Bookstores and Favourites

Best ‘court room’ writers?? Sir Sydney Ketteridge maintains Trollope’s Orley Farm is the best legal story in fiction. Trollope is so easy to read, it is as Conrad Black would say, ‘risible’.

In America, George V. Higgins (1970-1990) had the rhythm of trials best — failed cross-examinations, crotchety judges, the works. He captured best the American rhythms of speech.

So what author do I propose is the most entertaining read?

I love Westlake but you must fall into the web of Ross Thomas, an American author of the 70s. His books have been re-issued in large paperback.

Ah reader, you cannot imagine the pleasant gymnastics of the mind that await you!


  • The Fools in Town are on Our Side
  • Briar Patch
  • Missionary Stew
  • Chinaman’s Chance: Yellow Dog Contract
  • Ah Treachery
  • Out on the Rim, Cold War Swap

There are two very special book stores in Toronto.

In the downtown area there is a new book store — Ben McNally Book Store — at 366 Bay Street (just south of Richmond), telephone: 416-361-0032. It is a beautiful space with tall wooden shelves running to the ceiling. Ben has chosen all the books because they are his favourites. Hence there would not be a DaVinci Code here.

He and his wife are widely read. The store has space and a profound quiet. Of my list, Mr. Pip, The Uncommon Reader, Yeats and Madeline are in this store. Also, Dissolution, Broken Shore, Case Histories, Mistress of Death and Tamburlaine Must Die.

J. D. Singh owns Sleuth at Baker Street, 1600 Bayview Avenue, just south of Manor Road (416-483-3111). Nothing but mysteries. All the staff are extremely sophisticated. They will tell you, if you are starting a new author, which book would be best, and which to avoid. When they get to know your taste their judgment is invaluable.

The mysteries on the list are all at Sleuth: Westlake, Perry’s Butcher’s Boy, T. Jefferson Parker, Broken Shore, Mistress of Death, Case Histories, Dissolution and Tamburlaine Must Die.

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