April 1st – NO FOOLIN’

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We’ve decided to restart the “newzine” in a different way.

All of us have run across articles that make us think “damn, that should go in a newzine…” We’d like to go back to sharing such things.

We are all still reading, though not as much or the same types of books, and have a desire to write about what we are, or have, read.

There may be other things we’d like to share and a new post will give us a venue.

And we thought maybe you’d like to know what we’ve been doing since the shop closed, so we can use the first one to catch up.

What will be different is that it will be monthly – 1st of the month – unless Big Things call for additional posts. Obviously there won’t be news of signings or signed books, or the On This Day section, but if there’s some notable anniversary we might list it. Really, who knows where this will go!

But we should be clear ~ The Seattle Mystery Bookshop no longer exists as a retail institution. We’re not going to be selling books, we’re not taking in used books, we’re not going to be issuing a quarterly newsletter, and replying to e-mails will be limited.

We are making this up as we go, creating on the fly, howling at the moon, and improvising as a trio. Let’s see where it goes!

We’ll start off with What We’ve Been Doing in alphabetical order:

Amber

After the shop closed I traveled around with my husband for his work (btw Moscow, Idaho is a very pleasant place to spend time)! Then Christmas rolled around and I was baking cookies like a mad woman for family and friends – having perfected the recipes on you folks (thanks for being my guinea pigs!).

When the shop first closed I read most anything that didn’t even hint in the direction of mysteries. Books on butter, Christopher Robin, cooking and mindfulness passed thru my hands during this period. However being a life long fan of mysteries I couldn’t stay away for very long and started tearing through the genera again (and missed raving about my favorites to you all!).

The thing which has been occupying the bulk of my time, since the shop closed, is writing. I plan to launch a serial fiction blog – very soon – just working on completing the first story arc and photos for the posts!

Fran

At first, it was kind of nice to have a vacation, even if it was unpaid. After a while, though, being away from the shop, from working every day, became a bit more difficult.

I decided to take a break from reading mysteries, and I decided to read all of Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series – all 14 books, at about 800 pages each. I still haven’t finished it, but I’m in the home stretch now, and I will complete the series, darn it!

I’ve taken several breaks over the course of reading Jordan’s series, and I have some reviews coming up. You know me, always reading, always reviewing! Why should it stop because the shop closed, right?

And I did finally find employment, not too distantly related to my time at SMB. I now work for the Department of Corrections, so I’m still keeping my fingers on the pulse of crime! Just not fictional crime nowadays.

But I do miss seeing everyone, and it’s been hard for me as it has for all of you not to know what to read next. I’ll let you know what I’ve read and liked, though, and I hope that points you in directions you might not have contemplated.

Just know that you are much loved and missed by all three of us!

JB

For me, October and November were days of trying to relax and release the stress of the last decade of shop ownership. Lots of naps with the dog, walks with the dog, hanging out by the fire with the dog. It was wonderful and badly needed.

By the end of November I began to get serious about looking for work. I’d always joked that if the shop went down I’d like to work at Ace Hardware. My first application with them went nowhere. They didn’t need anyone at that time. But I persisted, while applying to a variety of places and my insistence paid off. I started at my local Ace hardware at the beginning of January. I can walk to work and I can leave at the end of my shift without bringing any “work” home with me. A number of people have already discovered that I work there and all say the same thing: “I don’t know what to read without the newsletters!”. Well, join the crowd. I don’t either. But I have to say I haven’t had much interest in reading crime or mystery books since the shop closed. Mostly I’ve been reading histories and biographies, things I had wanted to read for years but hadn’t allowed myself the time to read due to the pressure to keep up with what was new in at SMB.

But not a day goes by that I don’t miss the shop and working with Fran and Amber.

Word of the Month

Farce (n.): From the late 14th C., “force-meat, stuffing;” 1520s, in the dramatic sense “ludicrous satire; low comedy,” from Middle French farce “comic interlude in a mystery play” (16th C.), literally “stuffing,” from Old French farcir “to stuff,” (13th C.), from Latin farcire “to stuff, cram,” which is of uncertain origin, perhaps from Proto-Indo-European *bhrekw “to cram together,” and thus related to frequens “crowded.”

... for a farce is that in poetry which grotesque is in a picture. The persons and action of a farce are all unnatural, and the manners false, that is, inconsisting with the characters of mankind. [Dryden, “A Parallel of Poetry and Painting”]

According to OED and other sources, the pseudo-Latin farsia was applied 13th C. in France and England to praise phrases inserted into liturgical formulae (for example between kyrie and eleison) at the principal festivals, then in Old French farce was extended to the impromptu buffoonery among actors that was a feature of religious stage plays. Generalized sense of “a ridiculous sham” is from 1690s in English.

[thanks to etymonine.com]

Links of Interest

Newser, Jan 29th: Forensic Linguist Solves a Jack the Ripper Mystery

Newser, Feb 28th: Copy of Declaration of Independence was Hidden Behind Wallpaper

Esquire, March 1st: Everything We Know about Quentin Tarantino’s 9th Movie (has to do with the Manson Murders)

The Guardian, March 5th: Canada Police Find Seventh Victim of Alleged Serial Killer Landscaper

The Guardian, March 6th: “The Wire”, 10 years on: ‘We tore the cover off a city and showed the American dream was dead’

BBC, March 8th: Oldest Message In A Bottle Found…

Esquire, March 8th: David Chase is Bringing Back “The Sopranos”, but not in the way you might expect.

The Daily Beast, March 9th: Isn’t It About Time We Stopped Loathing Mickey Spillane?

BBC, March 11th: Solving the Mystery of N. Ireland’s Water

The Atlantic, March 12th: How Psychopaths See the World

BBC, March 12th: The Tutor Who Watched The Romanovs Fall

Fox, March 14: Charles Manson’s Grandson Reveals His Plans for the Cult Leader’s Remains

Fresh Air, March 14th: Danny Trejo on Acting, Addiction, and Playing /\’The Mean Chicano Dude’

The Guardian, March 20th: Danny Boyle’s 007: What Can We Expect From the Next James Bond?

The Nation, March 22nd: Floating in the Air – The World that Made Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment

The Guardian, March 23: Money in the Morgue by Ngaio Marsh ~ an draft now finished by Stella Duffy

The Guardian, March 28th: Colonel Sun: Is Kingsley Amis’s Bond Novel the Weirdest of All?

Buzzfeed, June 17, 2017: (this is old but only recently discovered and even more timely now) From Russia With Blood, a six-part investigative series on Russian assassinations in Europe, posted long before the recent nerve-agent attack.

In Memoria

There have been a number of Notable Deaths since the end of September. Here are a few that should be mentioned:

Oct 21: Donald Bain, author who put Bill Farley into a Jessica Fletcher mystery, 82

Nov 9: John Hillerman, of Chinatown and “Magnum PI” fame, 84

Nov 11: Charles Manson, 83 (Charlie never seems to completely go away, does he?)

Dec 20: Jim French, local radio actor and mystery program producer, 89

Dec 28: Sue Grafton, one letter shy of a complete alphabet, 77

Jan 3: Fred Bass, owner of the fabulous NYC bookstore, The Strand, 89

Jan 6: Dave Toschi, one of the original detectives on The Zodiac case, 86

Jan 18: Stansfield Turner, former head of the CIA, 94

Jan 18: Peter Mayle, British novelist of light French mysteries, 78

Jan 19: Dorothy Malone, Hollywood royalty, 93

Feb 12: Bill Crider, mystery writer and blogger, 76

Mar 8: Kate Wilhelm, Oregon writer of many disciplines and a Fran favorite, 89

Mar 23: Philip Kerr, Chandlerian creator of Bernie Gunther, 62

R.I.P., all’a’youse

That’s it. See you on May Day!