January 9th 2021
Occasionally, we search for ourselves online (admit it, you do it too) and as I scrolled one day through my favourite search engine (not Google), the lines in the "read more" link below popped up -- mysteriously, for I have no memory of having spoken these words in 1968. But I'm sure they're mine (they sound of the views of a presumptuous, young, radical trial lawyer named Bill Deverell only five years out of law school).
December 26th 2020
A twenty-minute uphill climb from our home rewards with this view of the Salish Sea and the Gulf Islands, with an arbutus tree hogging the stage.read more →
December 17th 2020
I mourn his death.
As a young reader of spy thrillers, I voraciously consumed John le Carré's early novels. I was bowled away by The Spy Who Came in from the Cold and A Small Town in Germany, and later, of course, Tinker, Tailor and the whole Smiley series.
Interestingly, he didn't seek out the fame he deserved as not just an author of thrillers but as a master of fine literary prose. He refused to accept nominations for literary awards and declined knighthood, and had been quoted as being "suspicious of the literary world."
Many skilled writers of crime fiction would probably agree with that, but not say it out loud.
Unhappily, le Carré's later novels began to pale on me, and this review I wrote for the Globe some years ago, explains why:
December 6th 2020
“Any resemblance to persons living or dead…”
Though I practised mainly as a criminal defence counsel, I was on occasion retained by the Attorney-General of British Columbia to prosecute homicide trials, some of which attracted wide public attention.
The trial featured in the opening section of this novel roughly recreates one of them, an alleged thrill killing in Vancouver of a lonely down-and-outer.
December 5th 2020
My Paean to My Gulf Island...My Island, My Muse: A Brief Memoir
Published in the collection, Love of the Salish Sea Islands, Mother Tongue Press
As I compose these notes, the bells have rung in the new year of 2019, which may or may not be worth celebrating, given the perilous state of our planet. I find more comfort in raising a glass to the past, because this year marks my fortieth anniversary living on a little sylvan island—six miles long and three wide—called North Pender.
The reward for my staying power is that I have finally attained the lofty rank of old-timer. There is a higher class, to which it is hopeless to aspire, of seniors born or raised here. And there are several levels of lesser nobility: full-time residents, weekend cottagers, visitors, vacation renters and, of lowest rank, the yahoos who think it’s okay to bomb around on country roads tossing beer cans and plastic wrappers.
November 22nd 2020
Some years ago, the CBC invited to me to create a five-minute story to be read on air. I dumped the first effort, but here it is anyway, followed by an almost entirely different take, that ultimately made it to the airwaves.read more →
November 18th 2020
Arthur Beauchamp takes on the most explosive trial of his career: the defence of seven boisterous environmentalists accused of sabotaging a plant in Ontario that pumps out a pesticide that has led to the mass deaths of honeybees. The story zigzags between Toronto, where the trial takes place, and Arthur's West Coast island home where he finds himself arrested for fighting his own environmental cause: the threatened destruction of a popular park. The Toronto trial concludes with a tense, hang-by-the-fingernails jury verdict. The story is told from points of view of Arthur and a vibrant young woman activist and a tough, cynical OPP Inspector. Throughout, Arthur struggles to save his marriage.read more →
November 17th 2020
"A bitingly funny whodunit." Maclean's
"Kill All the Lawyers is clever, amusing, laced with black humour and viciously accurate depictions of lawyers and judges." Toronto Star.
And a 2020 review squib from the New York Journal of Books:
“Filled with biting wit and smart dialogue, with a twist of an ending the diehard mystery reader won’t see coming—and an epilogue featuring the most ironic surprise of all.”
Here's a thoughtful review by the late, great Robin Skelton, one of Canada's foremost poets and teachers of literature:
October 31st 2020
As I reorganize my Blog, this seems an opportune time to revise and post a short short story published a while ago by Maclean's Magazine in a tongue-in-cheek series titled Trump’s Last Chapter. Several Canadian authors were asked to envision Donald Trump's downfall. Here's my version:read more →