The Witcher


157 pages
ISBN 1-896095-44-5
DDC jC813'.54





Reviewed by Dave Jenkinson

Dave Jenkinson is a professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba and the author of the “Portraits” section of Emergency Librarian.


In this middle-school mystery, when a Vancouver lawyer is asked to
investigate a child-custody dispute in British Columbia’s historic
gold rush country, he invites along his children, Lionel (“Lion”),
12, and Roberta (“Bobbi”), 14. Three parties seek to adopt recently
orphaned Spud: Mrs. Goodchild, her maternal aunt; a family friend who
supposedly has a legal document naming him guardian; and the married
foreman of what is now Spud’s ranch. What makes the adoption situation
somewhat unusual is Spud’s being a witcher, someone who finds things
by using a divining rod.

Although the would-be adopters’ motives are apparently altruistic, in
this arid land “a witcher who could find underground sources of well
water would be worth more than a winning ticket on the lottery.” As
well, according to local legend, the area contains a hidden cache of
nuggets, something else a witcher could locate. When Dad visits Mrs.
Goodchild’s ranch, Lion and Bobbi become convinced that the aunt and
her teenage son are up to no good. Encouraged to explore the area on
horseback, the siblings quickly turn to sleuthing, especially when they
are shot at while taking a photo of the unsuspecting Spud.

Weir includes an appropriate mix of mystery ingredients and increases
suspense by writing some chapters from Spud’s point of view. Humor is
provided in the form of Lion’s aversion to horses, especially to
Rajah, his new steed. Regular mystery readers should be able to discern
the clues that point ultimately to the real villain. Recommended.


Weir, Joan., “The Witcher,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 16, 2024,