February 2023

X marks the spot: newly released treasure map sparks hunt for £15m Nazi hoard

Town Forced to Tell Treasure Hunters to Please Stop Looking for Nazi Gold

Florence Pugh called John le Carré an “old f*cking fart,” which… inspired him?

~Something is afoot with copyright this Public Domain Day

~Here are the books that just entered the public domain.

A New Member Of Congress Explained Why He’ll Swear His Oath Of Office On The US Constitution With A First-Edition Superman Comic (borrowed from the Library of Congress!)

Amateur archaeologist helps crack Ice Age cave art code

World’s oldest runestone found in Norway, archaeologists say

Archaeologists discovered a new papyrus of Egyptian Book of the Dead

LeVar Burton to Host Children’s Podcast ‘Sound Detectives’

A collector was ‘bitten by the postcard bug’ 80 years ago; see some of his favorites

Somebody made an exact LEGO replica of this classic movie bookstore.

He tossed a message in a bottle. A family sent it back 37 years later.

They’re getting rid of ‘red tape’ in Washington. Literally

Font furore as State Department retires Times New Roman for retired Calibri

Edgar Allan Poe had a promising military career. Then he blew it up.

Once a Floating Speakeasy, This Shipwreck Tells a Tale of Bullets and Booze

Meet the New Words Added to the Official Scrabble Dictionary

CNET’s AI-Generated Articles Riddled With Errors and Plagiarism

Before Folding 30 Years Ago, the Sears Catalog Sold Some Surprising Products

Katie Porter reading a book during the GOP’s House speaker fight is all of us.

Words of the Month

disgruntled: It started from the English barnyard, where gruntle was used to describe the noise made by a piglet (adults made a grunt). From there it became a term for a complaint. Dis got added as an intensifier sometime in the 17th or 18th C. (Says You, episode 1512)

Serious Stuff

Floods, fires and humidity: How climate change affects book preservation.

>Exclusive: Russian hackers targeted U.S. nuclear scientists

>Russia backs banning of maps disputing official ‘territorial integrity’

>Twitter Hacked, 200M User Email Addresses Leaked, Researcher Says

>Norton LifeLock says thousands of customer accounts breached

>PayPal: 35,000 Users Had Social Security, Tax Info Exposed to Hackers

>ChatGPT Is Pretty Good at Writing Malware, It Turns Out

>Hackers penetrated LAUSD computers much earlier than previously known, district probe finds

>Hacker Found FBI No Fly List on Unsecured Server

>Australia’s Health System Prime Target for Hacks, Minister Says

>The Unrelenting Menace of the LockBit Ransomware Gang

>US infiltrates big ransomware gang: ‘We hacked the hackers’

^Hiding History: Everyone talks about the need for transparency in public affairs, but what the government means by transparency turns out to be… not all that clear. 

^JFK Murder: Evolving Strategies for Damage Control 

They Called 911 For Help. Police And Prosecutors Used A New Junk Science To Decide They Were Liars

These Documents Reveal Abuses and Breakdowns in Rogue System of Global Diplomacy

LAPD Finally Decides Cops Shouldn’t Be Driving Around Totally Wasted

Paul Auster: ‘The gun that killed my grandfather was the same gun that ruined my father’s life’

2nd Colorado library closes due to meth contamination

Met Police missed NINE chances to stop sadistic serial rapist cop who attacked 12 women

Mexico’s former top cop on trial in New York, accused of working for Sinaloa cartel

Journalists Reveal the Horrors of Murdered, Lifeless Children in Ukraine

US to designate Russia’s Wagner Group as ‘transnational criminal organization’

=Neo-Nazis Are Hosting MMA and Boxing Tournaments to Recruit New Members

=Nazi Homeschool Network Under Investigation by Ohio’s Department of Education

Former FBI agent charged with violating sanctions against Russia, aiding oligarch

$5.4 billion in COVID aid may have gone to businesses using questionable Social Security numbers: report

Censorship & Terrorism

Ex-New Mexico state GOP candidate arrested in shootings at Democrats’ homes

Failed GOP Candidate Allegedly Hired Hitmen To Target Dem. Lawmakers

Michigan is Banning Inmates From Reading Totally Normal Books

Florida High School Cancels ‘Indecent,’ a Play About Censorship on Broadway in 1923

Secret Video Reveals Twitter Team Warned of ‘Shooting in the Streets’ Ahead of Jan. 6

Students want new books. Thanks to restrictions, librarians can’t buy them.

I Helped Thousands of Teens Impacted By Book Bans. Here’s What They Had To Say

Florida teachers forced to remove or cover up books to avoid felony charges

The Long Shadow of ‘American Dirt’

M&M’s accept Tucker Carlson’s invite to the culture wars

Words of the Month

comeuppance: Of British origin, you have come up before a judge to face the legal music. (Says You, episode 1512)

Local Stuff ~ From the Greater Pacific Northwest

Here are Seattle Public Library’s most-checked-out books in 2022

Fleeing driver calls 911, says chase violates her ‘rights,’ Washington cops say

A Former Portland Lawyer Stole Millions In Insurance Payouts From Her Clients And Used The Money To Go On Safari

I’m a Criminology Professor. I’ve Seen Students Like the Idaho Suspect Before. [a freaky, scary, and thoughtful article – JB]

Thousands lose power after shooting in South Seattle

Iris Yamashita on Writing a Murder Mystery About an Isolated Alaskan Town

Oregon-born Holly Madison hosts ‘The Playboy Murders,’ about crimes connected to the Playboy world

After a half-century, Elliott Bay Book Company is surviving and thriving

Seattle Morgue Struggling to Accommodate Glut of Fentanyl Deaths: Official

Ghost Herd: a KUOW Postcast – A true story of family, fraud, land and power
in the American West.

What if you gave a book signing and nobody came? Local authors and booksellers reflect on book signings – poorly attended or not

Words of the Month

furphy: A false report, a rumor. (Says You, episode 1512)

Odd Stuff

What Were TSA’s Most Unusual Finds in 2022?

An inflection point for GOATs: Please quiet quit these ‘banished words’ moving forward

This Rare Robert Burns Book Was Discovered in a Barber Shop, Where It Was Used to Clean Razors

‘Sopranos’ Actor Discovered a Famous Baroque Painting Hiding in Plain Sight

$Novelist Appears to Announce She’s Alive 2 Years After Faking Suicide: ‘Let the Fun Begin’

$Fan outrage at Susan Meachen, the romance novelist accused of faking her death

A college student created an app that can tell whether AI wrote an essay

“We Are Fake America”: Why So Many Christmas Movies Are Filmed in Canada

This Italian accountant holds the world record for most books typed backwards

Egypt foils plot to steal 10-tonne statue of Ramses II

An AI Lawyer Is About to Defend a Human in a U.S. Courtroom

Mike Pence’s PAC Spent $91,000 On His Book. It Became A Bestseller

The Underground Cooks of Singapore’s Prisons

Wyoming GOP Considers Declaring War on Electric Vehicles to Protect Fossil Fuels

Man arrested after uranium found at UK’s Heathrow Airport

Replika, the ‘AI Companion Who Cares,’ Appears to Be Sexually Harassing Its Users

Prince Harry’s Spare is fastest-selling nonfiction book since UK records began

Oyster mushrooms release nerve gas to kill worms before eviscerating them

‘The Label Misleads Consumers’: Fireball Cinnamon Producer Sued in Class Action Lawsuit

Ghislaine Maxwell Refuses to Apologize to Victims in Jailhouse Interview, Complains About Prison Tofu

Flying saucers to mind control: 24 declassified military & CIA secrets

Donald Trump is suing Bob Woodward and Simon & Schuster over his audio interviews.

El Chapo’s Son Had an Anti-Aircraft Gun in His Bedroom

SPECTRE

Amazon Will Shut Down AmazonSmile Charity Donation Program

Amazon launches $5 a month subscription drug service

Words of the Month

trave (n): an inescapable structure in which to hold an unruly animal. In the world of espionage, a counterintelligence term to nullify a mole in your organization

Awards

Here are the winners of the 2023 Pacific Northwest Book Awards

The Griffin Poetry Prize Shakeup: New Rules, New Controversy

Here are the winners of the second annual Silvers-Dudley Prizes for literary and arts journalism.

Here are this year’s finalists for The Story Prize

MWA Announces 2023 Special Edgar Awards – Grand Master, Raven & Ellery Queen Recipients

Fuck the Poetry Police: On the Index of Major Literary Prizes in the United States

‘Hot Dog’ wins Caldecott, Newbery is awarded to ‘Freewater’

Here are the winners of the first Albertine Translation Prize

Julie Otsuka won a (much-deserved) Carnegie Medal!

Book Stuff

Filippo Bernardini: Italian admits stealing unpublished books

*After 44 years, London’s first Arabic bookshop closes down

A new indie bookstore named for Octavia Butler is opening in the author’s hometown.

This super cool, futuristic library is opening in the Bronx by 2025

My First Thriller: Diana Gabaldon

Here’s How Author James Patterson Writes 31 Books at the Same Time 

When Fictionalizing True Crime, How Do You Avoid Exploitation?

9 Literary Classics for the Contemporary Crime Reader

These are the bestselling books of 2022 [from Publisher’s Weekly]

Mike Pompeo lands a coveted Mike Pompeo blurb for his forthcoming book.

The New L.A. Crime Canon

UK’s independent bookshops survive Christmas but fear for the future

Mayor’s proposed library cuts will hurt New Yorkers, leaders say

Collector discovered Isaac Newton’s lost personal copy of Opticks

Stroll Through the World’s 11 Most Unusual Libraries

35 of the Best Bookstores in the USA

Bookstore goes viral for post about customer’s $800 return: ‘don’t do this to a small business’

How an Unorthodox Scholar Uses Technology to Expose Biblical Forgeries

This Library Design in Heyuan, China Features a Celestial Display

70k Books Found In Hidden Library In This Germany Home!

Rare illustrations from French classic ‘Les Fables de La Fontaines’ sold for €2 million

New York Public Library Acquires Joan Didion Papers

Writing wrongs: how true crime authors can fall victim to tragedy

*Bookseller ‘fundraising for a dream’ to open Arabic bookshop in London

For a Mystery Novel, How Much Sex Is Too Much Sex?

Wait, Channing Tatum is writing a romance novel with Roxane Gay?

Madeline McIntosh to Step Down as CEO of PenguinRandomHouse US

Author Events

Feb. 8: Jeff Guinn signs Waco: David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and a Legacy of Rage, Powell’s, 7pm

Feb. 11: Mike Lawson signs Alligator Alley, his new DeMarco, Magnolia Books, 11am

Feb. 22: Matt Ruff signs The Destroyer of Worlds, Powell’s, 7pm

Feb. 23: Matt Ruff signs The Destroyer of Worlds, Elliott Bay Books, 7pm

Feb. 28: Matt Ruff signs The Destroyer of Worlds, Third Place /LFP, 7pm

Other Forms of Entertainment

French Cesar Film Awards ban nominees suspected of sex crimes and violence

“Kaleidoscope”: Netflix’s Mind-Bending Heist Is 2023’s First Great Series

Documentary examines lie detectors’ checkered history

Ridley Scott’s “Boston Strangler” Starring Keira Knightley, Carrie Coon, and Chris Cooper to Premiere in March

Looks to die for: as Diane Kruger stars in Marlowe, who is the most memorable femme fatale of all time?

That’s right! A new Philip Marlowe movie: ‘Marlowe’ Review: Liam Neeson Is The Old-School Gumshoe In Neil Jordan’s Frisky Noir Pastiche

Bernie Madoff Gets the Serial-Killer Treatment in Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street [JB says the contents of the show is great but the fakey re-enactments are a distraction]

7 Crime Movies That Should Have Been the First in a Series

Lone Woman and Cub: The Divergent Paths of Two Neo-Noirs

Dr. No’s Felix May Secretly Be The Reason For James Bond’s Coolness

Here’s Your 2023 Literary Film and TV Preview

Le Doulos: the violent French film that changed crime cinema

Stephen Colbert to Adapt One of George R.R. Martin’s Favorite Books Into TV Series

Alec Baldwin to be charged with involuntary manslaughter over Rust shooting

How Doug Liman Directed a Brett Kavanaugh FBI Investigation Doc in Secret

‘Riotsville, USA’ Shows the Birth of Police Militarization

Why cop show ‘Homicide: Life on the Street’ was revolutionary

The Most Popular Film Noir Festival in the World Makes Its Full Return to the Bay Area 

New graphic novel explores the life of ‘Queenie,’ Harlem Renaissance mob boss

Tom Selleck Was Never Concerned About ‘Blue Bloods’ Airing On Friday Nights

‘Poker Face’: Natasha Lyonne Doing Columbo Is Weirdly Exactly What We Need

Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down: On the 1975 Thomas Harris Novel, Black Sunday, and Its Underrated Adaptation [For you Super Bowl fans!]

Chinatown Is Still a Thrilling, Clear-eyed Portrayal of the Arrogance of Power

Hollywood Flashback: The Corvette Debuted in 1955’s ‘Kiss Me Deadly’

Words of the Month

impend (v.): To hang or hover menacingly; to be about to take place; archaic use to overhang

RIP

We recently learned that one of our long-time supporters died last Sept. John Cashin stopped in a couple of times a week on his way to the Bainbridge ferry or a Mariners’ game. Couldn’t say when he first found us but it was probably on one of those trips home. He’d worked at a local printer for decades and he’d hand off a couple of notepads of a certain size that we’d use for daily bookkeeping. We called them ‘cashin pads’. John helped us out a few times as an auxiliary staff member during big events or if one of us had a health issue. Always cheerful, he slowly amassed a sizable collection. Adele stumbled on the news of his passing when dropping into Arundels Books. “Phil has not gotten through all the mysteries but said most he kept with the SMB signing band.” We got those belly bands through John. We also got our GM Ford limited edition pieces through John. John died five days short of his 74th birthday. As he said each time he departed, “Say goodbye, John!

Jan. 6: Earl Boen, Actor in the ‘Terminator’ Films, Dies at 81

Jan. 7: Joyce Meskis, Tattered Cover Bookseller Who Defended Readers’ Rights, Dies at 80

Jan. 15: Al Brown, ‘The Wire’, Star Dies After Battle With Alzheimer’s Disease at 83

Jan. 16: Gina Lollobrigida, Legendary Italian Screen Siren, Dies at 95

Jan. 19: Jonathan Raban, adventurous literary traveler and Seattle resident, dies at 80

Jan. 29: Lisa Loring, Original Wednesday Actress on ‘The Addams Family,’ Dies at 64

Jan. 29: Annie Wersching, Actress in ‘Bosch,’ ‘24,’ ‘Runaways,’ and Borg Queen, Dies at 45

Jan. 29: Barrett Strong, “Money” Singer Who Wrote Motown Hits Including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” Dies at 81 [how could we NOT include this??]

Jan. 30: Cindy Williams, Star of ‘Laverne & Shirley,’ The Conversation, Dies at 75

Links of Interest

Jan.1: Inside the Life of a Career Con Man Who Couldn’t Stop

Jan. 3: The Most Glamorous Gang in London History

Jan. 4: Former Colorado funeral home owner sentenced to 20 yrs for selling body parts

Jan. 4: Gloria Trevi Sex Cult Claims Revived in New Lawsuit

Jan. 4: ‘Varsity Blues’ mastermind Rick Singer sentenced to 3.5 years in prison

Jan. 4: Judge dismisses sexual assault suit against Marilyn Manson

Jan. 8: They Hunt Cartel Killers

Jan. 9: Vatican reopens investigation into teenager who went missing in 1983

Jan. 9: Real-Life ‘Training Day’: Inside the Corruption Scandal That Brought Down the Oakland PD

Jan. 9: South Africa’s Eskom says police investigating alleged poisoning of CEO

Jan. 12: New York Firefighter Accuses Chief of Raping Her as a ‘Birthday Present’

Jan. 12: 11 Gang Members Arrested for Failed Motorcycle Hit on Famous Mexican TV Anchor

Jan. 14: Security News This Week: A Russian Ransomware Gang Attack Destabilizes UK Royal Mail

Jan 14: Unemployed Lawyer Settles Years-Long Grudge by Stabbing Rival Attorney

Jan. 16: Sicilian Mafia’s ‘Boss of Bosses’ Arrested After 30 Years on the Run

Jan. 18: ‘Godfather’ mafia boss’ secret hideout had condoms, Viagra and ‘well-stocked fridge’

Jan. 18: Websites Selling Abortion Pills Are Sharing Sensitive Data With Google

Jan. 18: How Fine Art Has Become a Tool for the Bad Guys

Jan. 18: The Montreal Mafia Murders: Blood, Gore, Cannolis, and Hockey Bags

Jan. 19: Two men killed during cockfighting event after armed-roosters attacked them

Jan. 19: Frederick McCubbin painting defaced with Woodside logo in protest at Art Gallery of Western Australia

Jan. 19: Umbrella Guns and Fake Poop? Cold War Spies Thought of Everything

Jan. 20: Plastic Surgery Clinic Ran a Vaccine Scam Where They Poured Shots Down the Drain, Injected Kids With Saline, Feds Allege

Jan. 22: Paintings in Colorado Art Theft Recovered After Hotel Room Search

Jan. 22: People are using crafty “In Case I Go Missing” binders to organize and store their DNA, fingerprints, and dental records in case they disappear. Is this … healthy?

Jan. 22: He wanted a hit man, feds say. One stole his money; another was an FBI agent.

Jan. 25: U.S. Authorities Return Dozens of Looted Artifacts to Italy, Including 27 Objects from the Met

Jan. 27: Scientology Leader David Miscavige Appears to Be Missing

Jan. 28: Murdaugh Trial Upstages Bride’s Dream Wedding

Jan. 28: ‘The killer could still be among us’: two elderly siblings and a brutal crime that mystifies locals, nearly 50 years on

Words of the Month

clothes horse (n): Mid-1800s in England, the wooded racks were sold so that one could lay out clothes to air or dry. (Says You, episode 1512)

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

A Christie Bookshop Mystery: Dead and Gondola — Ann Claire

Okay, so the pull of this mystery title is obvious. Whilst not about Dame Agatha directly, the tangential tie intrigued me, so I settled down for a read…. and found myself enjoying the book rather a lot.

Ann Claire, our author, does a great job of keeping the mystery focused on the mystery. Knitting tidbits about the famous authoress in seamlessly and as needed — by using a Mary Westmacott book as a critical clue, naming the bookshop cat Agatha, and occasionally invoking our sleuth’s inner Miss Marple to help push the story forward.

The characters are well-rounded and interesting, as is the town of Last Word itself. The mystery, a variant of a Patricia Moyes plot I once read, works well.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mysteries set in a bookshop, around a ski town, or with a strong family vibe. Seriously, I cannot wait until the next book in the series, Last Word To The Wise, comes out in October!

Fran

January in February

For any number of reasons, I’ve been in a funk this month, and it’s been a bad one for me. Therefore, I don’t have a book recommendation this month because I pick them up and set them down again. Yeah, I can’t even read.

Although I can write, so that’s something, and one of these days I’ll tell you what I’m writing, but for now the fact that I am seems encouraging. And, of all weird places, I find inspiration while I’m doing physical therapy for my knee, especially during my pool time.

So I decided to do a Best Of 2022 review, but then realized that it’s a recap of authors I’ve recommended through the years. Apparently I spent last year reading authors I know and love, and honestly, I’m really good with that.

Louise Penny

John Connolly

Thomas Perry

Walter Satterthwaite

Craig Johnson

Well, you get the drift. Tried and true authors who never let me down. Or if they do, it’s a minor drop because none of these folks can write a bad story if they had to.

So instead, I’m going to resurrect a recommendation from years ago, with a slight twist. I’m going to tell you to read anything and everything by Jenny Lawson, a/k/a The Bloggess. Why? Because I’m in a funk, and Jenny Lawson is perfect for those times when our mental health is iffy. She isn’t afraid to tackle mental health issues, which I admire endlessly, but she’s funny as hell too, which I also need.

This is one of her books, and starting here is a good place. It’s funny, and decidedly weird, and uplifting in an unusual sort of way, and for January and February doldrums, well, you just can’t ask for better than that.

JB

Entertainment recommendations:

“Slow Horses” – Apple TV adaptation of Nick Herron’s books – is fabulous – both seasons.

“The Pale Blue Eye” – adaptation of Louis Bayard’s 1830 murder mystery with West Point cadet A.E Poe – is a a good evening’s entertainment. On Netflix.

Also on Netflix, “Kaleidoscope” is astonishing. Episodes are by color and you can/are supposed watch them in any order. They direct you to save White for last. I would recommend that you save Pink to watch just before White. It was created, and some of the episodes were written, by Eric Garcia (remember Anonymous Rex?).

After sitting on my “to be read” pile for FAR TOO LONG, I picked up the new hardcover by Michael Mann and Meg Gardner, Heat 2. When I first heard they were releasing the novel, I was curious about what was left to tell. Well, there was LOTS. It goes both into the past, the period right after the end of the movie, and into the future. We get Vincent Hanna’s (Pacino) past in Chicago, Chris’ (Kilmer) escape from LA and his future, and then how their lives collide in the future.

The writing fits the characters very well and mirrors the stylings of the movie. And just like the movie, the plot and characters are full and rich and the result is terrific. Hard to put it down to eat or sleep!

Loren D. Estleman has been one of my favorite authors since Bill recommended when I first started working with him. His Detroit PI series with Amos Walker is the closest we’ve been able to get to Chandler since he started the series. It’s as reliable, durable, and hardboiled as the private eye himself. Looking on my overloaded shelves for something to read next, I spied The Sundown Speech, from 2015. I hadn’t gotten to it when it was released as that was the time of true stress at the shop. It appears to be out of print but it you can find a used copy, get it. Amos is hired by an Ann Arbor couple to recover an investment they made in an independent film and the director has gone missing. Great fun, especially Walker’s by-play with the homicide detective on the eventual case. I’ll be gathering the Walkers that I’ve missed over the last five years, no doubt about that!

Max Allan Collins has another Nate Heller book just out, The Big Bundle. As usual, Collins puts his fictional Chicago private eye, Nate Heller, into actual, historical true crime events. It starts out with Heller called into assist with a famous kidnapping case in 1953 Kansas City. I was astounded by this because I grew up maybe 7 minutes from the family’s house and drove by it maybe 10,000 times over the decades. Never heard anything about the case at any time, anywhere from anyone. The issue of missing ransom money continues into second half of the book and becomes entangled in the Bobby Kennedy/Jimmy Hoffa war, which will lead into the next book and RFK’s assassination.

I did find a few geographical things in the book that I thought were mistakes but the author insists they’re correct. If you know the streets of Mission Hills, KS, and the geography of eastern Kansas, you may run into things that clank when read. They are as the author insists they should be. Except for them, it was a great read.

and, finally, one last word for the Month of Romance

shotten: exhausted from a recent, romantic encounter (Says You!, episode 1402)

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

January 2023

Book Stuff

An Exhibition Exalts the Book as a Bedrock of Cultural Memory

Smithsonian exhibit digs out the ‘nature’ in old books

These 5 Words Have Been Selected As 2022’s “Word Of The Year”

Napoleonic Conspiracy Theories, Unsociable Shabbiness, and More Occupational Hazards of the Second-Hand Book Trade

Woman’s Name and Doodles Found Hidden in 1,200-Year-Old Religious Manuscript

‘Join the club’: Stephen King, Margaret Atwood and more reassure debut author after lonely book launch

AI Bot ChatGPT Stuns Academics With Essay-Writing Skills.

The Baby Names Authors Chose for their Own Children

The Murky Path To Becoming a New York Times Best Seller

Want a Lesson in Hitchcockian Suspense? Look to Mr. Bean

Preserving Western Pulp fiction with Centuries of Western Dime Novels

Iconic Wizard Of Oz Prop Sells For Half A Million Dollars (don’t worry, some crime movie stuff sold, too. Take some time and look through all that was in the auction, it is astonishing and fun!)

Only four people have ever solved the puzzle contained in the pages of ‘Cain’s Jawbone.’ TikTok helped turn the obscure, 100-page British novel into a craze.

Words of the Month

fiddle-faddle: 1570s, “trifles” (n.); 1630s “busy oneself with trifles; talk nonsense” (v.), apparently a reduplication of obsolete faddle “to trifle,” or of fiddle in its contemptuous sense.

Serious Stuff

How Language Can Be Used to Destroy and Dominate, and How It Can Be Used to Remember and Reclaim

‘Shadow Libraries’ Are Moving Their Pirated Books to The Dark Web After Fed Crackdowns

‘Insufficient’ funds to provide free schoolbooks to all primary pupils, say publishers and booksellers

High-Ranking Prison Officer Aided a Neo-Nazi Gang Attack on Black Prisoners

*What’s More Important for This Town: A Library or a Police Station?

4 Indigenous Women Slain by Alleged Serial Killer But Cops Won’t Search for the Bodies

InfraGard, FBI Program for Critical Infrastructure Cybersecurity, Breached by Hackers

Developers Found Graves in the Virginia Woods. Authorities Then Helped Erase the Historic Black Cemetery.

How Dallas homemaker Mary Ferrell became main collector of JFK assassination records

DEA seized enough fentanyl to kill every person in the U.S. in 2022

Censorship Terrorism

*Louisiana Launches Tip Line to Accuse Librarians of ‘Sexualizing Children’

A Threat Against Justice For Emmett Till Protesters Led To The Cancellation Of A Christmas Parade

A Fast-Growing Network of Conservative Groups Is Fueling a Surge in Book Bans

How Your Book Club Can Fight Against Books Bans and Censorship

Drag Queens Are Fearing For Their Lives As Right-Wing Extremist Attacks Intensify

J.D. Vance Is Coming for Your Porn–Watch Out

*Huntsville Public Library (TX) Privatized After Pride Display

‘A streak of extremism’: US book bans may increase in 2023

Words of the Month

drivel (v.): Old English dreflian “to slaver, slobber, run at the nose,” from Proto-Germanic *drab-, perhaps from a PIE *dher– (1) “to make muddy, darken.” Transferred meaning “to speak nonsense” is mid-14th C., driveling being characteristic of children, idiots, and dotards. Related: Driveling, drivelling.

drivel (n.): early 14th C., drevel “saliva, slaver,” from drivel (v.). Meaning “senseless twaddle, idiotic speech or writing” is by 1852.

Local Stuff

National forensic pathologist shortage slows autopsies in WA

Has the SS Pacific’s gold-laden wreck been found 150 years after it sank?

Major King County drug bust nets $10M worth of meth, fentanyl, heroin

Two Tacoma Power substations, one PSE facility vandalized Christmas Day, authorities say

Armed robberies at WA pot shops hit decade high

Odd Stuff

On this day in literary history, Anthony Trollope died of the giggles. (For real.)

The Darkness Within: 8 Novels About the Devil

AI Reveals the Most Human Parts of Writing

‘People think I’m stupid’: the story of the man who shot himself 192 times

Someone paid $95,000 for this pair of jeans recovered from 1857 shipwreck

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.).

SPECTRE

Amazon CEO says company won’t take down antisemitic film

Amazon Says It’ll Pay You $2 Per Month to Spy on Your Phone’s Internet Traffic

Amazon buyers beware: Scammers are targeting the bestseller badge

Amazon Agrees to Change Some Business Practices in EU Settlement

OSHA: Amazon failed to record some warehouse injuries

Amazon’s plastic packaging could circle the planet 800 times. Can it be stopped?

Amazon Has Conquered Christmas—but Its Reign May Be Ending

Amazon Investors Demand Answers About Its Cloud’s Human Rights record

Amazon Nightmare Is Reminiscent of the Dotcom Collapse

Amazon is ubiquitous. But it isn’t invincible anymore.

Words of the Month

fable (n.) c. 1300, “falsehood, fictitious narrative; a lie, pretense,” from Old French fable “story, fable, tale; drama, play, fiction; lie, falsehood” (12c.), 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”].

Biblio Stuff

When No One Turns Up To Neil Gaiman Or Stephen King’s Book Signing

Thrilled and Intrigued: An Appreciation on Classic British Thrillers

A Foretaste of Culinary Cozy Mysteries

Martin Edwards on Murder in the Basement, A Pioneering Work of Suspense

How Edgar Allan Poe Reinvented American Literature – and Science Writing

Review: Louise Penny is beloved. Her latest novel reminds us why.

Interview: ‘Hillary and I were both broken women’: Louise Penny on writing a political thriller with Clinton

Louise Penny Wrote a No. 1 Best Seller During Her Year Off

Markus Dohle Steps Down as Penguin Random House CEO

Hundreds of authors give support to striking workers at HarperCollins

Saying Goodbye to Magic Realism

Legally bookish: Reese Witherspoon and the boom in celebrity book clubs

Nazi-Looted Beethoven Manuscript Returned to Original Owners

Evan S. Connell: The Man Who Mastered Minor Writing [if you like American history and haven’t read his Son of the Morning Star, treat yourself to it ~ JB]

RIP Bookforum

In the Era of iPhones, Is Rare Book Collecting an Increasingly Quixotic Mission?

Signed, Sealed, But Not Always Delivered: The Lost Art of Letterlocking

Ancient grammatical puzzle solved after 2,500 years

PEN America Town Hall Asks “Do Publishers Have a Moral Obligation to Diversify Literature?”

Elise By Olsen Delves Into the Extraordinary Print Archive of Vince Aletti

*Librarian Archives All of the Things People Leave Behind in Books

Kate and Greg Mosse look back: ‘The shirt I’m Wearing Has Since Been Made Illegal’

*One of the World’s Most Beautiful Libraries Was Born Out of Tragedy

Barnes & Noble Opening 30 Stores in 2023, Leading Big Real Estate Wave

*The Most Borrowed Books from New York Public Library in 2022

What’s it like to own a bookstore in our digitized age?

Author Events

Jan. 5: Gerald Elias presents ‘Murder at the Royal Albert’, Third Place/LFP, 7pm

Jan. 12: Seanan McGuire in Conversation With Amanda Cherry, Powell’s, 7pm

Other Forms of Entertainment

How Hollywood Made J. Edgar Hoover and the F.B.I. Into the Mythical “G-Men”

“True Detective” Season Two: An Unholy Mess, or Better Than You Remember?

Courtroom Drama: New Legal Battle Over ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

Matt Damon, Casey Affleck to Star in Doug Liman’s ‘The Instigators’

Canceled “Man Of Steel 2” Sequel Would Have Had The Best Superman Villain

“Watchmen” Prequel On The Way From HBO?

Bernie Madoff’s Historic Ponzi Scheme Focus of Upcoming Netflix Docuseries

Watch Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux Accidentally Topple the Presidency in ‘White House Plumbers’ Trailer

10 Best Neo-Noirs Of The 1980s

What the Mall Scene in ‘Jackie Brown’ Can Teach Us About Tarantino’s Quietest Film

Veronica Lake’s Long Escape: A Deeply Sad Page from Hollywood History

Golden Age Whodunits Are Back—and a Sign of Our Times

Why ‘Jackie Brown’ Remains Tarantino’s Coolest Movie

‘The Pale Blue Eye’ is a truly macabre military murder mystery movie

Tom Cruise’s Only Directing Credit Is A Bizarre ’90s Noir Short

Why Clint Eastwood Never Considered Another Song For Play Misty For Me

Words of the Month

falderol (n.): also falderal, falderall, folderol, etc., 18th C. nonsense words from refrains of songs; meaning “gewgaw, trifle” is attested from 1820.

RIP

Dec. 5: David Lifton, respected JFK assassination researcher, dead at 83

Dec. 12: Stuart Margolin, Director, Emmy-Winning Actor on ‘The Rockford Files,’ Dies at 82

Dec. 29: Oscar White Muscarella, Sherlock Holmes-quoting archaeologist who exposed looted artifacts and fakes, dies at 91

Links of Interest

Dec. 2: Japanese Cannibal Who Got Away With Eating and Raping a Dutch Woman Is Dead

Dec. 5: ‘Torso Killer’ admits killing 5 women decades ago near NYC

Dec. 7: DOJ watchdog finds missteps by prison officials ahead of Whitey Bulger’s killing

Dec. 7: Man Who Mysteriously Vanished Turns Up Dead a Decade Later Under New Name

Dec. 8: Philadelphia police identify body of ‘boy in the box’ after 66 years

Dec. 9: Georgia girl, 12, killed by father after family court grants him custody

Dec. 10: How Did ‘the Father of the Western’ Die on William Randolph Hearst’s Yacht?

Dec. 11: One of Britain’s most respected art dealers, who has supplied the British Museum, must repay £4 million after selling fake ‘ancient’ sculptures to sheik friend of the Royals

Dec. 13: A DEA agent tracked the source of fentanyl in Mormon country — a Mexican cartel

Dec. 13: Unassuming N.H. Craft Shop Owner Helped Run Sprawling Russian Spy Ring: Feds

Dec. 13: Chinese Police Bust Massive $1.7 billion Crypto Money Laundering Ring

Dec. 13: Lawmakers introduce bill to ban TikTok in US

Dec. 16: Glenda Cleveland – How She Tried To Stop Jeffrey Dahmer

Dec. 17: A Gruesome Mutilation. A Global Manhunt. Inside One of the Most Twisted Crimes Ever

Dec. 17: He Googled ‘How to Get Away With Murder’—Then Wife Vanished

Dec. 21: Hackers Swatted Victims and Taunted Police Through Ring Doorbell Cameras

Dec. 21: The US Is Trying to Take Down the Family Behind the Notorious Gulf Cartel

Dec. 21: Botched Executions Aren’t New—but Americans Finally Seem to Be Noticing Them

Dec. 23: GirlsDoPorn Founder and FBI Most Wanted Fugitive Arrested in Spain

Dec. 23: Retiree Accused of Offing Her Boyfriend With Toxic Milkshake

Dec. 24: Russians Hacked JFK Airport Taxi Dispatch in Line-Skipping Scheme

Dec. 27: How America’s Biggest Heist, the Great Brinks Robbery, Fell Apart

Dec. 30: Britain backed plan to kill Osama Bin Laden nine months before 9/11

Words of the Month

twaddle (n.): “silly talk, prosy nonsense,” 1782, probably from twattle (1550s), of obscure origin.

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

Mia P. Manansala – Blackmail and Bibingka

The third installment in the Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery series finds Lila in a much better head space. Both the Brew-Ha Cafe and her personal life are starting to take off in extremely happy directions. (If you hear nerve-jangling music at the end of the sentence, there’s a reason.) On the other hand, her family life has hit a rather large speed bump — in the form of her cousin, Tita Rosie’s son, Ronnie. The teenage ne’er-do-well has returned home, still carrying all the emotional baggage he left with, to start a new business with some college chums. This powder keg of past resentment blows when Ronnie’s primary investor is poisoned, and he becomes a suspect in her murder….and Lila feels duty-bound to snoop despite Ronnie’s insistence she stays out of his affairs.

Blackmail and Bibingka is an excellent read! With just a fringe of the winter holiday season on display and a well fused food motif, neither theme ever threatens to overwhelm the book’s main plot. Blackmail and Bibingka is a thoroughly engaging mystery I enjoyed reading, as it’s been quite a while since I’ve seen poison other than arsenic, cyanide, or thallium used as a murder weapon.

A Note From The Office of Fair Warning: Our author also deftly fuses genuine family tensions and resentments in ways that push the plot forward rather than stopping it cold, which isn’t an easy feat. But they could prove a tad uncomfortable for readers who’ve dealt with similar situations.

That said, I really can’t say enough nice things about this book. Technically speaking, you don’t need to read the first two books in order to understand what’s going on in Blackmail and Bibingka — but you should just because they are both awesome reads!

Fran

What Goes Around

Back in 2020, when we were all locked down and feeling grumpy, John Connolly helped ease us through the time with a serialized story that he released weekly (if I recall properly) to keep us alert and giving us something to look forward to. He called it “The Sisters Strange”, and oh my, they certainly were.

But not everyone who loves John’s work gets his newsletter, so he decided to flesh the story out a bit and put it into a book called The Furies. Because “The Sisters Strange” was more a novella than a novel, he added another story, “The Furies”, and the two of those stories comprise the book, The Furies.

During my knee replacement recovery, I was basically locked down again, so I jumped into The Furies with wild abandon. It was good to meet up with the Sisters Strange again — well, as good as meeting them can be, what with their troubles and all — and it certainly took me away from the required exercising.

Jumping into “The Furies”, I was once again reminded why John Connolly is so good at writing creepy stuff. He picks up on our collective awareness and turns it sideways. What he writes is absolutely relatable, but also just odd enough to hold you hostage.

But it’s not just that. John has created some amazing recurring characters, and there’s a special place in my heart for the Fulci brothers, as I know is true of many of you. There’s something endearing about two bear sized men with anger issues who completely adore their mother that just makes you smile. And be glad you don’t have to repair what they break.

John knows this, so with this book, he included a little something extra, if you ordered at the right time from the right place, and I did. So I’m the proud owner of a Fulci tote bag.

Don’t look too closely at the number of fingers on the fist. *grin* Otherwise their slogan will come into play.

If you haven’t read John Connolly, what the hell are you waiting for? Start with Every Dead Thing and I promise, you’ll just keep going. If you have, but you didn’t pick up The Furies because you already read “The Sisters Strange”, it’s time to rectify that oversight because the sisters are stranger than you remember, and the furies set free in the other story will haunt you. Best get to it!

JB

I don’t have a book to write up so I’m recommending a few of songs that I’ve fallen for this year. A couple of years ago when Mom was dying, I asked my cousin Tom to recommend a radio station I could tap into when in the car running errands. He said “The Bridge, 90.9”. It’s the same type of station as KEXP here in Seattle – independent, listener supported – but I like their music more. Why? – just good rock, maybe not so “experimental” as just joyful. I listen to it everyday on some computer-like device. (Be Warned~ it’s out of KC, so all the ads and concert announcements are from there.) Monday’s are great as, mid-day, it’s all new music, I can’t link the songs themselves but I’ll like the youtube videos. In no particular order:

Samia’s “Mad at Me” (my latest obsession)

Hiding is easy, it’s like a daydream/You can be nowhere all the time
Hurts to be somewhere, ’cause you gotta stay there
After you say what’s on your mind

Aida Victoria’s “Ain’t Killed Me Yet”

She turned this house into a tomb/Ghosts rattle in every room, they’re doin’ their best
But they ain’t killed me yet

The National’s “Weird Goodbyes”

What was I even leaving for/I keep going back and forth
I think now I’m about to see/Didn’t know how sad it’d be

Panda Bear & Sonic Boom’s “Edge of the Edge” (for some reason, it reminds me of Beach Boys…)

One taste to break the fall/One wave to take us all to the shore
Can’t say it’s what you bargained for/It’s forever at the push of a button

Talk’s “Run Away to Mars”

What If I run away to Mars?/Would you find me in the stars? Would you miss me in the end/If I run out of oxygen When I run away to Mars

LCD Soundsystem’s “new body rhumba” (great dance tune!)

Yeah I try not to hide it/I try not to buy it
But you can’t just sit on the fence/It’s true

And, finally, my anthem for the year:

Paramour’s “This is Why”

This is why I don’t leave the house/You say the coast is clear
But you won’t catch me out/Oh, why? This is why

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And, of course…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!

December 2022

Words of the Month

maundered (v): talked in a rambling, foolish, or meaningless way.

Interesting Stuff

Today in AWWWW: Reading out loud to dogs improves literacy in kids.

Professional cornhole world rocked by ‘BagGate’ cheating scandal

Jazz the dog helps victims of crime as they navigate court system

Milwaukee Police Will Stop Using Gun That Keeps Going Off by Mistake

There Are Still Codes Throughout Ancient Roman Literature

How Well Do You Know Sherlock’s London?

What I’ve Learned: John Grisham

On Bonding With Damaged Books

Jack Ruby’s wallet, JFK’s rocking chair will go up for sale in vast 1963 auction

A Detroit woman is on a mission to promote literacy with this erotic ABC for adults

This 2,000-Year-Old Inscription Changes Our Understanding of the Basque Language

‘Wizard of Oz’ Hourglass, Chris Evans’ ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Shield Go Up for Auction (oh man does JB want that shield!!

Hand-Colored ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ Strip Sells for $480,000

Favorite Children’s Book ‘Goodnight Moon’ Comes To Life With New Immersive Experience — Here’s Where To See It

Serious Stuff

37 governments band together against ransomware

Feds Seize One of the Largest Sites for Pirated Books and Articles, Z-Library

}The FBI alleges TikTok poses national security concerns

}Autonomous Vehicles Join the List of US National Security Threats

}Opinion | Why artificial intelligence is now a primary concern for Henry Kissinger

A Cartel Used Armed Drones and a Plane to Bomb Police

Judge blocks Penguin Random House-Simon & Schuster merger

Paramount scraps $2.2bn sale of Simon & Schuster publishing to Penguin

Opinion: Sam Bankman-Fried doesn’t read. That tells us everything.

“Slasher Mary”: A Brief Introduction To Political Vandalism In Museums

Censorship Terrorism

Tulsa Donut Shop Hit with Molotov Cocktail After Hosting Drag Show

The Right-Wing Mothers Fuelling the School-Board Wars

To make matters worse, an iconic L.A. bookstore was targeted by arsonists this weekend.

Help! I’m a Librarian. Local Conservatives Think I’m an Ally in Their Book Wars

Why Read a Book When You Can Ban It Instead? Inside Florida’s Clay County School District

Jamestown Library Defunded (Again) Over LGBTQ Books, Will Likely Close

A Small Town Librarian Spoke Against Censorship. Then the Dark Money Came for Her

It Only Takes One Parent to Get All The Graphic Novels Removed From a School Library

Local Stuff

Husband of ‘Lady of the Dunes’ killed in Provincetown in 1974 was also suspected of Seattle double slaying in 1960

10 bookseller-approved giftable books this holiday season

Phillip Margolin on writing “a novel that contained every cliché from the mysteries of the Golden Age”

Vancouver playwright wins Governor General’s Literary Award

Beautiful books are important historical records of Northwest Coastal art

Ruth Hayler, longtime programmer for Seattle moviehouses and SIFF, dies at 74

Oregon senator’s fiery words test free speech limits

WA attorney general seeks $1.5M to combat organized retail crime

Words of the Month

sesquipedalian (adj): a word with many syllables; to use big words habitually

Odd Stuff

Are Chemicals From Dead Bodies Oozing Into Tap Water?

Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy’s clown painting sells for $10k at spooky auction

Why is Everyone Fighting Over the Skull of ‘Brigand Villella’?

El Chapo’s Hometown Is Building a Narco Museum

‘George Kaplan’ Based On Hitchcock Character Opens At New Ohio Theatre

Oldest known sentence written in first alphabet discovered – on a head-lice comb

Delphi Murder Suspect Says He’s Flabbergasted by ‘Expensive’ Private Attorney Fees

FAMOUS ARTIST DIES PENNILESS AND ALL ALONE: The Met Museum’s Fascinating Archive of Artists’ Death Notices

Michael Lewis is writing a book about crypto hamburglar Sam Bankman-Fried, who doesn’t read books.

Lit Hub officially endorses “Goblin mode” as Oxford’s Word of the Year.

Gaslighting: Merriam-Webster picks its word of the year

Scrabble: The Last Real American Dictionary

The Fake Scorsese Film You Haven’t Seen. Or Have You? Tumblr is obsessed with the mafia film “Goncharov.” The problem is it isn’t real.

How Leonardo’s “Monstrous” Drawings Inspired Modern Caricature

Ex-Mobsters Can’t Escape Their Criminal History — So They Promote It on YouTube

Emperor Charles V’s secret code cracked after five centuries

Gold coin proves ‘fake’ Roman emperor was real

Surrounded by Beauty – Can an Object Ask you to Commit a Crime?

Words of the Month

sedulous (adj): diligent in application or attention; persevering; assiduous; persistently or carefully maintained

SPECTRE

Amazon Drivers Are Still Peeing in Bottles

A Drug Cartel Is ‘Selling’ Lawn Decorations on Amazon to Hide Their Meth Shipments

Amazon plans to invest $1 billion a year in movies for theaters

It’s not your imagination: Shopping on Amazon has gotten worse

Words of the Month

tergiversation (n): The act of abandoning something or someone, of changing sides; desertion; betrayal; to change repeatedly one’s attitude or opinions with respect to a cause, subject, etc

Awards

2022 Ursula K. Le Guin Prize for Fiction

Actor wins 2022 Bruntwood Prize for debut play

Book Stuff

Judge blocks Penguin Random House-Simon & Schuster merger

A $10 million gift to the Library of Congress brings a new exhibition space

Denby Fawcett: We Should Support Independent Bookstores. They Open New Worlds To Us

Parliamentary report calls for government to support and modernise libraries

On Ed Lacy’s Room to Swing and Early Representation of Black Sleuths in Crime Fiction

My First Thriller: S.A. Cosby

Simenon in America

Megan Abbott on Writing for the Reader

The Unspoken Criminality of the Female PI

What is Roman Noir? A Brief History of the Genre

The Story of a Cheat Deserves to be Remembered

HarperCollins union goes on strike over wages and benefits, diversity policy and union protection

8 Great Thrillers with Effective Twists

The Struggle to Unearth the World’s First Author

Noir Detective Comic Books Are In A Great Place

Anthony Horowitz calls for investment in school libraries as he receives CBE

Fans aren’t happy about their $600 autopen-signed copies of Bob Dylan’s new book.

To find great female novelists, stop looking in Jane Austen’s shadow

For Emily Dickinson’s Birthday, Visit Her New England Home

Types Of Customers You Find In Bookstores

The Art of the Cozy Mystery: Six Cozy Mysteries Featuring an Art Theme

The world’s most extraordinary libraries

Is Mick Herron the Best Spy Novelist of His Generation?

John le Carré’s Letters Show the Author at His Witty, Erudite and Pugilistic Best

Washington Post: The 12 best thriller and mystery novels of 2022

Recently discovered Wind in the Willows illustration to be sold at auction

Author Events (In Person)

Dec. 9: John Straley presents Blown by the Same Wind, Third Place/Ravenna 7pm

Words of the Month

depauperate (adj): lacking a variety of species, or enough of them; badly developed

007

Spectre’s Original Story Brought Back Craig’s Best James Bond Plot

James Bond exhibit features 25 cars from 007 movies

PPK Rubber Band Gun

After acquiring James Bond, Amazon wants to spend over $1 billion on theatrical release movies every year, sources say

Aaron Taylor-Johnson May Be The Frontrunner To Play The Next James Bond

[ There’s the Marvel Universe, the Star Wars Universe, and any number of other Universes – why then isn’t there be a “00” Universe? There are so many actors who could be a great 00, whether they are Bond or not, so why can’t there be other 00 movies in between Bond? Why can’t Lashan Lynch have her own 00 movie, or Tom Hardy, Regé-Jean Page, Charlize Theron, Henry Cavill?? Sorry, but Idris Elba is now too old, but he’d make a great M. I don’t think other 00 movies would dilute the brand. If anything, it’d enlarge the brand. It appears that there will be room as we’re not likely to get any more Bourne movies and how many more Mission:Impossibles does Tom have left before one of the magnificent stunts kills him? I assume there are nine OOs: 001-009. Take out 007 and that leaves EIGHT other 00s open for their own movies. I listed five actors and it’d be pretty easy to add three more. Besides, we have to wait too damn long between Bonds! – JB]

Other Forms of Entertainment

[Somehow, we think we missed including it in the Sept. newzine!] The 80 Greatest Con Artists in Movies and TV, Ranked

Recommended listening: If Books Could Kill, a podcast about terrible airport books

‘The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’ Sequel Flopped After Dropping Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig

Mean, moody and magnificent: film noir studio portraits – in pictures

And then there were more: Knives Out, Agatha Christie and nonstop murder mystery boom

Hollywood Is Trying to Remake Escape From New York Again

The Best Cars in the History of Fictional Detectives

14 Horror Noirs To Watch If You Loved Angel Heart

TV’s True Crime Obsession Is Reaching a Tipping Point

Revisiting a movie that told the story of a fixer in South Central LA, with a Marvin Gaye score that changed the game.

Libraries Are Launching Their Own Local Music Streaming Platforms

Meanwhile, Elon Musk’s sister has a romance adaptation and streaming company called Passionflix.

A Beginner’s Guide to Identifying Movie MacGuffins

Harrison Ford Will Be De-Aged to Fight Nazis in ‘Indy 5’ (don’t worry, only for a flashback scene, not the entire movie)

‘Narcos’ Revenue Split Battle Between Executive Producers Settles

Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’ to Debut on Broadway in 2023

Alan Rickman Almost Turned Down Die Hard But One Thing About The Script Changed His Mind

Walter Mosley on Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet

>“Three Pines” Puts a Darker Lens on Louise Penny’s Series

>Alfred Molina Thinks He May Have Found the Best Role of His Career

How accurately does ‘Alaska Daily’ portray journalists and Alaska Natives? We asked some journalists.

Words of the Month

friable (adj): easily reduced to powder, fragile and easy to crumble

RIP

Nov. 1: Julie Powell, Food Writer Known for ‘Julie & Julia,’ Dies at 49

Nov. 3: Andrew Prine, Actor in Westerns Including ‘Chisum’ and ‘Wide Country,’ [tied to infamous unsolved Hollywood homicide] Dies at 86

Nov. 3: George Booth, whose cartoon dogs became a New Yorker staple, dies at 96

Nov. 9: Paul Schrade dies; union leader injured in RFK assassination

Nov. 7: Ernie Lazar, Who Trawled for Secret Government Documents, Dies at 77

Nov. 11: Kevin Conroy, Longtime Voice of Batman, Dies at 66

Nov. 16: Robert Clary, Corporal LeBeau on ‘Hogan’s Heroes,’ Dies at 96

Nov. 19: Sci-fi Novelist Greg Bear Has Passed Away

Nov. 29: Clarence Gilyard, ‘Walker, Texas Ranger,’ and ‘Die Hard’ Actor, Dies at 66

Nov. 30: Christine McVie, Keyboardist and Singer for Fleetwood Mac, Dead at 79 (not mystery related – other than how they created that incredible music through all of their internal chaos – but it seemed to be a great omission to leave her off the list)

Words of the Month

isohyet (n): a line drawn on a map connecting points having equal rainfall at a certain time or for a stated period.

Links of Interest

Nov. 1: Amanda Knox Media Circus Hits Peak Weird on 15th Anniversary of Murder

Nov. 2: US authorities bust catalytic converter theft ring that raked in over $545m

Nov. 4: A Woman Accidentally Killed Her Rich Husband In The ’50s. A New Book Uncovers What Came Next

Nov. 4: Boston’s Combat Zone: Why Two Authors Were Drawn to the Same 45 Year-Old Crime

Nov. 7: ‘It’s him’: Lord Lucan hunt continues 48 years after nanny murder

Nov. 7: ‘Era-defining scandal’: Ireland revisits ‘Gubu’ murders 40 years on

Nov. 7: Feds Seize Over $1 Billion in Crypto Originally Stolen from Dark Web Drug Marketplace Silk Road

Nov. 9: The Macho Theater of Spies for Hire

Nov. 15: The Truth About Snitching Our legal system is intensely reliant on informants and the unregulated, mostly unknown deals that guide them into an ever-more dangerous life.

Nov. 15: First “Star Trek” comic book sells for record $46,500

Nov. 16: Shakespeare portrait said to be only one made in his lifetime on sale for £10m

Nov. 16: Trending crimes: “Check washing” and “mailbox fishing”

Nov. 16: How ‘Dexter-inspired’ Delhi murderer was tracked down by victim’s friend

Nov. 20: He wiped out his entire family — and changed California criminal law forever

Nov. 20: Bob Dylan’s teenage love letters sell for over $650,000 at auction

Nov. 21: Book review ~ J. Edgar Hoover, Public Enemy No. 1

Nov. 22: How wild was this city near Miami? Check out the ‘sin strip’ and the steakhouse mob hit

Nov. 22: An iCloud Feature Is Enabling a $65 Million Scam, New Research Says

Nov. 22: Richmond locals are not happy with a new Virginia Woolf statue

Nov. 22: French tax inspector killed during visit to antique dealer

Nov. 22: How a Forgery of a Forgery Began a Career in the Artistic Underworld

Nov. 22: Woman Who Flew 3,000 Miles for Online Date Killed, Allegedly for Her Organs

Nov. 23: Police Finally Arrested This 65-Year-Old Transnational ‘Drug Queen’

Nov. 25: Charles Darwin: Autographed document could fetch record price

Nov. 26: Grifter Boasts of Fraud ‘More Wild’ Than ‘Inventing Anna’

Nov. 26: The 100-Year Mystery of Missing Perfume Heiress Dorothy Arnold

Nov. 28: Brett Favre files motion to dismiss Mississippi welfare lawsuit

Words of the Month

scissile (adj): capable of being divided easily

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

Sarah Addison Allen – Other Birds

I read Sarah Addison Allen’s Other Birds back in September, and I’ve struggled to figure out how to review it ever since then. Not because it’s terrible — but because I enjoyed it so very much. And the fact that Sarah Addison Allen’s style, magical realism, is done with such a deft hand, I don’t want to ruin the book for you! 

What can I tell you? 

Well, there’s a peculiar death, a series of strange occurrences unrelated to the four ghosts who also call Dellawisp home, and a cantankerous flock of birds flitting about the property. Add in the living human happenings in the small block of apartments, and you’ve got a riveting read! 

Seriously, Sarah Addison Allen is one of my all-time favorite writers. Who, in fact, penned my all-time favorite novel, The Sugar Queen. In Other Birds, as with Allen’s other novels, she brushes up against several writing styles, like mystery and urban fantasy — which creates a story that’s more than a sum of its parts. (Or literary techniques in this case.)

Sitting here writing this review, I realized all the nice things I wish to say about this book boil down to this: I enjoyed every page of Other Birds. And I cannot wait to revisit the Dellawisp apartments and its inhabitants again and again. 

Seriously, if you’re looking for a mysterious and lovely read this festive season, you cannot go wrong with Other Birds.

Fran

Out of the loop

There are a lot of things I miss about the shop – and I do keep dreaming about it (last night it was where Diva Dolls is/was) – but one of the things I really miss is being in the know about what’s going on.

So I had no idea that Thomas Perry‘s The Old Man was a series on Hulu. But then, I don’t have Hulu either. I’m becoming a hermit. Send cookies.

But in my lack of knowledge, there are delights to be had. You all know I’m a dedicated Thomas Perry fan, and I’d follow Jane Whitefield anywhere. When JB sent me a copy of The Old Man, I figured it’s because he knows what I love. Also he wanted to give me something to think about other than my knee, which is fine so far, thank you for asking.

The old man in question has been living his life quietly in Vermont, his dogs Carol and Dave keeping him company. He seems like a harmless older man, but obviously he’s not. Dan Chase has a past, and not your ordinary one, even when you think about thrillers. See, when Dan was stationed in Afghanistan, he saw something go wrong, and he tried to make it right.

Seems simple enough, except that by doing what he did, Dan ran counter to the US government’s wishes, so he became a fugitive. Now they’ve found him, or at least they think they have.

Yeah, that’s vague and generic, but Thomas Perry delivers an amazingly complex and twisted story. Dan Chase’s name isn’t Dan Chase, and he goes through several name changes throughout the book, but you never once lose track of who’s who. I promise you, that’s masterful writing.

And I love that I thought I knew how it was going to go, only to discover I was wrong. I love being wrong for all the right reasons!

I have no idea how the TV show plays out, and if someone has watched it and read the book, I’d love to hear from you. But in the meantime, definitely pick up The Old Man by Thomas Perry.

JB

For years I’ve been meaning to read Marc Reisner’s Cadillac Desert. I’ve had enough time; it was published originally in 1986. Considering all of the dire drought news, especially concerning the Mississippi (you may recall I read a book by Rinker Buck about drifting down to New Orleans from Pennsylvania earlier this year which made the later drought stories more vivid), it was time to get a copy. And it is a startlingly majestic book.

Reisner covers the entire history of the US government fiddling with nature to move water from areas where it flowed freely to areas that were naturally arid, the infighting between departments to get the job, the pork-barrel spending to keep the projects moving, and the folly and damage caused by it all.

The worst of it is that Reisner writes about a future he hopes will not unfold, and his future is our present. So you get to see where much of our current problems start. He’s entirely caustic about it all, the politicians, the government actors, the developers, the big farmers, and the inability of them all to look ahead at what their actions will cause.

For us in the Northwest, there were the frightening plans to cull off a fair amount of the Columbia to send it to the Colorado River system (read California), as well as to divert much of the Klamath for the same purpose. If you’ve paid attention to the news of late, you may have read of a plan to start removing dams on the Kalamath, the Mississippi has begun to flow better as we head into Winter but it is still dangerously low, and the pie-eyed math that divvied up the Colorado River is coming back to bite back hard. Reisner explains all of that with harsh and infuriating clarity (How a 100-year-old miscalculation drained the Colorado River). From the LA Times on Nov. 25: As California droughts intensify, ecosystems and rural communities will bear the brunt

Another thing he refers to is the 100th Meridian. That’s the imaginary line on the continental US map that marks the climate divide between the humid east and arid west in North America. Well, for the last half dozen years there has been thought that this divide is shifting EAST. This has massive implications for the crops grown in the Great Plains, what we eat, the health of farms, the economics of food, and where people live. Again, when he wrote the book, is was just a fear – now, apparently, it is our reality.

Reisner is a wonderful writer, sprinkling his story with an impressive vocabulary. I kept a pen nearby to write down words I did not know on the back of a shop bookmark. The Words of the Month are all from his book.

coterminous (adj): having the same boundaries or extent in space, time, or meaning.

And if you do read it – I highly recommend that you order a copy of the trade paperback from your local independent bookseller – you’ll find the machinations of the big shots of LA to “acquire” more and more water familiar: it’s the plot of Chinatown.

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

We Wish and Yours Peace and Happiness in this Season of Silliness, Sales, and Shindigs

November 2022

Bookish DIY Kits To Buy and Make for Holiday Gifting

Calling Dr. Hiaasen: Pro Fishing Roiled by Wild Walleye Cheating Scandal

Chess star Hans Niemann accused of cheating by rival has likely done so in more than 100 games, report claims

Mad magazine’s oldest active artist still spoofs what makes us human

Michael Jordan Fleer rookie card sells for record $1 million

The Rosetta Stone: The real ancient codebreakers

A film scholar uncovered the oldest footage from a Black film company at the Library of Congress

Rediscovered Hollywood Film Archive Offers Collectors the Chance to Own a Piece of Cinematic History

A Medieval Manuscript Has Revealed the Oldest Known Map of the Stars

Looking at Enheduanna, the World’s First Known Author, and the Women of Mesopotamia

“Rogue” Employee Replaces Pro-Choice Book Orders with Christian Books

New York Post Fires Staffer Who Posted Racist, Violent Messages to Website and Twitter Account

Two Ultra-Rare Calvin & Hobbes Works Head to Auction

Serious Stuff

Publishing Company Starts School Year by Removing Over 1,000 E-Textbooks

Did American Business Leaders Really Try to Overthrow the President, Like in Amsterdam?

The Globetrotting Con Man and Suspected Spy Who Met With President Trump

U.S. Supreme Court mulls line between art and theft in Warhol case

Self-Proclaimed Incel Plotted to Murder 3,000 Ohio Sorority Women

It’s Time for Moralistic True Crime to Die

Is this the sign of something bad happening in the book industry? Barnes & Noble is Offering Buy One, Get One 50% Off on Hundreds of Books

Following Supreme Court’s Lead, Judge Finds Right to Remove Serial Numbers From Guns

Analysis shows women who publish physics papers are cited less often than men

How the FBI Stumbled in the War on Cybercrime

Salman Rushdie has lost vision in one eye and the use of his hand.

Japanese bookstores are closing at a much faster rate than here in America.

The Neglected Tale of the Tougaloo Nine and their 1961 Read-In

Defense Team for Ex-Black Panther Discover Evidence Withheld from Trial

Lost John Steinbeck essay about American democracy published

The Killer Robot Future is Already Here

China Operates Secret ‘Police Stations’ in Other Countries

Scientists Discover Unmarked Coffins During Search For 1921 Tulsa Massacre Victims

Words of the Month

danger (n.) mid-13th c., daunger, “arrogance, insolence;” c. 1300, “power of a lord or master, jurisdiction,” from Anglo-French daunger, Old French dangier “power, power to harm, mastery, authority, control” (12th c., Modern French danger), alteration (due to association with damnum) of dongier, from Vulgar Latin *dominarium “power of a lord,” from Latin dominus “lord, master,” from domus “house” (from PIE root *dem- “house, household”).

Modern sense of “risk, peril, exposure to injury, loss, pain, etc.” (from being in the control of someone or something else) evolved first in French and was in English by late 14th c. For this, Old English had pleoh; in early Middle English this sense is found in peril. For sound changes, compare dungeon, which is from the same source. (etymonline)

Censorship

New Right to Read Bill Expands School Library Access, Students’ Rights to Read

He’s known as Chile’s greatest poet, but feminists say Pablo Neruda is canceled

Battling over books

Conservative Muslims join forces with Christian right on Michigan book bans

Today’s book bans echo a panic against comic books in the 1950s

Libraries Are Beefing Up Security After a Series of Violent Threats (which means less money for books…)

Booker Prize Winner: Attack on Salman Rushdie caused me to self-censor

Book Ban Vote Unleashes Mayhem at Michigan School Board Meeting

Florida Puts Raging MAGA Moms on Book-Banning Council

A reporter’s memoir of her jail time gets banned in Florida prisons

Jay Ashcroft, potential Missouri governor candidate, floats library book ban proposal

Anti-LGBTQ Groups Are Helping Enforce a ‘Book Ban’ Law in Florida

Local Stuff

Magus Books Is Coming to Wallingford

This Week in History, 1977: Frank Baker invites you to dine with James Bond and his Aston Martin

Moira Macdonald returns with her mystery column, The Plot Thickens

Pegasus Book Exchange is where the past and future of bookselling collide in West Seattle

Shelf Talkers: What the Booksellers Are Reading at Elliott Bay Book Company

The Young Woman Behind a Last Mystery of the Green River Killer

NPR reporting on Oregon theater death threats prompt local and national response

Odd Stuff

King Charles Hired A Former Top Editor At The Tabloids That Published Critical Kate Middleton Columns And The Story That Was An Impetus For The Breakdown Of Meghan Markle’s Relationship With Her Father

What We Know About ‘The Watcher’ Case Four Years Later (seriously spooky!)

Three chimpanzees kidnapped and held to six-figure ransom in first known case of its kind

We’re getting a Wrinkle in Time stage musical

Liam Neeson to bring his very particular set of skills to Naked Gun reboot (?!?!?!)

My Eight Deranged Days on the Gone Girl Cruise

Scientists Found a Way to Predict Your Death by How You Walk

On TikTok, Charles Manson Is a Cozy Fall Vibe

Strip Club Death Trial Delayed by Lawyer Dying in Same Strip Club

Forget bank robbery. These men stole $9 million in meat, feds say.

Turkish garbage collectors have created a library from discarded books.

Words of the Month

peril (n.) “danger, risk, hazard, jeopardy, exposure of person or property to injury, loss, or destruction,” c. 1200, from Old French peril “danger, risk” (10th c.), from Latin periculum “an attempt, trial, experiment; risk, danger,” with instrumentive suffix –culum and first element from PIE *peri-tlo-, suffixed form of root *per- (3) “to try, risk.” (etymonline)

SPECTRE

All the ways Amazon’s home gadgets are spying on you

“Get Big Fast.” How Amazon Accelerated the Commodification of Literature

France sets minimum book delivery fee in anti-Amazon struggle

This Seattle woman is fighting Amazon to help domestic violence survivors

Amazon Changes Kindle eBook Return Policy, Ends Lending Between Kindle Users, and More

Russia’s Wave of Ridiculous Fines Finally Comes for Amazon

Words of the Month

alarm (n.) late 14th c., “a call to arms in the face of danger or an enemy,” from Old French alarme (14th c.), from Italian all’arme “to arms!” (literally “to the arms”); this is a contraction of phrase alle arme.

Alle is itself a contraction of a “to” (from Latin ad; see ad-) + le, from Latin illas, fem. accusative plural of ille “the” (see le); with arme, from Latin arma “weapons” (including armor), literally “tools, implements (of war),” from PIE root *ar- “to fit together.”

The interjection came to be used as the word for the call or warning (compare alert). It was extended 16th c. to “any sound to warn of danger or to arouse,” and to the device that gives it. From mid-15th c. as “a state of fearful surprise;” the weakened sense of “apprehension, unease” is from 1833. The variant alarum (mid-15th c.) is due to the rolling -r- in the vocalized form. Sometimes in early years it was Englished as all-arm. Alarm clock is attested from 1690s (as A Larum clock).

alarm (v.): 1580s, “call to arms for defense,” from alarm (n.) or from French alarmer (16c.), from the noun in French. The meaning “surprise with apprehension of danger” is from 1650s. Related: Alarmed; alarming. (etymonline)

Awards

BBC unveils winner of National Short Story Award Story

Annie Ernaux wins the 2022 Nobel prize in literature

Here’s the shortlist for the 2022 T. S. Eliot Prize.

Here are this year’s literary MacArthur fellows

The 6 2022 Booker Prize Finalists On Their 3 Favourite Books Of All Time

TS Eliot prize announces a ‘shapeshifting’ shortlist

Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka wins 2022 Booker Prize

Book Stuff

Early Interviews With Cormac McCarthy Rediscovered

Prelinger Library keeps print alive for 19 years and counting

France’s royal library welcomes families after majestic makeover

Publishing Wants To Cash In On BookTok. Creators Say No

Book Cover Confidential: A Roundtable with Designers

Denise Mina: ‘All my reading is comfort reading’

Reintroducing Book World

Watchmen author Alan Moore: ‘I’m definitely done with comics’

Jon Land: My First Thriller

The NY Art Book Fair Returns Home to Chelsea

Shelf Talkers: What the Booksellers Are Reading at Boswell Book Company

Meet the Man Who Wants to Build You a $200,000 Library of Books

Bored with a book, I set off for New York, where I … bought more books

Seventy-five years of richly illustrated literary classics – in pictures

How Dynamic Shelving Can Change Your Library

How a Tiny British Publisher Became the Home of Nobel Laureates

Book prices set to rise as production costs soar, say UK publishers

Costco’s Decision To Stop Selling Books In Hawaii Is A Blow To Local Authors

So You’re Stuck in a Cozy Mystery: A Survival Kit

Fifty Forgotten Books: An original take on the joys of second-hand books

Mother who bought Harry Potter books signed by JK Rowling for £5 in the 1990s is stunned to discover they are now worth up to £11,000 after an expert revealed they were BOTH rare first editions

#BookTok: A hashtag changing the book industry

Read 7,000 Historic Children’s Books for Free in This Online Archive

Phyllis Nagy: ‘Knowing Patricia Highsmith changed my thinking about how a female writer could live’

Inside a New York Literary Golden Age

Lee Child and Andrew Child on Discipline, Dread, and Writing Late at Night

Veteran Reporter Margaret Sullivan’s Favorite Books About Journalism

Open letter to top publisher condemns $2m Amy Coney Barrett book deal

Charles Darwin’s Rare Autographed Manuscript Could Sell for $800,000

Author Events

Nov. 2: Cherie Priest, Island Books, 7:30pm

Nov. 3: Cherie Priest with Seanan McGuire, Third Place/Seward, 7pm

Other Forms of Entertainment

The 15 Best Film Noir Movies, Ranked According To Letterboxd

Kenneth Branagh Sets Impressive Cast For His Supernatural Thriller A HAUNTING IN VENICE

Charlie Cox Says His DAREDEVIL: BORN AGAIN Series Might Start From the Beginning and Do a True to Comic Reboot

Edward Zuckerman On Writing the Funny Episodes of “Law & Order”

Martin Scorsese to Helm ‘Gangs of New York’ TV Show

Harrison Ford Joining ‘Captain America 4’

Reassuring, timeless, safe: how Angela Lansbury set the style for female TV sleuths

“Magpie Murders,” a new series on “Masterpiece,” is a mystery within a mystery, based on a book by Anthony Horowitz

Reservoir Dogs at 30: Tarantino’s canny contained act of provocation

‘The Name of the Game’: The Vintage Show That Asked, What if People Magazine Writers Solved Crimes

TikToker Lands the Role of a Lifetime: Playing Dead on TV

Why a Brilliant New Doc Will Make You Radically Rethink “Blaxploitation”

007=’

Iconic 007 posters up for sale as James Bond celebrates 60th anniversary

Perfectly ridiculous explanation of the iconic “James Bond Chord”

‘Dr No’ at 60: Who Was the Real James Bond?

The Search for the New James Bond Is Officially Underway, and It’s Gonna Be a Long One

How maverick genius who inspired James Bond’s Q helped PoWs to escape from Colditz in Second World War

‘No Time to Die’ Aston Martin DB5 Raises $3.2 Million at Auction

The Ultimate James Bond Sticker Set Arrives

Iconic Aston Martin DB5 similar to one driven by James Bond in 1964 film – but painted gold instead of silver – is expected to fetch £550,000 at auction

007 Director Reveals Which Rock Stars Have Secret James Bond Songs

Ten Years on, the Next Bond Film Has a Lot to Learn From ‘Skyfall’

Every James Bond villain’s sports owner counterpart

Words of the Month

warn (v.) Old English warnian “to give notice of impending danger,” also intransitive, “to take heed,” from Proto-Germanic *warōnan (source also of Old Norse varna “to admonish,” Old High German warnon “to take heed,” German warnen “to warn”), from PIE root *wer (4) “to cover.” Related: Warned; warning. (etymonline)

RIP

Oct. 3: Robert Brown, ‘Here Come the Brides’ Actor, Dies at 95

Oct. 6: Lenny Lipton, “Puff the Magic Dragon” Lyricist and 3D Filmmaking Pioneer, Dies at 82

Oct. 10: Austin Stoker, Star of John Carpenter’s ‘Assault on Precinct 13,’ Dies at 92

Oct. 10: Michael Callan, Actor in ‘West Side Story’ and ‘Cat Ballou,’ Dies at 86

Oct. 11: Angela Lansbury, Entrancing Star of Stage and Screen, Dies at 96

Oct. 14: Robbie Coltrane, Comic Performer Who Played Hagrid in ‘Harry Potter’ Movies, “Cracker”, and Two Bond Films. Dies at 72

Oct. 17: Benjamin Civiletti, 87, Attorney General in Iran Hostage Crisis, Dies

Oct. 28: Jerry Lee Lewis, Influential and Condemned Rock & Roll Pioneer, Dead at 87 [ok, it’s a stretch, but he needs to be honored and, after all, he was called The Killer!]

Links of Interest

Sept. 26: Archive of Ernest Hemingway Writings, Photos Opens to the Public for the First Time

Sept. 28: ‘Womaniser’ May Have Fed Wife to Pigs to Be With Another Woman, Court Hears

Sept. 30: Mexican government suffers major data hack, president’s health issues revealed

Oct. 2: Tylenol murders: daughter tells of toll of unsolved killings, 40 years on

Oct. 6: The Journalist and the Psychopath: The Story Behind Edward Howard Rulloff’s Crimes

Oct. 11: The Founder of 8chan Is Facing Death Threats for Going After QAnon

Oct. 13: When $500,000 Disappeared from a Small Town

Oct. 14: The Trouble with Amateur Hired Killers

Oct. 15: California governor blocks parole of Charles Manson cult follower

Oct. 15: The Geoffrey Chaucer News That Rocked Academia This Week

Oct. 16: Postal worker holdup leads to muscle car theft ring arrests

Oct. 16: Cops Say They Nabbed Stockton Serial Killer as He Was ‘Out Hunting’

Oct. 16: Kansas City Police Called Reports of Serial Killer Targeting Black Women ‘Unfounded.’ Then a Woman Escaped.

Oct. 16: Inmate Stole $11 Million in Gold Coin Scheme While in Prison, Officials Say

Oct. 19: A Fabled Map of the Cosmos Lost for Thousands of Years Has Been Found

Oct. 21: How Entomologists Use Insects to Solve Crimes

Oct. 25: The Manhattan Well Mystery: On America’s First Media Circus Around a Murder Case

Oct. 25: Iowa daughter accuses her dead father of being America’s most prolific SERIAL KILLER, killing up to 70 women and forcing her to dump their bodies in 100ft well: Sheriff says ‘I believe her 100%’

Oct. 26: Evidence ‘Invalidated’ in Explosive Report on Mexico’s 43 Missing Students

Oct. 26: MAGA Conspiracy Tours Plagued With ‘Grifter’ Allegations

Words of the Month

safe (adj.) c. 1300, sauf, “unscathed, unhurt, uninjured; free from danger or molestation, in safety, secure; saved spiritually, redeemed, not damned;” from Old French sauf “protected, watched-over; assured of salvation,” from Latin salvus “uninjured, in good health, safe,” which is related to salus “good health,” saluber “healthful” (all from PIE *solwos from root *sol- “whole, well-kept”). For the phonological development of safe from sauf, OED compares gage from Old North French gauge.

From late 14th c. as “rescued, delivered; protected; left alive, unkilled.” The meaning “not exposed to danger” (of places, later of valuables) is attested from late 14th c.; in reference to actions, etc., the meaning “free from risk,” is recorded by 1580s. The sense of “sure, reliable, not a danger” is from c. 1600. The sense of “conservative, cautious” is from 1823. It has been paired alliteratively with sound (adj.) from c. 1300. In Middle English it also meant “in good health,” also “delivered from sin or damnation.” Related: Safeness.

safe (n.) “chest for keeping food or valuables” safe from risk of theft or fire, early 15c., save, from French en sauf “in safety,” from sauf (see safe (adj.)). Spelling with -f- is by 1680s, from influence of safe (adj.). (etymonline)

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

Raquel V. Reyes – Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking

The second installment of the Caribbean Kitchen Mystery series is fantastic! Set during Halloween and the trials and tribulations that plague a household with a five-year-old during said month of the perpetual sugar rush, Miriam finds herself juggling her on-air cooking show career with her mother-in-law’s demands upon her time. So when a body magically appears on her front lawn, amongst the fake plastic tombstones, our intrepid sleuth decides to sit this mystery out. Until…You’ll need to read the book to find out what happens next!

I enjoyed reading Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking very much. The food, the hook of this cozy, is written seamlessly into the story — adding to the narrative without detracting, distracting, or diverting one from the actual focus of the story — murder. (And if you enjoy this particular subgenre of mysteries, you understand how difficult this feat can be to achieve.) Above and beyond, watching Miriam making dishes I’ve not attempted before in her home kitchen (in my mind’s eye) makes them feel more accessible and far less daunting to attempt in my own kitchen.

(Don’t ask me why I find guava paste intimidating. I just do.)

Now, unlike Mangos, Mambo, and Murder, whose final pages succumbed slightly into the realm of saccharin (which one could ignore because the rest of the book was so splendid), Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking does not possess this flaw. Even featuring both Halloween and Thanksgiving between the pages, Reyes found an outstanding balance between the holidays and criminal intent.

However, because this is a review, I need to point out a minor flaw (again) in the final few pages. The penultimate summing up felt a tad muddled, in so far as untangling which crimes we could attribute to whom. Though, to be fair, I could’ve been so excited to find out whodunnit I skipped a few crucial deductions…But I don’t think so. That said, I think the slight tangling of plot threads has more to do with Reyes furthering an ongoing storyline from Mangos, Mambo, and Murder than anything else. And this minor flaw will in no way impede me from picking up this tome up for a reread in the near future or politely throwing money at my local bookseller when the next installment is published!

From the Office of Fair Warning: I do need to tell you that you do need to read Mangos, Mambo, and Murder before Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking as the latter narrative builds directly upon the bones of the former and gives away the solution to the first mystery in the second. Which, again, makes sense as background nefariousness is afoot in Calypso, Corpses, and Cooking that will hopefully burst into the foreground in Reyes’s next book!

Fran

I don’t have a review this month, but wait! Wait now. I have what I believe is a relatively good reason.

In a few days, I’m having a knee replaced. I know, right? I needed this back when the shop was going strong, but I’m very good at putting off things I don’t want to think about.

So anyway, Things have had to be done to make this work. Like, say, renovating the bathroom from tub to shower. Don’t you just love the paneling we found behind the tub wall?

But it was successful, and we’re quite pleased. However, much of my time during this process was keeping Mazikeen from freaking out every time the contractor walked through the door. You’d have thought he was a bunny or something.

Despite Mazkeen’s hyper-vigilance, we did get it done.

She does love protecting me. In fact, the other day while I was at the bathroom sink taking my multitude of pills, the heater kicked on, and she placed herself at my back, leaning against my calves, ready to take on whatever that new sound was – provided I’d guard her too. She really is a sweetheart.

But anyway, the shower now has bars and a chair, the toilet is all gussied up to make sitting there easier, and we’ve rearranged furniture to give me unobstructed access to the floors, since I’ll be walking a lot, I gather.

The weather is nice and cool down here in sunny New Mexico, and I think I’m going to enjoy my new knee during the upcoming holidays, although I’m using it as an excuse NOT to cook Thanksgiving dinner this year. *huge grin*

Happy November, everyone, and remember not to eat all yesterday’s candy at once. Take your time. But don’t wait too long! Have you noticed that Christmas candy’s already on sale?

JB

I hate to say I was disappointed in Joe Ide’s Marlowe novel but I simply kept groaning at what he was doing.

I suppose it isn’t that big a deal to bring Marlowe into today’s world but The Goodbye Coast changes much about Marlowe’s life. First, he dropped out of the LAPD training after a very short time and became a PI. In Chandler’s books, he was an investigator for the DA before going private. That isn’t a huge deal. But then he saddles Marlowe with a father who is a cop but suspended due to drinking, never really recovering from the death of his wife. The family trauma/drama set off my soap opera alarms and they buzzed throughout the book.

But the worst part for me was describing characters by the actors or celebrities they resembled. I found that lazy. There is so much about today’s world in the book that there’s no way for it to age well, no way for it to become timeless, as Chandler’s have.

Ide is a good writer and he’s got a feel for similes. In that way, the sentences sparkle as Chandler’s did. He described a piece of fast-food orange chicken as looking like a burnt ear. OKAY! But the writing isn’t enough, to me, to save the novel from the weaknesses of how he’s presented the rest.

I was SO looking forward to reading this. The day I found out it existed I went out and bought it. Sorry I did. If you want to read it, wait for the paperback. But I hope other contemporary authors will continue to write new Marlowe novels. He’s too great a character to say goodbye to.

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I believe Fran and I directed interested folks to John Connolly‘s 2020 on-line project called “The Strange Sisters”. In the midst of the first covid wave, it was to be a short story written and posted on-line in real time, that is as he wrote it daily, not once it had gone through the publishing mill. As interesting plan, he would create the story as he went, not knowing where it would go.

Now he’s released a new book called The Furies. It’s not a novel, but a volume with two “short novels”: a reworked “The Strange Sisters”, which he notes in an afterward is twice the length of the original; and “The Furies”, a new short novel.

Both are Parker stories, both full of the odd Maine characters we’ve come to know, as well as visitors. If you read “The Strange Sisters” on-line as we did, it’s worth reading this expanded version. And “The Furies” has Parker working to help two women who are at the end of their options. Both are a delight, even when dealing with otherworldly issues. Though Halloween has passed, don’t let that keep you from the on-going creepiness that is Charlie Parker’s world. You’ve got Louis and Angel to keep you safe…

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

October 2022

SEATTLE ANTIQUARIAN BOOKFAIR ~ October 8th & 9th You don’t have to buy but it’s great to look!

Floppy disks in Japan: Minister declares war on old-fashioned technology

A shipment of baby wipes turns out to be $11.8 million worth of cocaine

Bigfoot Believers Uncovered a Lost Manuscript About the ‘Soviet Sasquatch’

Today’s hero: the 82-year-old Egyptian man who has collected 15,000 books for his community.

Sorry, Batman, This Luxury Lifestyle Brand Is All About Bruce Wayne

Longest single-volume book in the world goes on sale – and is impossible to read (at 21,450-pages – – – )

Attention, phonies: a rare signed edition of The Catcher in the Rye is up for sale.

The Enduring Wisdom of ‘Goodnight Moon’

Words of the Month

lucubration (n): a piece of writing, typically a pedantic or over-elaborate one.

Serious Stuff

A new ransomware gang is starting to ramp up its operations — and its exploits focus on a programming language that makes it harder for researchers to crack.

Here Is the Manual for the Mass Surveillance Tool Cops Use to Track Phones

Facebook Engineers Admit They Don’t Know What They Do With Your Data

A Different Heatwave Warning: Online Hate—Like Violent Crime—Soars With High Temperatures, Study Suggests

Google and Oxford Scientists Publish Paper Claiming AI Will “Likely” Annihilate Humankind [Skynet, anyone??]

FBI tracked Aretha Franklin’s civil rights activism, declassified file shows

The Sinaloa Cartel Is Controlling Water in Drought-Stricken Mexico

A Hotter, More Violent World

Screaming in Secret: Dahlia Lithwick on the Women Who Work Within the Legal System

Incel Communities Are Reportedly Engaged in a ‘Brothers-in-Arms’ War Against Women

Louisiana’s Infamous Angola Prison Will Now Lock Up Children

New report reveals ‘devastating scale’ of harassment and discrimination in the music industry

Cybersecurity firm Mandiant uncovers sophisticated espionage campaign

Researchers Say the CIA’s Amateurish Websites Led to the Exposure of Critical Assets

Censorship

Oklahoma Wants to Revoke License of Teacher Who Shared ‘Books Unbanned’ QR Code

Teens Are Fighting Back Against LGBTQ Book Bans

SLJ Survey Shows That Censorship Will Have Long-Term Effect on School Libraries

A Lot More Censorship Is Coming to a School Near You

Arizona Zine Shop Counters Book Bans With Inclusive Offerings

Book Bans Impact Over 4 Million Students: PEN America’s Sobering New Report

Overwhelming Majority of American Voters Strongly Oppose Book Banning According to National Poll

A Colorado Library Board Has Voted to Ban Book Bans

Jenny Holzer Unveils Massive Outdoor Installation at the Rockefeller Center ~ Text-based artwork that comes to the aid of writers and journalists in the midst of rising censorship around the world.

How to beat a book ban: students, parents and librarians fight back

40 Years of Banned Book Week: The ‘dangerous’ books too powerful to read

City of Chicago and Chicago Public Library Declare Themselves Book Sanctuaries

More than 1,600 books banned during 2021-22 school year, report finds

Democrats introduce ‘book ban’ resolution amid nationwide censorship movement

Brooklyn’s library moves to slip books through red state bans

Pennsylvania school district accused of banning Girls Who Code book series

The Long and Gruesome History of the Battle Over American Textbooks

Canadian Right-Wing Book Banning Groups Don’t Know How School Boards Work

Words of the Month

caconym (n.) “a name rejected for linguistic reasons, bad nomenclature in botany or biology,” 1888, from caco- “bad, ill, poor” + -onym “name” (from PIE root *no-men- “name”). (etymonline)

Local Stuff

Why Seattle libraries had 130-plus closures this summer

New Black-owned Central District bookstore celebrates Black culture

‘Riverdale’ actor Ryan Grantham gets life in prison for killing his mother

High-level gangster vanishes while on parole in B.C.

Walls of Books fills the bookstore-shaped hole in the hearts of Issaquah readers

How a Powell’s Books outpost ended up in Condon, population 760

Odd Stuff

James Patterson’s ‘Blowback’ asks, ‘What if we elected a psychopath?’

Food Delivery Robot Casually Drives Under Police Tape, Through Active Crime Scene

Five Ways to Break Up, According to Michael Mann’s Films

The Mystery of the Headless Goats in the Chattahoochee

Words of the Month

threap (n): An argument or disagreement, often un-resolvable. (Says You!, #1016)

SPECTRE

Amazon keeps growing, and so does its cache of data on you

Amazon’s eastern Oregon expansion sends carbon emissions soaring

California sues Amazon, alleging antitrust law violations

Speedreaders Lose, Authors Win in New Amazon Ebook Policy Change

Words of the Month.

opisthography (n.) “the practice of writing on the back of anything,” 1715, from Greek opisthographos “written on the back,” from graphos “writing” (from graphein“to write” (see -graphy) + opisthen “behind, from behind, at the back,” from opi, a variant of epi “on it, at it” (see epi-). (etymonline)

Awards

The Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize named 11 recipients this year, awarding a total of $1.1 million.

The Griffin Poetry Prize has created the largest international prize for a book of poetry.

Here are the finalists for the 2022 Kirkus Prize, one of the world’s richest literary awards

Here are the bookies’ odds for the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature

Words of the Month

scrawl (v.) From the 1610s, “write or draw awkwardly and untidily,” a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from a specific use of Middle English scrawlen “spread out the limbs, sprawl” (early 15c.), which might be an alteration of sprawlen (see sprawl (v.)) or crawl (v.). Some sources suggest a contraction of scrabble. Related: Scrawled; scrawling.

The noun in the sense of “piece of unskilled or inelegant writing” is by 1690s, from the verb; the meaning “bad style of handwriting” is by 1710. (etymonline)

Book Stuff

Books at One expands to Dublin; Murder One and Capital Crime launch; Colm Tóibín premiere

A Conservative Publisher Wants to Be the Answer to Liberal Children’s Books. There’s Just One Problem. “The books aren’t bad, necessarily. They’re just not for kids.”

Books newsletter: Proust in Dublin; Culture Night; Catholicism debate; Yeats sculpture unveiled

New UK PM Truss urged to invest in libraries and abolish tax on audiobooks

Is climate-change making it too hot for many of the nation’s libraries?

The Shopkeeper Sleuth: Cozy Mysteries Featuring Crime-Solving Business Owners

Impossible Murders In Crime Fiction

Deanna Raybourn: On Writers and (Characters) of a Certain Age

The New James Bond Novels Are Fun, Progressive, and Totally Thrilling

What Women Mystery Writers and Female Sleuths Owe to Nancy Drew

A publisher abruptly recalled the ‘2,000 Mules’ election denial book. NPR got a copy.

Laurie R. King On Returning to Her San Francisco Roots During Lockdown

Boerne book festival kicks off spooky season with monsters and mysteries

A Deep Dive Into the History of Bibliomysteries

The State of the Crime Novel: A Roundtable Discussion with Crime Authors – part 1, part 2

S. A. Cosby: Interview and Cover Reveal

A recent episode of NPR’s Marketplace, reported on the continuing difficulties publishers are having getting books manufactured

Tom Hanks announces ‘wildly ambitious’ first novel

10 Shadowy Meetings of Crime and the Occult

Horror Fiction In The Age of Covid: A Roundtable Discussion

The Unstoppable, Fearsome, Delicious Allure of the Witch

On Theda Bara and the Origins of the Vamp

Miss Christie!

Rhys Bowen: Miss Marple is Agatha Christie’s best character. A new book reminds us why.

Agatha Christie by Lucy Worsley review – in search of the elusive author

Author Events (in person)

Tues, Oct 18: Candace Robb signs her new Owen Archer, A Fox in the Fold: Third Place/Ravenna, 7pm

Other Forms of Entertainment

Library Sitcom ‘SHELVED’ Could Be The Show We Need

Indiana Jones 5: Is it really over for Harrison Ford as an action star?

Scenes from a Marriage: Watching the “Thin Man” Movies as a Set

James Bond Producers Are Focused on Figuring Out a Villain Before Casting the Next 007

Porfirio Rubirosa: the Dominican man who inspired James Bond

When Hollywood Was Punished for Its Anti-Nazism

Yes, There’s a Wonderful New ‘Fletch’ Movie Starring Jon Hamm. Not That You’d Know It Exists

8 True Crime Podcasts You Need to Listen to This Fall

The Many Crime Stories of Robert De Niro

Words of the Month

chirography (n.) “handwriting, the art of writing,” 1650s, from chiro “the hand”+ graphy “writing.” Chirograph “formal written legal document” is attested from late 13c. in Anglo-French, from Latin chirographum, from Greek kheirographia “written testimony.” Related: Chirographer; chirographic. (etymonline)

RIP

Sept. 3: Award-Winning Underground Comics Writer/Artist Diane Noomin Dies at 75

Sept. 4: Sterling Lord Dies – Literary Agent For Jack Kerouac’s ‘On The Road’ Was 102

Sept. 7: Best-selling horror writer Peter Straub has died at 79

Sept. 11: Spanish novelist Javier Marías dies in Madrid hospital aged 70

Sept. 12: NSA analyst jailed for life for selling US secrets to Soviets dies aged 80

Sept. 13: Ken Starr, the prosecutor on the Clinton Whitewater investigation, has died at 76

Sept. 14: Earl Silbert, first prosecutor in the Watergate case, dies at 86

Sept. 14: Irene Papas, celebrated Greek actress from ‘Guns of Navarone’, ‘Zorba’ to ‘Iphigenia,’ and ‘Z’, has died at 96

Sept. 16: Henry Silva, Bad Guy in ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ and Many Other Movies, Dies at 95

Sept. 17: Maximilian Lerner, Whose Espionage Skills Helped Win a War, Dies at 98

Sept. 19: Lily Renée Phillips, Pioneering Comic Book Artist, Dies at 101

Sept. 21: John Train, Paris Review Co-Founder and Cold War Operative, Dies at 94

Sept. 23: Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel dies aged 70

Sept. 23: Louise Fletcher, Oscar Winner for ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ Dies at 88

Sept. 29: Leonard Cole, Who Detailed Secret Army Germ Tests, Dies at 89

Links of Interest

Sept. 1: The nation’s poorest state used welfare money to pay Brett Favre for speeches he never made

Sept. 1: A Gang Called Drug Rich Is Robbing Celebrities All Over Atlanta

Sept. 1: What Canada’s Largest Art Heist Reveals about the Art World’s Shady Side

Sept. 4: The Fiery Godmother Who Avenged Her Husband With 29 Bullets

Sept. 5: Man Headed to Prison for Dumping Toxic Pollution Into Ocean

Sept. 6: How Eliot Ness Wound Up Hunting a Serial Killer in Cleveland

Sept.7: Suspect Nabbed in Half-Century-Old Cold Case Killing of Maryland Cop

Sept.7: Police Arrest Woman Who Faked Her Own Kidnapping to Extort Her Mom—for the Fourth Time

Sept. 8: County Official’s DNA Found at Site of Vegas Journalist’s Grisly Slaying

Sept. 8: MAGA Pastor Settles After Being Accused of Scamming Old Lady

Sept. 8: How Murdered Journalist Jeff German’s Colleagues Hunted Down His Alleged Killer

Sept. 9: CT Scans Reveal Gnarly, 1,000-Year-Old Mummies Were Murdered

Sept. 13: Looted coin worth $1m returned to Israel after years-long hunt

Sept. 13: A Sensational Murder Trial in the Newly Founded New Yorker

$ept. 14: ‘Santa came today’: Brett Favre texts show his role in Mississippi welfare scandal

Sept: 14: Arnold Rothstein: New York’s First Criminal Genius

Sept. 14: Missing people, buried bones at center of Oklahoma mystery

Sept. 15: Was This Letter Written by Sherlock Holmes?

Sept. 15: He Killed a Stranger He Thought Was a Werewolf. A Judge Just Banned Him From Social Media

Sept. 1`6: The Treasures Within the World’s Greatest Wine Library

Sept. 16: What Do We Really Know About the History of the Printing Press?

Sept. 19: 4 Library Collections Filled With Culinary Treasures

Sept. 20: Adnan Syed: Conviction overturned in Serial podcast murder case

Sept. 20: U.S. charges ‘brazen’ theft of $250 million from pandemic food program

Sept. 20: Prosecutors allege an inside job. The target? Rare bourbon

Sept. 22: Can Science Solve the Mystery of the Concrete Book?

Sept. 22: How Leopold and Loeb Ended up with the Country’s Most Famous Lawyer

Sept. 24: How a suburban St. Louis detective broke a 30-year-old serial killer case wide open

$ept. 24: Brett Favre pressed for facility funding despite being told legality in question, court filing says

Sept. 25: Author makes case for most compelling Zodiac Killer suspect in decades

Sept. 26: One Man’s Search for the First Hebrew-Lettered Cookbook

$ept. 27: Brett Favre is the face of a scandal, but Mississippi’s issues go deeper

Sept. 28: Kandinsky painting returned to Jewish family as Netherlands shifts approach to looted art

Sept. 28: The Evils of Larry Ray: A Creepy Dad Who Started a Sex Cult at Sarah Lawrence College

Sept. 28: Hollywood-Beloved Espionage Author Ben MacIntyre on What Truly Motivates Spies

Sept. 28: RFK assassin Sirhan asks to go home to live ‘in peace’

$ept. 28: Brett Favre’s foundation, aimed at helping children and cancer patients, gave funds to USM athletics

Sept. 29: Man Pays $75 for Medieval Text That Could Be Worth $10,000

Sept. 30: The Lindisfarne Gospels: ‘everyone should see this show at least once’

Words of the Month

cacoethes (n.) “itch for doing something,” 1560s, from Latinized form of Greek kakoēthēs “ill-habit, wickedness, itch for doing (something),” from kakos “bad” (from PIE root *kakka- “to defecate”) + ēthē- “disposition, character” (see ethos). Most famously, in Juvenal’s insanabile scribendi cacoethes “incurable passion for writing.” (etymonline)

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

Deanna Raybourn – Killers of a Certain Age

Ready to retire, four women (of a certain age) are treated to a boat cruise by their former employers as a reward for their exemplary service. A vacation which they enjoy right up until one of the group spots a former colleague on the same boat. 

The only problem — Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie’s former job title: Assassin.

Deanna Rabourn’s tale is a rollercoaster ride of the first water! Blending together the librarians from Gunpowder Milkshake, the general premise of Burn Notice, and Lana’s origin story from Archer — you’ve now got an inkling of the wild ride between the covers of Killer’s of a Certain Age.

Seriously, I couldn’t put Killers of a Certain Age down. 

I’d recommend this book to anyone who needs a fantastic, fast-paced read for the bath or a holiday. Seriously, I love how these women outwit, outmaneuver, and outshine their pursuers using experience their younger counterparts don’t yet possess…

Plus, it was just lovely to sit down for a few hours and read a book from cover to cover — especially when Raybourn penned such a satisfying ending! 

Fran

Keep an open mind

I had just finished watching the series “Madam Secretary” when I picked up State of Terror. Now, if you were going to write a thriller involving the Secretary of State, and you wanted a fast-paced, well plotted book with intriguing characters, who would you have author it? Be fair, be honest, who knows their stuff?

Hillary Rodham Clinton knows the ins and outs of being Secretary of State. Whatever you may think of her, she knows her stuff.

Louise Penny has proved time and again that she can write a gripping novel filled with real people.

Together, they created State of Terror, and honestly, now is the time to read it.

I want to sit down and talk about this book with you face to face so you can see my enthusiasm. But it’s good that I can’t, because I’d give away spoilers. For our plot purposes here, let me just say that Ellen Adams was a harsh critic of now President Doug Williams during her media mogul days, so it was a huge surprise when he appointed her Secretary of State. Adams handed off her media empire to her daughter and accepted the position, where her first assignment failed miserably. Let’s just say this did not displease President Williams.

But when bus bombs happen in a couple of European cities, Adams and Williams have to work together to figure out where the next target is. One of Secretary Adams’ people in the Pakistan office gets a clue, and the race is on.

“The most amazing thing that has happened in my lifetime is neither putting a man on the moon nor Facebook having 2.8 billion monthly active users. It is that in the 75 years, 7 months, and 13 days since Nagasaki, a nuclear bomb has not been detonated.” – Tom Peters

The more I read this book, knowing HRC‘s insider knowledge of Washington politics and its back door dealings, combined with Louise Penny’s astonishing ability to put you right in the heart of the story, the more terrifying it became. And watching current news cycles both in the US and around the world, this book becomes more relevant every day. I had no idea.

Which is not to say it doesn’t have moments of levity. Some of the characters will jump right into your heart. Betsy Jameson, Secretary Adams’ good friend and counselor is one of them. She’s the “Mrs. Cleaver” below, because she looks so ordinary and friendly.

“Steve Kowalski, Ellen’s head of Diplomatic Security, a longtime veteran of the service, turned in the front seat to look at Mrs. Cleaver as she combined and conjugated words that should never, really, have conjugal relations. The ensuing progeny was both grotesque and hilarious, as she turned nouns into verbs, and verbs into something else entirely. It was a display of linguistic gymnastics the agent hadn’t thought possible. And he’d been a Marine.”

You’ll get chills, and it’s possible that your sleep will be disrupted by this novel – and remember, it is just a novel – and with good reason. The possibilities given here are far too plausible not to be considered, and when a power team like this presents it to you, you pay attention.

Also, it’s a great thriller! Trust me, you want to read State of Terror now.

JB


I was thrilled to find that Rinker Buck had a new book coming out. The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey was one of the best books I read when it came out in 2016. I’ve given away at least a half-dozen copies. In it he builds a canastoga wagon and set off, powered by three mules, across the Oregon Trail. It is an outstanding book, jammed with history and interesting tidbits, and I was ready for a new adventure.

Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure mirrors that earlier book but this involves first building a flatboat – the sort first used to navigate the Father of Waters – and then float it from the start of the Ohio River and down to New Orleans. Nearly everyone he discusses this plan with tells him he’s going to die. They’re all quiet serious. Perhaps it is hubris, or his own native mule-headedness, but he plunges on. It’s a daunting plan but you know he survived ’cause you’re reading the book.

Along the way you accumulate a flowing history of how the commerce and settlement of the country was enhanced by European-Americans moving West and following the waters. Of course, the current river is nothing like the unfettered highway of 200 years ago – just as the Oregon Trail no longer exists as it was when first blazzed. Buck is aghast at the garbage and trash (it often was, he says sadly, a “floating junkyard”). “And the river has been so contained and shaped so as to stay within it’s bounds that is in no way as wild as it once once. That’s not to say it isn’t dangerous; big storms along any of the rivers that feed it can make it swell and churn, and the commercial traffic is astonishing. Then, too, there are the weekend fools.

Like the junk that float by, so too does the awful history of our country – Buck does not shy from explaining the ways the waters helped to decimate the natives that had ruled and helped to spread slavery further into the landscape. Truly, life on the Mississippi is both a grand tale of human progress corrupted because of the costs that it charges on all who used it.

??????????????????????????????????

All Haunting is Regret

Don’t worry if you start Hell and Back and can’t figure out what is going on. Neither can Walt. Craig Johnson puts all of us – readers and characters – in a place that defies explanation and populates it with people who can’t possibly there. In fact, there are so many people from Walt’s past that I stopped reading the new book and re-read the previously three and it helped. It is a book overflowing with mystery and mysticism. It is a book unlike any of the previous Longmires, yet is is easily experienced as another in a long line of Absaroka County stories that are unique and comforting. Because at the center is Walt Longmire and he is trustworthy to all.

“Words are important, no matter what the language – they are perhaps one of the most powerful things we have. Words can preserve life or invoke death and should be handled with the same care as any deadly weapon.” Those are Virgil’s words, but the truth is Craig’s.

Boy Howdy…

=================================

Pulitzer-nominated investigative reporter Howard Blum‘s brand new book is astonishing. The Spy Who Knew Too Much: An Ex-CIA Officer’s Quest Through A Legacy of Betrayal begins with a boat sailing itself into the shore of the Chesapeake Bay and gets strange from there.

So starts an entertaining and convoluted story of the hunt for a Soviet mole in the CIA. Scads of books have been written about this hunt, the suspects, the battles over which Russian turncoat to believe, and the destruction and devastation the hunt caused to US intelligence. Blum’s book follows the investigation of Tennent “Pete” Bagley, a retired American spook who lived through that destruction and suffered from it. The circumstances of the mystery sail boat brings him back to the hunt and it unfolds like a well crafted whodunnit. Clues, red herrings, and blind alleys abound and, along the way, you see the Cold War games of both sides of the spy landscape.

If you’re interested in American history, Cold War history, CIA history – or even if you don’t think you are – pick up the books. It’s a great mystery, but all true.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Next up: a book that was released in Feb. but that I just discovered near the end of Sept – Fran has been yelling at me for years to read Joe Ide. So far I haven’t but I will now. To my knowledge, this is the third book the Chandler estate has engaged current authors to pen a new Philip Marlowe novel. First, in 2014, there was Benjamin (John Banville) Black’s The Black-Eyed Blonde, a follow-up to The Long Goodbye. In 2018, Only to Sleep by Lawrence Osbourne was released. In that, Marlowe is 72 and living in Mexico.

It’s one thing to search for new books by a favorite author. I’m not sure how you search for new books about a favorite character!

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

R.I.P.

Hard to believe that the time has flowed so quickly, but today marks five years since we locked the doors on the Seattle Mystery Bookshop as an operating business for the last time. Sure, there was lots of work left to do – counting the inventory, boxing it up, dismantling the shelves, the computers system, and packing it all out of the space – but Sept. 30, 2017 was the end of the road.

Seems as if there should be noirish terms to apply.

Amber, Fran and I would still get together for lunch now and then. But then Fran moved out of state, Amber moved out of town, and now we keep in touch electronically, as we do with you.

We miss one another, we miss being together, we miss being around books every day and knowing about what books to look forward to, and we miss talking about the books we love with readers looking for a new book to love.

But nothing good lasts forever and it was grand while it did.

Thanks again for 27 years ~ JB

September 2022

Following the attack on Salman Rushdie, his books are leading the bestseller lists.

Kentucky’s flood-affected bookstores need your help.

Attention book lovers: your dream job is hiring again.

How Does the FBI Break Into a Safe?

How Spider-Man Led to the Invention of the Prisoner Ankle Monitor

Take a Look Inside Dr. Seuss’ La Jolla Home Before it Sells For The 1st Time in 70 Years

Missing Pages: the podcast revisiting jaw-dropping literary scandals

The 15 Most Instagrammed Bookstores in the World

The Orient Express Is Resuming Its Legendary Journeys From Paris—and It’s More Glamorous Than Ever

Here’s another incredibly strange dream-like Chinese bookstore.

Newly published Charles Dickens letters reveal he was ‘a bit of a diva’

Spice Up Your Life: Swag for Unabashed Smut Readers

Words of the Month

school (n.): [place of instruction] Middle English scole, from Old English scol, “institution for instruction,” from Latin schola “meeting place for teachers and students, place of instruction;” also “learned conversation, debate; lecture; disciples of a teacher, body of followers, sect,” also in the older Greek sense of “intermission of work, leisure for learning.”

This is from Greek skholē “spare time, leisure, rest, ease; idleness; that in which leisure is employed; learned discussion;” also “a place for lectures, school;” originally “a holding back, a keeping clear,” from skhein “to get” (from PIE root *segh- “to hold”) + -olē by analogy with bolē “a throw,” stolē “outfit,” etc.

The basic sense of the Greek word is “leisure,” which passed to “otiose discussion” (in Athens or Rome, the favorite or proper use of free time), then it came to be used for the place for such discussion.

The Latin word was widely borrowed (in addition to Old French escole, French école, Spanish escuela, Italian scuola; Old High German scuola, German Schule, Swedish skola, Gaelic sgiol, Welsh ysgol, Russian shkola).

The meaning “students attending a school” in English is attested from c. 1300; the sense of “school building” is by 1590s. Sense of “people united by a general similarity of principles and methods” is from 1610s; hence school of thought (by 1848). As an adjective by mid-18th C., “pertaining to or relating to a school or to education.”

School of hard knocks “rough experience in life” is by 1870; to tell tales out of school “betray damaging secrets” is from 1540s. School-bus is from 1908. School days is from 1590s. School board “local committee of education” is by 1836; school district “division of a town or city for the management of schools” is by 1809. (etymonline)

Serious Stuff

+Stephen King in Books Merger Trial: “Consolidation Is Bad for Competition”

‘Assassin with loaded AK47’ faces federal charges for surveilling home of Iranian-American journalist

Grand jury declines to indict woman in Emmett Till killing

Howard Carter stole Tutankhamun’s treasure, new evidence suggests

‘Hackers against conspiracies’: Cyber sleuths take aim at election disinformation

Mexico calls disappearance of 43 students a ‘state crime’

Mexico arrests former top prosecutor over 2014 missing students case

The big idea: should revenge ever be a part of justice?

Over 90% of Medieval Manuscripts Have Been Lost, Study Says 

30 years ago tonight [Aug. 25], Sarajevo’s National Library was burned to the ground

How Two Mexican Drug Cartels Came to Dominate America’s Fentanyl Supply

Joyce Carol Oates and Margaret Atwood on All Things Evil

Books and bomb shelters: Ukraine returns to school

CENSORSHIP OR THE AMERICAN TALIBAN

After Anti-LGBTQ Attacks, Suburban Chicago Bakery Threatened With Fines

Books by Toni Morrison and others now feature a warning label in a Florida school district.

New York will censor a book about the Attica uprising in its state prisons

US library defunded after refusing to censor LGBTQ authors: ‘We will not ban the books’

Virginia Republicans are testing a new way to ban books and restrict their sales. In the long run, it might just work.

Tennessee District Attorney Now Denies That She Would Prosecute Librarians for Keeping Queer Books

universities scrap ‘challenging’ books to protect students

School librarians in Missouri pull books as new law allows charges for ‘explicit’ material

Librarian sues over accusations that kids’ section contains “erotic” books

A school librarian is suing the right-wing “activists” who defamed and harassed her.

Book banning goes full ouroboros as a Texas school district removes the Bible from its shelves.

Students lose access to books amid ‘state-sponsored purging of ideas’.

A Florida district declines dictionary donations as it navigates a new book law

A Texas woman went to the cops about an actual library book.

Afghan women open library to counter growing isolation

The book-banning lawsuit against Barnes & Noble is moving forward in Virginia.

Judge thwarts Va. Republicans’ effort to limit book sales at Barnes & Noble

They’re shooting books now: censorship-loving, book-banning vigilantes stoop to a new low.\

Local Stuff

True Crime Byline: Surprise verdict in Robert Pickton trial upset family, supporters

I’ve been battling Indigenous art fraud for 30 years. It’s only getting worse.

Mercer Street Books has become a world-famous neighborhood bookstore

Odd Stuff

Last Convicted Salem ‘Witch’ Is Finally Cleared

An Update on a Previously Posted Story: Man Who Lost $180 Million Bitcoin Hard Drive 9 Years Ago Still Trying to Dig Through Trash – He’s not ready to give up.

Texas man who shot a woman in the neck is killed after bullet also hits him

Man trying to burn spider with lighter sparked Utah wildfire, police say

John Lennon’s Scathing Post-Beatles Breakup Letter to Paul McCartney Goes to Auction

Tarek Abi Samra on Stealing Kant From a Bookstore

“It has absolutely nothing going for it, except Satan.” Read James Baldwin on The Exorcist.

+These are the best lines from all the PRH-S&S antitrust trial erotic fiction on the internet.

Jigsaw Puzzles for Crime Fans

Amina Akhtar and Erin Mayer Talk Fashion and Murder

Artwork of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang invention has sold for £3500

French justice ministry under pressure to explain jail go-karting

‘Mutilated by rats,’ burned, trashed: 200 years of presidential papers lost

The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz Would Like a Word With the FBI

Great Moon Hoax of 1835 convinced the world of extraterrestrial life

A 1835 illustration in the New York Sun claimed to show animals on the moon, discovered by Sir John Herschel in his observatory at the Cape of Good Hope, and copied from sketches in the Edinburgh Journal of Science. New York Times

Words of the Month

learn (v.): Old English leornian “to get knowledge, be cultivated; study, read, think about,” from Proto-Germanic *lisnojanan (cognates: Old Frisian lernia, Middle Dutch leeren, Dutch leren, Old High German lernen, German lernen “to learn,” Gothic lais “I know”), with a base sense of “to follow or find the track,” from PIE root *lois “furrow, track.” It is related to German Gleis “track,” and to Old English læst “sole of the foot” (see last (n.1)).

From c. 1200 as “to hear of, ascertain.” Transitive use (He learned me (how) to read), now considered vulgar (except in reflexive expressions, I learn English), was acceptable from c. 1200 until early 19th C. It is preserved in past-participle adjective learned “having knowledge gained by study.” Old English also had læran “to teach” (see lere). (etymonline)

SPECTRE

Dum Dums hustle on Amazon costs family candy business millions

Amazon is diving deeper into health care. That’s raising eyebrows

+The books merger that’s all about Amazon | Commentary

Amazon Wants to Make TV Out of Your Front Yard

Uh Oh, Amazon Bought Your Favorite Robot Company

Amazon keeps growing, and so does its cache of data on you

007=’

Desmond Llewelyn’s James Bond archive sells for 15k

Watch the Lego store in London build a life size James Bond Aston Martin DB5

James Bond’s Tastes: ‘Goldfinger’

Why David Bowie Turned Down A Chance To Be A Bond Villain

Daniel Craig Learned A Painful Lesson On His First Day As James Bond

James Bond’s Dr No is getting Steelbook boxset for 60th anniversary

Bond films’ future secured after MGM and WB agree deal

Was Goldfinger’s Famous Gold Paint Scene Based on a Real-Life Incident?

Christopher Nolan Is Still The Best Director Choice For James Bond 26

Words of the Month

study (v.): Early 12th C., “to strive toward, devote oneself to, cultivate” (translating Latin occupatur), from Old French estudiier “to study, apply oneself, show zeal for; examine” (13th C., Modern French étudier), from Medieval Latin studiare, from Latin studium “study, application,” originally “eagerness,” from studere “to be diligent,” from PIE *(s)teu- (1) “to push, stick, knock, beat” (see steep (adj.)). The notion appears to be “pressing forward, thrusting toward,” hence “strive after.

From c. 1300 as “apply oneself to the acquisition of learning, pursue a formal course of study,” also “read a book or writings intently or meditatively.” From mid-14th C. as “reflect, muse, think, ponder.” Meaning “regard attentively” is from 1660s. (etymonline)

Awards

Tess Gunty has won the inaugural Waterstones debut fiction prize.

Book Stuff

The True Story Of The World’s Most Obsessive Book Collector

‘Heat 2’: Why Michael Mann’s Sequel to His Classic Crime-Movie Had to Be a Novel

Charity shop’s ‘donation of a lifetime’ with first edition Charles Dickens classic

Meet-Cute: Susan Coll on Falling In Love with (and at) a Bookstore

People of color driving rise of independent bookstores

What We Gain from a Good Bookstore

Ex-cop charged after fatally shooting another officer during training exercise at a DC library

Eight Courtroom Dramas That Leave Readers Reeling 

Uh-oh! Scientists have invented… augmented reality books.

Dollars, Cents, and Being Left With the Bill: Jillian Medoff on Breaking Up With Her Literary Agent

If You Want to Ruin Bookstores for Yourself, Become a Writer

Shelf Talkers: What They’re Reading at Brazos Bookstore in Houston, Texas

Hold the Backstory: Or, How To Open Your Novel with a Bang

Sara Paretsky: ‘The story of Joan of Arc made me long for a vision’

Pages Upon Pages: 5 Favorite Books-Within-Books

The Independent Bookstore, as Imagined by a Corporate Lobbyist

The Creative Life and Death of Bruce Montgomery, aka Edmund Crispin

Color Her Orange: Talking with Grace Ellis About Her New Graphic Novel Featuring Patricia Highsmith

A Reading List of Psychopathic Women

The World of Philo Vance, Spectator of Life (this is the introduction to the new edition of Van Dine’s The Benson Murder Case)

What Is Going On With Barnes & Noble?

Book Publishers Go to War With the Internet Archive 

A Reading List of Psychopathic Women

Darwin’s Lost Treasure, Found

Andrew Cuomo wins lawsuit over his $5 million book deal

Bad Blood: A poet is suing Taylor Swift for more than $1 million for copyright infringement.

On Crosswords and Crime Fiction

Hungry Like a Dog: James Ellroy Will Not Stop Being James Ellroy

The Dangers of the Open Road: 5 Key Works of Motorcycle Noir

On Maggie Bradbury, the woman who “changed literature forever.”

Good news for books: The Washington Post’s book section is back!

In “The Life of Crime,” Martin Edwards takes on the colorful history of the detective novel, and its enduring fascination.

Author Events (in person)

Sept.6: Craig Johnson signs his new Longmire, Third Place/LFP, 7pm

Other Forms of Entertainment

‘Irredeemable’ Batgirl movie unexpectedly cancelled despite being in final stages

The Truth Finally Comes Out About Why David Fincher’s Mission Impossible 3 Never Happened

Terrence Malick Is One Of The Unsung Heroes Behind Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry Role

10 Underappreciated American Neo-Noirs of the Early 1970s 

We’re getting a Keanu Reeves prestige TV series: Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City

How Quinn Martin and His Crime Shows Came to Dominate 1970s TV

French Connection‘s “Picking Your Feet In Poughkeepsie” Line Explained

Robert De Niro, Barry Levinson Team for Warner Bros. Gangster Drama ‘Wise Guys’

The Bourne Identity at 20: the surprise hit that changed action film-making

Rediscovering a Vanished Species: Half-Hour TV Mysteries

Remembering Harry O, The Seventies’ Second Best, Mostly Forgotten Private Eye Series (remembered fondly by JB!)

Enough James Bond. Give These Spy Books a Movie.

Steve Carell’s Understated Performance Kills in Serial-Murder Drama ‘The Patient’

Ryan Gosling in Talks to Join Margot Robbie in New ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ Movie

Confess, Fletch Trailer: Jon Hamm Takes Over The Troublesome Reporter Role From Chevy Chase

‘After Dark: Neo Noir Cinema’ Collects Memorable Noirs from the 90s

Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson’s Batman Sequel Is Officially
Moving Forward

The Big Sleep Was Smart To Cut A Major Humphrey Bogart Scene

Review: ‘Out Of The Blue’ Is A Film Noir With Ample Self-Awareness

Clue Drops Bodies in a New Animated Series

Steve Carell Led Series ‘The Patient’ is a Surprisingly Profound High Concept Thriller

Apple show halts production in Baltimore after shooting threat

10-hour marathon of rarities highlights Music Box film festival

Eddie Murphy’s ‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley’ Sets Cast

The Best Crime Shows Coming Out in September

Words of the Month

class (n.): c. 1600, “group of students,” in U.S. especially “number of pupils in a school or college of the same grade,” from French classe (14th C.), from Latin classis “a class, a division; army, fleet,” especially “any one of the six orders into which Servius Tullius divided the Roman people for the purpose of taxation;” traditionally originally “the people of Rome under arms” (a sense attested in English from 1650s), and thus akin to calare “to call (to arms),” from PIE root *kele- (2) “to shout.” In early use in English also in Latin form classis.

Meaning “an order or rank of persons, a number of persons having certain characteristics in common” is from 1660s. School and university sense of “course, lecture” (1650s) is from the notion of a form or lecture reserved to scholars who had attained a certain level. Natural history sense “group of related plants or animals” is from 1753. Meaning “high quality” is from 1874. Meaning “a division of society according to status” (with upper, lower, etc.) is from 1763. Class-consciousness (1903) is from German Klassenbewusst. (etymonline)

RIP

Sad note: we just learned that Seattle mystery writer Frederick D. Huebner died on December 31, 2019. He was a great writer, a great friend of the shop, and one of the very few people who ever bought one of JB’s paintings. Sorry we didn’t know it at the time to pay tribute then.

Aug. 1: Vadim Bakatin, last head of Soviet KGB, dies at 84

Aug. 6: Clu Gulager, Actor in ‘The Virginian,’ ‘The Last Picture Show’ and ‘Return of the Living Dead,’ Dies at 93 (he was also one of The Killers, the last movie of Ronald Reagan’s)

Aug. 7: Roger E. Mosley, Actor on ‘Magnum, P.I.,’ Dies at 83

Aug 8: David McCullough, award-winning author, has died at 89 (he was also the narrator of Ken Burns’ epic series “The Civil War”)

Aug. 10: Raymond Briggs, Beloved Author and Illustrator of ‘The Snowman,’ Dies at 88

Aug. 16: Wolfgang Petersen, German Commander of ‘Das Boot,’ ‘Air Force One,’ ‘In the Line of Fire,’ ‘Outbreak’, Dies at 81

Aug. 18: Andrew J. Maloney, Prosecutor Who Took Down John Gotti, Dies at 90

Aug. 23: Writer Michael Malone, 80, Dies of Pancreatic Cancer (great books – Uncivil Seasons, Handling Sin, Time’s Witness)

Aug. 29: Robert LuPone, “Sopranos” and Broadway Actor, Dead at 76

Links of Interest

July 31: Meet the Exotic Dancer Who Went Undercover to Take Down Domestic Terrorists

Aug. 1: Why Armstrong, Sinatra and Crosby all had mob connections: ‘Get yourself the biggest gangster’

Aug. 1: Have Scholars Finally Deciphered a Mysterious Ancient Script?

Aug. 1: Exclusive: 83-Year-Old Paroled for Starved Rock Murders Claims New DNA Results Prove His Innocence

Aug. 2: The Greatest True Spy Stories

Aug. 4: The Crime of My Life – A crime reporter turned his investigative skills toward an old family crime with deep contemporary relevance and finds himself implicated

Aug. 5: Crypto Company Offers Massive Bounty to “White Hat Hackers” After Giant Heist

Aug. 5: ‘Soon I Will Own You’: Inside the Wild Life of a Fake CIA Bro

Aug. 7: Learjets, Mistresses, and Bales of Weed: My Dad’s Life as a Drug Kingpin

Aug. 7: Ex-Scientologists Came Forward with Shocking Child Trafficking Claims. Now They Say They’re Being Stalked

Aug. 9: Drug Lord Mass-Killer ‘El Chueco’ Strikes Fear in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Mountains

Aug. 10: Realtor Accused of Trying to Put a Hit on Former Mother-in-Law Is in Hot Water Again

Aug. 10: After a career of cracking cold cases, investigator Paul Holes opens up

Aug. 10: Lake Mead’s bodies may be identified using genetic genealogy, a science redefining ‘unsolvable’

Aug. 11: Stolen €250,000 Gagliano violin, sold by thief for just €200, recovered by police 3 years later

Aug. 12: At What Point Do You Become a Money Launderer?

Aug. 15: Human remains reportedly found in suitcases bought at New Zealand auction

Aug. 15: Julian Assange lawyers sue CIA over alleged spying

Aug. 15: Stolen Picasso painting ‘worth millions of dollars’ found during drug raid, Iraqi authorities claim

Aug. 16: Two of New York’s Oldest Mafia Clans Charged in Money Laundering Scheme

Aug. 16: Using Fake Psychics, Brazilian Woman Allegedly Stole $142 Million Worth of Art

Aug. 18: Justice Department announces 3 men charged in Whitey Bulger’s killing

Aug. 18: Photographer Theo Wenner Spent Two Years Following Homicide Detectives in Brooklyn’s Most Dangerous District. Here’s What He Saw

Aug. 19: On the 1981 Wonderland Murders and the 2003 film that reconstructs its events

Aug. 22: France remembers De Gaulle’s close escape depicted in The Day of the Jackal

Aug. 24: Crowd-sourced detective work narrows window for disappearance of Winston Churchill portrait (it was replaced by a fake…)

Aug. 30: A Salem Witch Trials exhibit is coming to the New-York Historical Society

Aug. 31: Ruth Dickins was convicted of murder in 1948. A new book re-examines the case.

Aug. 31: New Exhibition Explores Three Generations Of Family Of Pulitzer Prize-Winning Writer John Hersey

Aug. 31: Utica Sculpture Residency Vandals Are Under the Age of 11, Police Say

Words of the Month

recess (n.): 1530s, “act of receding or going back or away” (a sense now obsolete), from Latin recessus “a going back, retreat,” from recessum, past participle of recedere “to go back, fall back; withdraw, depart, retire,” from re– “back” (see re-) + cedere “to go” (from PIE root *ked “to go, yield”).

Meaning “hidden or remote part” is recorded from 1610s; that of “period of stopping from usual work” is from 1620s, probably from parliamentary notion of “recessing” into private chambers. Meaning “place of retirement or seclusion” is from 1630s; that of “niche, receding space or inward indentation in a line of continuity” is from 1690s.(etymonline)

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

Nonna Maria and the Case of The Missing BrideLorenzo Carcaterra

I finished this book in a day. 

I tried so hard to take it slow, I swear! 

I gardened, did laundry, baked cookies, made the bed betwixt chapters…and yet, I still devoured the pages in less than twelve hours!

The thing is, Nonna Maria occupies the space between Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple. Driven by neither cold logic nor the belief in the baseness of people’s motivations — Nonna Maria serves at the pleasure of her fellow islanders. Intervening when asked, she combines island gossip, a decade’s worth of past experiences, and her own leg work to solve whatever problem presented to her — relying on a plethora of friends, a legion of family members, and occasionally the Carabinieri to catch the culprit (and have her back during perilous situations).

I know Barnes & Noble placed Nonna Maria in their cozy section. Probably because there’s not much in the way of on-stage bloodletting…However, there’s still plenty of death, thugs, threats, and mystery to satisfy any reader without relying on a shoehorned in themes like cats, gourds, cookies, Santa, quilting, dumplings, or crafting to generate interest in the story.

I cannot recommend Nonna Maria and the Case of The Missing Bride highly enough. Set in sun drenched Southern Italy, this mystery is everything I didn’t know I wanted to read over and over again this August!

Fran

Louise Penny isn’t afraid of tackling difficult subjects. She never has been, even before her collaboration with Hilary Rodham Clinton, about which I’ll write in another post.

But in The Madness of Crowds, she delves much deeper into a dark place that most of us would really rather avoid. I don’t want to get into specifics because of spoilers, but she taps into a collective awareness that no one wants to look at, but of which we have all glanced at.

All the regulars are back, and this is really not a stand alone. To get the full impact, you need to have read all the books that have come before, beginning with Still Life. There are new, compelling characters here, ones who will remain with you forever, and there are the ongoing delights. Rosa has expanded her vocabulary, and is teaching it to the children, much to their parents’ dismay. There is laughter and humor, compassion and passionate humanity, and all of it stems from people being people, in the best and worst possible ways.

I really cannot recommend Louise Penny’s writing strongly enough. They do need to be read in order, and once you have experienced the world of Three Pines, even if you’re not a fan of police procedurals, you’ll want to visit this village time and again, I promise.

JB

Finally, finally, after toooo many decades, I read Fredric Brown’s The Fabulous Clipjoint. Published in 1947 – and winning the very first Best Novel Edgar – it’s a lively and raucous story of a young man and his uncle who undertake an investigation into a murder – the young guy’s father and his uncle’s brother.

This is the first in a series to feature Ed and his uncle Am (short for Ambrose). Am is a carny and the pages are jammed with the hardboiled jargon of the late 40s AND carnival lingo. Am also makes for a good investigator. His years sizing up “marks” at the carny give him an edge when talking to those involved.

Here’s one line that I found particularly sharp. Uncle Am says to his nephew, “I’m not worried about going to hell, Ed, but I begrudge the money the ticket costs.”

A bonus is the introduction by Lawrence Block who takes you on a tour of his reading as a young man.

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A year or so before the shop closed, a man came in one afternoon and introduced himself: James Grady. Now, maybe you have to be a “certain age” to have reacted as Fran and I did. Six Days of the Condor was published in 1974, which means I probably read the paperback in 1975 when it came out. The movie version, Three Days of the Condor was released around the same time. I’d read a number of his books over the years, Old Dogs was one that stands out.

We chatted awhile and he explained that he had an idea for a thriller that took place on a train going from Seattle to Chicago and was in town to start his research. We talked about the long history of train mysteries and showed him our list in the Yellow Notebook that we refereed to when people came in asking for one. I kept my eyes alert for his book, and it’s out now.

James Grady’s This Train features an odd cast of characters who first see one another in the Seattle train station. At first, they’re “named” by their visual shorthand. As the trip progresses, you learn names and details. You can tell that some are a bit shady but, if you’ve been reading thrillers as long as I have, you know that anything is possible from any one character.

The fun, of course, is finding out who is who and if you’re suspicions were correct. You find that the short-hand descriptors from the start – the guy in the camel-colored cashmere coat or the young woman with the intense red hair – are also accurate descriptors of their personalities.

And then, or course, why are all of these people on this one train and what about the SWAT team, and the guy who always lugs around the beat-up satchel? Well, find out yourself. It’s a great ride!

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This debut by Dwyer Murphy got great reviews. The New Yorker promoted it, and the cover carries a one-word rave by Walter Mosely. As a bonus, An Honest Living is billed as a bibliomystery and who isn’t looking for the next John Dunning? So I got a copy right away.

This is very much a New York Novel. The lawyer who narrates the story is certain to tell you what street he’s on, where he turns, where he eats or drinks, details about the neighborhoods, and so on. In that, it reminded me very much of the Scudder books by Lawrence Block. The City itself is a character.

The time frame was a bit puzzling. At one point, he looks someone up on-line and mentions Gawker – stopped publishing in 2016 but recently re-started- so I was unclear about when the book was set. Of course, that shouldn’t really matter, but when I first read that name it popped me out of the story. And that’s not a good thing.

And I can’t point to any good things. He writes well, the characters were interesting…

Overall, it was a very easy book to put down. I have no particular fascination for the minutia of NYC when it is a major component of the story. It read as if it was filler, in place of a plot – because the mystery, and the bibliomystery element, aren’t there. I don’t even think it is fair to call it a mystery for a number of reasons but I can’t tell you those and not ruin the story. Go ahead, give it a try.

Especially if you live in NYC…

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