William Deverell — Novelist

The official website of William Deverell, Winner of the Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in North American Crime Writing

Sing a Worried Song is out ...

and I'm outa here too

bill holding books

“It takes a worried man to sing a worried song. I’m worried now, but I won’t be worried long.” It’s an old folk song that Arthur Beauchamp can’t get out of his head. But poor old Arthur will have lots to worry about, including his possible violent death.

Whatever happens to him is out of my hands now. Sing a Worried Song is out in hardcover and as an e-book as of today, April 1, 2015. Now I must return to my untitled, half-finished work-in-progress.

ferry in mist

I’m on my way to ferry and airport.

I’m going off to commune where there’s no phone, no Internet, no email.



The Blog / April 22

He that filches my good name

Good afternoon, Bill, wherever you are. Still not receiving? Or are you finally tuned in to your blog? I suspect the latter. I see you sitting tight, hoping I’ll go away. I know now why you ran off. Not to escape the horrors of civilization. To avoid me, Bry Pomerantz.

Not just because of the vast guilt and remorse you feel over plagiarizing plot, twists and title of Needles. Yes, the book’s goddamn title—you don’t remember who came up with that? How did I feel when my name didn’t even appear in your acknowledgments? Imagine the sense of being buried alive. needles covers But now you have defamed me. You’ll be singing a very worried song if I sue for libel, bub.

You had erased all your files from your computer (or so you thought), but you forgot to clean out your trash, and there it was, Worried Song2.doc, which I took to be an early draft. I got a few hundred pages into it. I appear as your nemesis. I am the literary analogue of the fucked up character who so prominently lurks throughout its early pages. Brian Pomeroy. Way to come up with an original name.

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The Blog / April 13

My Near-Death Experience

Just had a near-death experience. I was strolling up your driveway when an old pickup rattled down the hill toward me. My only hope was to cannonball into the second growth. Blue Dodge, crumpled fender, peace decal: I told myself to remember these specifics if I survived.

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The Blog / April 7

Escape Fiction

Good morning, Blogosphere, I’m back. Hey, Bill, in case you stop by an Internet shop—do they exist where you are?—to check your emails, I have sent a couple to your old Yahoo account. No answer. But of course, anything from muy amigo mio, unheard from for thirty-three years, goes straight into Spam.

I was hoping you might at least glance at your website, your blog, and see my entreaties to make contact. Or maybe one of your cult following of good-humoured, nonconforming eco-liberals, or a relative, your agent, publisher, somebody who knows where the fuck you are, will get word to you that Bry Pomerantz has hacked into both your writing studio and your blog.

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The Blog / April 4

The Wild Hippie Lawyer

Yeah, I clipped that item from the National Post. I had no idea. The deep end? You may have tiptoed near the edge. But divorce? Shacking up with hippies?

Flashback to this summery scene: I was sitting on a bench in Stanley Park. A bench I hoped to sleep on if it didn’t rain. The Screenwriters Guild had just denied my appeal to get my membership reinstated. I was homeless, hungover, as taut as a stretched condom, exhausted from ranting on the public pathways.

The final blow had just been delivered that morning: Sue announced I was domestically redundant, and gave me my walking papers. (You won’t know Sue, she was after your time. She’s a lawyer. Also, expensively, an afficionada of fine chopped flake.)

Aimlessly, I reached over to a trash bin from whose gaping mouth protruded the front section of the National Post. Yes, I’m guilty. I occasionally look at the National Post. I am not one of your leftie poseurs who boast of never reading it, as if that’s a mark of intellectual and spiritual attainment.

And there’s this front-page memoir about a son’s attempt to rediscover his dad, a peripatetic counterculture libertarian, who “crossed paths with the noteworthy, including Bill Deverell, his wild hippie lawyer in Vancouver, later to become a best-selling crime novelist.”

wild hippie lawyer

And several pages in I discover that casual, almost throwaway, quote about how you finally cracked up. You went off to live with hippies? Is that where you went last Wednesday, to “commune,” as you put it? Where does one find a hippie nowadays? Let alone an entire colony? Haven’t they evolved into something else? New Agers? Scientologists? Hedge fund traders?

I thought at first Vermeulen might have been joking, but there’s nothing in the article to qualify those bald statements of fact. If Ben Vermeulen is the guy I’m thinking of, he’s a stand-up businessman, and obviously a close friend of yours. The Post is a responsible national daily. They fact-check these things. So I’m worried about you.

Maybe it was the pressure of pumping out all those novels. Or maybe the isolation got to you, too many years on a backward little island. No Starbucks, no Tim Horton’s, no Wal-marts, no big deal. But no movie houses, no concert halls, no clip joints, no bawdy shops, no buskers, no action. I thought your marriage was rocklike, Bill—she was dynamic. I say that even though she thought I was creepy and full of crap.

I’ve kept that Post article all this time, plagued by a horoscopish kind of feeling that our lives were bound to reconnect. Finally, I couldn’t stand it any longer, and I phoned your number on your island. Your answering machine was more plugged than Pablo’s nose after an all-nighter.

I have tried to conjure up a picture of you in your phoneless state of bliss: a grizzled rake explaining to a nubile Libra how their stars are about to be aligned. The picture didn’t take. Can’t see you lasting half a day in a commune, Bill. I don’t see you abiding the olfactory horror of patchouli oil, or whatever they use to disguise the smells of the unwashed. I don’t remember you as one who spurns the bourgeois comforts.

More in the next few days, inshallah. Want you to understand that I’m pirating your blog only to spice it up.

Posted by Bry Pomerantz on April 4, 2015

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The Blog / April 2

Guess Who Just Hacked Your Blog…

That’s your parting shot? “I’m going off to commune where there’s no phone, no Internet, no email.”

You’re off to commune with whom, some hippie muse? Shit, man, we must have missed each other by a crotch hair.

Maybe that was you getting on the ferry as I was getting off. I said to myself, that can’t be Bill. That wild Einsteinian jungle of hair, the cheap sunglasses, the shirt half tucked in. No, couldn’t be you, I decided—you were always a snappy dresser. Back then. In those times of yore.

Don’t bother scrolling down to see who hacked into your blog—yes, it’s me, Bry Pomerantz, faded wunderkind of the big screen, your long-lost, long-ignored side kicker.

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Blog Posts


books in box 2sing cover

April 2015Sing a Worried Song

The Publishers Weekly Review

publishers weekly worried man

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Book cover

2012I’ll See You in My Dreams

In 1962, Arthur Beauchamp is about to undertake his first murder trial. His defendant is Gabriel Swift, a politically active young aboriginal accuse of killing Professor Dermot Mulligan, a former mentor to both men. Arthur becomes increasingly convinced that the police evidence against Gabriel is not only flimsy, but suspiciously convenient in a system - and a society - with entrenched racist assumptions. But as the case progresses, Arthur develops an uncomfortable sense that Gabriel is not telling him the whole truth. And to make matters worse, the green young lawyer is up against a wily veteran of the courts and a clever but biased judge. Five decades later, Arthur remains haunted by the case. Finally, he is compelled to emerge from retirement to try to complete what he began all those years ago. He must pass through some murky and long-repressed personal territory along the way, but the journey ultimately offers hope for the peace of redemption.

Audible.com’s version is available, as is the e-book. For more information and to purchase this title please go to http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/imprints/mcclelland-stewart and click on authors.

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SNow Job book cover

Oct 2009Snow Job

This is the novel that many dared me (a thrice-failed candidate for office) to write: a novel that takes the mickey out of our posturing politicians while maintaining the tension of a true thriller but with great dollops of humour. A genre-jumping finalist for the Stephen Leacock Award, it was read with glee, I’m told, by Ottawa insiders, One wrote: “Warmest congrats on Snow Job, it is your and Arthur’s fulfillment. I was especially delighted by the recognition of the poisonous mix of vanity, fear and highly conditional loyalty that makes up political life at the top. I thought of your acuity as I wandered through various Xmas parties on the Hill this year - rife with angst on all sides.”

For more information and to purchase this title (http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/imprints/mcclelland-stewart) and click on authors

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Kill All the Judges

April 2008Kill All The Judges

This comic thriller was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock award, and it drew widely upon this author’s growing collection of characters, including the ever-introspective Arthur Beauchamp, and the Garibaldi Island oddballs who constantly plague him. Here’s a summary:

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April Fool cover

Sept 2006April Fool

Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for best Canadian crime novel…

“Hugely entertaining.” Calgary Herald

“The insular life of isolated places - Bamfield, Garibaldi - expensive law firms and the courtroom are handled with an insider’s knowledge and an iconoclastic sense of humour. Deverell writes breathless prose. Arthur Beauchamp is a lovely guy – spouting Latin, worrying about getting up to speed in the courtroom after such a hiatus, and fearing an inability to get it up when Margaret leaves her perch. He manages to be a scholar, a courtroom wonder and a doofus. April Fool spills over with idiosyncratic characters. The novel blasts out of the starting gate, rockets along, is hugely entertaining. Deverell plays with the blending of good and bad, but one thing is transparent - the fight for the environment, however goofy at times, is essential.” Edmonton Journal

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