Canadian Orders

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Read the interview with author John Seldon at the Water and Wastes Digest website!

Available on and as well as from other retailers and wholesalers.

(If necessary, you can search using the title or the ISBN:  978-1-77244-188-8.)


"Water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) and the wastewater treatment profession have been the subject of thousands of research papers, technical manuals, and field guides. However, existing literature on wastewater treatment has long lacked a key element that could help make the crucial work performed at WRRFs approachable for the average reader: entertainment value. Murder in the Primary is the first mystery novel set at a water resource recovery facility.... [T]he recently published novel balances the technical aspects of wastewater treatment with the suspense of a murder mystery.... The unique novel interweaves a suspenseful narrative with the specialized technical background of Seldon’s setting and characters, written in a way that appeals to readers both within and outside the water sector." --Justin Jacques, WEF Highlights

"Murder in the Primary is a good, entertaining and easy read.... Recommendation: pick up a copy of Murder in the Primary; you will enjoy it." --Paul Drca, CWWA WaterSource eBulletin

"Full of twists and turns that set up a fantastic ending.... The book has all the makings of a great novel: romance, murder, betrayal, intrigue.... It's clear that Seldon seeks to do more than craft a murder mystery; he aims to introduce the public to the often under-appreciated world of wastewater treatment." --Will Fowler, Water Environment & Technology


John Seldon

Walter’s day was off to a bad start ...

Walter Stillwell, superintendent of the Port Talbot Water Resource Recovery Facility, was a methodical man. Each weekday he got up at 6:30 a.m., recorded  his blood pressure and heart rate, and prepared his breakfast, carefully measuring out 15 millilitres of homemade dressing for his modest salad of leaf lettuce and baking a serving of protein—usually a pork chop or chicken breast—in the toaster oven. Then, after watching a few minutes of the morning news, he dressed and left for work.

But today an urgent phone call from the plant foreman interrupts Walter’s routine. A man has been found dead at the plant, in the east primary. As the police begin investigating, it soon becomes all too clear that Walter’s life—and the lives of his friends and colleagues—will never be the same.

In this, the first mystery novel ever set in a water resource recovery facility—or, to use the lay term, a sewage plant—wastewater expert John Seldon introduces readers not only to a fascinating cast of characters but also to the overlooked systems and processes that make modern urban life possible. The result is a novel that will leave you guessing until the last chapter not only whodunit—but why.


Author John Seldon began his 48-year wastewater career with the R&D department of the Ontario Water Resource Commission in 1972. He left to become superintendent of the Barrie Water Resource Recovery Facility in 1975 and, later, an independent contractor specializing in dewatering wastewater residuals. He has written numerous papers on process treatment while also strongly advocating for the hiring of professionally certified technologists as plant operators. John holds a B.Sc. from the University of Guelph and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Waterloo. He writes and speaks on his field to all who will listen. John and his wife Dianne live in Port Burwell, Ontario, a village located on the north shore of Lake Erie in the Municipality of Bayham. Murder in the Primary is his first work of fiction.

US & International Orders

Paperback, 6 X 9, 200 pp., with photos


ISBN-13: 978-1-77244-188-8

$20 US and other international orders

$25 Canada