in her ongoing Maisie Dobbs series set in England in the 1930's.

Michael is currently reading World Without End by Ken Follett. His second saga from medieval England focused around a cathedral.

When he is finished the book he has In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson waiting for him. It is the story of an American family in Hitler's Berlin during the 1930's.

We are happy cruisers. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

"E" is for Pierced by Thomas Enger

Pierced by Thomas Enger translated by Charlotte Barslund – Henning Juul is back at work with 123news.no having been badly burned in the fire that killed his son, Jonas. Every day is a struggle with memory.

Tore Pulli is a successful real estate speculator in Oslo but is best known for his earlier career as an enforcer, a debt collector, who used the Pulli Punch, a fast elbow move to convince debtors to pay up. He has boasted he collected over 75 million kroner (about $13 million).

Another enforcer is disabled by a Pulli Punch and then murdered. Pulli asserts he has been set up but the courts convict him. It was interesting to see how a signature move could be used as evidence.

Pulli uses one of his precious weekly phone calls to reach out to Juul. Pulli tantalizes the reporter with the proposition that if the reporter works to clear his name he will provide information to Juul on the fire.

There are shadowy figures who do not want Pulli revealing the past. With prisoners allowed to meet the press prior to an appeal Juul visits Pulli in prison. While Pulli will not release any information about the fire Juul decides he will seek to clear the enforcer.

Pulli has come from a body building segment of the Norwegian gang world. They train incessantly at the Fighting Fit gym. Pulli’s old friends are fractious, sometimes subject to sudden anger – probably steroid rages – and casual violence. They do not like Juul.

Unfortunately, the book did not work well for me.

I found the amount of back story from the first book, Burned, inadequate to completely understand this book.

The characters are diverse and the means used to induce an innocent man to commit murder – how far would you go to protect your family – intriguing but that character’s actions under the pressure of the threat were not credible.

The pace of the story was slow for me. It picked up in the last half of the book but I found it hard to keep focused early in the book.

I am in a distinct minority with regard to my opinion of the book. I am sure it would have been better to have read Burned before I read Pierced but I doubt I will read the next in the series.

I fear it was a book I approached with too high expectations. Bloggers I respect such as the late Maxine Clark at Petrona, Jose Ignacio at The Game’s Afoot, Sarah at Crime Pieces, Bernadette at Reactions to Reading, enjoyed the book far more than myself. I avoid reading reviews but like to know if a reader enjoyed a book. All had high praise for Pierced.  Such is reading. Different opinions are reached by readers.

This review will by my post for the letter "E" in the Crime Fiction in the Alphabet meme at Kerrie Smith's fine blog, Mysteries in Paradise.

I do appreciate Simon & Schuster providing me with a copy of the book. (Apr. 11/13)
My connection to Enger and his book comes from my Norwegian heritage. My paternal grandfather grew up in the Lofoten Islands off the northern Norway coast. The book is set in Oslo. Last fall Sharon and I spent time in Norway and visited Oslo for several days.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Crime Fiction Pick of the Month for April of 2013

For the month of April my reading was a touch below average in quantity. 

With regard to crime fiction I read 4 books.

I started with Pierced by Thomas Enger. It is not hard to guess what my entry for "E" in the Alphabet in Crime Fiction meme will be next week.

The second book was High Chicago by Howard Shrier featuring his Toronto based sleuth, Jonah Geller.

The third was Showdown at Border Town by Caroline Woodward. It was my entry for "C" and is an adventure in the Leaders & Legacies series featuring young future Canadian Prime Ministers. Showdown featured a 12 year old Paul Martin in and near Windsor.

The fourth was a legal mystery, Murder One, by Robert Dugoni. What I found most interesting was the email exchange I had with the author on a legal ethical issue after reading the book.

During April I also finished the third volume in William Manchester's wonderful biography of Winston Churchill. Defender of the Realm commences with Churchill becoming Prime Minister in the dark days of 1940. While it does cover the rest of his life over 75% of the 1,054 pages cover his actions during World War II. This volume was finished by Paul Reid as Manchester died before finishing this volume. I will be putting up posts about the book especially about Winston and "words". For a reader interested in Churchill's amazing life the series is long but worth the effort.

In crime fiction my pick of the month is Showdown at Border Town. It is both a good mystery and an impressive debut by a teenage Canadian author.