October 2020

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It’s been a hectic month for the three of us so this will probably be a shorter issue.

      Ghoulish Stuff for the Season

Did Mary Shelley actually lose her virginity to Percy on top of her mother’s grave? 

Are We Running Out of Monster Metaphors for the Disasters of the Real World? Erika Swyler on Surviving Our Fears By Creating More of Them

John Cleese Intends to Have His Unread Books Buried With Him

How Will Crime Fiction Authors Hold Up in the Coming Zombie Apocalypse?

      Words of the Month

kokum (n): fake niceness, simulated kindness  (Says You! Episode #717)

      Goofy Stuff

Jonathan Franzen’s best piece of advice for young writers will probably surprise you.

The 45 Best Bad Amazon Reviews of In Cold Blood 

‘Who knew people wanted a funny book on punctuation?’: Lynne Truss on writing Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Jim Thompson Is The Cynical Voice of Reason We Need In This Dumpster Fire of a Year

      Serious Stuff

The city depicted in To Kill a Mockingbird just elected its first Black mayor. [it was published in 1960…]

The Irish Department of Education is considering removing classic literary texts like To Kill a Mockingbird from secondary school curricula after pro-Black Lives Matter families complained about the use of the n-word in classrooms.

For the 2021-22 school year, the University of Chicago’s English department, one of the top-rated in the US, will only accept students “interested in working in and with Black Studies.”

The Evolution of Racism: A look at how the word, a surprisingly recent addition to the English lexicon, made its way into the dictionary 

Can Italy Defeat Its Most Powerful Crime Syndicate?


Amazon Is Spying on Its Workers in Closed Facebook Groups, Internal Reports Show

Amazon Is Hiring an Intelligence Analyst to Track ‘Labor Organizing Threats’

From the Idaho Statesman – not a state of the radical left: Amazon is not a friend of the book or its authors

Amazon says its warehouses are safe for workers. But the numbers reveal that workers are getting hurt much more often than the company claims.


Here’s how publishers based in the West are responding to a difficult, destructive fire season.

Sadly, we were ahead of the game: Brentwood’s Diesel bookstore launches a GoFundMe as more stores struggle through pandemic

A Massive Trove of Newly Leaked Documents Shows How Big Banks Help Criminals Move Dirty Money 

Joe And Jennifer Montana Foil Attempted Kidnapping Of Their Grandchild

A Rare Day-by-Day Document of Life Aboard a Slave Ship 

Bestselling author James Patterson donates $2.5 million for teacher grants

      Words of the Month

foe (n):  Old English gefea, gefa “foe, enemy, adversary in a blood feud” (the prefix denotes “mutuality”), from adjective fah “at feud, hostile,” also “guilty, criminal,” from Proto-Germanic *faihaz (source also of Old High German fehan “to hate,” Gothic faih “deception”), perhaps from the same Proto-Indo-European source that yielded Sanskrit pisunah “malicious,” picacah “demon;” Lithuanian piktas “wicked, angry,” peikti “to blame.” Weaker sense of “adversary” is first recorded c. 1600. (etymonline.com)

      Awards

Here’s the longlist for this year’s National Book Award for Nonfiction.

All the poets on the longlist for the National Book Award for Poetry are first timers.

Six Young Women with Prizewinning Book Collections

Milan Kundera ‘joyfully’ accepts Czech Republic’s Franz Kafka prize

Namwali Serpell will donate Clarke Prize money to those protesting Breonna Taylor’s murder.

Nikky Finney has won the $100,000 Wallace Stevens lifetime achievement award.

Women’s Prize for Fiction: Maggie O’Farrell wins for Hamnet, about Shakespeare’s son

      Words of the Month

zombie (n.) From 1871, of West African origin (compare Kikongo zumbi “fetish;” Kimbundu nzambi “god”), originally the name of a snake god, later with meaning “reanimated corpse” in voodoo cult. But perhaps also from Louisiana creole word meaning “phantom, ghost,” from Spanish sombra “shade, ghost.” Sense “slow-witted person” is recorded from 1936. (thanks to etymonline)

      Book Stuff

The real-life origin story behind The Count of Monte Cristo ~ Alexandre Dumas wrote his famous novel as a revenge fantasy for his father.

From Lindsay Faye: A Brief Introduction to Charles Vincent Emerson Starrett

Gayle Lynds: My First Thriller

“When I’m telling a story I imagine the eavesdropper over my shoulder.” Walter Mosley on storytelling, writing advice, and Winnie the Pooh.

“The translator is a writer. The writer is a translator. How many times have I run up against these assertions?” Tim Parks on the writer-translator equation.

$3.2 million worth of rare stolen books have been found under a house in rural Romania.

Why Writers Are Always in Pursuit of The Maltese Falcon

Just how odd is this month’s bestseller list? A look at pre-election bestsellers from years past.

The Writer Who Helped Spark an Explosive Debate Over the Future of Romance Novels

Rare Edition of Shakespeare’s Last Play Found in Spanish Library

What Are the Sexiest Books in Contemporary Crime Fiction? Authors Discuss

Why you should read this out loud

The Grim Truth Behind The Pied Piper

The Evolution of Jack Reacher

      Other Forms of Entertainment

The ancient palindrome that explains Christopher Nolan’s Tenet 

How Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant Filmed One of the Sexiest Scenes of All Time

The Big Sigh: Exploring the Lost Continent of Classic French Film Noir 1932-1966


Hunt continues for James Bond guns stolen in raid

‘Mythical’ Aston Martin Bulldog supercar being restored

007th heaven: why Tom Hardy as the new Bond is too good to be true

You May Have Read Tom Hardy Was Cast as the Next James Bond. Here’s Why That’s Not Going to Happen.


It’s Time to Acknowledge Miller’s Crossing As the Best Coen Brothers Movie

Goodfellas at 30: Martin Scorsese’s damning study of masculinity

Prince’s Sign O’ The Times: An oral history

Great British Bake Off: ‘Excellent’ Matt Lucas charms critics on show debut

Who is Tatiana Maslany, the new star of She-Hulk?

The Emotional Legacy Of ‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater’

How George Michael transformed pop

‘If you steal music, you aren’t a real music fan’

From ‘SNL’ To Workout Videos, How RBG Became A Pop Culture Icon

      Words of the Month

bellicose (adj.) from the early 15th C., “inclined to fighting,” from Latin bellicosus “warlike, valorous, given to fighting,” from bellicus “of war,” from bellum “war” (Old Latin duellum, dvellum), which is of uncertain origin. (thanks to etymonline)

      Links of Interest

September 1: The Many Sides to Dan Brown ~ The author of “The Da Vinci Code” just released a classical music album for children. It happens to be one of the assets he and his wife are disputing in lawsuits over their divorce.

September 3: On a “body farm,” researchers are exploring whether the nutrients from human cadavers can change the look of plants, which authorities might use to locate missing persons.

September 6: How cold war spymasters found arrogance of Carlos the Jackal too hot to handle

September 6: Man blows up part of house while chasing fly

September 6: ‘But Do I Love You?’: Tips For Homebound Declutterers

September 6: John Cage musical work changes chord for first time in seven years

September 6: Man in box of ice breaks world record

September 8: The Unexpected Politics of Book Cover Design

September 9: The Very Brief Heyday of Crime Beat Magazine

September 9: Some in France are urging President Emmanuel Macron to relocate the bodies of poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine to the Pantheon, a memorial site known as the resting place of French cultural luminaries

September 10: The Black Dahlia: The Long, Strange History of Los Angeles’ Coldest Cold Case

September 10: Wuthering Heights: House that inspired Emily Bronte classic for sale

September 10: Santa Fe rejects George RR Martin’s request to build a ‘castle’ library

September 12: Crime Curators: Keepers of American criminal history

September 12: A Legendary Spy’s Unusual Recruitment in 1930S Shanghai

September 13: Reading Michael Cohen’s Disloyal as a memoir of jilted love.

September 14:“There’s a part o f me that feels the loss is incalculable. What if there was something in one of those crushed boxes that would have transformed literary criticism forever?” On the university that accidentally put Nadine Gordimer’s library on the street.

September 14: Warren Harding: Grandson of former US president asks to exhume his remains

September 16: Blood & Fire ~ the Bombing of Wall Street, 100 Years Later

September 16: Notorious B.I.G. crown and Tupac love letters sold at auction

September 18: The FBI, The Second Red Scare, and the Folk Singer Who Cooperated

September 18: ‘Bonkers’ reaction to Scottish store’s Taylor Swift signed CD surprise

September 22: John Lennon killer says sorry for ‘despicable act’

September 23: The National Portrait Gallery honors women who shaped the past century of American lit.

September 23: How a Team of Calligraphers Brought Jane Austen’s Fictional Letters to Life

September 24 : The Philosopher and the Detectives ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Enduring Passion for Hardboiled Fiction

September 24: Man dies from eating more than a bag of liquorice a day

September 26: Rimbaud and Verlaine: France agonises over digging up gay poets

September 27: Joe Montana (American football legend) & wife saves grandchild from kidnapping attempt

September 28: “Whether fiction or non, the lot of the double agent is rarely a happy one.”

September 29: The cat who hitched a lift on a worldwide tour

      RIP

September 10: Diana Rigg, “The Avengers” and 007’s only wife, dies aged 82

September 10: George Bizos obituary: Remembering Mandela’s gentle but fierce lawyer

September 10: Ronald Bell: Kool & The Gang founder dies aged 68

September 17: Legendary jazz critic, playwright, and essayist Stanley Crouch has died.

September 21: Winston Groom, author of pop cultural phenomenon ‘Forrest Gump,’ dies at 77

September 21: Sam McBratney: Guess How Much I Love You author dies

September 22: Michael Lonsdale, Bond villain and Jackal pursuer, dead at 89

September 22: Robert Graetz, Only White Pastor To Back Montgomery Bus Boycott, Dies At 92

September 24: Sir Harold Evans: Crusading editor who exposed Thalidomide impact dies aged 92

September 27: Miss Sherlock actress Yuko Takeuchi found dead at 40

September 30: Mac Davis: “In The Ghetto” songwriter dies aged 78

      Words of the Month

fear (n.) From Middle English fere, from Old English fær “calamity, sudden danger, peril, sudden attack,” from Proto-Germanic *feraz “danger” (source also of Old Saxon far “ambush,” Old Norse far “harm, distress, deception,” Dutch gevaar, German Gefahr “danger”), from PIE *pēr-, a lengthened form of the verbal root *per- (3) “to try, risk.”

Sense of “state of being afraid, uneasiness caused by possible danger” developed by late 12th C. Some Old English words for “fear” as we now use it were fyrhto, fyrhto; as a verb, ondrædan. Meaning “feeling of dread and reverence for God” is from c. 1400. To put the fear of God (into someone) “intimidate, cause to cower” is by 1888, from the common religious phrase; the extended use was often at first in colonial contexts:

“Thus then we seek to pu ‘the fear of God’ into the natives at the point of the bayonet, and excuse ourselves for the bloody work on the plea of the benefits which we intend to confer afterwards.” – Felix Adler, The Religion of Duty, 1950

(thanks to etymonline)

      What We’ve Been Up To

   Fran

I’m so sorry about last month. We’re moving from Washington State to New Mexico, which would be hectic at any time, but during COVID has been especially challenging. I can’t even begin to discuss the sheer volume of paperwork!

But my 60 boxes of books are packed, so there’s that. And I unearthed books from my To Be Read pile that honestly I’d forgotten about, 9781451649413which brings me to Kate Morton’s The Clockmaker’s Daughter. It came out in 2018. I may be behind but I’m sincere in my efforts.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter spans time from about 1850 to 2017, with stops along the way. Our narrator is Birdie, also sometimes known as Lily Millington. She’s been around for a very long time. The other person we’re following mostly is Elodie Winslow, in 2017. Obviously their paths intertwine, but it’s how and why that is so fascinating.

Birdie, as Lily, was the model for an up and coming painter in the late 1800’s, Edward Radcliffe. She was and is a highly intelligent and curious and free-spirited young lady, with a shady past. Elodie archives records and memorabilia surrounding a different 1800’s person, James Stratton, as well as dodges her soon-to-be mother-in-law whenever possible.

How these two women’s lives overlap, along with so very many other people, is at the heart of the story, but make no mistake, this is a murder mystery. Frances Brown was murdered at Edward Radcliffe’s house in 1862, and everyone believes they know what happened.

They’re wrong. Almost no one does. And finding out what happened will keep you reading, I promise. Kate Morton is an accomplished author, and she manages the different voices skillfully and deftly. This is an absolutely lush novel, and I think it would be a gorgeous movie, but no film could ever capture the depth, the insights, the myriad layers of personality and history that are encompassed in this book.

As the weather darkens and the year winds down, I really do recommend The Clockmaker’s Daughter as a great fireside read on a blustery day!

   JB

While he’s written a ton a great books, I’ve always thought The Poet is Michael Connelly‘s best book. Granted, I’ve not read it in a couple of decades but it has stuck with me as singular – and I plan to re-read it very soon.

9780316539425So I was excited to learn that his newest book, Fair Warning,  brings back reporter Jack McEvoy and eager to read it.

While the plot is, as always, original and interesting, this was a boring read. A dud. (Even the cover is bad – his publisher put a raven on it and there is zero plot connection to the earlier McEvoy novels.) The writing was flat and uninteresting, McEvoy struggles with and inability to make intimate relationships work with women – as most of Connelly’s male characters do – and I finished it just to see how it’d end. I hadn’t read any Connelly books in years and I should’ve kept it that way. A sad comment about a favorite author and nice guy.


On the other hand – – –

“It was rampaging imbecility, and possibly unstoppable.”

GET A HOLD OF THE NEW CARL HIAASEN AS FAST AS YOU CAN!

“The boy looked up from the canal bank to see what he’d snagged, dialed 911, cut his
line with a knife, and walked away. It was the third dead body he’s found while fishing, but such was the reality of a childhood spent outdoors in Florida. It was a testament to the teen’s passion for angling that he’d never considered getting a new hobby”.
Fiction or memory?

Not only is this about the usual insanity of Hiaasen’s Florida home state, it’s the insanity of the current year: covid, the election, the current occupants of the White House, MAGA fans who call themselves the Potussies (because these decadently wealthy women find “POTUS pussies” might risk their cherished places on the social registry), stripper poles in beach cabanas, tanning beds that must be test run, record-length pythons, violent texts about immigrants and howling mobs, and even a certain ex-governor. Oh, and fabulously expensive conch pearls.

“The whole place smelled like the exhaust vent at a Burger King”

The winter White House on Palm Beach island – Hiaasen has dubbed it “Casa Bellicosa” – is the scene of most of the action after Kiki Pew Fitzsimmons vanishes from a fundraiser. Soon we’re into a hunt for her involving the Secret Service, the local chief of police and a young woman who removes creatures from buildings and returns them to the wild. Angie used to be a wildlife agent but was sent to prison for feeding the hand of a poacher to an alligator. The only regret she had was that the poor alligator had to be shot.

Hiaasen does not lower himself to use the actual names of the President and First Lady – he used Secret Service code names of “Mastodon” and “Mockingbird” but he is otherwise scathing in his portrayal of the recognizable Leader of the Free World. As you might imagine. “Up on the TV screen, Mastodon wearing a vast beet-colored golf shirt that hung on his upper frame like an Orkin termite tent. His long-billed cap had been yanked down tight to keep his hairpiece moored to its Velcro moonbase during gusts of wind.”

The First Lady is treated with respect – though he gives her a fondness for a “a specific massage oil – eucalyptus and bacon mint”. She actually comes off as the only sane one in family. She may’ve even found true love!

I frankly didn’t care if the other passengers on the plane looked oddly at me for laughing out loud while consuming the book. How could you not?9781524733452

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

AND VOTE !!!!!!

September 2020

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A little something different in this months Words of the Month

Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. The sentiment has been attributed to many other minds. (thanks to Says You!, episode 2412)

    Odd Stuff

The shop’s e-mail filter has snagged a number of messages as nefarious. They’re supposedly from US sources and the subject lines say something like “Only The U.S. Presidential Team Will Save United States from Doomsday Ahead” or “The Exceptional Benefits of The United States Presidential Team”. Makes me wonder if these are attempts by “outside actors” to influence the election. Usually, we just get sunglasses brags or Nigerian princes’ pleas in Spanish…

Was Tony Soprano’s Therapist Good at Her Job?

Improve your relationships – with advice from counter-terrorism experts

Complete your pandemic aesthetic with this bookcase that converts into a coffin.  

Frans Hals painting ‘Two Laughing Boys’ stolen for a third time

The Art of Upsetting People 

Was The Graduate Inspired by a Brontë Family Scandal?

Don’t feel bad: even Danielle Steel, author of 179 books, couldn’t write under lockdown.

    Nice Stuff

Add a Tart Twist to Your Summer Reading List With These Cocktail Themed Mysteries

Is this the greatest TV commercial ever made for a public library?

How Dashiell Hammett’s Contintental Op Became a Depression-Era Icon 

“The Easiest Eighty Thousand Words Ever Put Together”: The Story Behind the Story of David Dodge’s To Catch a Thief 

A Bruce Lee Hong Kong sightseeing tour – visit where the martial arts icon lived, filmed, trained and went to school with this DIY guide 

One Twitter Account’s Quest to Proofread The New York Times 

Did you know that Truman Capote discovered Ray Bradbury? (Well, sort of.)

Words we think we know, but can’t pronounce: the curse of the avid reader

Poetry magazine will skip its September issue to address its “deep-seated white supremacy.”

Check out this gorgeous illustrated map of Black-owned bookshops across the country.

    Serious Stuff

Agency: Nearly 87,000 bogus unemployment claims filed in Washington state

Murders of California Indigenous Women 7 times less likely to be solved, report finds

“The Con,” a new five-part docuseries, examines the 2007-08 global financial crisis and the greedy bankers and politicians who got away with (figurative) murder. 

How a Russian Defector Became a Warning from Moscow to London

Alan Dershowitz claims a fictional lawyer defamed him. The implications for novelists are very real


Bookseller, writer, and publisher organizations want congress to go after Amazon.

Portland’s Powell’s Books says it ‘must take a stand’ and will stop selling books through Amazon

(Amazon owned)Whole Foods managers told to talk up donations while enforcing BLM ban


The Real Criminal Masterminds in America Aren’t Working the System—They Created It 

3 of the World’s Deadliest Serial Killers Come From the Same Place: Why?

‘History Is Corrected’: An Interview with Civil Rights journalist Jerry Mitchell 

Sex Offender Registries Often Fail Those They Are Designed To Protect

New York rejects 11th parole bid of John Lennon’s killer 

Global Raid Targets Major TV and Movie Piracy Group 

Writers Against Trump wants to mobilize the literary community in advance of the election. 

Fact Checking Is the Core of Nonfiction Writing. Why Do So Many Publishers Refuse to Do It?  

Independent bookstores struggle under national security law in Hong Kong

    Local Stuff

Half a century after 4 murders rocked a community and a courtroom, ‘Seattle’s Forgotten Serial Killer’ explores the case of Gary Gene Grant

    Words of the Month

Benfor’s Law: The louder the voice, the weaker the argument. Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real information available. (thanks to Says You!, episode 2412)

      Awards

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld wins International Booker for The Discomfort of Evening 

J.K. Rowling Returns Kennedy Human Rights Award After RFK Daughter Calls Author “Transphobic”

    Book Stuff

In turbulent times, culling my book collection gave me the illusion of control. Then the dilemmas began multiplying. 

Personal Space: Laura Lippman Dares to Focus on Herself

Hundreds of errors found in Hemingway’s works, mostly made by editors and typesetters

Elena Ferrante’s Master Class on Deceit: Her latest novel frames lying as a creative act.

Weird Women: The Forgotten Female Horror Writers of the 19th Century and Beyond 

What to Do About William Faulkner: A white man of the Jim Crow South, he couldn’t escape the burden of race, yet derived creative force from it. 

The Book in the Cathedral by Christopher de Hamel – adventures of a manuscript sleuth 

True Crime’s Messy, Interactive Renaissance 

The Lost Classics of One of the 20th Century’s Great Hard-boiled Writers 

The World of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser and the Birth of the 1970’s Private Detective

Middlemarch and other works by women reissued under their real names


My Pandemic Master Class with The Silence of the Lambs 

The Silence of the Lambs: The Seminal Serial Killer Novel, and Still the Best


My First Thriller: David Morrell

I prefer a more domestic murder‘: the thrilling nastiness of PD James

Surprising secrets of writers’ first book drafts

People want to support their local bookstores. They might be hurting them instead.


Vivian Stephens Helped Turn Romance Writing Into a Billion-Dollar Industry. Then She Got Pushed Out.

‘We Need People Within Our Publishing Houses Who Reflect What Our Country Looks Like’ Book publisher Lisa Lucas reflects on her career and how the literary world still isn’t diverse enough


The way you pull your favorite books off the shelf is probably ruining them.

On Repetition As a Powerful Literary Tool

    Author Events

Events, yes – signings, no

    Words of the Month

Sturgeon’s Law: “ninety percent of everything is crap.” wikipedia

    Other Forms of Entertainment

 

The 35 Most Iconic Caper Movies, Ranked

The Agony of Liam Neeson, Action Star

The Crime is Up: A hybrid podcast featuring original crime fiction and film noir appreciations.

The greatest femme fatale ever? 

What I Learned About Myself While Tallying The Body Count of Ozark’s First Season

Watch the steamy first trailer for Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile.

The Sherlock Holmes group The Baker Street Irregulars have a video podcast now, The Fortnightly Dispatch.

Otto Penzler finished his list of Greatest Crime Films of All Time

This One Line From Gone Baby Gone Plays on a Loop in My Head

    RIP

August 1: James Silberman, Editor Who Nurtured Literary Careers, Dies at 93

August 2: Wilford Brimley, Star of “The China Syndrome” and “The Natural” Dies At 85

August 4:  Pete Hamill, Quintessential New York Journalist, and Novelist, Dies at 85

August 4: Reni Santoni, Dirty Harry Actor and Seinfeld’s Poppie, Dead at 81

August 18: Ben Cross, British actor in Chariots of Fire and Sarek in Star Trek films, dead at 72

August 28: ‘Black Panther’ Star Chadwick Boseman Dies of Cancer at 43

    Words of the Month

Gibson’s Law: “For every PhD there is an equal and opposite PhD.”

    Links of Interest

July 30: Doubting Gauguin ~An amateur detective takes on the National Gallery, and the art world

August 2: He’s probably been in more movies than any actor in history (hint: he’s in “Chinatown”)

August  2: ‘Murder capital of the world’: The terrifying years when multiple serial killers stalked Santa Cruz

August 3: “I’m Going To Be Honest With You,” The Grandfather Told Police. “I Killed A Lot.”

August 4: This woman hunts for photos and other treasures left in used books — then returns them

August 5: Coups, lies, dirty tricks: The Police’s Stewart Copeland on his CIA agent father

August 5: Russia’s ‘Red Penguins’ Had Mobsters, Strippers, Beer-Chugging Bears—and Some Hockey

August 5: Whatever Happened to Eliot Ness After Prohibition?

August 5: The unusual new species of stingray found in a jar

August 6: My Life in True Crime ~ Kim Powers’ life has been spent writing about crime. But the suspicions about his own mother’s death were kept secret

August 6: The Spy Messages No Computer Can Decode

August 6: Medieval ‘wine windows’ are reopening, reviving Italian plague tradition

August 7: Tennis star, fashion designer, integration advocate . . . spy?

August 7: Cheeky boar leaves nudist grunting in laptop chase

August 9: Cavorting in Hot Springs, Ark., During Its Sin-Soaked Heyday

August 9: Gandhi’s glasses left in Bristol auctioneer’s letterbox

August 10: Thirty-year-old corpse discovered in cellar of €35m Paris mansion

August 17: Two men charged with 2002 murder of Run-DMC DJ Jam Master Jay

August 18: How a Fake CIA Spy Fooled Everyone and Swindled Millions

August 18: The Last Seduction: The greatest femme fatale ever?

August 19: The Bloody Benders: America’s First Family of Serial Killers

August 20: Jack Reacher and The Grand Unified Theory of Thrillers

August 23: Frank Sinatra Slept Here, and So Can You ~ In New York and across the country, the former homes of famous writers, musicians and film stars are available as short-term rentals

August 23: Assassins in stockings and stilettos: is it time movies killed off hitwoman cliches?

August 23: Tel Aviv covers over Peeping Toms beach mural

August 24: Kuwaiti writers welcome change to book censorship laws

August 24: Israeli youths unearth 1,100-year-old gold coins from Abbasid era

August 25: Discovery of scholar’s notes shine light on race to decipher Rosetta Stone

August 25: How Do Celebrity Conspiracy Theorists Become Who They Are?

August 25: What the Mythology of El Chapo Guzmán Tells Us About the Reality of Drug Trafficking in the Americas

August 25: Kevin Costner on ‘Dangerous’ Trump, a ‘Bodyguard’ Sequel With Princess Diana, and American ‘Amnesia’

August 27: Memories of a Coroner’s Daughter

August 28: My Top Five Female Detectives, Real and Imagined

August 28: Driven to Abstraction: the inside story of a $60m art forgery hoax

August 28: Forensics on Trial: America’s First Blood Test Expert

August 29: Denise Mina: ‘I couldn’t read until I was about nine’

     Words of the Month

Doctorow’s Law: “Anytime someone puts a lock on something you own, against your wishes, and doesn’t give you the key, they’re not doing it for your benefit.”

    What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

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Don’t forget to check out one of my other blogs – Finder of Lost Things! A serial mystery set in and around Nevermore Cemetery!

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Now due to the slowness of the mail recently all my new books were delayed in arriving, so I’ve not had a chance to read them yet. So instead, here’s a review of a Lego build I finished of a….

Bookshop!!!!!

This is probably one of the most fun (only surpassed by the detective’s agency) and detailed builds I’ve finished so far in Lego’s mains street builds. With trees, flowers, a backyard garden and books – what more can you ask for?

Lego categorizes this as an Creator Expert build – so unless you have a kid with large builds under their belt or can follow instructions well – I’d work up to this set.

However, it is totally worth practicing for!

Speaking of Lego – Here’s a funny story: Lego hand comes out of boy’s nose after two years

JB


I put this article here, rather in the Book Stuff section, ’cause Dave and Clete are two of my favorite people – no matter that they’re fiction: The Evolution of Dave Robicheaux and the Incredible Career of James Lee Burke

And then this appeared the next day: James Lee Burke on Art, Fascism, and the Hijacking of American Christianity


Charles Leerhsen‘s new biography, Butch Cassidy, 9781501117480was great fun. It’s full of interesting details – Etta’s first name was really Ethel but a typo in the Pinkerton’s file has forever changed that, and Sundance played the guitar well – who knew? I had not heard that Sundance’s mother’s maiden name was Place and that’s likely where Etta/Ethel got it.  In fact, it may be we really don’t know her birth name.

I had not heard of the collapse of beef prices during the blizzard called the The Big Die-Up of 1886-87 (a 15-inch snowflake still holds the world record for size from that storm) and that massive affect on the Old West. I had not realized the size of hauls the Wild Bunch got from banks and trains, and, as staggering as those numbers are, it is astonishing how they were always out of money. “You could go broke in the Wild West being a bandit.” And I had not realized just how far and how often they’d travel, whether by horseback or, one assumes, train.

What Leerhsen does best it draw portraits of the outlaws and juxtaposes those against what we all expect from the famed movie. Indeed, while haunted and hunted by the law, they still did quite a bit of straight work – cowboying on ranches all along the eastern Rockies. He does a similar job relating their years in South America. Again, I had not understood how long they were there. Hollywood, again. But Leerhsen points all of that out, even to the degree which screenwriter William Goldman purposefully didn’t research Cassidy and Sundance and still he got their personalities and era right.

With a light and amusing style, he sets down things that you know about in a new way. About the massive explosion in the train heist in Wilcox, WY – so well destroyed a second time in the movie, the author tells us: “When Woodcock came to, he was pleased to realize wilcoxthat the crimson splotches all over his clothes came from a shipment of raspberries that the blast had turned into flying jam. The red stuff now coated everything in sight – and would later make the stolen bank notes and coins easier to identify”. Later, one of the gang would be arrested after spending one of the stained notes.

 

There are many, many amusing passages in the book. Wish I’d kept better track of them!

But there are a few flaws to the book. For one, it’d’ve been a great help to have a map of their locations in the Eastern Rockies and in South America. Much more useful than the usual photos that are not new. They road hundreds of miles, worked at this ranch or that ranch, circled back to this one – where was that one again? He also remarks often about how Butch’s fame as an outlaw grew but he doesn’t match that but noting how many bank or train robberies there were. From what he includes, Butch seems to be an occasional outlaw, not a desperado with a national reputation.

But that leads to one glaring fault of the book. Maybe he didn’t feel the need to present anything comprehensive due to the large number of books about Butch. Indeed, time and again he mentions the authoritative or exhausting book that Richard Patterson or Kerry Ross Boren, or the work of Daniel Buck and Anne Meadows. Maybe the helpful maps are in one of those books…

At any rate, I highly recommend this book. There’s lots about the time period and what their Old Wild West was really like and, best of all, as Leerhsen seems to agree, there are no intrusive, annnoying Burt Bacharach songs.

 

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

And So It Goes…

GERMANY KURT VONNEGUT

Kurt Vonnegut’s advice to the people of 2088 also applies to the people of 2020.

“This week, I stumbled upon some very good advice Kurt Vonnegut set out, in 1988, for the citizens of the world of 2088. Sure, it was part of a Volkswagen ad campaign for TIME, but it still counts as salient advice from one of our great literary minds—and though it was supposed to be for people living 100 years after he wrote it, almost all of it applies to those of us trapped in 2020 as well. (And if not, well, at the very least, I got a laugh out of “bag ladies and bag gentlemen.”) Here’s what Kurt thinks we should be doing to save ourselves:”

August 2020 Newzine

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WOW – August already, huh…. ok, here we go!

On the Endless Symbolism of Jaws, Which Owes Its Dark Soul to Moby Dick

    Serious Stuff

Rulers vs. writers: The pre-Trump prehistory of author suppression


How Police Secretly Took Over a Global Phone Network for Organized Crime

Dutch police discover secret torture site in shipping containers


Activists’ books are disappearing from Hong Kong’s public libraries 

Women speak out about Warren Ellis: ‘Full and informed consent was impossible’ 

A Heist on Time and a Half: Inside The Most Corrupt Police Squad In The Nation [For more on Baltimore, don’t forget this terrific podcast about Agnew, and then there’s the Netflix series “The Keepers”…]

The Prophecies of Q

From Italy: An Entire Police Station Has Been Arrested for Dealing Drugs and Torturing Suspects 

9 Essential Books To Learn About Our Badly Broken American Political System

Does ‘Character’ Still Count in American Politics?

SFF authors are protesting Saudi Arabia’s cynical bid to host the 2022 WorldCon.

Amid a virus surge and government repression, Hong Kong’s oldest bookstore is closing.

    Local Stuff

‘I’ve been a lucky man’: Michael Coy, a mainstay in Seattle’s book scene, is retiring after 48 years in the business [Michael was one or JB’s teachers when Bill sent him to the American Bookseller’s Association’s Bookseller School. He’s a great guy and has always been very helpful with advice about bookselling. We wish him the best as he pushes back from selling to simply reading!]

Prosecutor admits grand jury gaffe with Thomas Wales witness but says perjury indictment should stand

Talking character, inspiration with Sujata Massey, author of Moira’s Book Club pick ‘The Widows of Malabar Hill’

    From the Dossier of SPECTRE

Jeff Bezos hated ads — now Amazon is America’s top advertiser

America’s Largest Unions Are Calling on the FTC to Stop Amazon 

The Amazon Critic Who Saw its Power from the Inside

MacKenzie Scott begins giving away most of her Amazon wealth. Here’s why, and where nearly $1.7 billion is going.

    Words of the Month

sibylline (adj.): From the 1570s, from Latin sibyllinus, from sibylla (see sibyl: “woman supposed to possess powers of prophecy, female soothsayer,” c. 1200, from Old French sibile, from Latin Sibylla, from Greek Sibylla, name for any of several prophetesses consulted by ancient Greeks and Romans, of uncertain origin. Said to be from Doric Siobolla, from Attic Theoboule “divine wish.”) thanks to etymonline

    Awards

Duende District, The Word, Launch BIPOC Bookseller Award

Colson Whitehead is the youngest writer to win the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

Hilary Mantel, Kiley Reid, Anne Tyler in Running for Booker Prize

    Book Stuff

 The Postman Always Rings Twice: 1934 New York Times review of James M. Cain’s sexually-charged, hard-boiled crime novel

Every Great Writer is a Great Deceiver: Vladimir Nabokov’s Best Writing Advice 

P. D. James: A Crime Reader’s Guide to the Classics 

Look inside Oslo’s stunning new public library, now open to the public.

My Writing Will Never Be as Good as Charles Willeford’s 

Visiting Europe’s Great Libraries from Rick Steves 

With Stores Closed, Barnes & Noble Does Some Redecorating

In Publishing, ‘Everything Is Up for Change’ 

My First Thriller: Steve Berry 

The Exhilarating, Dangerous World of Helen Eustis

6 book recommendations from crime writer Camilla Läckberg

The Celebrity Bookshelf Detective is Back

Cats and Cozy Mysteries, The Purr-fect Combination

María Elvira Bermúdez, the Agatha Christie of Mexican literature 

The Power—and the Responsibility—of True Crime Writing

    Author Events

maybe someday…..though we have heard that some places, some publishers, are doing on-line events, that still means no signatures

    Other Forms of Entertainment

“I Don’t Let Regret In” Pierce Brosnan on Love, Loss, and his Life After Bond  

My streaming gem: why you should watch Detour

Idris Elba says a Luther movie is ‘close’ to happening 

Candy: Elisabeth Moss to star in true-crime story of notorious Texas axe killer 

Fascinating Cases That ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ Viewers Helped Solve

On Netflix ~ Fear City: New York vs The Mafia & World’s Most Wanted

How They Shot the Wrong-Way Car Chase in ‘To Live and Die in L.A.’ 

Comfort Viewing: 3 Reasons I Love ‘Columbo’

How a 10-year-old created a lockdown print hit for punk fans

Loren Estleman:How Film Noir will Forever Change Your Worldview

Otto Penzler’s Greatest Crime Films of All Times Continues

The 50 Most Iconic Heist Movies, Ranked from Worst to Best

    Podcasts

“Las Vegas was better off when it was run by the mob.” Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas, an 11-part true-crime podcast series produced by the Las Vegas Review-Journal in partnership with The Mob Museum, chronicles the mob’s rise and fall in Las Vegas through the eyes of those who lived it: ex-mobsters, law enforcement officials, politicians and journalists. [JB recommends]

7 International True Crime Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

Son of a Hitman: the story of Charles Harrelson [JB recommends]

Could the CIA Have Planted Hair-Metal Propaganda During the Cold War?In the new podcast ‘Wind of Change,’ host Patrick Radden Keefe explores how the CIA used music to change hearts and minds [it is well documented that they did this with the abstract expressionists in the 50s, so why not?? – JB]

    Words of the Month

12 Common Words And Phrases With Racist Origins Or Connotations

    RIP

July 1: Rudolfo Anaya, towering figure of Chicano literature, mystery writer, dies at 82

July 6: Ennio Morricone, The Sound Of The American West, Dies At 91

July 6: Charlie Daniels: Country and southern rock legend dies at age 83

July 14: Grant Imahara: Mythbusters TV host dies suddenly at 49

July 15:  Louis Colavecchio, Master Counterfeiter, Is Dead at 78

July 25: John Saxon, ‘Enter the Dragon’, ‘Joe Kidd’, and ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’, dies at 83

July 26: Olivia de Havilland, Golden Age of Hollywood star, dies at 104

    Links of Interest

July 2: The Golden Dragon massacre ~ A bloody rampage in the heart of 1970s San Francisco

July 3: The Magic of Reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s Letters

July 6: Juanita ‘The Duchess’ Spinelli: The first woman legally executed in Calif. ran an SF crime school

July 7: The Rival Casinos That Built Hot Springs, Arkansas into an Unlikely Capital of Vice

July 8: Found – A Letter From Frederick Douglass, About the Need for Better Monuments

July 8: The Cold War and the Mysterious Death of Dag Hammarskjöld

July 9: Don’t Stay In These Famous Literary Haunted Houses!


Two versions of the same story, with different photos of the items on auction:

July 1: For Sale: Proof That Legendary Scientists Were Real People, Too

July 10: Tesla’s Patents, Einstein’s Letters and an Enigma Machine Are Up for Auction


July 10: The Secret Service Tried to Catch a Hacker With a Malware Booby-Trap. (“The attempt failed, but so-called “network investigative techniques” are not limited to the FBI, according to newly unsealed court records.”)

July 10: D-R-A-M-A ~ Big Scrabble’s decision to eliminate offensive words has infuriated players like never before.

July 13: Playing Cards Around the World and Through the Ages

July 14: Iron Age Murder Victim’s Skeleton Found in England

July 15: How Not to Deal With Murder in Space – A bizarre 1970 Arctic killing over a jug of raisin wine shows that we need to think about crime outside our atmosphere now.

July 15: The Deadly High-Speed Chase That Launched Miami into the 1980s

July 15: Don McLean’s handwritten lyrics to “Vincent” up for auction

July 16: James Patterson Reviving 30s-Era Crimefighter ‘The Shadow’ For New Novels, Films

July 16: Homicide at Rough Point: In the fall of 1966, billionaire Doris Duke killed a close confidant in tony Newport, Rhode Island. Local police ruled the incident “an unfortunate accident.” Half a century later, compelling evidence suggests that the mercurial, vindictive tobacco heiress got away with murder.

July 17: Beetle-mounted camera streams insect adventures

July 20: A ‘Fletch’ Reboot Starring Jon Hamm Is Officially In The Works

July 20: Missing Kansas dog makes 50-mile trip to old home in Missouri

July 22: The mystery of a stolen rare cello has a surprise ending

July 22: Man who forged his own death certificate to avoid jail is given away by a typo, DA says

July 23: Germany’s Ritter Sport wins square chocolate battle

July 24: Walter Mosley on What the Pandemic May Set Us Up For in the Future

July 24: Manuscript shows how Truman Capote renamed his heroine Holly Golightly

July 24: Charles Manson Wasn’t a Criminal Mastermind

July 24: Viewer spots Florida reporter Victoria Price’s cancer growth

July 24: US lottery jackpot shared after 1992 handshake

July 24: All in a Day’s Work ~ Why Do the Parker Novels Still Resonate So Powerfully?

July 27: What It’s Like To Spend A Decade Hunting A Serial Killer On The Internet

July 27: The Supreme Court Takes on a JFK Case

July 28: Banksy auctions refugee painting to aid Bethlehem hospital

July 28: It’s Pretty Easy To Level Up Your Coffee Game — Here’s How

July 28: Remington Gun-Maker Files For Bankruptcy Protection For 2nd Time Since 2018

July 29: How the U.S.-China consulate closures could impact espionage

July 29: Don Black ~ ‘the Pele of lyricists’ on Bond themes, Broadway and ‘Born Free

    What We’ve Been Up To

     Amber

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Finder of Lost Things is back!  With more posts and more photos!

Click here to read about the fallout from the Woman in White, what the Black-andBlue-Becker-Betting-Pool is all about and why Phoebe is sneaking out in the rain!

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Grady Hendrix – My Best Friend’s Exorcism

Need a good summertime read that will take you back to all the awkward moments of childhood? No? How about a book that takes you back to some of your best memories as a kid?

Sounds better right?

Remembering all those good times you had with your best friend at skating parties, talking on the phone for hours about nothing, summer vacations, or that one time you needed to exorcise a demon from your best friend’s soul? Yeah…not something everyone can relate to…but that’s precisely what Abby needs to do to save her best friend…

This book is an intensely fun read.

While it’s occasionally awkward and cringe-worthy (but in the best possible way), this uncomfortableness generated by the author adds a whole other layer to the horror/mystery/friendship story unfolding on the page. Seriously, I don’t know how Grady Hendrix did it – but episodes (minus the exorcism, demon, and animal sacrifice) feel as if he pulled them from my own experience – both the terrific and the embarrassing.

If you’re looking for a book to read under the covers with a flashlight, in the middle of the night – that will on occasion make the familiar nightly squeaks, creaks, and groans of your home sound new and strange… My Best Friend’s Exorcism is the book you’re looking for!

(P.S. Did I forget to mention it’s set in the eighties? In all, it’s spectacular Madonna influenced glory…)

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Do you like getting mail? Do you relish writing letters? Do you enjoy mysteries? Have you ever dreamed of being an armchair detective? Now’s your chance! With a mail-based mystery series called Dear Holmes.

I’ll let Mr. Holmes explain your new employment (as he’s more succinct than I):

“12/5/1901

Dear Detective,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to Dear Holmes, and your new career as a consulting detective. 

For the next few months, I will be handing some of my most challenging cases to you. My associates from around the world will write you each month with a challenging new mystery in need of solving.

Every week you will receive another letter with new details on the present mystery, bringing you closer and closer to the solution. I or Dr. Watson will receive the same letters, and reach out to the client to ask probing questions on your behalf.

Since we tend to receive some more peculiar cases, I will also make the knowledge of my network of experts available to you at times, to help shed light on some of the more perplexing details of the cases we encounter.

Your challenge is to solve the mystery before I do. Once I solve the case (at the end of the month), I will write you to share how I solved it. I sincerely hope you beat me to the task. 

Are you ready to put your deductive skills to the test?

The game is afoot!”

Now you can email the solution to Mr. Holmes for his perusal – but in the monthly Featured Detective contest – people who post their solutions thru the mail are given extra points! (Plus it gives you an excuse to purchase some top drawer stationary!)

Woot!

This is a fun and creative game that tests not only your deductive powers but your critical reading skills and the knowledge, you as a reader, have acquired of the era from which Holmes & Watson sprung.

I’ve only been a consulting detective for a month and I’m already hooked!

 

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

Some Book Stories for the End of July

~ from Lithub ~

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The First Black-Owned Bookstore and the Fight for Freedom. Black abolitionist David Ruggles opened the first Black-owned bookstore in 1834, pointing the way to freedom—in more ways than one.

 

Public libraries have been vital in times of crisis – from conflict to Covid-19

 

zhongshugeTake a look at the dreamy book tunnels in this beautiful Beijing bookstore.

 

Mary Trump’s book sold almost a million copies by the end of its publication day.

 

rainbowWhy do people on the internet care so much about how other people organize their books?

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Jasper Fforde on rabbits, racism and writing fiction ‘to slightly improve a flawed world’

New from Greg Rucka!

From the pen of our friend Greg RuckaMV5BZTY5YTk0ZDMtODg0Zi00OGM4LTgxMTQtODAzODg2ZjE2MmM1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTkxNjUyNQ@@._V1_

Staring Charlize Theron –

“The movie positions its team of almost sorta immortals (they can die eventually, but they tend to heal quickly from even the most surely fatal of injuries) as both avenging angels roaming the world doing justice and ancient sad sacks grown tired with their mission. Well, at least Charlize Theron’s team leader Andy (short for Andromache of Scythia) is a bit over it all, sick of the world’s ceaseless parade of horrors, one that all her butt-kicking over the millennia has done little if anything to stanch.”

 

 

Netflix’s The Old Guard Often Feels Brand-New

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“Credit to director Gina Prince-Bythewood for teasing that out, and to screenwriter Greg Rucka, adapting his own graphic novel. The Old Guard is a naked attempt to kick off a franchise, but I wasn’t bothered by all those obvious table-setting mechanics because what they’re establishing is so tantalizing.”

 

 

 

 

 

~ Trailers for the Show ~

Other writings about the graphic novel and the movie

Read this before you watch The Old Guard

The Old Guard is an action blockbuster with historical tragedy in its bones



NETFLIX – JULY 10




July 2020

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Attention: Please stop microwaving your library books.

    Cool Stuff

For you Longmire (book) fans: Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Nib Brittle 

Mad Magazine legend Al Jaffee retires at age 99 after a record-breaking career 

Donkey released after Pakistan police swoop on gambling race 

Ancient Roman Board Game Found in Norwegian Burial Mound 

Before Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak was an incredible toy maker. 

Van Gogh’s Letter About His Brothel Visit Sells For $236,000 At Auction

Behold: your favorite movies, re-imagined as vintage book covers.

Did you know the first typewriter prototype was made with 11 piano keys?

Louisa May Alcott: Early work by Little Women author published at last 

Page Through This Incredibly Detailed Sino-Tibetan Book Printed in 1410

      Words of the Month

civil (adj). From the late 14 C., “relating to civil law or life; pertaining to the internal affairs of a state,” from Old French civil “civil, relating to civil law” (13th C.) and directly from Latin civilis “relating to a society, pertaining to public life, relating to the civic order, befitting a citizen,” hence by extension “popular, affable, courteous;” alternative adjectival derivative of civis “townsman” (see city).Meaning “not barbarous, civilized” is from 1550s. Specifically “relating to the commonwealth as secularly organized” (as opposed to military or ecclesiastical) by 1610s. Meaning “relating to the citizen in his relation to the commonwealth or to fellow citizens” also is from 1610s.

The word civil has about twelve different meanings; it is applied to all manner of objects, which are perfectly disparate. As opposed to criminal, it means all law not criminal. As opposed to ecclesiastical, it means all law not ecclesiastical: as opposed to military, it means all law not military, and so on. [John Austin, “Lectures on Jurisprudence,” 1873]

The sense of “polite” was in classical Latin, but English did not pick up this nuance of the word until late 16 C., and it has tended to descend in meaning to “meeting minimum standards of courtesy.” Courteous is thus more commonly said of superiors, civil of inferiors, since it implies or suggests the possibility of incivility or rudeness” [OED].

Civil case (as opposed to criminal) is recorded from 1610s. Civil liberty “natural liberty restrained by law only so far as is necessary for the public good” is by 1640s.            [thanks to etymonline]

      Serious Stuff

What It Feels Like to Be Shot by a Rubber Bullet 

A Conversation with a Serial Killer About the First Time He Killed a Taxi Driver


Publishers Sue Internet Archive Over Free E-Books 

The Internet Archive is ending the National Emergency Library over lawsuit from publishers.


Independent bookstore owner invests in online bookstore famous for destroying independent bookstores. [I have to add this question: she’s taking a ton of guff about being hypocritical for investing in her enemy. But why? If you can benefit from your enemy AND plow the profits off your enemy into the business they threaten, isn’t that the sweatest revenge? – JB]

Rachel Cargle Is Opening a Bookstore and Writing Center to Support Marginalized Voices 

#PublishingPaidMe reveals stark disparities between payment of white writers and writers of color. 

Over 1,000 Publishing Workers Strike to Protest Industry Racism

Olaf Palme Murder: Sweden Believes it Knows Who Killed PM in 1986

7 Times Internet Detectives Got the Wrong Guy 

They were some of California’s most brutal slave owners. Their deaths sparked a massacre.

Virginia Kellogg: The Forgotten Screenwriter Behind A String of Classic Noirs

How Women Writers Are Transforming Hardboiled Noir 

Inside Crime Novelist James Patterson’s New Jeffrey Epstein Doc


‘I pray it will finally be over’: Golden State Killer survivors hope guilty plea brings justice

Golden State Killer pleads guilty to crimes that terrorized California

An inside look at the Golden State Killer suspect’s behavior

A Startling Graph: Serial Killers By Country

Radford University/FGCU  Serial Killer Information Center

      Local Stuff

J.A. Jance: Growing Up In a Small Town, Books Opened My World

Daniel Kalla: A Thriller at the Intersection of Two Epidemics: COVID-19 and the Opioid Crisis

      Words of the Month

widdershins (adj.) From the 1510s, chiefly Scottish, originally “contrary to the course of the sun or a clock” (movement in this direction being considered unlucky), probably from Middle Low German weddersinnes, literally “against the way” (i.e. “in the opposite direction”), from widersinnen “to go against,” from wider “against” (see with) + sinnen “to travel, go,” from Old High German sinnen, related to sind “journey” (see send). [thanks to etymonline.com]

       Awards

Shortlist for the 2020 Hammett Prize has been announced. 

Behold the dark and twisted nominees for this year’s Shirley Jackson Awards.

Announcing the 2020 Dagger Awards Longlist

The shortlist for the Firecracker Awards is the perfect indie reading list. 

Bad Form Young Writers’ Prize launches with trade support

       Books and Publishing

Book World: The writer who inspired Sue Grafton – her father – gets a welcome republished mystery novel 

Will China’s entry into U.S. publishing lead to censorship? 

How this New Yorker is fighting Amazon and saving independent bookstores 

Can You Really Separate Edgar Allan Poe’s Work from His Life?

Resignations, accusations, and a board in crisis: The fallout at the National Book Critics Circle.

The National Book Critics Circle Has Imploded

By day, I’ve been trying to cull my book collection. But at night, eBay beckons.

Jefferson Davis House to Lose Literary Landmark Designation

Queer True Crime: A Reading List

Book Publishing’s Next Battle: Conservative Authors

‘It was precarious and still is’: Bookshops fight back against virus and Amazon


Authors leave literary agency over JK Rowling’s comments on transgender people 

JK Rowling: Hachette UK book staff told they are not allowed to boycott author over trans row


Bookselling in Britain ~

‘We’re back in business’: UK bookshops see sales soar 

‘It was precarious and still is’: Bookshops fight back against virus and Amazon

Britain’s wholesaler Bertram Books collapses with 450 jobs at risk


Meet Ed Vaughn, an understated Black Power icon and former bookstore owner.

Overwhelmed With Orders, Some Black-Owned Bookstores Ask for Patience

For What It’s Worth: We are often stumped about where to place a link. Some stories are Serious and Cool and Book related. Where should it be placed? For instance, the above story about Black-owned bookshops being overwhelmed with support could go in all of them. (Way to go America!) An argument could be made that most all of these Book stories could, and maybe should, go in the Serious section. Then there are the Links of Interest. Why there and not another section. The answer is: who knows. It is just a matter of where they seem to fit a the moment. We’re just the deeply flawed humans like the rest of you.

We’re not trying to downplay a story by not putting it in one place or another. We hope you’ll plow through the entire issue, clicking on things that pique your interest at first, maybe coming back to others over the month.

Lastly, as we hunt  for stories to paste in for you, please note that we often don’t get time to read them ourselves. The hunt is the goal and the pressure, and while you have time to read one issue over the course of a month, we’re already building the next issue… The fun for us is the assembly of the whole. So look it all over and have fun!

There’s no replacement for the thrill of browsing in a bookstore

      Other Forms of Entertainment

How The Asphalt Jungle Changed the Face of American Noir 

James Bond: Everything That Went Wrong With Quantum of Solace

Killing Eve’s Fiona Shaw Was “Very Disturbed” by That Moment in the Season 3 Finale 

Falling in Love with “The Rockford Files”—All Over Again 

Noir: An Antidote to Social Distancing 

John Logan, Creator of Penny Dreadful, on His New Spinoff Series, City of Angels 

Bone, Blood & Bigots: On ‘The Liberation of L.B. Jones’

Psycho at 60: the enduring power of Hitchcock’s shocking game-changer

Counting Down the Greatest Crime Films of All-Time: Continues 

“Enola Holmes”: Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate sues Netflix over film about Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister

Liz Garbus Is Taking Back the Voices Stolen by the Golden State Killer 

Learning Early From Hitchcock That Nightmares Can Be Real 

Discovering the Women Authors Behind Hitchcock’s Movies

‘Ozark’ Season 4: Netflix Renews for a Fourth and Final Season

       Words of the Month

ekphrastic: of poetry, words to describe a work of art. (thanks to Says You!, show 2101)

      RIP

May 29: Anthony James, actor in “Unforgiven,” “In the Heat of the Night”, dead at. 77

June 5: Grace Edwards, Harlem Mystery Writer, Dies at 87 

June 5: Harry Hoffman Dies at 92; Led the Expansion of Waldenbooks

June 12: Ricky Valance: First Welshman to have solo UK Number One dies

June 16: A Street Cat Named Bob: Stray who inspired series of books dies

June 19: Sir Ian Holm, star of Lord of the Rings, Alien and Chariots of Fire, dies aged 88

June 19: Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of The Shadow of the Wind, dies aged 55

June 23: Joel Schumacher, Director of Batman Films and ‘Lost Boys,’ Dies at 80

      Author Events

ahhh… nope

      Links of Interest

June 1: I Think About This ‘Die Hard’ Villain’s Great Hair a Lot

June 1: Dick Wolf Fires ‘Law & Order’ Spin-off Writer for Violent Facebook Posts

June 1: Why Cops and Soldiers Love the Punisher

June 2: Ancient DNA offers clues to physical origins of Dead Sea Scrolls

June 3: Know your place – poetry after the Black Death reflected fear of social change

June 4: How the creator of Rizzoli & Isles went from working late-night hospital shifts in Honolulu to writing bestselling thrillers.

June 5: Remembering When Women Ruled a Wild West Town

June 8: Hidden Treasure Chest Filled With Gold And Gems Is Found In Rocky Mountains

June 8: One day, my husband disappeared. It was only the start of a larger mystery.

June 9: Meet the insidious Mr. Bucket, who embodies Dickens’ misgivings about the police force he once enthusiastically supported.

June 9: How Advertising Taught Me The Art of the Twist

June 10: Prosecutors In Sweden Finally Close Case On 1986 Assassination Of Olof Palme

June 10: Banksy artwork stolen from the Bataclan in Paris is found in Italy

June 10: Eddie Redmayne speaks out against JK Rowling’s trans tweets

June 11: The True Crime Bond

June 12: Inigo Philbrick, Dealer Behind $20 M. Art-World Scandal, Arrested by FBI

June 12: The Library-Themed Livestream Where Birds Stretch Their Wings

June 14: The people solving mysteries during lockdown

June 14: France’s ancient burial brotherhood defies Covid-19

June 16: When Crime Photography Started to See Color

June 16: The High Seas Murder That Shocked—And Baffled—The World

June 16: Diego, the Galápagos tortoise with a species-saving sex drive, retires

June 17: Emma Watson joins board Kering

June 18: In 1905, someone murdered the founder of Stanford University. They’ve never been caught.

June 19: ‘Into The Wild’ bus removed from Alaska wilderness

June 19: A History of Black Cowboys

June 22: The Uneasy Noirs of Stephen King

June 22: I Can’t Believe Readers Are Still Getting Upset Over F*cking Swearing.  In Which Amy Poeppel Uses Some Very Bad Words

June 22: Diary of a Scottish Bookseller. Shaun Bythell Recounts Life in Scotland’s Largest Used Bookstore

June 23: Amanda Peet regrets some of her career choices. Playing a murderer isn’t one of them

June 23: Confederate monument enthusiasts targeted my store—and it comically backfired.

June 23: Decades ago, Octavia Butler saw a “grim future” of climate denial and income inequality.

June 23: Loch Ness Monster debate sparked after mystery creature ‘photographed’ 

June 24: American Gods has a new annotated version with a Sherlockian twist

June 24: Segway: End of the road for the much-hyped two-wheeler

June 25: Tiny Mysteries From the Files of the New York Times (Because history is full of the small, the inexplicable, and the downright confounding….)


June 27: Me and my detective by Lee Child, Attica Locke, Sara Paretsky, Jo Nesbø and more

June 27: Lee Child on Jack Reacher: ‘I don’t like him that much’


June 28: British state ‘covered up plot to assassinate King Edward VIII’

June 28: The Motorcycle-Riding Evangelist Behind ‘Perry Mason’’s Sister Alice

June 30: I Want All of Tony Soprano’s Clothes So Bad

      Words of the Month

paup (v.) “to walk about aimlessly” (Says You!); “probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse paufa to walk slowly, walk stealthily; akin to Old English potian to push, butt, goad ” (thanks to merriam/webster)

      What We’ve Been Up To

   Ambercoming soon july jpg

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Josephine They – Miss Pym Disposes

What would you do if you discovered the evidence needed to convict a murderer? Would you turn it in to the authorities? Of course, you would.

But what if…

What if you didn’t care for the victim? Found them off-putting and a tad smarmy? What if by turning in your crucial piece of evidence, you are condemning someone (someone you actually do admire) at the very outset of their life to the miseries of jail? Or even the noose?

Would you turn the evidence in then?

Or do you let the Fates work it out?

Because surely, if the gods wanted the murderer punished, the police would find other evidence…Right? According to every mystery novel written (other than Christie’s Curtain), every murder makes plenty of mistakes and leaves clues for the authorities to find…

But what if you found the only one?

This is the heart of Miss Pym Disposes – what would you do?

I cannot believe I’ve waited so long to read this book! Seriously it’s been sitting on my shelf for years – and I finally picked it up – and I have to say it is one of the most unique mysteries I’ve read in a VERY long time. It’s like a cross between Christie and Austen – kinda. Like Christie, Tey leads you inexorably towards the culprit – laying down twists, turns, clues, motives, and means without even seeming too. (And in such a way my veteran mystery lover’s eyes didn’t spot them as I was reading – but are super clear after I finished). It reminds me of Jane Austen a bit – because you’re nearly done with the book before the deed is done!

Seriously if you’re looking for an interesting and largely bloodless mystery (that is in no way a cozy in the sense of the genera nowadays) I would highly suggest Ms. Pym Disposes!

Fran

Hi!

I don’t have a review, because in true 2020 fashion, my life has taken a turn for the weird, and my wife and I are moving to New Mexico.

It’s a big change, yes, but it’s a good one, and we’re mostly looking forward to it. It’s the right move.

Except, now I have to move my books.

See? It’s a problem! Because of my time at Seattle Mystery Bookshop, I have a LOT of books. And many of them are collectible first editions.

Oh sure, I’ve been culling, getting rid of the Advance Reader Copies I’ve held onto since 2004 that I have to finally face I’m never going to read. And the truly tattered copy of a mass market where I’ve got a better copy, but that tattered one was my first one and I love it.

But it’s still hard. And I keep running into treasures, and I love re-reading so I’m constantly having to force myself to stay focused. Oh, and I’m still working, so there’s that, and Lillian’s doing advance work down in New Mexico, so she’s busy too.

Still, the books are my problem. She’s got woodworking stuff to deal with when she gets back. And I’ve been faced with the problem of what to keep and what to *gulp* get rid of. Rehome.

I’ve given a lot of books to Page 2 Books in Burien, donated to help build their inventory during the plague. They became my go-to indie bookstore, and I want them to thrive. Fans of Jayne Ann Krentz will recognize the name. And I’ve also taken a lot of the ARCs to work so folks get books for free, and so far they’ve scooped up four boxes.

But you wouldn’t know it to look at my shelves. Did I mention I’ve got a LOT of books? And I’ve gotta get them safely packed soon. Like in the next two weeks soon, because we’ll be down there by August. We’re old farts and we’ll be hiring movers to haul down the heavy stuff, but I don’t trust them to pack my books! I barely trust ME, and I’m a professional! Well, you know, I was. Still am at heart, darn it.

And they’re heavy as all get-out, so that means lots and lots of boxes of books. Even paperbacks add up in weight after a while, don’t they? And oh look, I forgot I had this one; I wonder if it’s still as good as I remember…

Focus. Boxes. Dust jacket wrappers for the ones I missed. Each in a plastic bag. Well, not the paperbacks.

Oh hell, I just found my comic book stash.

So anyway, that’s why I don’t have a review this month. However, I am – now and always – a part of Seattle Mystery Bookshop, and I’m still going to be reviewing books, just from a different location.

Talk to you next month, and in the meantime, wish me luck!

 – Fran

JB

I follow the thinking of Bill Farley when it comes to Robert Goldsborogh‘s Nero Wolfe books – they’re not up to Rex Stout but it is a way to spend time with old friends.

His last few have been very nice. Sorry to say the latest9781504059886, Archie Goes Home, was a dud.

As the title says, a call from him aunt draws Archie back to his hometown to southern Ohio. His aunt – a world-class busybody – thinks something fishy with the death of the local, and loathed, banker. So, since the bank balance at the brownstone is healthy, and given the chance take the convertible on a trip to see his mother, off he goes.

The whole thing is flat. The characters aren’t very real, the plot zips along without any sense of depth, and I thought the lack of Wolfe was the problem. Well, even the arrival of Wolfe (driven by Saul) can’t spice up the book. It was dull, sorry to report.


9780399589829On the other hand, John Meacham‘s The Soul of America is must reading. Not only does the historian’s words flow with a smooth and delightful zip, he gives you seven sections that lay out periods in our country’s past when things were grim and the future of the democracy seemed dire, and how the leaders of the time rallied to pull the country and the people out of the muck. He doesn’t continually point to our sad, current state but it is clear that he’s showing us comparisons to now and telling us to not loose hope. If you’re at all interested in the grand sweep of history and how we can learn from past mistakes, pick it up. It is erudite and educational, and it will give you some faith in our “better angels.”


At the end of his last book, Joe DeMarco was driving off into the sunset. Without a job, he was just going to cruise and play golf. Sounded like a splendid retirement – for him. For me, I was horrified that a favorite series might be at an end. NOT TO FRET!

With the results of the 2018 election, Mahoney is headed back to being the Speaker of the House of Representatives and has promised to find a new, if meaningless title, for DeMarco.

Mike Lawson is an inventive writer. His ingenious plots shoot into doglegs and hook into unexpected roughs. The crash of a small plane starts House Privilege and quickly DeMarco is off to Boston and upstate NY to slice open the events and sink the villains. It’s a trap of money and heavies, and politics and power, and maybe a little bit of love for our lonely hero. He certainly deserves it, even if it requires hockey.

The only problem with a Mike Lawson book – ok, there are two – is that it is impossible to put one down once started, so it is over all too quickly. The other is that you have to wait a year for the next. Can’t wait to see where DeMarco is sent next.

9780802148476



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In Preparation of the new “Perry Mason”

“PERRY MASON” debuts on HBO Sunday, June 21st. Check your schedule for times!

“Set in 1932 Los Angeles, the series focuses on the origin story of famed defense lawyer Perry Mason, based on characters from Erle Stanley Gardner’s novels. Living check-to-check as a low-rent private investigator, Mason is haunted by his wartime experiences in France and suffering the effects of a broken marriage.”

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Perry Mason and the Case of the Wildly Successful, Perpetually Restless Author

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How to Write Legal Thrillers That Won’t Drive Lawyers Crazy with Mistakes and Inventions

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