Crime bloggers around the world were shocked and saddened this week to hear that Australian blogger Bernadette Bean, also known as @BSquaredInOz, has passed away.
Bernadette was a literary powerhouse. She ran not just one, but two blogs – the wide-ranging literary blog Reactions to Reading, and, together with fellow blogger Kerrie, the Australian crime fiction blog Fair Dinkum Crime. I remember nearly falling off my chair the first time I read one of Bernadette’s end-of-year round-ups – the volume and range of her reading were truly phenomenal. Here’s her ‘goals update’ from 2017. And just check out those amazing charts!
I never had the pleasure of meeting Bernadette, but for many years enjoyed a virtual friendship across the waves, bound by a love of reading, an eclectic taste in crime fiction, and similar outlooks on life.
She was an absolutely brilliant blogger, who wrote consistently excellent reviews. I had enormous respect for her as a critic and writer, and always made an effort to keep up with her posts, because I knew I’d find an interesting new read or learn something new about a book I’d already read. She was never afraid to say what she thought about a book (good or bad), but either way, her views were always backed up with reasoned arguments and well-chosen examples. She also made me laugh.
Because Bernadette was based in Australia, her readers naturally learned a great deal about Australian crime fiction, and about Australian fiction by women writers (for many years she took part in The Australian Women Writers Challenge). I loved the different literary worlds she opened up for me and found her love of literature truly inspiring.
There’s a wonderful tribute to Bernadette by Kerrie over at Fair Dinkum Crime, together with a list of other tributes written this week. I know that I will continue to pop over to both of Bernadette’s blogs. I’d barely scratched the surface of her recommendations, and am looking forward to finding some gems to read in her memory. My starting point is this post from last August, ‘Musings on 2017’s Australian crime writing awards’.
Thanks so much for everything, B. Gonna miss you.