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.

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