Notes for Monday is a first-person rant from three days in the life of aging old-school lawyer Tommy McBeath. Set in Calgary in 1988, Tommy skewers the pastel glory of the 1988 Olympics, the profession of law and the irritations of old age. But, ultimately, the heart of this story is Tommy’s 50-year marriage to Vera, whose mental illness is rocking Tommy’s self-centered world.

This novella is also available as an ebook. An audio book is due out shortly.


"Barb Howard’s novella, Notes for Monday, is set during the XV Winter Olympics in Calgary in 1988. Many of you will remember, with great joy, those exciting days in February, but the protagonist, 75-year-old Tommy McBeath, Q.C., created by Barb Howard is not interested in those games and, indeed, is amazed and appalled by his wife Vera’s interest in them. It’s absolutely distracting since McBeath is trying to write a five-minute speech to be delivered at a luncheon on Monday to mark his retirement from 50 years at the Bar."

"I loved this little story whose characters are so believable, and some not so fictional, such as the late John Ballem, Q.C., who makes a cameo appearance."

Annie Vigna, The Calgary Beacon, Nov. 29, 2010

"McBeath’s story is a deceptively easy read. It’s witty, it’s caustic and, at 102 pages, it can be read in a single sitting. At the centre, however, are the big topics: aging, Alzheimer’s, and the contradictions of an honourable man with a very big mouth. These are things Howard knows about personally." Read the full review

Kim Suvan, Fast Forward, April 1, 2010

"Sardonic, wickedly funny and oddly poignant, Notes for Monday is a tragic-comedy in the tradition of King Lear. Against the frenzy of the ’88 winter Olympics and his sports obsessed wife’s dementia, the former king of corporate law, seventy-five-year-old Tommy McBeath, prepares for his five-minute exit speech from the domain he used to rule. Poised between corporate irrelevance and profound changes in his private life, McBeath turns his iconoclastic eye onto the changing world around him and his own shifting place in it."

Roberta Rees, author of Long After Fathers

"Set during Calgary’s heady days as host of the 1988 Winter Olympics, Barb Howard’s Notes for Monday has the feel of a time capsule. So does her portrayal of irascible corporate lawyer Tommy McBeath. She nails him. You will sympathize with him, or despise him, but you won’t forget him!"

John Ballem Q.C., author of A Victim of Convenience