July 2022

Independent booksellers grew in number, diversity in 2021

One in Five Americans Struggles to Read. We Want to Understand Why.

Words of the Month

dame (n.): c. 1200, “a mother,” also “a woman of rank or high social position; superior of a convent,” and an address for a woman of rank or position, used respectfully to other ladies, from Old French dame “lady, mistress, wife,” from Late Latin domna, from Latin domina “lady, mistress of the house,” from Latin domus “house” (from PIE root *dem “house, household”). From early 14th C. as “a woman” in general, particularly a mature or married woman or the mistress of a household. Used in Middle English with personifications (Study, Avarice, Fortune, Richesse, Nature, Misericordie). In later use the legal title for the wife of a knight or baronet.

Slang sense of “woman” in the broadest sense, without regard to rank or anything else, is attested by 1902 in American English.

We got sunlight on the sand, We got moonlight on the sea

We got mangoes and bananas, You can pick right off the tree

We got volleyball and ping-pong, And lots of dandy games

What ain’t we got? We ain’t got dames!

Richard Rodgers, “There Is Nothin’ Like a Dame,” 1949 (etymonline)

It’s a tricky thing to suss out who is awarded what each year when Buckingham Palace releases The Gazette. For those of us who don’t follow it, the initials attached to the various awards are as confusing as the bureaus outta DC. OBE? GBE? DBE?

We bring this up after the news that Ian Rankin is now SIR Ian Rankin. We could remember Dame Agatha and Dame Phyllis, and Sir Arthur, but who else? This sent us off on a quest for answers – and then we ran into the three-letter question.

To be given Sir or Dame, one must be a subject of the Queen. Hitchcock was born in England, as was Bob Hope, and Sidney Poitier was born in Jamaica, so they all were knighted. Spielberg is an honorary knight, as was Douglas Fairbanks Jr. Dames and Sirs are, or have been, awarded GBE, KBE, or DBE. If you want to know what the difference is, well do your own investigation. It’s pretty simple.

Sir Ian joins a healthy list of authors: Antonia Fraser, Hilary Mantel, Salmon Rushdie, Kingsley Amis, William Golding, Iris Murdoch, PG Wodehouse, JRR Tolkein, and Jorge Louis Borges, to name some in no particular order. Not many mystery or crime writers that we found right off.

A healthy list of writers declined the “honors”: CS Lewis, Roald Dahl, Aldus Huxley, Robert Graves, JB Priestly, Evelyn Waugh, Graham Greene, and Rudyard Kipling.

There are names that aren’t on any list. For instance AA Milne… Anyway –

Congratulations to Sir Ian, a great writer and a nice guy!

Words of the Month

knight (n.) Old English cniht “boy, youth; servant, attendant,” a word common to the nearby Germanic languages (Old Frisian kniucht, Dutch knecht, Middle High German kneht “boy, youth, lad,” German Knecht “servant, bondman, vassal”), of unknown origin. For pronunciation, see kn. The plural in Middle English sometimes was knighten.

Meaning “military follower of a king or other superior” is from c. 1100. It began to be used in a specific military sense in the Hundred Years War, and gradually rose in importance until it became a rank in the nobility from 16th C. Hence in modern British use, a social privilege or honorary dignity conferred by a sovereign as a reward, without regard for birth or deeds at arms. In 17thc.-19thc. a common jocularism was to call a craftsman or tradesman a knight of the and name some object associated with his work; e.g. knight of the brush for “painter.” Knight in shining armor in the figurative sense is from 1917, from the man who rescues the damsel in distress in romantic dramas (perhaps especially “Lohengrin”). For knight-errant, see errant.

The horse-headed chess piece so called from mid-15thc. Knights of Columbus, society of Catholic men, founded 1882 in New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.; Knights of Labor, trade union association, founded in Philadelphia, 1869; Knights of Pythias, secret order, founded in Washington, 1864. (etymonline)

For your Summer plans –

Top 10 novels about things that go horribly wrong on islands

Classy Stuff

Russian Journalist to Auction Nobel Medal to Benefit Ukraine

Nobel sold for Ukrainian kids shatters record at $103.5M

Serious Stuff

They were killers with powerful guns. The president went after their weapons.

>The Group Banning LGBT Books Wants to Replace Them With Anti-Gay Propaganda

>Long Island library board comes to its senses and reverses ban on children’s Pride displays.

>First they came for queer story time… And what did you do?

>This right wing religious website is telling readers to ruin LGBQT+ library displays.

>A South Dakota school district planned to destroy Dave Eggers’s novel. He went to investigate

=Perspective | Why the press will never have another Watergate moment

=During Watergate, John Mitchell left his wife – so she called Bob Woodward

=Woodward and Bernstein thought Nixon defined corruption. Then came Trump.

=How ‘All the President’s Men’ went from buddy flick to masterpiece

=How Martha Mitchell’s firing of a bodyguard spurred Watergate scandal

=Why ‘The Watergate Three’ Are Remembered as a Duo

=Watergate Still Holds Secrets, Even After 50 Years

=The Target of the First Watergate Burglary Still Wonders: ‘Why Me?’

=How the CIA’s Cuba Debacles Brought the Future Watergate Conspirators Together

=Watergate at 50: Revelations From New Declassified Evidence

=He discovered the Watergate break-in, then died destitute and forgotten

=Opinion: What the Nixon pardon tells us about the perils of letting Trump walk

Michigan prisons have banned dictionaries in the “obscure” languages of Swahili and Spanish.

Suspected murderer of Wisconsin judge had hit list including Mitch McConnell

Blake Masters Blames Gun Violence on ‘Black People, Frankly’

‘I’m Not Jumping in’: Arizona Cops on Leave for Standing by as a Man Drowned

Massive Internet Identity Theft Marketplace Shut Down by Feds

Specialist gang ‘targeting’ Ukrainian treasures for removal to Russia

How a Tulsa grandmother became a vicious Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist—in her own words.

Google Says It Bans Gun Ads. It Actually Makes Money From Them.

Kurt Vonnegut Museum Is Giving Florida 1,000 Copies of ‘Slaughterhouse-Five’ Amid Ban Effort

After 91 years, Black teen exonerated by defense lawyer’s great-grandson

What drove some to resist Hitler — and others to stay quiet

Discovery of 1955 warrant in Emmett Till’s murder sparks calls for arrest

Feds Find ‘Significant Justification’ to Investigate NYPD’s Sex Crimes Unit

Words of the Month

excrescence (n.): early 15c., “action of growing out,” from Latin excrescentia (plural) “abnormal growths,” from excrescentem (nominative excrescens), present participle of excrescere “grow out, grow up,” from ex “out” (see ex-) + crescere “to grow” (from PIE root *ker- (2) “to grow”). Meaning “that which grows out abnormally” (on a living thing) is from 1570s (excrescency in this sense is 1540s). (etymonline)

Local Stuff

Elliott Bay Book Co. sold to longtime manager, Capitol Hill bar and business owners

White supremacism, WA ties, death threats: What to know about Patriot Front arrests near Idaho pride event

Out West, we know the right-wing extremist threat just keeps rising

How A Break-In and A Blizzard Shaped April Henry’s New Mystery

From vacation reads to picks for locals, Vashon Bookshop serves an island’s literary needs

Spokane author Jess Walter on writing short stories, his working-class roots and his hometown

Oregon School’s Ridiculous Battle Over ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Ends With Book Ban

Ransomware attacks increasing in Oregon, nationwide, FBI says

~ Samantha Allen on Writing the Sasquatch Slasher Novel the World Needs Right Now

~ Why Samantha Allen Wrote A Lesbian Sasquatch Novel

Odd Stuff

This Hacker Group Forces People to Do Good to Get Their Data Back

*Attempted Reagan Assassin John Hinckley Jr. To Play Brooklyn Concert

*John Hinckley’s Sold-Out Brooklyn Concert Is Canceled

Eleven members of Rome-based mafia clan face trial over electricity theft

Accused Murderer’s Defense Says Cough Syrup Made Her Run a Woman Over

Minor Literature: Kafka’s Drawings

Cupcake Mogul Led a Wild Double Life Using Dead Baby’s Identity, Feds Say

Denied his high school diploma over a book fine in 1962, he finally walked the stage

Find your next great literary insult in Nabokov’s burn book.

Frederick Douglass Books, a new imprint, will publish nonfiction by writers of color.

One of the country’s oldest Black-owned bookstores is closing.

The sad-sack, fascist Proud Boys have sunk to a new low: storming a library story time.

?James Patterson claims White male writers face ‘another form of racism’

!Author James Patterson apologizes for saying white male writers face ‘another form of racism’

Dog uncovers ‘fugitive Dutch pedophile’s’ child abuse stash and hidden cellphone among ‘rancid’ laundry in dingy Mexico apartment after sniffing out electronics during police raid

Simon & Schuster Will Distribute Jan. 6 Report With Foreword by Conspiracy Theorist

How Jean-Paul Sartre’s relentless pranking forced his teacher to resign

You Could Win This Drug Lord Mansion in Mexico City for $10

Cousins receive mystery postcards sent decades ago: ‘I was stunned’

A Drug Lord Who ‘Died’ of COVID Last Year Was Just Arrested in Europe

Words of the Month

peep (v.1): “to glance, look from a state of concealment” (especially through or as through a small or narrow opening), mid-15th C., pepen, perhaps an alteration of Middle English piken (see peek (v.)). Hence, “to come partially into view, begin to appear” (1530s). Peeping Tom “a curious prying fellow” [Grose] is from 1796. (etymonline)

SPECTRE

Amazon employees protested its Pride event over its sale of anti-trans books.

Authors are protesting Amazon’s e-book policy that allows users to read and return

Amazon restricts LGBT goods in United Arab Emirates

Words of the Month

vote (n): mid-15th C., “formal expression of one’s wish or choice with regard to a proposal, candidate, etc.,” from Latin votum “a vow, wish, promise to a god, solemn pledge, dedication,” noun use of neuter of votus, past participle of vovere “to promise, dedicate” (see vow (n.)). Meaning “totality of voters of a certain class or type” is from 1888.

Awards

Kalani Pickhart has won the NYPL’s Young Lions Fiction Award.

George Chauncey has won the Kluge Prize for his work in LGBTQ history

Miles Franklin 2022: shortlist revealed for Australia’s prestigious literary prize

Book Stuff

10 Years Later, Gone Girl Is Ripe for a Sequel

20 Famous Writers on Being Rejected

Martin Edwards: My Life In Crime

Shop Talk: Lisa Unger on Waking Up Early, Carving Out Time, and Writing Longhand in the Target Parking Lot

How Agatha Christie’s Deep Respect for Science Helped Her Mysteries Stand the Test of Time

We’re Living in a Golden Age of Australian Crime and Mystery Television

Former Hong Kong journalists open independent bookstore Have a Nice Stay for those who remain amid emigration wave

James Patterson shares his formula for success. It’s pretty simple.

Here are the guest editors for the Best American Series 2022. (see the choice for mystery and suspense!)

Cornell Woolrich, the Dark Prince of Noir

The Disposable Spy: Or, How To Get Away With Revealing Agency Secrets In a Novel

It took a Hundred Years and Two Gays to Decode Her Diaries

The Only Surviving Manuscript of ‘Paradise Lost’

The best independent bookstores in the US [see 1 and 6]

The book that tore publishing apart: ‘Harm has been done, and now everyone’s afraid’

A Newly Discovered Céline Novel Creates a Stir

The Schomburg Center Literary Festival Makes Its Return to Harlem

NY Public Library Is Giving Away 500,000 Free Books This Summer

Inside the Push to Diversify the Book Business

Interview with an Indie Press: Seagull Books

Death Goes Drag: How the Queer Experiences of Mystery Writers Rufus King and Clifford Orr Influenced Their Golden Age Detective Fiction

Be gay, read books: Aesop’s free Queer Library is back

Five independent bookshops you need to visit in Scotland

‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ celebrates 25 magical years

Book bombs: Trump aide tell-alls fail to sell

San Francisco Art Book Fair Returns After a Two-Year Break

Check out a cool new guide to indie bookstores on the West coast.

Author Events (in person)

July 6: Jess Walter signs The Angel of Rome and Other Stories, Powell’s 7pm

July 7: Daniel Nieh signs Take No Names, Powell’s, 7pm

Words of the Month

sufferage (n): late 14th C., “intercessory prayers or pleas on behalf of another,” from Old French sofrage “plea, intercession” (13th C.) and directly from Medieval Latin suffragium, from Latin suffragium “support, ballot, vote; right of voting; a voting tablet,” from suffragari “lend support, vote for someone,” conjectured to be a compound of sub “under” (see sub-) + fragor “crash, din, shouts (as of approval),” related to frangere “to break” (from PIE root *bhreg “to break”). On another theory (Watkins, etc.) the second element is frangere itself and the notion is “use a broken piece of tile as a ballot” (compare ostracism).

The meaning “a vote for or against anything” is from 1530s. The meaning “political right to vote” in English is first found in the U.S. Constitution, 1787. (etymonline)

Other Forms of Entertainment

>‘The Wire’ at 20: ‘This Show Will Live Forever’: David Simon and Edward Burns

>‘The Wire’ Stands Alone

>‘Reality Never Gives You the Perfect Narrative’. In ‘We Own This City’, David Simon and George Pelecanos argue police corruption has never been worse.

>‘The Wire’ in Five Scenes

‘I thought I looked beautiful’ – how we made ‘The Incredible Hulk’

Jon Hamm, Juno Temple, Jennifer Jason Leigh to Lead ‘Fargo’ Season 5 at FX

Film Noirs ‘The Guilty’ and ‘High Tide’ Have Strong Literary Roots

The Old Guard 2 Adds Some Ex-Superheroes to Its Immortal Cast

+‘Dark Winds’: A Pulpy Mystery That Makes Native Characters the Stars of Their Own Story

+‘Dark Winds’ Review: Murder Most Foul in the Navajo Nation

‘The Staircase’ Subject Michael Peterson Addresses HBO Show

The Staircase: For Michael Peterson and Daughter Margaret, the Nightmare Continues With HBO Max

46 Things We Learned from Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Out of Sight’ Commentary

An exclusive first look at the new Netflix true crime documentary, Girl in the Picture

The Story of Lee Marvin, Gene Hackman, and Quite Possibly the Strangest American Crime Film of the 1970s

She played Scout in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Now she’s got a new role.

‘The Old Man’ Brought Jeff Bridges to TV. John Lithgow Had No Advice. c

Heat: Robert De Niro and Al Pacino reunite to discuss their hit thriller

Norman Lloyd, King of the Hitchcock Collaborators

10 Conspiracy Thrillers for the Truly Paranoid (movies, that is…)

The Wild History of the Real ‘Only Murders’ Building

+From “Fargo” to “Dark Winds,” Zahn McClarnon keeps perfecting his art – but don’t call him an artist

Knives Out 2 has a title and a release date!

David Mamet To Direct ‘2 Days/1963’ Drama On Sam Giancana’s Role In JFK Assassination, From Script By Mobster’s Grandnephew Nicholas Celozzi

007=’

Ian Fleming’s lost James Bond screenplay reveals a very different 007

James Bond star Naomie Harris backs Chiwetel Ejiofor to play 007

America’s very own 00-FELON! Disastrous tale of CIA agent who was hired to write James Bond-style novels in a bid to revive agency’s terrible reputation – but ended up a sensational flop before being ARRESTED for involvement in Watergate

Ralph Fiennes Almost Became James Bond Before Bossing Daniel Craig Around

Words of the Month

boggart (n.) also boggard, specter, goblin, sprite,” especially one supposed to haunt a particular spot, 1560s; see bug (n.). (etymonline)

RIP

June 1: David C. MacMichael, C.I.A. Whistleblower, Dies at 95

June 2: Barry Sussman, Washington Post editor who oversaw Watergate reporting, dies at 87

June 13: Philip Baker Hall, the Library Cop Lt. Bookman on ‘Seinfeld,’ Zodiac, Hard Eight, Dies at 90

June 13: Baxter Black, cowboy poet and ‘Morning Edition’ commentator, dies at 77

June 14: George Weyerhaeuser Sr., timber company scion who was kidnapped as a child, dies at 95

June 17: Legendary Comic Artist Tim Sale Has Died

June 30: Sonny Barger Dies: Hells Angels Founder, ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ Actor & Rolling Stones Nemesis Was 83

Links of Interest

June 1: Myths surround ‘Untouchable’ lawman Eliot Ness. What’s the truth?

June 3: A U.S. murder suspect fled to Mexico. The Gringo Hunters were waiting.

+June 3: Lakota elders helped a white man preserve their language. Then he tried to sell it back to them.

June 4: Suspect in Litvinenko poisoning dies in Moscow, TASS reports

June 4: How Can People Fall Asleep To True Crime Shows And Podcasts?

+June 6: Puzzle Monday: Secrets of the Original Code-Talkers

June 6: The Mystery of a Billionaire’s Wife’s Disappearance May Turn on ‘Crypto Lead’

June 7: Decentralized Crypto Exchange Offline After Hacker Steals $113M

June 8: Woman Arrested for Murdering Boyfriend After Tracking Him With Apple AirTag

June 8: True the Vote Raised Millions to Combat Voter Fraud—But No One Really Knows Where the Money Went

June 9: The missing daughter of a slain Texas couple has been found alive more than 4 decades later

June 9: Florida man got $4.5 million from COVID-19 PPP fraud, then lost $3 million — and freedom

June 10: The greatest work in English literature: Shakespeare First Folio expected to fetch $2.5m at auction

June 11: Jack Vettriano reveals new muses inspired him to paint again

June 14: A brother’s 36-year fight against one of New Zealand’s worst miscarriages of justice

June 16: Rescued Art Museum: Stolen artefacts recovered by police go on display in Rome

June 17: The Reply Guy From Hell – For almost two decades, this man terrorized women online. Then they decided to band together.

June 17: Ex-Amazon worker convicted in massive Capital One hack

June 20: ‘Master of Disguise’ on the Run After Mexican Authorities Find Girlfriend’s Remains

June 20: How Paintings Lost in a Small-Town Art Heist Were Recovered 50 Years Later

June 21: Alcatraz Escapees, Now in Their 90s, STILL Sought by U.S. Marshals Wielding Digitally Aged Images of Fugitives

June 21: Scientist turned bumbling Miami spy for Russia gets 4 years in cloak-and-dagger caper

June 22: Bill Cosby Sexually Assaulted a Teen at Playboy Mansion, Civil Jury Finds

June 24: Dutch mobster Willem Holleeder sentenced to life in prison over contract killings

June 24: Contractor Loses USB Drive Holding an Entire City’s Personal Details During Drunken Night Out

June 26: How a Detective Helped Nail the Torso Killer—From the Grave

June 27: Subway worker allegedly shot, killed over ‘too much mayonnaise’ on customer’s sandwich

June 28: Biotech Wizard Left a Trail of Fraud—Prosecutors Allege It Ended in
Murde
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June 28: Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years for ‘horrific’ sex trafficking

June 29: R&B singer R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison

June 29: Jamie Bartlett on the Biggest Crypto Scam of All and the Heartless Bulgarian Cryptoqueen Behind It

June 30: Researchers Blame North Korea for $100 Million Horizon Bridge Cryptocurrency Theft Amid ‘Global Manhunt’

Words of the Month

boggle (v.): From the 1590s, “to start with fright (as a startled horse does), shy, take alarm,” from Middle English bugge “specter” (among other things, supposed to scare horses at night); see bug (n.); also compare bogey (n.1), boggart. The meaning ” hesitate, stop as if afraid to proceed in fear of unforeseen difficulties” is from 1630s; that of “confound, cause to hesitate” is from 1640s. As a noun from 1650s. Related: Boggled; boggling; boggler (from c. 1600 as “one who hesitates”). (etymonline)

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

Aunt Dimity & the Enchanted Cottage — Nancy Atherton

Once again, residents are plunging gleefully into Finch’s semi-regular ritual called the Moving-Van Vigil. Never heard of the tradition? Well, it’s where Finch villagers stake out a newly rented cottage and try to deduce who the newcomer is by the possessions as they’re moved from van to house….or what they can extrapolate from the labels on the cardboard boxes. 

When the movers finish hauling their last box, the villagers disperse and chew over their tentative conclusions for three full days, thereby giving their new neighbor breathing space to get the cottage in some semblance of order. Then they descend en masse, casserole dishes in hand, to welcome the latest addition to Finch’s thriving village life.

Violators of this rule are given the hairy eyeball, publicly snubbed, and met with stony silence.

Lori and Tommy are willing to face the consequences when they witness Mr. Windle (the latest unwitting participant of this nosey tradition) in a moment of extreme melancholy, whereupon the two start worrying that the newest addition to Finch means to do himself harm….

Aunt Dimity & the Enchanted Cottage is an excellent addition to the series! It shows Finch and its penchant for nosiness at its very best. Demonstrating how a community bands together to ensure one of its’ own stays safe and remember those who earlier inhabitants failed.

I would recommend The Enchanted Cottage to anyone who loves this series and/or to anyone who needs a lovely light mystery to escape the never-ending bad news cycle. 

Now, all that being said — there is one essential detail to keep in mind….Do Not Read the synopsis on the front fly-leaf. 

I’m serious.

Whoever wrote it did this book and the Residents of Finch a great disservice. First, this anonymous person in the publishing house made it sound as if the villagers completely dismissed Mr. Windle for rebuffing their advances of friendship. Now, anyone who knows anything about Finch KNOWS this would never happen. Especially if they think someone needs help.

Second, this unknown synopsis writer gives away a major plot point in the mystery. I mean…who does that? Albeit when you read the summary, you wouldn’t know, but the moment you start the book? It doesn’t take long to figure out that this faceless writer both told the truth about the mystery and misled you simultaneously. 

If you can, take my word that Aunt Dimity & the Enchanted Cottage is a well-written, captivating entry in this murderless mystery series and is well worth your reading time.

Fran

Stories need to be told.

Stories were different, though: they came alive in the telling. Without a human voice to read them aloud, or a pair of wide eyes following them by flashlight beneath a blanket, they had no real existence in our world. They were like seeds in the beak of a bird, waiting to fall to earth, or the notes of a song laid out on a sheet, yearning for an instrument to bring their music into being. They lay dormant, hoping for a chance to emerge. Once someone started to read them, they could begin to change. They would take root in the imagination, and transform the reader. Stories wanted to be read, David’s mother would whisper. They needed it. It was the reason they forced themselves from their world into ours. They wanted us to give them life.

John Connolly wrote that in the first few pages of his amazing book, THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS, back in 2006. It was true then, and it’s true now.

If you haven’t read THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS, first of all, you’re missing out on a classic fairy tale, not one that’s been Disney-fied but the truly grim ones, the real ones. Mind you, there’s laugh-out-loud moments to be found, but this is a dark tale for children and adults.

David, mentioned above, loves the old fairy tales, and found refuge in them when his mother died and his father remarried. World War II was breaking over London, and David goes to live in the country with his father and their new family. Isolated and lonely, David turns to books. But when a downed German plane crashes in the garden where David is exploring, a hole in the garden wall is the only potentially safe place David can go.

Except what’s on the other side of the wall isn’t the neighboring yard. It’s a world filled with all the stories he’s been reading, and unless he is very resourceful and quick, David could be stuck there. Forever.

I’ve told you about this book before, and it bears reinforcing my determination that you should read it, but that’s not the only reason I’m telling you to pick it up.

Here’s what John Connolly said in a recent newsletter:

For some time I’ve been working on a sequel to THE BOOK OF LOST THINGS. I never really thought I’d write a sequel to that book, although I have returned to the universe of it with some short stories over the years. Nevertheless, I’ve had recourse to re-read the original over the last decade or so: first to give it a gentle polish for the 10th anniversary edition, and then, during lockdown, in order to write a film script based on it. (The script provided a way forward, I think, as well as indicating that there was too much material in the book for a two-hour film. The film company is now looking at it in terms of a possible television series, which would provide more scope for expansion, but I’ve done my bit as far as scripts for it are concerned.)

The polish for the anniversary edition, completed in 2016, probably provided the initial impetus, while the screenplay concretized some ideas I’d had. The result is that THE LAND OF LOST THINGS will be published in the autumn of either 2023 or 2024, but most likely the former. There’s some work to be done on it yet in terms of revision, but it’s coming into focus.

YAY! A film/series and a sequel? It doesn’t get better than that!

JB

After watching the series “The Lincoln Lawyer”, I decided to go back to Michael Connelly’s series with Mickey Haller, Harry Bosch’s half-brother. I’d stopped reading that series after the second book in the series, The Brass Verdict, which is what the TV covered. 3rd was The Reversal – which features Bosch as working with Haller. The next in the series was temporarily out of print, so I spent the month catching up with Bosch, and the newest member of that universe, Renee Ballard: The Late Show, Dark Sacred Night, Night Fire, and the Dark Hours. What the hell – if you’re gonna do it, just go overboard! Ballard and Bocsh make a great team. Each of their joint books contain at least one cold case that takes takes up most of the book, and sprinkled in are Ballard’s Late Show cases that work like mini-short stories. It’s a fascinating way to craft a novel. Won’t be another Bosch and Ballard until early November, so not it is back to Haller and the fifth in that series, The Gods of Guilt.

Finally, a personal plea: if you’re not happy with the way the country is going, the way every American’s right to privacy has been eagerly stripped away by the minority, you must resolve to vote in EVERY election. Yes, presidential elections are crucial, but so are all the local and state elections. Don’t like gerrymandering? Vote! Don’t like what the schoolboard is doing? VOTE! Don’t like what your state legislators are doing, or the governor? VOTE! If you’re registered but don’t vote, you’ve helped those who removed your – our – rights. If you’re not registered – register and vote in every election. Because, as you can see, it matters… Protesting is good, showing numbers and raising voices is good. “A few weeks before his death in 1895, Douglass was asked what advice he would give to a young black American. ‘Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!’ the old man answered.”

Remember – Black MEN in America were theoretically given the right to vote in 1870 but that was not enforced – again, theoretically – until the 1964 Civil Rights Act. That now seems to be under threat in many forums. WOMEN in America were not allowed to vote until the 19th Amendment was passed in 1920! So, if you listen to Constitutional Originalists who want the things to return to what the Constitution said when it was written… ‘Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!’ and VOTE!

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

60 Years of Webslinging

The New York Times

60 years ago, Peter Parker swung into our world after being bitten by a radioactive spider.

June 5, 1962, Marvel Comics published the latest creation from the team of Steve Ditko and Stan Lee. Should you be in DC (the city, not the other comic outfit), stop by the Library of Congress and you can see the original artwork for his debut. He didn’t rate his own comic yet – that would come not quite a year later, in March 1963, with the first issue of The Amazing Spider-man

From there would come Aunt Mae and Uncle Ben, the obnoxious J. Johah Jameson, Harry and Norman Osborn, and those two women vying for Peter’s attention, Mary Jane and Gwen, Doc Ock, The Green Goblin, the Lizard, the Sandman, the Vulture, Mr. Big, Kraven the Hunter, and many others. Even as a kid, I wondered how these bad guys were able to return to fight so often. Did they escape from jail or were they held only a few issues?? There would be times he’d be up against other superheros. After all, NYC was full of ’em!

When I was collecting with my cousin Jeff, way, way back in the distant past, there was just the one Spider-man comic. Now there are…well, I don’t know how many. I don’t know how many villains he’s battled all told. There was animated series shown very early on Saturday mornings in the 60s that my Dad had orders to get me up to watch. I don’t remember the live-action TV series, and that’s probably good that I missed it. I think the second, 2004, Toby Maguire movie with Doc Ock is the best. I had subscriptions to Spider-man, Fantastic Four, Captain America and a few others but had long stopped collecting by junior high. I have most of the Spider-mans from about #20 to #100, and a handful before #20. The first issue I bought was #55, which came out in 1967. At that time, you could to shops selling old magazines and buy them for peanuts. I can’t believe our parents took us to these grungy “bookshops” that were probably filled with porn, but the boxes of comics were on the floor, under shelves of whatever, and we’d eagerly sit in the dust to find issues we were missing. The irony is that those same shops probably were filled with old pulp magazines – Black Mask, Dime Detective – that’d be worth as much, if not more, that the comics we hunted.

Here’s the earliest one I have – #9, though without a cover.

Here’s the earliest one I have with a cover, #11 – April 1964

So congratulations to Peter Parker, Stan Lee, and Steve Ditko. Spider-man is a great American creation. I’m sure that in on June 5th, 1962, none of them had any idea what lay ahead. I learned to draw by copying the artwork and kept and treasured them these decades. At some point, probably soon, I should part with them but I’m not quite sure I can do it just yet….

~ JB

June 2022

The deadliest school massacre in US history took place 95 years ago

Odd Stuff

Baroness Mone: first lady of lingerie embroiled in criminal investigation over £200m PPE contract

Russia Pretends It Didn’t Accidentally Show Bonnie and Clyde During Victory Day Parade

Ben Franklin Put an Abortion Recipe in His Math Textbook

Nikola Tesla told him: “Bury your Findings until Humanity is Ready”

Trolling’s Surprising Origins in Fishing

‘Grandfather of Goth’: fans campaign for US stamp honoring Edward Gorey

When Julia Child worked for a spy agency fighting sharks

Bringing order to the chaos of reality… Jarvis Cocker interviews six collectors

Lost’ Picasso spotted in Imelda Marcos’s home after son’s election win

Letters from the Loneliest Post Office in the World

Bird-watcher wrongfully accused in Central Park video gets a bird-watching TV show

Utah Hunting Guide Facing Felony for Rigging Don Jr.’s Bear Hunt

A ‘Jawsactor is named police chief in the town where the iconic movie was filmed

Burn-proof edition of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ up for auction

Evil twinks and gay gangsters: why we need to remember history’s horrid homosexuals

In Pictures: See Gilded Manuscripts That Span 1,500 Years in a New London Exhibition About Gold and the Written Word

For shame: Bram Stoker was a serial defiler of library books.

A 17th-century book about the existence of aliens has been found in England.

Words of the Month

Bug (n): An “insect, beetle,” 1620s (earliest reference is to bedbugs), of unknown origin, probably (but not certainly) from or influenced by Middle English bugge “something frightening, scarecrow” (late 14th C.), a meaning obsolete since the “insect” sense arose except in bugbear (1570s) and bugaboo (q.v.).

Serious Stuff

*In the battle over books, Nashville library’s response? ‘I read banned books’ cards

*Upset by book bans, teen starts forbidden book club in small Pa. town

*How a Debut Graphic Memoir Became the Most Banned Book in the Country

*An Idaho school district has permanently banned 24 books, including The Handmaid’s Tale.

*Courageous Afghan teenagers help start an underground book club in defiance of Taliban

*Miami Herald Editorial Board: Florida’s book rejection frenzy has right-wing kookiness written all over it

By Carl Hiaasen: Want to understand Miami? Read these 10 books, says Mitchell Kaplan of Books & Books

*Florida’s shopping for social studies textbooks. No social justice content allowed

*Subscribe to this banned books club—and help provide families with free books!

*Va. Republicans seek to limit sale of 2 books in Barnes & Noble for ‘obscenity’

*Video captures vandal removing $1,000 in LGBTQ books from roadside library

*Belarus has banned the sale of 1984.

*Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’ Shows Why Book Bans Are So Futile

A bloodstain expert’s testimony helped put him in prison. But can forensic science be trusted?

>Ukrainian Officials Accuse Russian Forces of Looting Thousands of Priceless Gold Artifacts and Works of Art

>Russian internet users downloading VPNs by the millions in challenge to Putin

>Russian sentenced to life in Ukraine’s 1st war crimes trial

Paraguay drugs prosecutor killed on honeymoon on Colombian beach

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to give books to refugee children

On the Way the Criminal Justice System Fails Our Poor Communities

Startup raises $17 million to develop smart gun

A 17-year-old boy died by suicide hours after being scammed. The FBI says it’s part of a troubling increase in ‘sextortion’ cases.

FBI says it foiled Islamic State sympathizer’s plot to kill George W Bush

Local Stuff

New red dress artwork inspired by Sarah de Vries, one of serial killer Pickton’s victims

WA woman, serving 90 years for planting poisoned pills, seeks release from prison

This summer, Blue Kettle Books will drive Seattle’s newest and smallest bookstore to you

Whistler Writers Festival spring series set to inspire and entertain

Joshua Freed, former Bothell mayor and GOP gubernatorial candidate, accused of misleading real estate investors

After 10 years on the run, couple pleads guilty in Federal Way scuba diver’s death

Words of the Month

bug (v.1) “to bulge, protrude,” 1872, originally of eyes, perhaps from a humorous or dialect mispronunciation of bulge (v.). Related: Bugged; bugging. As an adjective, bug-eyed recorded from 1872; so commonly used of space creatures in mid-20th C. science fiction that the initialism (acronym) BEM for bug-eyed monster was current by 1953. (etymonline)

Awards

2022 Pulitzer Prize winners

Patricia Lockwood has won the £20,000 Dylan Thomas Prize

PEN America honors activists, artists and dissidents

Stephen Colbert Presents Peabody Institutional Award to ‘Fresh Air’’s Terry Gross

Here are the finalists for CLMP’s Firecracker Awards (or, a perfect indie reading list).

French author Alice Zeniter has won the eye-popping €100,000 Dublin Literary Award.

Book Stuff

Independent book stores aren’t just points of purchase but points of contact for communities

When You Learn Your Mother Was a Serious Writer Only After She’s Gone

Author’s essay about why she plagiarized chunks of her debut novel about a young, black pregnant woman is pulled after it’s found she copied that AS WELL

Five Writers Weigh in on the Weird Shame of Publishing a Book

5 Non-Fiction Titles That Are So Vibrant They Read Like Fiction

10 Reasons Why Victorian England Is the Perfect Setting for Murder

John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee Novels, Ranked

Phoebe Atwood Taylor: Prolific Mystery Novelist and Creator of “The Codfish Sherlock”

A Brutal—and True—Piece of Writing Advice from Toni Morrison

Revisiting Gary Indiana’s Bewildering, Haunting True Crime Trilogy

Tracing the Romance Genre’s Radical Roots, from Derided “Sex Novels” to Bridgerton

On My Love of Libraries: Lessons From My Father

Bestselling novelist Don Winslow pivots from writing to politics

John Grisham: ‘Non-lawyers who write legal thrillers often get things so wrong’

How Do You Decolonize the Golden Age Mystery? Read More Historical Fiction!

Get Lit(erary) at Burning Man Publishing’s Launch Party

The Obscure London Library Where Famous Writers Go for Books

In-Person Author Events

June 6: David Duchovny signs The Reservoir, Powell’s, 6pm

June 9: David Duchovny signs The Reservoir, Seattle Town Hall, 7:30pm

June 29: Jess Walter signs The Angel of Rome and Other Stories, FolioSeattle, 6pm

Other Forms of Entertainment

Michael Keaton to direct and star in hitman-with-dementia movie

Two friends facing off resulted in the greatest Columbo episode eve

How ‘Under the Banner of Heaven’ Took On Murder and the Mormon ChurchWords of the Month

Black and White and Noir All Over: A Brief History of Vintage Newspaper Crime Comic Strips

What are these serial killer subplots doing in Nora Ephron movies?

The Staircase Uncovers New Questions Within Tired True-Crime Theories

For ‘The Lincoln Lawyer,’ Manuel Garcia-Rulfo Climbs in the Front Seat

Armie Hammer Special Among New True Crime Slate at ID and Discovery+

A New Biography of Michael Cimino Is as Fascinating and Melancholy as the Filmmaker Himself [Don’t forget Thunderbolt and Lightfoot!]

Words of the Month

bug (v.2): “to annoy, irritate,” 1949, perhaps first in swing music slang, probably from bug (n.) and a reference to insect pests. Related: Bugged; bugging. (etymonline)

RIP

May 1: Kathy Boudin, Radical Imprisoned in a Fatal Robbery, Dies at 78

May 5: Alfred Baldwin, chief Watergate eavesdropper and lookout, is dead at 83

May 9: Jack Kehler, Actor in ‘The Big Lebowski,’ ‘The Man in the High Castle,’ Dies at 75

May 10: James R. Olson, ‘Andromeda Strain,’ ‘Rachel, Rachel’ Star, Dies at 91

May 12: Randy Weaver, white separatist involved in Ruby Ridge standoff with FBI, dies at 74

May 13: Robert C. McFarlane, Top Reagan Aide in Iran-Contra Affair, Dies at 84

May 13: Fred Ward Dies – ‘The Right Stuff’, ‘Tremors’ & ‘Remo Williams’ Actor Was 79

May 20: John Aylward, prominent Seattle theater, ‘ER’and ‘West Wing’ actor, dies at 75

May 20: Remembering Roger Angell, New Yorker editor and Hall of Fame baseball writer

May 26: Ray Liotta, Actor in ‘GoodFellas,’ Dies at 67

Words of the Month

bug (v.3) “to scram, skedaddle,” 1953, of uncertain origin, perhaps related to bug (v.2), and compare bug off. Bug out (n.) “precipitous retreat” (1951) is from the Korean War. (etymonline)

Links of Interest

April 29: The Prosecutor Who Put John Gotti Away Explains How He Did It

May 1: The Gonzo Brothel Owner Who Stole $550 Million from the US Government

May 2: CIA Spook Who Admitted Raping Unconscious Women Does a U-Turn: I’m Impotent!

May 4: The Long Island Cops Who Schemed To Take Over the District Attorney’s Office

May 3: Drought reveals human remains in barrel at Lake Mead

May 5: AI Identifies 160 Possible ‘Crews’ of Criminal Cops in Chicago

May 7: A Crime Beyond Belief : A Harvard-trained lawyer was convicted of committing bizarre home invasions. Psychosis may have compelled him to do it. But in a case that became a public sensation, he wasn’t the only one who seemed to lose touch with reality.

May 7: Fugitive Hitman Dies in Mysterious Canadian Plane Crash

May 7: How 5 Convicted Murderers Banded Together to Get Out of Prison

May 7: Mystery of phone in North Sea could hold key to ‘Wagatha Christie’ case

May 7: Meet the YouTube Scuba Divers Solving Cold Cases – – and Racking Up Views

May 9: MI5 asked police to spy on political activities of children in 1975, inquiry hears

May 10: Guilty! Two-Timing Hubby Is Undone by Murdered Wife’s Fitbit

May 11: Man dies from heart attack after strangling his girlfriend to death and burying her in the backyard

May 12: How ‘Leonardo DiCaprio’ Scammed a Houston Widow Out of $800K

May 12: Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre sued by state of Mississippi

May 12: On the Trail of the Shenandoah Murders at the American Investigative Society of Cold Cases

May 12: Daughter’s Hair May Help Reveal Who Poisoned Her Dad—Twice

May 17: Writing History When the Crime Is Stranger Than Fiction

May 17: When You’re This Hated, Everyone’s a Suspect

May 18: True crime tourism: The good, the bad and the Bundy

May 19: “Criminal profiling has been fooling us all.”

May 20: ‘Casanova Scammer’ Pleads Guilty to Defrauding More Than 30 Women

May 23: The most audacious Confederate spies — and how they got away with it

May 24: Pediatrician Accused of Trying to Whack Ex-Hubby Asked Her Staff for Hitman Contacts

May 25: The Most Famous NFT Artist Got Hacked, Ripping Off His Followers

May 25: See video of jewelry store employees fight off robbers

May 25: On the Radical, Popular Creator of the First Female Superhero

May 26: Former head of Louvre charged in Egyptian artefacts trafficking case

May 30: A Dead Hamster Just Helped a Man Get Off Death Row

Words of the Month

bug (v.4) “equip with a concealed microphone,” 1949, earlier “equip with an alarm system,” 1919, underworld slang, probably a reference to bug (n.1). Bug (n.) “concealed microphone” is from 1946. Related: Bugged; bugging. (etymonline)

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

Are you looking for a good book? Do you enjoy reading about poison? If you do, I’ve got an entertaining title for you: A Taste For Poison by Neil Bradbury, Ph.D.

The premise of the book is this: “….a chemical is not intrinsically good or bad, it’s just a chemical. What differs is the intent with which the chemical is used: either to preserve life — or to take it.” (pg.7)

Bradbury forwards this Shakespearean inspired theme (from Hamlet‘s line: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”) by detailing the beneficial and lethal qualities of each of the eleven chemicals included in A Taste For Poison. By describing the underlying science of how said chemical kills on a cellular level, he conversely covers the knowledge we’ve reaped from sussing out their methods.

Now, don’t let the science scare you off. Bradbury’s explanations are clear, concise, and easily understood. (Even with fuzzy recollections of high school biology classes.)

Augmenting the science are true crime cases featuring said substances. While a number of the crimes covered are quite famous, due to A Taste For Poison‘s firm focus on the chemical itself, these well canvassed cases find new life (so to speak). Thereby making the book a pleasure to read.

Balancing out this chilling subject matter is Bradbury’s sly sense of humor. Which not only generates wry observations, it keeps the book moving smoothly onward and from sinking into its own morbidness.

Seriously, A Taste For Poison is a fascinating read. One I would recommend to any mystery reader with a curious mind as it celebrates neither crime nor criminal. Rather, it demonstrates how these substances have been misused by a few and have helped the many.

JB

First off, I highly recommend the new Netflix series “The Lincoln Lawyer”. Yes, there was a 2011 Matthew McConaughey movie by that name, but while it is about the same character, this series is a whole, new deal. Mickey Haller is an LA defense attorney who works mostly out of his car (hence his nickname). But this new 10-episode series comes from The Brass Verdict, the second book in the series by Michael Connelly. And, no – Bosch is not in the series due to SPECTRE having those rights. [Come to think of it, is the reason McConaughey does Lincoln car commercials because he was in The Lincoln Lawyer? Just occurred to me…]

Second off (I know that isn’t what you say but why not??”), I highly recommend “The Offer”, a series about the making of The Godfather. Great cast with a story told by mixing in famous lines from the movie, reminiscent of how Shakespeare in Love used motifs from the theatre. The series is on Paramount+.

Third off, if you want to get a true history of what Ukraine has been through in its past, and if you have a strong soul, read Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands. It is NOT an easy read. Be warned that there will be times you have to put it down. It covers the years 1930 – 45 and what happened in the territory that now encompasses Poland, Ukraine, and the Baltic states, and the 14 MILLION humans murdered by Stalin and Hitler. Strong stuff and important stuff to know.

Last off, everyone should read Michael Lewis’s The Premonition. All of his books are gems. I started with Moneyball. The Premonition deals with the disparate people who were pulled together by events to fight pandemics in the US and what happened when The Big One (covid) hit. It’s a fascinating story of smart people trying to do the best thing constantly thwarted by people in power who couldn’t, or wouldn’t, understand. And while I’m at it, I’d recommend his podcast ” Against the Rules”. Like his books, he focuses on the “referees” (ie people with power) in the world who don’t know what they’re doing. A particularly stand-out episode is “The Overconfidence Game”, about idiot men explaining things they don’t understand to women who do. Sad and funny...

One of the shop’s great old (length of time, not chronological age) customers was a Pat, a gentleman collector with a vast, VAST collection of books, mostly paperbacks. He kept track of them all with a notebook that had grid paper marked up to note what he had, what he needed to upgrade in quality, and where the holes in the collection were. Here are some photos he sent me of just four of the groups. If you think you have too many books, rest easy…

These are his Ace paperbacks
These are the Ballentines
These are the Gold Medals
And these are the digests from different publishers – middle left of the shot you can see Avon’s “Murder Mystery Monthly” in numerical order, of course!

Many Thanks to Pat for sharing some views of his impressive collection.

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

May Day May Day ~ 2022

These green books are poisonous—and one may be on a shelf near you

Words of the Month

astonish (v.): c. 1300, astonien, “to stun, strike senseless,” from Old French estoner “to stun, daze, deafen, astound,” from Vulgar Latin *extonare, from Latin ex “out” (see ex-) + tonare “to thunder” (see thunder (n.)); so, literally “to leave someone thunderstruck.” The modern form (influenced by English verbs in -ish, such as distinguish, diminish) is attested from 1520s. The meaning “amaze, shock with wonder” is from 1610s. (etymonline)

Watch for this new documentary, “Hello, Bookstore”

Want to See the Weirdest of Wikipedia? Look No Further.

Debunking the Mechanical Turk Helped Set Edgar Allan Poe on the Path to Mystery Writing

Scottish university cruelly cancels poor, defenseless, under-read Jane Austen. England panics.

Turns out, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote an episode of Veronica Mars.

One of the greatest legacies left by “The Godfather” was basic instructions on how to make dinner

In California, you can borrow state park passes from your local library

Earliest evidence of Maya calendar found inside Guatemalan pyramid

Scientists find earliest record of aurora in ancient Chinese chronicle

A Mysterious Sarcophagus Discovered Beneath Notre-Dame Will Soon Be Opened

An Inside Look at Judith Jones’ First Notes for Julia Child

Rare proof sheets of first Harry Potter book expected to sell for £20,000

‘We got a kick out of it’: art forgers reveal secrets of paintings that fooled experts

Original Death of Superman Artwork Sells for Over Half a Million at Auction

Man Upset Over ‘Gay’ Superman Accused of Terrorizing ‘Woke’ Companies

‘Captain America Comics’ No. 1 Sells for $3.1M

1941 creation by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, first appearance of Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes and the Red Skull

Words of the Month

confound (v.) c. 1300, “to condemn, curse,” also “to destroy utterly;” from Anglo-French confoundre, Old French confondre (12th C.) “crush, ruin, disgrace, throw into disorder,” from Latin confundere “to confuse, jumble together, bring into disorder,” especially of the mind or senses, “disconcert, perplex,” properly “to pour, mingle, or mix together,” from assimilated form of com “together” (see con-) + fundere “to pour” (from nasalized form of PIE root *gheu- “to pour”).

From mid-14th C. as “to put to shame, disgrace.” The figurative sense of “confuse the mind, perplex” emerged in Latin, passed into French and thence to English by late 14th C. The Latin past participle confusus, meanwhile, became confused (q.v.). The meaning “treat or regard erroneously as identical” is from 1580s.

confounded (adj.) as an intensive execration, “odious, detestable, damned,” 1650s, past-participle adjective from confound in its older sense of “condemn, curse,” which came to be considered “a milder form of imprecation” [OED]. It is perhaps a euphemism for damned. The sense of “put to mental confusion” is recorded from mid-14th C. [etymonline]

Serious Stuff

:A Ukrainian book publisher is collecting donations to get books to refugee kids.

Waterstones launches scheme to raise £1m for Ukraine

:Russian Nobel-winning editor says he was attacked with red paint

:US Government Disrupts Botnet Controlled by Russian Government Hackers

:Tchaikovsky’s house destroyed by Russian army in north-east Ukraine

:Finnish customs seizes millions of dollars’ worth of artwork headed to Russia

:Finland Returns $46 M. In Detained Artwork to Russia, as France Continues To Hold Russian Paintings

:Navalny review – extraordinary documentary about the attempt to kill Putin’s rival

:Why Putin Is Itching to Get His Hands on This Ex-American Banker

>Book Banning Efforts Surged in 2021. These Titles Were the Most Targeted.

>Democrats must hit back hard at GOP book bans. Here’s a start

>More books are banned than ever before, as Congress takes on the issue [oh good, we’re saved...]

>New York Public Library makes banned books available for free

>The Brooklyn Public Library is giving eCards to teens nationwide to challenge book bans

>Banned Books Are About to Be the New Pussy Hats

>‘Out of touch’: children’s authors describe increasing censorship of books on diversity

>Censorship battles’ new frontier: Your public library

>Florida rejects 54 math books, claiming critical race theory appeared in some

>Oklahoma library cancels adult romance book club after board bans sexual content

>Oklahoma public library’s sexual content ban also cuts abuse prevention program and Pride displays

>Llano County faces federal lawsuit over censorship in library system

>California Man Arrested for Alleged Threats to ‘Shoot Up’ Merriam-Webster for Defining ‘Woman’

>GOP Tennessee lawmaker suggests burning inappropriate books

>Florida activist seeks to ban Bible from schools for being too ‘woke

>Tennessee Republican says he would ‘burn’ books censored by bill

>Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’ was banned — and cost him his federal job

The Female Spies Who Helped Win World War II

Two men arrested after targeting Secret Service agents in influence operation

Canadian government introduces legislation to force online giants to compensate news outlets

What We Get Dangerously Wrong About Psychopaths

A Driver Took Her Final Photo. Now She’s on a Long List of Missing Women.

Son of novelist Paul Auster charged with homicide over baby daughter’s fatal overdose on heroin and fentanyl

Son of acclaimed author Paul Auster dies of overdose while awaiting trial for daughter’s death

Newly formed board to review Civil Rights-era cold cases faces time crunch

Abraham Bolden: Ex-Secret Service agent pardoned by Biden [for a fuller account of Bolden’s case]

He caught the Golden State Killer, but the obsession took a toll [see signings!]

Report: Hackers Have Been Sexually Extorting Kids With Data Stolen From Tech Giants

Local Stuff

First missing, murdered indigenous alert system created in U.S.

Oregon Bandits on the Run With $1 Million in Stolen Fake Cash

Iowa survivalist who faked death to avoid trial arrested in Washington state

The Oregonian: ‘Threat Dictionary’ showcases power of words and how they’re used to spread, combat fear

Local author’s ‘Skid Road’ is a look at Seattle’s homeless past

Beachcomber stumbles across body partially buried in the sand near Lincoln City

Vancouver’s Black Dog Video closing for good

Melvin ‘Pete’ Mark’s heralded collection, featured at Oregon Historical Society, goes to auction

Lateness, Cursing, a Broken Sink: Starbucks Keeps Firing Pro-Union Employees

Very Oregonized Crimes ~An atlas of Oregon crime fiction.

My First Thriller: Robert Dugoni

The Oregon literary community is pissed off about poet Carl Adamshick’s $10,000 fellowship.

Words of the Month

confusion (n.) c. 1300, confusioun, “overthrow, ruin,” from Old French confusion “disorder, confusion, shame” (11th C.) and directly from Latin confusionem (nominative confusio) “a mingling, mixing, blending; confusion, disorder,” noun of action from past-participle stem of confundere “to pour together,” also “to confuse” (see confound).

Meaning “act of mingling together two or more things or notions properly separate” is from mid-14th C. Sense of “a putting to shame, perturbation of the mind” (a sort of mental “overthrow”) is from c. 1400 in English, while that of “mental perplexity, state of having indistinct ideas” is from 1590s. Meaning “state of being mixed together,” literally or figuratively, “a disorderly mingling” is from late 14th C.

confuse (v.) From the 1550s in a literal sense “mix or mingle things or ideas so as to render the elements indistinguishable;” from mid-18th C. in the active, figurative sense of “perplex the mind or ideas of, discomfit in mind or feeling,” but not in general use until after c. 1800. From 1862 as “erroneously regard as identical.” It took over these senses from its older doublet, confound (q.v.).

The past participle confused (q.v.) is attested much earlier, in Middle English (serving as an alternative past tense to confound), evidently an adaptation of Old French confus or Latin confusus, “with the native ppl. ending -ED and the present stem a much later inference from it” [OED]. (etymonline)

Odd Stuff

QAnon Surfer Who Killed His Kids Was Radicalized by Lizard People Conspiracies

In Minnie Mouse’s Dress, Right Wingers See a Penis — and a LGBTQ Conspiracy

David Mamet Comes Out as Right-Wing Culture Warrior, Claims Teachers Are Inclined to Pedophilia

Man Inspired by QAnon and Hopped Up on Caffeine Purposefully Derailed Train

Gender-Neutral Words Like ‘People’ and ‘Person’ Are Perceived as Male, Study Suggests

Shelf-promotion: the art of furnishing rooms with books you haven’t read

Goldfinger Onesie, anyone? Yours for only $545! Not the one from the movie…

Sinaloa Cartel Suspect Arrested in Colombia Thanks to His Date’s Facebook Pics

Twice Accused of Murder, This Writer Later Foresaw the Sinking of the Titanic

He Created the First Known Movie. Then He Vanished.

D.C. police arrest seven people found with dog taken in armed robbery

The Business of Fake Martian Dirt Is Blasting Off

A New Electronic Nose May Help Sniff Out Counterfeit Whiskey

The CIA’s ‘Torture Queen’ Is Now a Life Coach Hawking Beauty Products

Two Charged After Pet Duck Helps Solve Murder Mystery

The One American Serial Killer Whose Star Won’t Stop Rising

Walter Sickert review – serial killer, fantasist or self-hater? This hellish, brilliant show only leaves questions

Anglo-Saxon kings were mostly veggie but peasants treated them to huge barbecues, new study argues

Words of the Month

puzzle (v.) 1590s, pusle “bewilder, confound, perplex with difficult problems or questions,” possibly frequentative of pose (v.) in obsolete sense of “perplex” (compare nuzzle from nose). To puzzle (something) out “resolve or discover by long cogitation or careful investigation” is by 1781. Puzzling (adj.) “bewildering, perplexing,” is from the 1660s. Bepuzzle (v.), to “perplex,” from the 1590s, from be- + puzzle. (etymonline)

SPECTRE

Amazon plans to block words including “union,” “ethics,” and “restroom” from its employee chat app

Amazon Discussed Banning the Words “Fairness” and “Pay Raise”

>A Cinderella Story: How Staten Island Amazon Workers Won Against the Multi-Billion-Dollar Company

>He was fired by Amazon 2 years ago. Now he’s the force behind the company’s 1st union

>Amazon seeks to undo Staten Island union victory

Delivery company files class action on behalf of 2,500 Amazon-branded partners

Working at an Amazon Warehouse Got Even More Dangerous in 2021

Amazon CEO Blames New Workers for the Company’s High Injury Rate

How Barnes & Noble Went From Villain to Hero

What You Don’t Know About Amazon

From Amazon to Apple, tech giants turn to old-school union-busting

9 Ways to Imagine Jeff Bezos’ Wealth (a visual presentation, best viewed seated)

Words of the Month

boggle (v.): 1590s, “to start with fright (as a startled horse does), shy, take alarm,” from Middle English bugge “specter” (among other things, supposed to scare horses at night); see bug (n.); also compare bogey (n.1), boggart. The meaning ” hesitate, stop as if afraid to proceed in fear of unforeseen difficulties” is from 1630s; that of “confound, cause to hesitate” is from 1640s. As a noun from 1650s. Related: Boggled; boggling; boggler (from c. 1600 as “one who hesitates”). [etymonline]

Awards

Rabih Alameddine takes home the 2022 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

Announcing the winners of the 2022 Whiting Awards.

This year’s International Booker Prize shortlist is led by women

38th annual B.C. and Yukon Book Prizes shortlist announced

Vancouver poet makes short list for top Griffin poetry prize

The winner of this year’s Story Prize is Brandon Taylor’s Filthy Animals

The National Book Foundation has announced this year’s 5 Under 35

Here’s the very first Chowdhury Prize in Literature winner.

Lauren Groff has won the 2022 Joyce Carol Oates Prize.

Interview: Evelyn Araluen wins $60,000 Stella prize: ‘I was one paycheck away from complete poverty’

Women’s Prize for Literature Shortlist showcases global talent

Here are the winners of the 2022-2023 Rome Prize in literature.

Here are the winners of this year’s LA Times Book Prizes.

Book Stuff

Remembrance of Bookstores Past

‘Stolen’ Charles Darwin notebooks left on library floor in pink gift bag

The Library Ends Late Fees, and the Treasures Roll In

What Kind of Bookstore Browser Are You? We booksellers have seen it all.

Why a Bookstore’s Most Quiet Moments Are (Sometimes) Its Most Important

Tokyo’s Manuscript Writing Cafe won’t let you leave until you finish your novel

Why the Color Red Carries so Much Weight in Film and Literature

Gillian Flynn’s Anti-Heroines And The Dark Side of Feminism

Brandon Sanderson’s Record-Breaking Kickstarter Is the Exception, Not the Rule

Ebook Services Are Bringing Unhinged Conspiracy Books into Public Libraries

The book that sank on the Titanic and burned in the Blitz

Interview: Don Winslow ~ ‘I’m a cupcake. I certainly couldn’t be a leg-breaker’

Dope: On George Cain, New York City, and Blueschild Baby

A Treasured Mumbai Bookstore’s Colorful Makeover, and Other News

On the (Secret) Crime Novels of E.L. Doctorow

Lost Charlotte Brontë Manuscript Sells for $1.25 Million

Holocaust Survivors Ask Israel Museum to Return One-of-a-Kind Haggadah

The Charming Mid-Century Murder Mysteries and Rich Interior Life of Edith Howie

UK publishers take £6.7bn in sales as TikTok crazes fuel purchases

Waterstones launches scheme to raise £1m for Ukraine

‘I can’t leave all 10,000 to my son’: the bookshop selling one man’s lifetime collection

Interview: Stella Rimington: ‘I fell into intelligence by chance’

Library of Congress Acquires Neil Simon’s Papers and Manuscripts

Four times more male characters in literature than female, research suggests

Why is the second hand book business booming?

Dispatches from this year’s New York International Antiquarian Book Fair

Why the Mystery Novel Is a Perfect Literary Form

Don Winslow on New England Roots, Greek Poetry, and Clams in Broth

How Dorothy B. Hughes’ In a Lonely Place Brought a New, Disturbing Kind of Noir to the Postwar American Experience

Lost and Found: Rediscovering E.C.R. Lorac’s Two-Way Murder  

6 Thrillers That Will Fool the Most Seasoned Readers

The State of the Crime Novel: A Roundtable With The Edgar Nominees Edgar Awards Nominees Reflect On How The Pandemic Has Changed Their Writing Lives

The State of the Crime Novel in 2022, Part 2: Genre, Publishing, and What to Read Next

Famous first lines, rewritten with a thesaurus.

Find books set in your hometown with this neat tool

Industry trend? Jon McGregor just did his book tour by bicycle.

In-Person Author Events

May 3: Seanan McGuire, University Bookstore, 6pm

May 4: : Paul Holes, Powell’s, 7pm

May 17: Christopher Moore, Powell’s, 7pm

May 18: Christopher Moore, Third Place Books/LFP, 7pm

May 23: Adrian McKinty, Third Place Books/LFP, 7pm

Other Forms of Entertainment

Sherlock Holmes May Be Coming to Streaming Thanks to Robert Downey Jr.

Mugshots of the Real Peaky Blinders

Bruce Willis’s Minimalist Star Power

15 years ago, Tarantino released his worst movie — with the most incredible stunts

Jason Isaacs: ‘Daniel Craig is more comfortable naked than with clothes on’

A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes audiobook review – vintage crooks and conmen (read by Samuel L. Jackson)

My streaming gem: why you should watch Scarlet Street

“Operation Mincemeat”: the startling story of deception that fooled Hitler and helped win the war

Operation Mincemeat’: The Welsh drifter who helped end WW2

Harrison Ford Didn’t Do It

Serial-Killer Clown John Wayne Gacy Speaks in New Docuseries

~Peter Berg on Being Linda Fiorentino’s Sex Toy

~Kathleen Turner Made the Modern Femme Fatale

‘Killing Eve’ EP Sally Woodward Gentle on How Going With Her Gut Shaped Four Seasons and a Finale

Podcast: Run, Bambi, Run Profiles Playboy Bunny Turned Milwaukee Police Officer Turned Killer

Looking back on one of the scariest serial-killer films ever made, 10 Rillington Place

Hugh Laurie brings Agatha Christie murder-mystery to TV [his favourite, Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?]

On the Genuine Delights of Hugh Laurie’s Murder Mystery Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?

The Hound of the Baskervilles review – tongue-in-cheek sleuthing

= David Simon, Jon Bernthal and the Makers of HBO’s ‘We Own This City’ on Dirty Cops, the Drug War and the Legacy of ‘The Wire’

=‘We Own This City’ Brings George Pelecanos Back to Baltimore

Sam Peckinpah’s ‘The Osterman Weekend’ Finally Comes Home

‘Villanelle will be back!’ Killing Eve’s author speaks out over the catastrophic TV finale

‘Shining Girls’: Elisabeth Moss Tracks a Time-Traveling Serial Killer

‘The Offer’ review – the making of The Godfather makes for hit-and-miss TV

Thomas Perry’s The Old Man comes to TV staring Jeff Bridges on June 16

The True Story Behind ‘The Untouchables’

Insiders Call B.S. on ‘Tokyo Vice’ Backstory

James Patterson: “The Hollywood adaptations of my books suck”

Words of the Month

amaze (v.)”overwhelm or confound with sudden surprise or wonder,” 1580s, back-formation from Middle English amased “stunned, dazed, bewildered,” (late 14th C.), earlier “stupefied, irrational, foolish” (c. 1200), from Old English amasod, from a- (1), probably used here as an intensive prefix, + *mæs (see maze). Related: Amazed; amazing. (etymonline)

RIP

A farewell to long-time customer John Cunningham who died March 2, 2022

Mar. 30: Paul Herman Dies: ‘The Sopranos’, ‘Goodfellas’ Actor Was 76

April 2: Thomas F. Staley, Dogged Pursuer of Literary Archives, Dies at 86

April 5: Alan J. Hruska, a Founder of Soho Press, Dies at 88

April 6: Nehemiah Persoff Dies: Prolific Actor Of ‘Yentl’, ‘The Twilight Zone’, ‘Gunsmoke’ & Many More Was 102 (he was in EVERY crime show in the 60s, probably more than once!)

April 10: Bestselling author Jack Higgins dead at 92

April 9: Mimi Reinhard, secretary who typed ‘Schindler’s List,’ dies at 107

April 14: Letizia Battaglia, pioneer photographer who defied the Mafia, dead at 87

April 1`5: Christopher Coover, Auction Expert in the Printed Word, Dies at 72

April 30: Neal Adams death: Batman comic artist dies, aged 80

Links of Interest

Mar. 31: This Father-Son Team Helps People Brute-Force Their Lost Bitcoin Wallet Passwords

Mar. 31: St. Louis’ Murder Total Has Fallen, but Some Killings Went Uncounted

Mar. 31: More Than a Dozen Antiquities Linked to Disgraced Dealer Seized from Yale’s Art Gallery

April 2: Jack Ruby Is the Key to the Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy Theories. So Why Have We Forgotten About His Trial?

April 2: Man Sentenced to 650 Years in Prison in Brutal 1980s Sex Crimes

April 2: Did Body Found on Somerton Beach Belong to Cold War Spy?

April 5: Mob Hit Man Who Escaped as Sentence Neared Its End Is Recaptured

April 5: Hackers Hijacked Crypto Wallets With Stolen MailChimp Data

April 5: The novelist who wrote “How to Murder Your Husband” is now on trial for murdering her husband.

April 6: Investigating the Cold Case That Inspired ‘Twin Peaks

April 7: Yakuza Boss Bagged at Steakhouse in Rockets-for-Heroin Plot

April 8: Alex Jones Accused of ‘Jaw-Dropping’ Scheme to Hide Money From Sandy Hook Families

April 8: Former Goldman Sachs banker found guilty in 1MDB scheme

April 8: D.C. Man Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Steal More than $31 Million in COVID-19 Funds

April 8: Cops Nab Five Alleged Ringleaders of Scam-Filled Assassin Marketplace on Dark Web

April 9: Florida Man Stole Almost $600K in Crypto While Setting Up Security System: Cops

April 10: Man Finds “Priceless” Napoleon Memorabilia Stolen in Museum Heist — on eBay

April 11: Police Discover More Than 1,000 Stuffed Wild Animals in Giant Taxidermy Bust

April 12: Aides to Texas County Judge Indicted in $11M Vaccine Contract Scandal

April 12: Law Enforcement Seizes RaidForums, One of the Most Important Hacking Sites

April 13: Gangs are following and robbing LA’s wealthiest, LAPD says

April 13: US federal alert warns of the discovery of malicious cyber tools

April 14: Coca-Cola Enterprises boss admits taking £1.5m in bribes

April 14: Meet the Blockchain Detectives Who Track Crypto’s Hackers and Scammers

April 14: One hundred years ago, the British spy was caught in what appears to be the Irish Republican Army’s only authorized attack on American soil

April 15: QAnon Leaders Push Followers Into Multi-Level Marketing

April 15: How Cryptocurrency Gave Birth to the Ransomware Epidemic

April 15: ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ Is Changing His Tune on Crypto

April 16: How An Alleged Rapist And Former Twitch Streamer Helped Build An NFT Startup By Hiding Behind A Pseudonym

April 20: Cops Arrest COVID-19 Vaccine Scammer With ‘Top Secret’ Clearance Hookup

April 20: He Was a Penniless Donor to the Far Right. He Was Also a Russian Spy.

April 21: Shiba Inu Memecoin Launches Metaverse, Someone Creates Swastika Immediately

April 21: Supreme Court ruling aids family seeking return of painting confiscated by Nazis

April 21: After Pardon for Bannon, 2 Admit Bilking Donors to Border Wall

April 22: EXCLUSIVE – Washington man arrested for impersonating agent left trail of defaults and debt

April 22: Jeffrey Epstein, a Rare Cello and an Enduring Mystery

April 23: U.S. hasn’t stopped N. Korean gang from laundering its crypto haul

April 28: Ten men from same family arrested in Amsterdam for money laundering

April 28: Meta Found Snooping on Student Aid Applicants

April 29: Val Broeksmit, Deutsche Bank, and the Birth of a New Conspiracy Theory

April 29: Cops Kill Man Over Stolen Pokemon Cards in Target Parking Lot

Words of the Month

bamboozle (v.) “to cheat, trick, swindle,” 1703, originally a slang or cant word, of unknown origin. Perhaps Scottish from bombaze, bumbaze “confound, perplex,” or related to bombast, or related to French embabouiner “to make a fool (literally ‘baboon’) of.” Wedgwood suggests Italian bambolo, bamboccio, bambocciolo “a young babe,” extended by metonymy to mean “an old dotard or babish gull.” Related: Bamboozled; bamboozler; bamboozling. As a noun from 1703. (etymonline)

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

Murder Maps: Crime Scenes Revisited 1811 – 1911 — Dr. Drew Gray

There are many reasons why Murder Maps makes an excellent read. One of which is the selection of crimes featured in the book. Namely, most cases highlight a new forensic technique, first conviction using said technique, and/or new methodology police use to catch the perpetrator. We take techniques like fingerprinting, crime scene photography, and criminal profiling for granted – however, they aren’t nearly as old as one might think!

The second reason why I loved reading this book was the crimes Dr. Grey decided to detail. Of course, the covered period 1811 – 1911 includes the notorious crimes of H.H. Holmes, Crippen, and Jack the Ripper. However, rather than sticking to the stock descriptions of these heinous crimes, Dr. Grey includes often overlooked details. Including the five other possible victims of Jack the Ripper, the pioneering techniques the police used during the Ripper’s spree, and their failures.

Besides coving the most notorious crimes and culprits, Murder Maps also includes all kinds of other murders, including examples I’ve read repeatedly in fiction but never imagined having a real-life counterpart! Such as this old trope: an innocent actor unwittingly wields a real weapon instead of a prop and kills a fellow actor while on stage during a performance….

Speaking of the crimes detailed in Murder Maps, it reminds me of one of my favorite podcasts, The True Crime Files. The book gives you just enough details of the crime: who the victims were, where it took place, if/how it was solved, and how the judicial system dealt with the perpetrators (if they were, in fact, guilty). So if, for one reason or another, one of the crimes sparks your interest, you’ve enough information at your disposal to look it up for yourself.

Then there are the maps.

Each entry in Murder Maps, no matter how big or small, contains at least one illustration (usually from one newspaper or another) or photo (mug shots and/or crime scene photos), a brief description, and a map. Now, I must admit (for me), the maps containing only a single point (where the crime occurred) were only somewhat helpful. However, the maps where Dr. Grey put multiple features of interest, such as where the killers lived, worked, or were born in relation to where the victims were worked, attacked, or found – provide a wealth of information.

I can honestly say it’s been a very long time since I’ve enjoyed a piece of true-crime writing as much as I’ve enjoyed Murder Maps.

I would highly recommend Murder Maps to anyone who would like to dip their toes into the genera or to an aficionado looking for a new case to obsess over, new details/perspective on an old fave, and/or appreciates a well-laid-out book.

Seriously, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Fran

A Touch of Home

Since we moved back to New Mexico, I’ve been drawn to re-reading some of the authors that made New Mexico home. I know, you’re thinking about Tony Hillerman, and you should since he was fantastic, and I hope you’ve followed his daughter, Anne’s career.

But looking at these mountains out my front door has led me down more non-traditional paths.

View from my front door.

So I decided to read some Walter Satterthwait. Granted, his Joshua Croft books are set in Santa Fe, which this absolutely is not, and there’s a definite rivalry between northern and southern New Mexico, but for a good, solid story, Walter Satterthwait is spot on.

But outside town, the countryside is still spare and uncluttered, the sunlight still reels down from a clear blue silky sky, the mountains and the buttes still soar wild and reckless from a landscape so nonchalant about its lean rugged beauty, so indifferent to the passage of time, and the passage of man, that it takes the breath away. Driving through this country can be, should be, an exercise in humility; and that may be one of the very best exercises possible.

One of the things that I like about Joshua Croft is that his cynicism extends to himself. He questions everything, including his own impressions of people and events, and that is brilliantly showcased in The Hanged Man, where Croft is asked to investigate the murder of a man who just paid an undisclosed but enormous amount for a single Tarot card.

The cast of characters and suspects is just as colorful as any Tarot deck, and the delight of Satterthwait’s writing is that the people come close to being cartoonish, almost caricatures, and then he brings them back down to earth in some commonplace way that resonates.

The Hanged Man was written in 1993, and the delight of it is that, while much of New Mexico has urbanized and changed, the bones are still the same. I know these dusty roads, and back ways, and the way that people here can seem more open when they’re really quite secretive.

The Hanged Man

Maybe it’s the sun, maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the fact that you can trust a rattlesnake to be more honest than a human being half the time, but whatever it is about living in New Mexico, and about looking into the shadows, Walter Satterthwait is well worth your time.

JB

National Portrait Gallery exhibition looks at Watergate 50 years later

Jack Davis’s 1973 caricature of Richard Nixon, center, and his closest aides is part of the National Portrait Gallery exhibition “Watergate: Portraiture and Intrigue.” (Photo by Mark Gulezian/National Portrait Gallery/Gift of Time Magazine)

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

An Alpine Obituary, sadly

Mary Daheim died on March 31st, 2022. She was 84.

From her publisher’s bio: “Mary Richardson Daheim started spinning stories before she could spell. Daheim has been a journalist, an editor, a public relations consultant, and a freelance writer, but fiction was always her medium of choice. In 1982, she launched a career that is now distinguished by more than sixty novels. In 2000, she won the Literary Achievement Award from the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. In October 2008, she was inducted into the University of Washington’s Communication Alumni Hall of Fame. Daheim lives in her hometown of Seattle and is a direct descendant of former residents of the real Alpine, which existed as a logging town from 1910 to 1929, when it was abandoned after the mill was closed. The Alpine/Emma Lord series has created interest in the site, which was named a Washington State ghost town in July 2011. An organization called the Alpine Advocates has been formed to preserve what remains of the town as a historic site.”

Mary published 28 Emma Lord books, the last, Bitter Alpine, in 2020. Her 32nd Bed & Breakfast, Lady MacDeath, is to be published posthumously in June 2023. In addition to all of those, there were 7 romance novels, the first of which was published in 1983.

From the site Seattle Wrote, here are her thoughts on writing. Her line about where her ideas come from is pure Daheim: “My husband once suggested that I answer this by saying I get them out of the garage where we keep the rest of the junk. That’s flippant, but the garage as a metaphor for storing ideas is apt. Life is the source of ideas. So much of what I base my books on is drawn from actual events, many of which have happened to me. Sometimes I feel as if I’m not writing fiction, but autobiography.”

We were great fans of her, and her books. We would see her twice a year, at least – once for a signing for a new Alpine book, and once for a new Bed & Breakfast book.

She’d make a point of coming down a little before noon so she could slip across the street and get a turkey/cranberry sandwich at Bakeman’s. Then, with her gravelly voice and huge smile, she’d sign books and entertain us with stories of her family, especially of Cousin Judith, of visiting the real Apline, WA, when her grandparents lived there, and with whatever else was bopping around her mind.

Only Bill or Mary would’ve been able to say how she connected with the shop. In an old shop 1992 calendar, it’s noted that she was in to sign on Thurs, April 23rd, noon. She was back in to sign on Sat, Dec. 5th. By that year, she’d published three Bed & Breakfast comedies. Was she in to sign the first two? Can’t say. In 1992, she released her first Alpine mystery, so the December event was the premiere signing for it.

It pays to be a packrat! I found this in my dresser after the post went live. Fowl Prey was her second Bed & Breakfast, so this may mark her first event at SMB.

Between then and the close of the shop in 2017, she was in for every book. Here she is in 2008 signing the Alpine Traitor and chatting with Tammy:

She was always cheerful and kind. At times, she’d welcome JB into her home to sign this or that special request. Her big old house on the northeast side of Queen Anne overlooked Fremont. He knew to prepare to stay awhile, to discuss the bookshop, publishing, some crazy family event, or any number of topics. She gave us author copies – books given to an author by the publisher – to clear space in her basement and help us when times were tough. She was a gem of the highest sparkle!

In a later, 1991, guest book, the ones we had all visiting authors sign, she wrote this:

We’re so glad she felt at home with us. Now she’s with Dave and, no doubt, having cocktails with Bill and B Jo, telling stories and laughing.

APRIL 2022

~For the record, we miss doing our annual April Fool’s message ~

Words for the Month

pseudepigrapha (n.) “books or writings of false authorship,” 1620s (implied in pseudepigraphical), especially of spurious writing professing to be Biblical in character and inspired in authorship, from Modern Latin use of Greek neuter plural of pseudepigraphos “with false title,” from pseudos “a lie” (see pseudo-) + epigraphē “a writing” (see epigraph).

Interesting Stuff:

How Defamatory Is “Goblin Mode” to Real Goblins?

She found lost love letters in her attic. Then the hunt began for their owner.

Did you know Bram Stoker wrote Walt Whitman a very intense, 2,000-word fan letter?

The More Personal the Joke, the Bigger the Laugh (and More Lessons from a Career in Cartoons)

Sex Traps Might Finally Help Us Eradicate Murder Hornets [this is why the world of espionage calls them Honey Traps]

Super-valued: Special copy of Marvel Comics #1 fetches $2.4M

Anais Nin’s Los Angeles Hideaway in photos

The 12 Most Unforgettable Descriptions of Food in Literature

Sherlock Holmes, Hercules Poirot, Jorge Luis Borges and the Mathematical Art of the Great Detective Novel

Looking Back on 50 Years of Making Beautiful Books

Seven Colorful Cover Themes from Crime Fiction’s Past

These unread books have a long shelf life — as décor

A Rare ‘Star Wars’ Poster Is Being Auctioned Off to Benefit Ukraine

This is why Bill Farley named it the Seattle Mystery Bookshop: Why Good Bookstores Might Not Actually Be “Stores”

Words for the Month

fable (n.) c. 1300, “falsehood, fictitious narrative; a lie, pretense,” from Old French fable “story, fable, tale; drama, play, fiction; lie, falsehood” (12th C.), from Latin fabula “story, story with a lesson, tale, narrative, account; the common talk, news,” literally “that which is told,” from fari “speak, tell,” from PIE root *bha- (2) “to speak, tell, say.”

Restricted sense of “animal story” (early 14th C.) comes from the popularity of Aesop’s tales. In modern folklore terms, defined as “a short, comic tale making a moral point about human nature, usually through animal characters behaving in human ways” [“Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore”]. (etymonline)

Serious Stuff

*Conti Ransomware Gang Sees Thousands of Internal Chats Leaked After Posting Pro-Russia Message

*A ransomware gang’s internal drama leaked after it backed Russia

*Russia Looks at Legalizing Software Piracy to Offset Sanctions

*Ukrainian libraries, serving as bomb shelters, continue to prove that libraries are our best hope.

*Inside the ‘Bookkeeper Army’ Secretly Working to Track Down Vladimir Putin’s Hidden Money

*Ukraine intelligence publishes names of 620 alleged Russian agents

*Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper, whose editor was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year, announced on Monday that it will temporarily cease all its operations until the end of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

>Zoë Kravitz wanted to audition for a 2012 Batman film. She was told she was too ‘urban,’ she says.

>Her Comics were Everything Jim Crow America Never Wanted Black Women to Be

>Biden signs into law first anti-lynching bill in U.S. history

>Emmett Till’s relatives push for renewed probe into 1955 lynching

>A Century later, The Death of an Indiana Man is Ruled a Lynching Instead of a Suicide

Justice Department reports more than $8 billion in alleged fraud tied to federal coronavirus aid programs

His reporting on the Kennedy assassination made him a legend. Then a press group looked into his past.

The Canadian Spy Novelist Ordered To Reveal His Sources

Secret Service Says More Needs to Be Done to Stop ‘Incel’ Attacks

Gretchen Whitmer: FBI agent ‘bomb-maker’ in kidnap plot

Mexico armed forces knew fate of 43 disappeared students from day one

Sandy Hook Families Reject ‘Desperate’ Settlement Offer from Alex Jones

After Kansas City sues, ATF issues notice revoking gun manufacturer’s license

Hackers pretending to be cops tricked Apple and Meta into handing over user data

The Censorship Battle

Brad Meltzer on how a community fought a school book ban in Pennsylvania and won.

The smallest library in Maine is stocking its shelves with banned books.

An educator was fired for reading I Need A New Butt! aloud. Now PEN America’s involved.

Schools nationwide are quietly removing books from their libraries

Progressives are resisting rightwing book banning campaigns – and are winning

‘It’s a culture war that’s totally out of control’: the authors whose books are being banned in US schools

Artist Shubigi Rao’s Pulp III Explores the Book as a Vehicle for Resistance and Redemption

An Oklahoma lawmaker just compared librarians to cockroaches. It’s as bad as it sounds.

Author Lauren Hough Loses Lambda Prize Nomination After Suggesting People Read a Forthcoming Book Before They Condemn It

Ted Cruz’s ‘Antiracist Baby’ Smear Campaign Backfires and Boosts Sales

Tyrants and Propaganda, Or The Totalitarian Need for Total Information Control

Words of the Month

pseudo-: Often before vowels pseud-, word-forming element meaning “false; feigned; erroneous; in appearance only; resembling,” from Greek pseudo-, combining form of pseudēs “false, lying; falsely; deceived,” or pseudos “falsehood, untruth, a lie,” both from pseudein “to tell a lie; be wrong, break (an oath),” also, in Attic, “to deceive, cheat, be false,” but often regardless of intention, a word of uncertain origin. Words in Slavic and Armenian have been compared; by some scholars the Greek word is connected with *psu- “wind” (= “nonsense, idle talk”); Beekes suggests Pre-Greek origin.

Productive in compound formation in ancient Greek (such as pseudodidaskalos “false teacher,” pseudokyon “a sham cynic,” pseudologia “a false speech,” pseudoparthenos “pretended virgin”), it began to be used with native words in later Middle English with a sense of “false, hypocritical” (pseudoclerk “deceitful clerk;” pseudocrist “false apostle;” pseudoprest “heretical priest;” pseudoprophete; pseudofrere) and has been productive since then; the list of words in it in the OED print edition runs to 13 pages. In science, indicating something deceptive in appearance or function. (etymonline)

Local Stuff

Portland thieves steal 70 signed guitars worth $130K; instruments used by Oregon Music Hall of Fame to fund music education, scholarships

Amazon Closes a Seattle Office Over Deadly Shooting Surge

FBI looking into claims that Spokane Public Schools staff members have failed to report violence, crimes to police

Revised suit alleges Portland church, former pastor and lawyer engaged in racketeering, unemployment fraud

Feds pursue dozens of suspected Oregon fraud cases tied to pandemic business aid

Odd Stuff

Jailbird Harvey Weinstein Caught Red-Handed With Illegal Milk Duds

James Bond Gets His Grossest Gadget Ever in Mark Millar’s 007 Pastiche

Exploring the Enduring Mystery of Crete’s Phaistos Disc

‘The Batman’ Star Paul Dano Says Saran Wrap Doesn’t Want to Be Associated With Riddler’s Costume

Georgia Man Gets 3 Years Prison for Using COVID Funds to Buy a Pokémon Card

Scotland Apologizes for History of Witchcraft Persecution

The Unique Pleasures of a Mystery Novel with a High Death Count

For the Love of Murderous Women

This artist creates sculptures of mundane objects using the pages of vintage books.

$1.7M in NFTs Stolen From Crypto VC by Hackers

At 73, He Adds New Jersey Hit Man to His Criminal Résumé

How Does Language During Sex Translate Across Cultures?

New Orleans rescinds little-known century-old ban on jazz in schools

A pickleball player, 71, drew marks on a public court. He faces a felony.

Buddhist Monks Keep Getting Arrested for Corruption, Murder and Drug Trafficking

Hackers Who Stole $50 Million in Crypto Say They Will Refund Some Victims

American released after being held in Russia for similarity to James Bond

Words of the Month

fib (n.) “a lie,” especially a little one, “a white lie,” 1610s, of uncertain origin, perhaps from fibble-fable “nonsense” (1580s), a reduplication of fable (n.).

fib (v.) “tell trifling lies,” 1680s, from fib (n.). Seldom, if ever, transitive. Related: Fibbed; fibbing; fibbery. (etymonline)

SPECTRE

Amazon closing its bookstores, 4-Star shops

Red Rocks Abandons Amazon Palm-Scanning Tech After Artist-Led Protest

House panel flags Amazon and senior executives to Justice Department over potentially criminal conduct

Seattle Pride cuts Amazon as a sponsor

Mandatory meetings reveal Amazon’s approach to resisting unions

Awards

Here are the finalists for this year’s $50,000 Joyce Carol Oates Prize.

Lambda Literary Award Finalists

2022 National Book Critics Award winners

Meet the six designers shortlisted (including the winner) for the Oxford Bookstore Book Cover Prize

A winner of this year’s Windham-Campbell Prizes dropped out of the literary scene for 40 years.

Words of the Month

warlock (n.) Old English wærloga “traitor, liar, enemy, devil,” from wær “faith, fidelity; a compact, agreement, covenant,” from Proto-Germanic *wera- (source also of Old High German wara “truth,” Old Norse varar “solemn promise, vow”), from PIE root *were-o- “true, trustworthy.” Second element is an agent noun related to leogan “to lie” (see lie (v.1); and compare Old English wordloga “deceiver, liar”).

Original primary sense seems to have been “oath-breaker;” given special application to the devil (c. 1000), but also used of giants and cannibals. Meaning “one in league with the devil” is recorded from c. 1300. Ending in -ck (1680s) and meaning “male equivalent of a witch” (1560s) are from Scottish. (etymonline)

Book Stuff

Philip K Dick: the writer who witnessed the future

Waterstones acquires Blackwell’s, the UK’s biggest independent bookseller

Houston Museum to Restore Rare Hebrew Prayer Book

Fantasy Author Raises $15.4 Million in 24 Hours to Self-Publish (Brandon Sanderson)

The Books Will Keep You Warm: A celebration of small-town libraries and retro mysteries

The Unique Power of Nuanced Spy Novels

* The Secret Life of Beatrix Potter

*In Pictures: See Beloved Author Beatrix Potter’s Magical Drawings From Nature as They Go on View in London

The Many Faces of Parker, Donald E. Westlake’s Most Enduring, Confounding Creation

My First Thriller: David Corbett

What’s the Greatest Newspaper Crime Movie Ever Made?

Qiu Xiaolong and the Return of the Venerable Judge Dee

How It Felt to Have My Novel Stolen

Rare 17th-century collection of lute music – valued at £214k – is put under export ban in bid to keep the anthology in the UK

John Dickson Carr: The Master of the Locked Room-Mystery

Vintage goes full bleed for its new literary heroines series

The Pleasures That Lurk in the Back of the Book

Viking will publish a book of John le Carré’s letters in November.

Gagosian Opens Its First London Boutique In The Burlington Arcade

Terese Marie Mailhot on What Book Royalties Can’t Buy

The Dutch publisher of a controversial new book on Anne Frank is dropping it.

Arrest finally made in 29-year-old Bay Area cold case involving murder of San Carlos store owner

Condé Nast workers form a companywide union.

A Bookstore Revival Channels Nostalgia for Big Box Chains [???]

April 30, 2022 – INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE DAY

Author Events [In Person]

April 6, 7pm: Phillip Margolin signs The Darkest Place, Powell’s/Cedar Hills

April 16, 2-4pm: Mike Lawson signs his new stand-alone thrill, Magnolia Books

April 27, 7pm: Nicola Griffith signs her sequel to Hild, Seattle Central Library

Bellingham’s Village Books is holding their annual Dirty Dan Murder Mystery Weekend, April 23 and 24

OK – we have to note two things about author our author events listing:

1 – it’s been so long since we last listed any that we don’t remember our format!

2 – it’s been so long since the shop closed that we might be missing some authors because we don’t recognize their names. we urge you to do your own searching to catch what we miss!

Words of the Month

latebrous (adj.) “full of hiding places,” 1650s, from Latin latebrosus, from latebra “a hiding place,” from latere “to lie hidden” (see latent). Hence latebricole “living or lurking in holes” (of spiders, etc.), from Latin latebricola “one who dwells in lurking places.” (etymonline)

Other Forms of Entertainment

*This thing of ours: why does The Godfather still ring true 50 years on?

*Al Pacino on ‘The Godfather’: ‘It’s Taken Me a Lifetime to Accept It and Move On’

*50 years ago ‘Godfather’ sold out a Kansas City theater. So why was it totally empty?

*John Cazale Was the Broken Heart of The Godfather

*It’s time to imagine The Godfather with Ernest Borgnine as Vito Corleone [it sounds odd but maybe it would have worked?]

*How Paramount Home Video gave The Godfather a restoration fans shouldn’t refuse

*Paramount Plus releases first teaser for The Offer, its series about the making of The Godfather

*For 50 Years ‘The Godfather’ Has Sold Us a Beautiful Lie

*A Guide to ‘The Godfather’ Filming Locations in New York City

‘The Batman’ Star Jeffrey Wright on Gordon Influences and His Farewell to Bond

14 Book-to-Movie Adaptations We Can’t Wait to See in 2022

The Most Anticipated Movies Based on True Stories of 2022

Overlooked No More: Barbara Shermund, Flapper-Era Cartoonist

The Story Behind a New Book Pushing the Conversation About The Wire Into New Territory

Samuel L. Jackson and Walter Mosley Team Up for a Sci-Fi Fable

14 ‘Bond Girls’ Who Overshadowed 007

The Couple Who Hung a Stolen de Kooning in Their Bedroom: New Documentary Explores One of Art History’s Stranger Heists

Network Got It Right: The Legacy of a Scorching Satire

HBO reportedly developing fourth season of ‘True Detective’ dubbed ‘Night Country’

*In “The Staircase”, Colin Firth and Toni Collette Find Life in Death

*The Real Story Behind ‘The Staircase’

Anatomy of a Shootout: ‘Heat’ vs. ‘The Matrix’

This Month in True-Crime Podcasts: Drug Kingpins, Amityville, and a Return to the Green River Killer

Chris Pine on How Directorial Debut ‘Poolman’ Came Together

Bruce Willis “Stepping Away” From Acting Career After Aphasia Diagnosis

Words of the Month

lie (v.1) “speak falsely, tell an untruth for the purpose of misleading,” late 12th C., from Old English legan, ligan, earlier leogan “deceive, belie, betray” (class II strong verb; past tense leag, past participle logen), from Proto-Germanic *leuganan (source also of Old Norse ljuga, Danish lyve, Old Frisian liaga, Old Saxon and Old High German liogan, German lügen, Gothic liugan), a word of uncertain etymology, with possible cognates in Old Church Slavonic lugati, Russian luigatĭ; not found in Latin, Greek, or Sanskrit. Emphatic lie through (one’s) teeth is from 1940s.

lie (n.1) “an untruth; conscious and intentional falsehood, false statement made with intent to deceive,” Old English lyge, lige “lie, falsehood,” from Proto-Germanic *lugiz (source also of Old Norse lygi, Danish løgn, Old Frisian leyne (fem.), Dutch leugen (fem.), Old High German lugi, German Lüge, Gothic liugn “a lie”), from the root of lie (v.1). To give the lie to “accuse directly of lying” is attested from 1590s. Lie-detector is recorded by 1909. ‘In mod. use, the word is normally a violent expression of moral reprobation, which in polite conversation tends to be avoided, the synonyms falsehood and untruth being often substituted as relatively euphemistic.‘ [OED] (etyomonline)

RIP

Mar. 2: Alan Ladd Jr., ‘Star Wars’ Savior and Oscar Winner for ‘Braveheart,’ Dies at 84

Mar. 4: Mitchell Ryan, Actor in ‘Lethal Weapon’ and ‘Grosse Pointe Blank,’ Dies at 88

Mar. 13: William Hurt obituaryBody Heat, Gorky Park actor was 71

Links of Interest

Mar. 1: Trumpy Impresario Who Boasted of His Self-Made Success Is Indicted for Crypto Scam

Mar. 4: Mom Who Vanished for Weeks in 2016 Made Up Entire Kidnapping Story, Says Prosecutor

Mar. 7: This Serial-Killing Family Terrorized the American Frontier [Scott Phillips wrote a book about this in 2004 – Cottonwood]

Mar. 7: Pro-Trump PAC Exec Rants About Hillary After Feds Charge Him for Ponzi Scheme

Mar. 9: The ‘timber detectives’ on the front lines of illegal wood trade

Mar. 10: Timbuktu manuscripts: Mali’s ancient documents captured online

Mar. 10: Sex and the City: The Spectacular Love Life of Mafia Boss Sonny Franzese

Mar. 11: Edgar Allan Poe Museum marks 100 years celebrating master of the macabre

Mar. 14: King of crowns: Wisconsin dentist convicted of breaking patients’ teeth to submit $4.2 million in bogus insurance claims

Mar. 14: Two convicted in first murder plot case involving EncroChat messaging system

Mar. 14: Woman banned from Bay Area steakhouse after stealing $4,000 Cognac bottle

Mar. 15: A Brief History of Fugitives In America

March 15: How Sleuths Blew the Lid on Accused Purple Heart Fraudster

March 16: ‘Little Miss Nobody’ Identified as 1960 Kidnap Victim

Mar. 16: Honey Traps, Child Porn and Violence: Feds Bust Chinese Plot to Destroy NY Candidate

Mar. 17: Can “Witching” Find Bodies? Police Training Alarms Experts.

Mar. 18: ‘Lupin’ Robbers Charged With Pulling Off Elaborate Heist of Show About Elaborate Heist Puller

Mar. 19: Ex-Apple Employee Robbed Company of $10M in Kickbacks: Feds

Mar. 21: Private investigator says drug kingpin targeted David Ortiz

Mar. 23: Disgraced Billionaire Michael Steinhardt Has Surrendered 39 Stolen Artifacts To Israel

Mar. 23: Meet Eric Turquin, the Art Historian-Detective Who Keeps Finding Multimillion-Dollar Old Masters Hiding in Plain Sight

Mar. 23: Marilyn Monroe’s Final Hours: Nuke Fears, Mob Spies, and a Secret Kennedy Visitor

Mar. 23: How Nellie Jackson went from sex worker to madam to highly connected civil rights advocate.

Mar. 24: Strangulation Victim Found in Georgia in 1988 Now Has a Name

Mar. 24: “I’ll Let the Chips Fall Where They May”: The Life and Confessions of Mob Chef David Ruggerio

Mar. 25: Billy the Kid’s Fictional Afterlife: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

Mar. 25: Families want ‘Monster of Florence’ serial killer case reopened

Mar. 26: Monuments Men Group Bets on Playing Cards to Find Lost Art

Mar. 27: The Ghost Story Murder That Inspired ‘Twin Peaks’

Mar. 27: The True Crime-Obsessed Philanthropists Paying to Catch Killers

Mar. 28: The Vietnamese Secret Agent Who Spied for Three Different Countries

Mar. 28: The Supreme Court to Hear Lawsuit over Whether Warhol Committed Copyright Infringement

Mar. 29: Chowchilla School Bus Kidnapper Recommended for Parole by Panel

Mar. 29: Second Biggest Crypto Hack Ever: $600 Million In Ether Stolen From NFT Gaming Blockchain

Mar. 30: Teacher Stabbed to Death in Blasphemy Witch Hunt Started by a Child’s Dream

Mar. 30: How ‘The Russians’ Took Hold of Ireland’s Heroin Trade

Words of the Month

false (adj.): Late Old English, “intentionally untrue, lying,” of religion, “not of the true faith, not in accord with Christian doctrines,” from Old French fals, faus “false, fake; incorrect, mistaken; treacherous, deceitful” (12th C., Modern French faux), from Latin falsus “deceptive, feigned, deceitful, pretend,” also “deceived, erroneous, mistaken,” past participle of fallere “deceive, disappoint,” which is of uncertain origin (see fail (v.)).

Adopted into other Germanic languages (cognates: German falsch, Dutch valsch, Old Frisian falsk, Danish falsk), though English is the only one in which the active sense of “deceitful” (a secondary sense in Latin) has predominated. From c. 1200 as “deceitful, disloyal, treacherous; not genuine;” from early 14th C. as “contrary to fact or reason, erroneous, wrong.” False alarm recorded from 1570s. False step (1700) translates French faux pas. To bear false witness is attested from mid-13th C. False prophet “one who prophecies without divine commission or by evil spirits,” is attested from late 13th C. (etymonline)

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

Mia P. Manansala – Arsenic and Adobo

By good fortune, I found a new Culinary Mystery series at my local bookstore – A Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery.

Our heroine, Lila Macapagal, has moved back to her hometown of Shady Palms, Illinois, to lick her wounds after catching her fiance in bed with a couple of her neighbors. So instead of pursuing her dream of opening her own cafe in Chicago, she’s working on saving her Tita’s (Auntie’s) restaurant….an endeavor which becomes even more challenging when a notoriously finicky food critic and Lila’s ex-high school sweetheart drops dead face first in a bowl of ginataang bilo-bilo. Even worse? Someone poisoned the dead man’s food! And Lila’s No. 1 on the detective’s suspect list!

There are several reasons I love this book. Chief amongst them is the hook of Tita Rosie’s Kitchen series – the food. Now, I’m not very knowledgeable about Filipino cuisine. So reading a mystery, where it’s front and center, helps me learn something about it from Mia’s descriptions. Plus, the well-written recipes in the back of the book helped me cook some of the dishes myself. (Even more exciting, Lila’s a baker, and there’s an ube crinkle cookie recipe I’m dying to make!)

Another aspect of this book I enjoyed was Lila herself. She’s a complicated woman trying her best to balance her familial obligations with her own dreams and totally understands the chances of making her family happy while following said dreams are slim. Yet, this knowledge doesn’t make her bitter or the book dour – it adds layers.

Now I won’t say this is a flawless first book. However, it’s a very good one and well worth the reading time. If you need a further endorsement, directly after finishing the last page of Arsenic and Adobo, I not only ordered Mia’s second book (Homicide and Halo-Halo) – I pre-ordered her third (Blackmail and Bibingka)!

But seriously, if you enjoy culinary mysteries and want to read one set in a small family-owned restaurant filled with delectable scents and colorful characters, this is the series for you!

Fran

The Real Deal

Okay, I was absent last month, but in my defense, I was moving. Again.

But Fran,” I hear your frowned concern as you ask, “didn’t you just move? From Washington to New Mexico? Like eighteen months ago?”

Yes, yes, I did. And now we’ve moved again. If I never see another moving box, it’ll be too soon. And I’ll go into detail with pictures later on. Right now I’m hiding from moving by talking books with you.

Specifically one book. It’s no secret I’m a fan of Glen Erik Hamilton. His debut, Past Crimes, swept award nominations and justifiably. If you ever want to get a solid feel for Seattle, Glen captures it there, and is protagonist, Van Shaw, is simply fabulous, flawed and funny and filled with resolve. I love him.

In Mercy River, Van leaves Seattle for a small town in Oregon where his buddy, Leo Pak, is arrested for murder. Van ends up in the small town of Mercy River just as a three-day event celebrating Army Rangers is beginning. With his background, Van fits in just fine, but because he’s there on Leo’s behalf, he rubs townfolk the wrong way right off the bat.

Of course Van doesn’t care. Why would he? But he is curious as to why Leo’s been accused, and something is decidedly off. With his typical resourcefulness and attention to detail, Van discovers there’s more going on than anyone really suspects.

As always, it’s the people who get to me. I fell for Van from the beginning, and wondered how he was going to change and grow as the series progressed. Let me tell you, Glen Erik Hamilton is stellar. Things in Van’s life change, and that affects him. The guy we met coming in on the bus at the beginning of Past Crimes is still the guy pulling into Mercy River, but now you can see the scars, and I don’t mean the ones on his face.

I also love the dynamics. Van’s relationship with Leo, with the General, with the townspeople, with Luce (remember her? She’s back), all change and grow. Not everything works out happily, because of course it doesn’t, and that’s as it should be.

If you haven’t read Past Crimes, you can pick up Mercy River and be just fine. But you won’t want to. Glen Erik Hamilton is a crazy good writer, and you’ll want to spend quality time in the world he’s created for Van. Trust me

JB

“An irony of Watergate is that the once secret plot to subvert American democracy now stands as one of the most documented and covered stories in American history; anyone seeking to understand the story of Richard Nixon’s secrecy and subterfuge drowns in information.” So why need another one? Because new stuff is always coming out.

Garrett M. Graff’s Watergate: A New History was full of facts and figures – the facts often interesting and funny, some bizarre, and figures who almost never come off looking good.

~ The Watergate complex was built by an Italian outfit to be DC’s answer to NYC’s Lincoln Center; culturally active and a swanky place for the swells to live. Things didn’t work and the furnishings were, well – “Martha Mitchell lamented how ‘this place was built like low-income housing'”. It was supposed to be very safe with state-of-the-art security systems. Yet in 1969, while overseas with the presidential party, Rose Mary Woods “returned to find her condo burglarized and a suitcase of jewelry stolen.

~ Tony Ulasewicz, the private eye tasked with making calls and delivering payoffs to the Watergate burglars, carried so much change for the pay phones that his pants’ pockets wore out. He got the kind of change maker that bus drivers used to use.

~ “Nixon spent nearly 200 days in San Clemente during his first term, another 150 in Key Biscayne – a full year away from the confines and structures of the White House.”

~ An early investigation of the various crimes was by the House Banking committee headed by Wright Patman. “Patman had come into Congress six months before the Crash of 1929: by the time the Watergate investigation rolled around, the seventy-nine-year-old has served in the US House of Representatives for a fifth of the entire history of his country.”

~ Unlike how it has normally been portrayed, Deep Throat’s true identity was accurately guessed early on, both in the press and in the Oval Office.

~ The Special Prosecutor’s office had so much paper in so many file cabinets that the flooring had to be re-enforced from the floor below.

~ Even Sam Ervin, who I had always revered from his helming of the Senate Watergate Committee, is noted for being a contradictory Dixi-crat: “A self-proclaimed ‘country lawyer,’ he held an intense interest in constitutional rights and civil liberties, as well as possessing a sharp legal intellect that he’d regularly deployed in the fifties and sixties to protect Jim Crow laws and segregation.”

It can be safely stated that few of the huge number of figures involved in the Watergate quagmire had anything good to say about one another. Case in point, J. Fred Buzhardt, brought in to be the White House legal counsel on Watergate issues. One former colleague remarked that “He’s the kind of guy who could steal your underwear without ever disturbing your pants.” Another claimed “If you need a job done with no traces< Fred Buzhardt is your man. He can bury a body six feet under without turning a shovelful of dirt.”

It is a fascinating story that Graff tells well. He’s a smooth writer and the story unfolds like the slow-motion catastrophe that we know it will become. It was not only a third-rate burglary, it was also a clown-car of crimes, often capturing the clowns without them being aware of what they were doing – and most were lawyers!

“As time would make clear, the actions around the Watergate scandal were certainly criminal, and there was without a doubt a conspiracy, but labeling it a ‘criminal conspiracy’ implies a level of forethought, planning, a precise execution that isn’t actually evident at any stage of the debacle. Instead, the key players slipped, fumbled, and stumbled their was from the White House to prison, often without ever seeming to make a conscious decision to join the cover-up.”

One odd thing about the book is Graff’s omission of the “Cuban Dossier”, the reported object of the Plumbers. The dossier detailed the CIA/Mob attempts to assassinate Castro, as well as other covert CIA activities in the Americas. Bear in mind that the burglaries were in 1972 and the world would not learn of the Agency’s “family jewels” for another three years with the revelations of the Church Committee. So Nixon, who was up to his jowls in the Cuban schemes and ties to the Mafia, desperately wanted any copies of the dossier found and destroyed and he believed the DNC’s office at the Watergate had one. Bear in mind that most of the burglars and those running the operation were CIA.

Still and all, I cruised through Graff’s book, shaking my head through most of it, laughing out loud at parts. It’s an important piece of American history and well worth your time.

Should you want to read more about Watergate, I highly recommend Lamar Waldron’s Watergate: The Hidden History. He exhaustively details Nixon’s mob ties, his involvement in the CIA/Mob schemes against Cuba, and how many figures from those plans were then involved in Watergate. It’s masterful.

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