Book Reviews

William Deverell, author of The Long-Shot Trial

Our very own award-winning maestro of Canadian crime writing, B. C. author, William Deverell’s first book, Needles, (1979) won the $50,000 Seal First Novel Award.

In fact, it was Needles that sparked my “love affair” with this highly entertaining Canadian icon, whose characters are hard-living spark plugs that you want to just hang out with, to get to know them better.

Photo credit: Hans Tammemagi

As a lawyer in Vancouver for twenty years, Deverell was counsel for over a thousand criminal cases, thirty of them murder trials, and as such, the author’s knowledge of the judicial system, judges, courtroom antics and back room deals is like a multi-coloured paint brush that dabs and details the eccentric quirks and characteristics of some very intriguing characters, most especially Arthur Beauchamp, who we’ve met before in some of Deverell’s previous novels,  (there are now twenty in total), and who we meet once again in Deverell’s new novel,

“The Long-Shot Trial” which comes out May 28th

 

In the afterward to this novel, Deverell states that he has long wanted to write the history of “perhaps the most fascinating trial of my early years as a barrister,” which is, to wit, loosely based on a murder trial the young upstart Deverell defended in Northern B.C. in his early years as a criminal lawyer. The story centres on the murder trial of Filipina house maid, Angelina Santos, who allegedly shot her boss, Frederick C. Trudd, a greedy bigoted entrepreneur who was thought to have impregnated her—completely against her will.

Told in a style that feels like a throwback to old detective novels, “The Long-Shot Trial” straddles two different periods in Arthur Beauchamp’s life: 1966, when the young, hard- drinking, motivated-to-win-a-big-case lawyer dominates the Northern B.C. courtroom of Fort Thompson, (Fort Tom as it is widely known), not to mention the local steak house’s belly-up-to-the-bar restaurant, and the sultry cat-and-mouse relationship with the smashingly beautiful, sexually aggressive, Clara Moncrief, a fledging member of the prosecution team. Interwoven with these chapters is that of the year 2022, when this now retired barrister hides out in his old waterfront cabin, pondering the writing of this long-shot trial case that happened fifty-six years previously.

“The sour smell of mouse urine wafts from the box of transcripts…Leafing casually through the pages, as I lay them out to air on the sunny deck, I sense memory cells, shedding light on scenes grown misty after fifty-six years.”

For those who have read any of Deverell’s books, you know that the promise you make to yourself to read “just one more chapter,” before lights out is like promising yourself you won’t have any (more) wine on a Saturday night.

Adding to this addiction-to-Deverell-storytelling is the magnificent titles of his chapters, each one a carrot to lead you right into the next several 50, 70, 100 pages.

A sampling includes: The Shit End of the Stick; I Like It Hot and Buttered; The Preacher, the Painter, and the Pilot.

Of course there are also the bon mot phrases that are savoury delicious:

“I would have sold my ravaged soul for a glass of well-aged whiskey;” “The body was a day old and cold;” “Bussing the Bible had become all the rage.”

It should be noted, that along with his deep knowledge of the law, Deverell is also a raconteur extraordinaire, whose wit and satire when telling a story earned him two nominations for the Stephen Leacock Humour Award. (For his novels, “Kill All The Judges,” and “Snow Job.”)

 

A book that is part thriller, part mystery, part humourous and all-parts enthralling, the only thing left for a reader to do is sign up for Creative Aging Books & Idea’s author spotlight so you can hear Deverell read from “The Long-Shot Trial,” and savour the opportunity to chat with this true Canadian master of the written word.

 

Creative Aging Books & Ideas Author Spotlight Event

Featuring

                   WILLIAM DEVERELL

THIS THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2 p.m.

Register to receive your Free Zoom link here:

Meeting Registration – Zoom

 

Cece is the feature cover writer for several prestigious publications both in print and online, and an informed, connected and enthusiastic book blogger at cecescott.com. Her first book, The Love Story, was published in 2019. Her books, “Nunzio Tumino: A Pocketful of Dreams: An Immigrant’s Journey,” and “Helping People One Hand At A Time” are all available on amazon.ca.

Cece is also working on a book of Daily Pick-Me-Ups for AutoImmune and other Life Warriors, called:

“My Body Parts Are On Recall But I’ve Still Got Gas in my Tank.”

Sign up for a preview of my upcoming book here:  right here, right now.