December Newzine

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Dictionary.com contends that the Word of the Year, 2018, is misinformation. Our point of view is why should there be only one?

      Stan Lee

As you’ve no doubt heard, American Master Stan Lee died on November 12th. While much has been written about his impact and accomplishments, we ran across this that we’d not heard about when it was originally printed. From November 2007 issue of The Atlantic, this is Stan Lee’s “powerful definition of the American idea”. Take a moment to read this: America is a Dream.

      Awards!

It’s that time of year again, award season for books! Announced on October 27th (we are a hair late) are the CWA Dagger Award Winners. Grats to one and all!

The CWA Diamond Dagger:Michael Connelly

The CWA Gold Dagger: Steve Cavanagh – THE LIAR

The Ian Fleming Steel Dagger: Attica Locke – BLUEBIRD, BLUEBIRD

The John Creasey Debut Dagger: Melissa Scrivner Love – LOLA

The CWA ALCS Gold Dagger for Non-Fiction: Thomas Harding – BLOOD ON THE PAGE

The CWA Historical Dagger: Rory Clements – NUCLEUS

The CWA Short Story Dagger: Denise Mina – “NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT”, BLOODY SCOTLAND

The International Dagger: Henning Mankell – AFTER THE FIRE 

The CWA Debut Dagger: Bill Crotty – THE ETERNAL LIFE OF EZRA BEN SIMEON

Highly Commended: Joseph James – RIVERINE BLOOD

The CWA Dagger in the Library: Martin Edwards.

November 15th: National Book Award Winners

      Word of the Month

Bunyip (noun – plural -s – bun·​yip | \ˈbənˌyip\) – impostor, phony

Bunyip comes to us from Australia, where the word originally had the meaning “a legendary wild animal usually described as a monstrous swamp-dwelling man-eater.” Bunyip comes from an Aboriginal language, and began appearing in print in the 1840s.

The “impostor” meaning came shortly thereafter, appearing the following decade.

“…and they one and all recognized the bone and picture as belonging to the “Bunyip,” repeating the name without variation.”

              — Geelong Advertiser and Squatters’ Advocate (Victoria, Aus.), 2 Jul. 1845

Thanks to Merriam-Webster website for the word & definition

      Links of Interest

October 31st: Judge’s copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover fetches £56K at auction

October 31st: The Scottish writer who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula

November 1st: Medieval ‘Porpoise grave’ remains a mystery

November 1st: Gunpowder Plot: 1605 Thomas Percy link found in archives

November 1st: Portland’s Rose City Book Pub, a bookstore and bar, now open

November 1st: Pride and Passion: Jane Austen novels the Brazilian way

November 1st: Killing Eve: How the hit BBC show’s killer soundtrack was made

November 2nd: West Side Story’s gangs get new moves after 60 years

November 3rd: Ian Rankin Interview ‘I couldn’t get on with War and Peace’

November 3rd: ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ to Release Campaign Setting Book in 2019

December Issue: Jack Reacher Still Won’t Quit, 23 Books Later

November 4th: Murdered mob boss gave stolen Boston art to IRA, says former Met detective

November 5th: Booksellers show unprecedented act of solidarity

November 5th: Morbid exhibits of UCL’s Pathology Museum

November 6th: Why a Book Tour Is More Brutal Than a Political Campaign

November 6th: How Stan Lee led the 1960s superhero revolution

November 7th: Drowning cow saved by ‘mermaid’ on a swim

November 7th: Collection of ‘obscene’ books on display at Oxford University

November 10th: How Edgar Allan Poe Got Kicked out of the U.S. Army

November 12th: Enigma code veteran to take secrets ‘to end of my days’

November 12th: ‘A pas de deux of sex and violence’: a poet’s guide to film noir

November 12th: Amazon asked to share Echo data in US murder case

November 13th: Arrest in hunt for ‘Ross from Friends’ lookalike

November 14th: Reusable coffee mugs that can be borrowed like library books

November 14th: The Birth, Death, and Long Afterlife of The Gashlycrumb Tinies

November 14th: Too short’ Tom Cruise to be replaced for Jack Reacher reboot – Maybe they’ll get it right this time?

November 15th: John Sandford: By the Book

November 15th: Lost Disney ‘Oswald’ film found in Japan

November 15th: Megan Abbott’s Work Diary –‘My Psychiatrist Notes How Tired I Look, Which Is Great’

November 15th: Seattle high-school teacher shares ‘the wonder of books’ with students on a different kind of field trip

November 16th: Mark Twains Complicated Relationship with the Typewriter

November17th:Elite library sorters race to process books in cutthroat competition. Also: Aaron Sorkin talks To Kill a Mockingbird, a fanfic writer talks going pro, and the rest of the week’s best writing on books and related subjects.

November 18th: 4am Starts and Spinach Smoothies – Dan Brown on How to Write a Bestseller

November 18th: Dan Brown on Trump – “Reality Has Surpassed Fiction”

November 18th: Bookstore’s Tweet On The Sale Of A Children’s Book After 27 Years Goes Viral

November 19th: The Birth, Death, and Long Afterlife of The Gashlycrumb Tinies ~E is for Edward who wrote a gory masterpiece.


September 15th: French bookshops revolt after prize selects novel self-published on Amazon ~ Booksellers refuse to ‘jump into the wolf’s mouth’ and order Marco Koskas’ Renaudot-longlisted novel online

November 19th: Canadian literary prize suspended after finalists object to Amazon sponsorship


November 20th: How Agatha Christie hides her plot secrets in plain sight

November 20th: NYTimes ~ 100 Notable Books of 2018

November 23rd: Stop Thief! An otter on the loose is eating koi from a formal garden

November 23rd: Laura Lippman ~ Books That Made Me

November 26th: The isolated Albanian artillery base hidden in a cliff

November 28th: Margaret Atwood to write Handmaid’s Tale sequel

November 28th: Harry Potter are endless tie-ins diluting the magic?



      Word of the Month – Continued

phony (adj.): also phoney, “not genuine,” 1899, perhaps an alteration of fawney “gilt brass ring used by swindlers.”

His most successful swindle was selling “painted” or “phony” diamonds. He had a plan of taking cheap stones, and by “doctoring” them make them have a brilliant and high class appearance. His confederates would then take the diamonds to other pawnbrokers and dispose of them. [“The Jewelers Review,” New York, April 5, 1899]

The noun meaning “phony person or thing” is attested from 1902.

thanks to etymonline

      R.I.P.

November 2nd: Raymond Chow: Film mogul who discovered Bruce Lee dies at 91

November 7th: Kitty O’Neil: Wonder Woman stuntwoman dies at 72

November 7th: Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, Long-Serving Times Book Critic, Dies at 84

November 12th: Douglas Rain: Actor who voiced Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey dies

November 12th: Stan Lee

November 25th: magician, author, and actor Ricky Jay (he was in a terrific crime movie filmed here in Seattle, David Mamet’s House of Games)

      Word of the Month – Lastly

huckster (n): circa 1200, “petty merchant, peddler” (often contemptuous), from Middle Dutch hokester “peddler,” from hoken “to peddle” (see hawk (v.1)) + agent suffix -ster (which was typically feminine in English, but not in Low German). Specific sense of “advertising salesman” is from 1946 novel by Frederick Wakeman. As a verb from 1590s. Related: Huckstered; huckstering. (thanks to etymonline)

       What We’ve Been Doing

    Amber

Don’t forget to check out my original mystery! Finder Of Lost Things

Jenn McKinlay – Hitting The Books

IMG_1506Lindsey Norris, Library Director of Briar Creek Library, didn’t seek out trouble this time. She just gazed out the window during the weekly crafternoon meeting, when she witnessed the hit-and-run of one her patrons. The weird thing? Lindsey is pretty sure the car sped up and swerved into Theresa Huston. But who would want to hurt the former tennis pro? When the driver turns up dead in the car with a stack of library materials in the passenger’s seat – Lindsey can’t help but do her own investigating…

I am so glad I stuck with this series! This installment is an excellent read! The mystery itself is engaging, and the variety of subplots (which are woven in flawlessly) are hilarious. I also enjoy how McKinlay is able to keep her library angle fresh and interesting for her readers.

I would recommend this book (which you can start with, provided you know going in that this installment isn’t close to being the first-in-series) to anyone looking for a fun fastpaced cozy read! Seriously this book moved at a quick clip from cover to cover!

Brandon Sanderson – Legion

Stephen Leeds is a genius.IMG_1472

Kinda.

Stephen can learn any new skill in a matter of hours, has a photographic memory and is considered the smartest man on the planet. But unlike Sherlock, who utilizes his mind palace to recall information from the depths of his psyche, Stephen speaks with his aspects.

What’s an aspect? Glad you asked…An aspect is how his brain outsources its knowledge. Stephen only has access to the information when that particular hallucination is advising him. A new aspect pops into existence each time Stephen acquires a new skill, like learning Hebrew or astrophysics. Each aspect (or hallucination, but most of them don’t like this term) comes complete with their own name, unique physical features and is nutty as a fruitcake in their own unique way. Stephen has forty-seven aspects and counting.

Having gotten tired of being studied by people with strings of letters after their names (which made him rich), Stephen and his team of imaginary experts now solve mysteries; such as locating a missing scientist and his revolutionary prototype or figuring out who stole a dead body and why.

Perfectly ordinary cases, well except for the teleporting cat…

Stephan Leeds is one of the most unique characters I have read in a very long time, and I’m kinda bummed that Sanderson only wrote these three novellas featuring this extraordinary detective!

While this novel is composed of three individual components – it doesn’t feel that way. There’s an overarching mystery which helps to marry the three together. Plus Stephen Leeds’ (as well as his aspect’s) voice is consistent thru the entire book, which also helps keep the continuity.

Then there’s Stephen himself who provides a fascinating point of view to read from. He’s quirky (not crazy as he repeatedly tells us), but all of his aspects are mad as March hares – which causes no end of hilarity! Plus watching how he’s learned how to cope with the nuances of his own mind is inspiring (for those of us still trying to master our own).

Then there are the mysteries themselves, which Sanderson jampacks with action, levity, and depth. Skin Deep’s (the second novella) resolution contains one of the comical twist endings I’ve read in a long while.

Overall I think anyone who enjoys mysteries with a splash of strangeness will enjoy reading Legion and I cannot wait to badger Fran into reading this book! (Which, BTW, is much harder now that we don’t see each other five days a week – perhaps a letter writing campaign? Everyone likes getting mail that isn’t a bill…Right?)

Seriously if the shop was still open I’d be putting this book into your hands and telling you to trust me – you’re going to love it!

    Fran

9781616957759-1-400x600Okay, I know you don’t like short stories. I get it, I do.

(Not you. You love short stories, and you probably already have this anthology. Just have my back, ‘kay?)

But I’m asking for a leap of faith here – this is a “trust me” moment.

Last year, Soho Press put out a Christmas/Holiday anthology called The Usual Santas. Eighteen short stories, all holiday themed although not necessarily Christmas themed. And you must read this book.

I’m not kidding! Holy cats, is it FUN! Dark in many ways, laugh-out-loud funny in others, compelling no matter what. Stash it in the car so you can read while you’re waiting in line. Tuck it into your jacket for when you’re on the bus. Hell, put it in the bathroom, and read the occasional story there.

This is a holiday buffet that simply can’t be beat. And see, just look at all the authors – Martin Limón, Peter Lovesey, Helene Tursten, Stuart Neville, Cara Black, Colin Cotterill, and James Benn, whose quote about the anthology,  “The Usual Santas: a very good example of that kind of thing.” is perfect.

Oh, and fair warning. When I get older, I’m changing my name to Maud.

You’ve been warned.

    JB

I have stacks of books around here that I had gathered during my decades at the bookshop that I never allowed myself enough time 9780671869205to read. I have one pile of biographies of jazz masters, or painting masters, of history and biography and I am now getting to some of them. Starting in early October, I picked up David McCullough’s Truman. While the President and I come from the same area, and I knew the basics of his life, I have to say I really knew very little about HST’s life.  This thousand-page book won McCullaugh the Pulitzer Prize and every page shows why. It has been worth every moment of the nearly two months it took to read it!

I did take a couple of breaks. One was to read the latest Lee Child (great news they’re going to find someone LARGER to play Reacher) and Stephen Ambrose’s Band of Brothers (disappointingly thin on detail in comparison to the Truman tome…).

From page 947-8 of the McCullough:

“The opening installment of the Memoirs, titles ‘The Most Momentous First 18 Days’ appeared in the September 25th issue of Life, with a cover photograph of the former President and the First Lady standing in front of their Independence home.  Doubleday’s publication of Volume One, called Year of Decisions, followed five weeks later, with an author’s autographing party in the grand ballroom of the Muehlbach, on Tuesday, November 2, 1955.

“To the delight of the publisher, Truman had agreed to sign books for all who came. ‘I expect to use, probably, a couple of $1.75 fountain pens that I bought at the Twenty-five Cent Store, along with a half dozen others that I happen to have, and I don’t want any advertising stunt [for the pens] whatever,’ Truman had written to Samuel Vaughan, Doubleday’s advertising manager. ‘I will go along with any party arrangements which you make for Doubleday, but don’t get me into any advertising for pens, cakes or anything, because I won’t do it.’

“Arriving in Kansas City a few days in advance to make arrangements, Vaughan was distressed to hear people asking why they would want to come to such an occasion for Truman, ‘when we see him all the time anyway.’ Greatly concerned, Vaughan worked to line up Battery D {Truman’s WWI comrades} veterans, the Boy Scouts, anyone he could think of, to be sure there was a crowd. But he need not have bothered. More than three hundred people were already in line waiting before the party began.

“‘Hand Firm to the End’ was the headline in the next morning’s paper.

“It was almost unbelievable. ‘I had no idea it would be anything like this,’ Truman said as he saw the crowds grow, the people still coming, hour after hour. His hand fairly flew as he signed books, until he was doing six to eight autographs a minute. If there ever was a demonstration of his extraordinary vitality, this was it. He kept going hour after hour, not only signing his name but greeting people. ‘There, that one’s all slicked up,’ he would say with satisfaction, finishing his signature and handing over the book.

“By the end of the first session, he had signed over a thousand copies. In all, incredibly, he turned out four thousand autographs in just five and a half hours. Reporters on hand, his publishers, watched in amazement. Earlier, when Ken McCormick of Doubleday has suggested to Truman that perhaps he might prefer to have the autographs done by a machine, Truman had replied, ‘I will autograph as many as I can. I am not an expert with a machine, and I would rather do it by hand.'”

Truman turned 77 six months later on May 8th.

So what to read next????????

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November 2018

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      Word of the Month

infra dig: “beneath one’s dignity, unbecoming to one’s position in society,” 1824, colloquial abbreviation of Latin infra dignitatem “beneath the dignity of.” See infra- + dignity. (thanks to etymonline.com)


Opening this month is Widows, a heist movie. It’s got a stellar cast (Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Daniel Kaluuya, Carrie Coon, Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, and Robert Duvall to name a few). It’s directed by Steve McQueen and it is based on a 1985 Lynda LaPlante TV series (“Prime Suspect” was 1991) of the same name. Besides all of this, we mention it because of the co-writer of the screen play with Steve McQueen – Gillian Flynn. Gonna have to see it now!


      Links of Interest

October 2nd: Disney ‘graffiti drone’ tags walls

October 2nd: Bottle of whisky sold for world record

October 2nd: Thieves steal entire vineyard

October 2nd: Like Noir? Like Horror? Have You Met Sandman Slim? (this is an author that Fran and Amber both adore!)

October 4th: George Pelecanos and the Prison Librarian

October 4th: The Last Big Bookstore

October 4th: Cottingley Fairies photographs make £20,000 at auction

October 4th: Fitbit data used to charge US man with murder

October 5th: Girl, 8, pulls a 1,500-year-old sword from a lake

October 5th: Washington Post blanks out missing Saudi writer’s column

October 6th: The Reykjavik Confessions

October 7th: Library hours across England slashed by austerity

October 7th: Jogger in Netherlands finds lion cub

October 8th: Spy agencies are worst at learning from past, say experts

October 10th: Tour de France trophy stolen

October 10th: Mexico’s Morgues Are Overflowing As Its Murder Rate Rises

October 10th: Stephen Carter’s Book Tells How His Grandmother Helped Convict A Mob Boss

October 10th: Growing up in a house full of books is major boost to literacy and numeracy, study finds

October 12th: 5,000 Rare bird eggs found in hoarder’s house

October 12th: How the Secret Service Foiled an Assassination Plot Against Trump by ISIS

October 13th: The Wild History of Poison Rings

October 14th: New Bond 26 Rumor Say Barbara Broccoli And Co. May Have Found New Bond

October 15th: Was Gary Hart Set Up? (the Nixon crew termed it “ratfucking”…)

October 15th: 12 Authors Write about the Libraries They Love

October 16: Missing pianist believed to be buried by wrong family

October 17th: A Former CIA Officer’s Tips for Avoiding Death, Prison, and Hospital While You Travel

October 17th: Columnist and novelist David Ignatius on holding Saudi Arabia accountable

October 18th: The One Writing Skill You Must Master

October 20th: Trust no one: how Le Carré’s Little Drummer Girl predicted our dangerous world

October 20th: Not My Job: Legal Thriller Author John Grisham Gets Quizzed On (Men’s) Briefs

October 22nd: Inside the bookshops and libraries of Scotland

October 23rd: Dutchman’s ‘pure shock’ after winning Cardigan bookshop

October 24th: Why author Judy Blume’s classic novel still inspires fans

October 24th: What’s fact and fiction about working as a British spy?

October 25th: Did one novel written in 1839 inspire a lurid murder and an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria? 

October 25th: Searching For the Truth About the Actual Murderer in The Exorcist

October 29th: Tiny Books Fit in One Hand. Will They Change How We Read?

October 29th: Southampton bookshop enlists human chain to move to new store

October 31st: Halloween Surprise at the Vatican: Bones Discovered in Backyard

October 31st: Edward Gorey was Eerily Precient

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      Signings

November 7th: Suzanne M. Wolfe, 7pm, Third Place Books/Ravenna

November 14th: Warren C. Easley, 7pm, Third Place Books/ LFP

November 16th: Martin Limón, 6pm, Third Place Books/ LFP

November 19th: Joe Ide, 7:30pm, Powells

November 30th: Jonathan Lethem, 1pm, Third Place Books/Ravenna

      Word of the Month – Continued

dignity (n.): Circa 1200, “state of being worthy,” from Old French dignite “dignity, privilege, honor,” from Latin dignitatem (nominative dignitas) “worthiness,” from dignus “worth (n.), worthy, proper, fitting,” from Proto-Indo-European *dek-no-, suffixed form of root *dek- “to take, accept.”

From circa 1300 as “an elevated office, civil or ecclesiastical,” also “honorable place or elevated rank.” From late 14th C. as “gravity of countenance.”

(thanks, again, to etymonline.com)

      R.I.P.

October 3rd: Juan Romero, The busboy who tried to help a wounded Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 dies. His life was haunted by the violence

October 7th: Scott Wilson – In Cold Blood, GI Jane, “Walking Dead” – dies at 76

Oct 27th: Victor Marchetti, disillusioned CIA officer who challenged secrecy rules, dies at 88

October 30th: James “Whitey” Bolger, who hated to be called “Whitey” and was a proven ghoul, was murdered in prison. Whitey was the Irish crime lord of Boston and had, in return for ratting out other criminals,  Whitey suborned FBI agents into telling him who his enemies were. If you’re interested in the whole, lurid story, JB recommends T.J. English’s Where the Bodies Were Buried. And, of course, there was Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Whitey in Black Mass, supported by a stellar cast.

VOTE!  VOTE!!  VOTE!!!

If you were a fan of the Netflix series, “The Keepers”, the story is being continued in a podcast called “Out of the Shadows”. On of the main women “investigators” of the TV series is part of the duo doing the podcast. There are seven episodes so far and there’s much new info, and it is still all heartbreaking and infuriating. JB recommends.

      Word of the Month – Lastly

imprecation (n.): Mid-15c., “a curse, cursing,” from Latin imprecationem (nominative imprecatio) “an invoking of evil,” noun of action from past participle stem of imprecari “invoke, pray, call down upon,” from assimilated form of in- “into, in, within” (from Proto-Indo-European root *en “in”) + precari “to pray, ask, beg, request” (from PIE root *prek- “to ask, entreat”). “Current limited sense is characteristic of human nature” [Weekley]. (thanks to etymonline.com)

       What We’ve Been Doing

    Amber

Don’t forget to check out my original mystery! Finder Of Lost Things

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Francis Duncan – In At The Death

Chief Inspector Jonathan Boyce of Scotland Yard has given Mordecai Tremaine his heart’s desire – Mordecai will shadow his friend on his next murder investigation (with the strict understanding that Mordecai is to stay under the radar). While Mordecai may be an amateur, our favorite retired tobacconist has proven his skill to the Inspector and his boss.

So when the phone rings summoning Inspector Boyce to Bridgton, to discover who murdered a local doctor, he makes sure his murder bag is packed, and Mordecai is seated next to him.

Thrilled that he’s no longer an outsider in the investigation, Mordecai throws his not inconsiderable knowledge of human nature into discovering the secrets of the Doctor’s life which lead to his death. Starting with why the good doctor was carrying a gun in his Gladstone bag the night of his death…

Do you enjoy reading classic mysteries? Do you enjoy reading from an amateur detectives point of view? Did you enjoy reading Miss Marple?

Then I think you’d enjoy reading the Mordecai Tremaine mysteries (in many ways he’s Miss Marple’s male counterpart)!

He is a man of a certain age, retired from running his shop, who’s now able to focus on his not so secret passion, murder and the solving of it (Mordecai’s actual secret passion, which isn’t as secret as he’d like, is his weakness for “the heart-stirring fiction” supplied by the magazine Romantic Stories). Something else which I also find endearing about Mordecai is the fact, that while he finds a certain amount of zest from tracking a murder to ground, he never loses sight of the heinous act they’ve committed.

With that said I must encourage you to read this series, starting with A Murder For Christmas (which is set during the Yuletide season, with the trimmings of the season but isn’t a cloyingly saccharine holiday affair, I assure you) thru to this latest installment. Though it isn’t strictly necessary to read them in order, I think in this case you get more out of the books if you do! There’s one last book releasing in January, and I can’t wait! Seriously I finished In At The Death the same day I bought it – much to the amusement of my husband – who suggested I not to inhale it in one sitting. Silly husband.

IMG_1418

Barbara Cleverly – Fall of Angels

Detective Inspector John Redfyre is a rare creature – he’s the fourth (and therefore penniless) son of an aristocratic family, with a good university education and a clear sense of service. What makes him rare jewel in the eyes of his superiors? He’s a Detective Inspector who can rub shoulders with the Cambridge’s elite or pub thugs with equal ease.

This ability to skate between worlds comes in handy when Redfyre literally has front row seats to an attempted murder on the University campus! A female musician is pushed down the stairs following her performance (which was very controversial since it’s 1923 and she’s playing the trumpet – an instrument deemed only fit for male musicians) and lands pretty much in his lap (Redfyre’s Aunt had given him tickets to the performance). This piece of skullduggery is quickly followed by an actual murder which unexpectedly dovetails with the previous evening’s sabotage, much to Redfyre’s surprise.

With no shortage of suspects, it’s up to Detective Inspector Redfyre to suss out the motive behind these callous crimes before the murderer strikes again!

So, on the whole, I really enjoyed this book, I’d give it four out of five stars. The murder mystery, the Detective Inspector and the characters were all lovely and well constructed. In fact, the last two-thirds of the book was an excellent read…The problem with this book is the central red herring, which is a hair overcomplicated (or overexplained – I can’t decide – because Cleverly gave voice to simply everyone’s views at some point), which muddies up the narrative until the Detective Inspector unravels it.

That being said this mystery is well worth your time (because while the first bit might have been overly done – I never once entertained the thought of putting it down!). The mystery itself is well thought out, well executed and has a climatic conclusion.

FYI – don’t let the cover fool you, the crimes happen to occur during Christmas time, but this book is not a holiday-themed mystery. There is no syrupy sweetness to be found anywhere between the covers, I promise!

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical mysteries sprinkled with strong (opinionated) characters!

    Fran

“You find that kernel of madness at an early age, and if you’re lucky you start building up a 9780525522478callus around it, a tough layer of humanity that holds it at bay, because it’s just too dangerous to allow to escape. Your family can’t ever see it, your friends can’t ever see it, no one must ever see it – but it’s there, waiting to burn the protective covering away that has taken a lifetime to build and burst open like a volcanic canker of maniacal emotion.”

JB wrote up Craig Johnson’s latest Longmire novel, Depth of Winter, last month but of course I have to add my two cents. Depth of Winter may go down as one of Craig Johnson’s best.

It wasn’t an easy read for me, but it was brilliant. Oh sure, it had the trademark Walt observations and humor, and it’s a page-turner extraordinaire, but it’s also bleak and grim and violent and sad. You see, Cady’s been kidnapped by Bidarte and has been taken into the wilds of Mexico. It’s a trap – you know it, we know it, Walt knows it, hell, the federal government knows it – but that doesn’t matter. Cady’s down there, so Walt is going after her.

Part of what’s unsettling about Depth of Winter is that we don’t have our usual complement of characters backing Walt up. No Vic, no Lucian, no Henry. It’s weird and feels wrong somehow. And yet…if they were there, we might not meet the fantastic people Walt gets to know: the Seer, Alonzo, Bianca, Buck Guzman, Isidro. I’ve gotta say, I smiled at the idea of Henry and Isidro teaming up. They’d be damned near unstoppable.

But Depth of Winter is a defining book for Walt Longmire, and I can’t see how things are going to play out once he’s back home. It’ll be interesting and of course I can’t wait, but something changed with the telling of this tale, and I’m not sure how the pieces will come back together again, what picture will emerge.

And I can’t wait!

9780451458506Anne Bishop wrote a trilogy (that has stayed a trilogy, oddly enough) called “The World of the Fae” or the “Tir Alainn” series – The Pillars of the World, Shadows and Light, and The House of Gaian.

Okay, this is straight-up fantasy, nothing urban about it. It has nothing Earth-based except concepts, but those very concepts are what made me write this. They’re oh so relevant today, even though she wrote the series back at the turn of the century (and let me tell you, typing that was fun!).  

I don’t want to get into too much detail, mainly because there’s SO MUCH in it, but the basic gist is that the human world is linked to Tir Alainn, the Fae world, but those links are vanishing, and no one knows what happens to the Fae when the links are broken. But the links seem to be tied in some way to witches, who tend to keep low profiles because they’re often misunderstood. And it’s just their way.

And there’s the Witch’s Hammer, a man who devoutly believes all witches must die, although he does consider himself to be a humane man, and leaves time for repentance. 
The characters are myriad and well defined, obviously, because that’s one of my major criterion, as you know, and because Anne Bishop is incredibly talented. But the sense of impending doom, the incredible time crunch, and the beautiful interactions make this trilogy fantastic. I do think the ending was a bit rushed, and I think she still could expand on this world, but even if she never does, this is a series well worth reading!

    JB

New Reacher: Past Tense9780399593512

Author: Lee Child

Plot: Reacher hitchhikes into town. Something hinky is going on. Everyone underestimates Reacher. Bad guys want Reacher to go away. He Doesn’t. Reacher defeats bad guys.

Great fun. Can’t stop reading. Gotta get to the end. Please leave me alone. Do I have to go to work?

Reacher leaves town.

Sound familiar?

 




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OCTOBER NEWZINE

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On our side of this blog, we get to see statistics about visitors. We don’t see your names or what kind of slippers you’re wearing, but we see the nations from which you come to visit us. Most – duh – are from North America. No surprise about that, or visitors from England or Australia; there’s that common tongue issue. But there have been visitors from all across Europe, Asia, the subcontinent, Africa… 59 different countries at last count. China doesn’t like us and no one from the Caribbean has visited – if any of us were in the Caribbean, we wouldn’t be lookin’ at websites either!

Wherever you are, whatever kind of slippers you wear, welcome. We’re gratified so many folks still care what we do and say.

    WORD OF THE MONTH

Tohubohu (n): complete disorder or dishevelment. (thanks to Says You!, #1516)


2018 Seattle Antiquarian Bookfair ~ Oct. 13th & 14!


    LINKS OF INTEREST

August 31st: Man stole mother-in-law’s corpse from funeral parlour – it’s not what you think

August 31st: How the Hogwarts Express was saved from a Welsh scrapyard

September 4th: Judy Garland’s slippers: Five more items that are still missing

September 4th: The Books Everyone Starts and No One Finishes

September 5th: Teacher’s hidden book cover pebbles inspire reading

September 5th: Manchester Pusher: Does a serial killer haunt the city’s canals?

September 7th: Amazon’s Antitrust Antagonist Has a Breakthrough Idea. With a single scholarly article, Lina Khan, 29, has reframed decades of monopoly law.

September 7th: Adam Woog ~ Ruthless vs. righteous: vivid stories on ‘Scarface and the Untouchable’ and ‘The Sinners’

September 7th – John Steinbeck was a sadistic womaniser, says wife in memoir

September 8th – Lee Child on Birmingham: ‘The pollution was insane. Rivers would catch fire’

September 8th: The FBI’s Spying on Writers Was Literary Criticism at Its Worst

September 8th: Agent Jack by Robert Hutton review – MI5’s secret Nazi hunter

September 11th: ‘So shocked’: customer wins bookshop in raffle

September 12th: Author Of ‘How To Murder Your Husband’ Arrested For Allegedly Killing Her Husband

September 13th: The Book List: The alternative titles F Scott Fitzgerald considered for ‘The Great Gatsby’

September 13th: Bob Woodward: By the Book

September 14th: Agatha Christie Shaped How the World Sees Britain

September 14th: Bond 25 Is Getting a Whole New Script

September 17th: Last call for Nevada’s brothels?

September 17th: Cat in Bristol brings home bag of suspected class A drugs

September 17th: CCTV footage of 85-year-old tackling armed raiders goes viral

September 17th: The Joker: Joaquin Phoenix and the many faces of Gotham’s most wanted

September 19th: Bob Woodward’s ‘Fear’ is the fastest-selling book in Simon & Schuster’s history

September 19th: Author of ‘Kopp Sisters’ historical crime fiction series now calls Portland home

September 20: Impersonating Philip Marlowe

September 21st: How to write the perfect sentence

September 22nd: Ann Cleeves on north Devon: ‘I remember family days on the beach, picnics and space’

September 23rd: Galileo’s newly discovered letter shows his clever attempt to outsmart the Catholic Church

September 23rd: from Adam Woog ~ New crime fiction: An Agatha Christie-ish mystery and two new offerings from local writers

September 26th: Remembering Code Breaker Jean Annette Watters

September 26th: Do We Really Still Need Banned Books Week?

September 26th: A Window into the Lucrative World of Rare Book Heists

September 27th: Bookworms’ paradise away from Beijing bustle


    ANOTHER WORD OF THE MONTH

mool (n): The soil used to fill a grave. (thanks to Says You!, #1003 – recorded live in Seattle!)


    FAREWELL AND REST IN PEACE

August 31st – Thriller writer Amanda Kyle Williams, 61

September 1st – Bookseller Barbara Bailey, 74

September 6th – Burt Reynolds died at 82

    AUTHOR EVENTS

October 10th, 7:30 pm: Deborah Harkness, Powell’s

October 12th, 7pm: Charlaine Harris, Powell’s

October 18th, 7pm: Walter Mosley, Northwest African American Museum, Seattle

October 18th, 7pm: Elizabeth George, Hugo House

October 19th, 7:30pm: Walter Mosley, Powell’s

October 25th, 7pm: Joe Ide, Third Place Books/LFP

October 25th, 7pm: Warren C. Easley, Powell’s

    ONE LAST WORD OF THE MONTH

Concantenation (n.): Circa 1600, “state of being linked together”, from Late Latin concatenationem (nominative concatenatio) “linking together”, noun of action from past participle stem of concatenare “to link together”, from com “with together” (see con) + cantenare, from catena “a chain” (see chain (n.)). As a series of things united like links in a chain from 1726. [thanks to etymonline.com]

   WHAT WE’VE BEEN DOING

  AMBER

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J.D. Robb – Leverage In Death

What would you do to save your family?

This is the question facing Paul Rogan. His answer? To follow his instructions exactly, so he walks into his 9 am meeting and detonates the bomb.

When Eve Dallas discovers the bomber is a victim himself, coerced into killing his friends, she won’t rest until she finds the who and why of these crimes.

This installment of the In Death series is a solid addition to the rest of the series. It hits all the notes you are looking for with Roarke, Mavis (and her adorable kid), Peabody and Nadine, while advancing several side storylines Robb’s been building over the last few books with her supporting cast. The most important amongst them? Will Eve ever catch the dastardly candy thief? Dallas has a plan…

In any event, this book was a fun and fast read which, if you are a fan of the series, I don’t think you will be disappointed in!

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Dianne Freeman – A Lady’s Guide To Etiquette And Murder

Frances Wynn married young. Her mother, a New York socialite, was keen on marrying her off to a man with a title – which is how Frances became the Countess of Harleigh. Unfortunately, her husband took a looser stance on their marriage vows than Frances and when he suddenly passed away – it was under scandalous circumstances.

But that’s behind Frances, her year of mourning is finished and she’s determined to leave the country (and her money hungry in-laws) behind. To that end, Frances’ has secured a lovely little house in Belgrave for her and her young daughter. Even better? Her younger sister and favorite Aunt are coming to spend the season with her!

But things soon turn sour when an anonymous letter surfaces accusing Frances of murdering her husband! To clear her name, she’s going to have to figure out how to solve this mystery without making any social gaffes!

I loved reading this mystery! In fact, I devoured it all in one (very long) sitting.

While it is on the lighter side, it isn’t nearly as frivolous as the cover makes it look (though to be honest it is what first caught my eye). This book is about a woman who’s trying to reclaim her own life and discovering (and reveling) in the freedom afforded to a widow which she never had as a debutante or wife. This heady sense of freedom allows her to muster up the chutzpah to try and solve the mystery of the anonymous letters, a series of burglaries, and figure out why she doesn’t entirely trust one of her sister’s suitors!

Seriously –  this book is a fun, witty read and it never rests upon its laurels! If you like lighter historicals like Rhys Bowen’s  Her Royal Spyness series – I think this book will be right up your alley! (Seriously can’t remember the last time I had so much fun reading a mystery!)

  JB

Here’s a word you’ll need to know for the new John Connolly: chthonic (adj.) “of or pertaining to the under world,” 1882, with -ic + Latinized form of Greek khthonios “of the earth, in the earth,” from khthon “the earth, solid surface of the earth” (mostly poetic), from Proto-Indo-European root *dhghem- “earth.”

His latest Charlie Parker novel, The Woman in the Woods continues Parker’s dance with those things, those creatures, who come from the darkness, from a world that the opposite of Parker’s, where the dead live and talk, and some who do live have long ago relinquished their souls to a ugly, black power. There are the Pale Children, who limbs are jointed backwards; The Backers, wealthy, established Brahman who are allied with the fabled Not-Gods who search for the King of Wasps, the Buried God; there’s the deadly Mors, a woman completely devoid of color and compassion, whose evil rolls off her with the scent of “a whorehouse mattress”; and there’s Quayle, a dignified figure who may have once been human – he can’t honestly recall – but whose murderous search for the missing leaves of a book cause the deaths of those in his way.

Along the way there are three very different bookmen. Dobey, owner of a greasy spoon who helps damaged girls and women escape to safety and offers them a quiet place to rest amongst his collection. Of course there is Quayle, whose timeless search is for the missing pages of a volume that can change reality once reassembled. Then there is the cantankerous expert in Portland who finds the key piece of the puzzle.

This book fills in more to the picture of the evil Parker and his allies battle. It’s not yet complete but we get more of it, pieces added to a freaky puzzle. And in this book, Connolly ties this fictional evil to that is afoot in our “real” world. Parker’s friend Moxie bemoans “…If I could outlaw one word, the obvious others apart, it would be fucking ‘patriotism’. It’s nationalism in better clothing. You know who were patriots? The Nazis, and those Japanese fucks who bombed Pearl Harbor, and the Serbs who rounded up all those men and boys and put them in holes in the ground outside Srebrenica before going back to rape their women, at least until someone tried bombing sense into them. Patriots build Auschwitz. You start believing that ‘my-country-wrong-or-right’ shit, and it always ends up at the same place: a pit filled with bones.”

Indeed, Connolly writes pointedly that “Violence called to violence, and intemperate words were the kindling of savagery.” This goes for the Parker saga, as well as 2018 America.

One of the many unsettling aspects of the book at the center of the tale is that it’s illustrations change, while being viewed and from viewer to viewer. You seem to see things that might not really be there. Much like the face of the woman in the woods on the dust jacket.DSCN0089

Com’on John – hurry up with the next!

and thanks to Clare for the advanced reading copy, a nice addition to my Connolly shelf!


The Battered Badge is Robert Goldsborough‘s 13th Nero Wolfe mystery. Bill Farley always dismissed them as a pale imitation of Rex Stout’s series but he always read them, saying he couldn’t miss a chance to spend time with old friends. 9781504049108

I approach them the same way and have enjoyed them. But I must admit that this entry is dull and lifeless, even though we get a good visit with Lily Rowen. There are too many phone conversations spread out in the chapters as they trade information and wisecracks. For all of the action, this could’ve been a novella and been fine.

What is fun is that it ends with Inspector Cramer getting all the participants together at police headquarters instead of the brownstone to catch the killer. That scene made it all worth while.

Make no mistake, I’ll keep reading these books. Why miss the chance to spend time with old friends?

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After what I thought were a couple of, well, duds, Craig Johnson is back in thrilling form with Depth of Winter, his 14th full Longmire novel. (I found An Obvious Fact to be boring and I didn’t buy the revelation of who was the killer in The Western Star, even though I liked the scenes from the past and getting to know Martha).

is a mirror image of Hell is Empty(the best, I think, of this fine series), though this time Walt’s desperate journey is into the heat of the desert, not the snow of the mountains. If you’ve been keeping up with the Longmire books, you’ll remember that the Mexican killer Bidarte – with whom Walt and his friends have been dancing Serpent’s Tooth – has struck back in vengeance, kidnapping Cady and drawing Walt south of the border. ”

I slowly turned in all directions, but all I could see was the heat undulating from the baked surface of the desert like invisible samba dancers. I wished for a sound, but pressed hard against the sky, the terrain gave no answers.”

While the usual cast is mostly absent – Henry guards grandbaby Lola and Vic is heard only by phone – there’s a wonderful new group of folks helping Walt on his quest. An Apache sharpshooter, a retired member of the Mexican secret service and his sister with the violet eyes who is thought to be a witch, mules and a pink Cadillac, and of course death, too much death. There is even, slyly slipped in so don’t miss it, about guides from another world. Walt is not alone. But he sure feels like it. Boy howdy…

Does he succeed? What – you think I’d spill that?

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Lastly, a year ago today, Sept. 30, 2017, the Seattle Mystery Bookshop ceased operation at the close of business.

Seemed like something we should note.

Support Small Businesses…

If you don’t they go away!

7=’    7=’    7=’    7=’    7=’    7=”

Until November

September

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    A Couple of Things

~ We’re not trying to blow our own horns but it seems as if there are far, far fewer signings by mystery and crime writers since we closed. And if we miss including any authors, it may be that, having been out of the book biz for some time, we don’t recognize their names. We no longer have the knowledge or time to be as comprehensive as we’d like. We’re doing the best we can.

~ You may have noticed over the years that in our Links of Interest section that there are many more entries from the UK than from the US. That’s because outfits like the NYTimes or Washington Post allow only a certain number of clicks to articles each month before you have to pay. So we favor those who don’t require subscription in order to search for the good stuff that we include. We’re not snobs – we’re cheap.

~ September 30th will mark one year since the shop ceased operation. Hard to believe, seems like just yesterday… Which leads us to – – –

    Word of the Month

gliffing(n): “a flash of time, a moment, an instant…”  (thanks to Says You!, #1101)

    Finder Of Lost Things

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Amber here! So with a fair bit of trepidation and nervousness, I am ready (as I will ever be) to present what I’ve been working on!

When SMB closed last year, I decided to fall back and do something else I loved – blogging. After working on the My 52 Weeks With Christie blog for the shop a few years back – I discovered I enjoyed creating those weekly posts. When I finished my year with Christie, I was completely surprised at how much I missed all the writing and researching they required!

With a bit of time on my hands last September, I decided to follow in the footsteps of the old penny dreadfuls (hopefully without actually being dreadful), and I wrote my own weekly mystery series!

So here it is – Finder Of Lost Things – my mystery blog which will release a new installment every Friday morning! It’ll have accompanying photos, 99% of which were taken by me. There will be funnies, misunderstandings, shenanigans, pirates, and food! I sincerely hope you have as much fun reading it as I did working on it!

Here’s the overview from the site:

“My name is Phoebe Arden, and I used to be the Caretaker of Nevermore Cemetery.

My job is more than just mowing lawns, digging graves and thwarting vandals. The problem is my boss doesn’t understand what exactly my job entailed (or in fact any of my duties).

Now I am on the outside looking in, and I still need to protect Nevermore from my boss’s schemes, internal decay, and corrosive outside influences.

This is going to require coffee. Lots and lots of coffee…and maybe an egg roll.”

FRAN HERE – I’ve read a lot of it already and you’re going to love it! Pinky-swear!

    Ngaio Marsh Awards

The winners  to be announced at special event on September 1st 2018 as part of the WORD Christchurch Festival.

  Best Crime Novel

Marlborough Man by Alan Carter (Fremantle Press)

See You in September by Charity Norman (Allen & Unwin)

Tess by Kirsten McDougall (VUP)

The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell (Mary Egan Publishing)

A Killer Harvest by Paul Cleave (Upstart Press)

The Hidden Room by Stella Duffy (Virago)

  Best First Novel

The Floating Basin by Carolyn Hawes

Broken Silence by Helen Vivienne Fletcher (HVF Publishing)

All Our Secrets by Jennifer Lane (Rosa Mira Books)

The Sound of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell (Mary Egan Publishing)

Nothing Bad Happens Here by Nikki Crutchley (Oak House Press)

    Signings

Tues, Sept 4, 7pm: Seanan McGuire, University Books

Mon, Sept 10, 7pm: Craig Johnson, Powell’s

Tues, Sept 11, 7pm: Craig Johnson, Third Place/LFP

Wed, Sept 12, 7pm: John Straley, Powell’s

Fri, Sept 14, 7pm: John Straley, Third Place/Ravenna

Wed, Sept 19, 7:30: Amy Stewart, Powell’s

Tues, Sept 25, 7pm: Amy Stewart, Third Place/LFP

         Links of Interest

Vulture, July 31st: When Crime Comes for the Crime Writer by Laura Lippman

CNN, August 1st: Swedish Crown Jewels Stolen by Thieves Who Fled by Speedboat

New York Times, August 2nd: Sophie Hannah: By the Book

The Daily Beast, August 3rd: The Golden State Killer Suspect’s Chilling Warning Signs: Tantrums, Flirtations, and Poisoned Dogs

The Guardian, August 6th: The new tool in the art of spotting forgeries: artificial intelligence

The Guardian, August 7th: UKIP suspends three members over socialist bookshop attack [UKIP stands for the UK Independence Party. They wear hats saying Make  Britain Great Again.]

Entertainment Weekly, August 7th: Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series celebrates its 25th anniversary

BBC, August 8th: The Murderer Turned Author Who Published Clues To His Crimes

BBC August 8th: How digital publishers are ‘shaking up’ the industry

BBC August 9th: Looted 5,000-year-old artefacts to be returned to Iraq

BBC, August 10th: German police save man from baby squirrel terror

NY Times, August 10th: All the World’s a Crime: Thrillers from Around the Globe

BBC, August 10th: Can you read at superhuman speeds?

Salon, August 10th: Finding Tom Thomson’s body: The mysterious death of a famous Canadian artist

BBC, August 11th: France’s 25-year treasure hunt for a golden owl

NY Times, August 12th: As Barnes & Noble Struggles to Find Footing, Founder Takes     Heat

The Guardian, August 13th: How Wilkie Collins found sensation in ordinary life

The Guardian, August 13th: Family claims win in high court challenge to Northants library cuts

Salon, August 14th: “Dead Air” and the true crime boom: What happens when amateurs investigate murder?

The Guardian, August 15th: Sorry to break it to you, far-righters: James Bond is not on your team

The Daily Beast, August 18th: I Grew Up in the Shadow of a Neighborhood Killer. He May Have Finally Been Caught

The Seattle Times, August 19th: Sunday Best – a weekly look at looks

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CNN, August 21st: Mom Reveals Her Secret Spy Life to Kids

The Guardian, August 22nd: Malibu residents fear serial attacker is stalking their scenic enclave

The Guardian, August 22nd: Direct another day: who should replace Danny Boyle on Bond 25?

Daily Herald, August 25th: New Versions of Hercule Poirot Keep Coming, and That’s a Good Thing, by Sophie Hannah

Sunday Seattle Times, August 26:

Crime fiction: 2 witty new novels and a Northwest gem – from Adam Woog

Meet the UW Libraries’ keeper of rare books and artifacts

Northwest book festivals to attend this fall, in Seattle, Vancouver, B.C., and Portland

The Washington Post, August 26th: George Pelecanos has helped make TV great again. His new book reminds us why.

The Courier, August 30st: Police: Thieves stole over $40,000 in rare insects, reptiles

    RIP

In early August we lost a treasured member of the SMB family. Gina Rembeisa died unexpectedly on August 7th. She’d been one of our key customers for as long as we can remember. By key, we mean foundational – she was one of those few crucial customers who bought enough books in the early years to help us to survive and succeed. But that also meant that we got to know one another well. 

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Gina read voraciously. She’d call when a new newsletter got to her and give us a list that would fill a sheet from a legal pad. Then she’d go over what had not come in from supplemental lists. She’d try someone new and have to have every earlier book. She had countless cards in our Future File system, cards for authors from whom she’d want every new book. She would take signed copies but they weren’t necessary. She was a reader, not a collector. She’d stop in on a Saturday morning and chat with Bill or whichever one of us was there, then take her heavy bag of books out.

In the last couple of years of the shop, she’d had difficulty walking and we’d mail her books to her, which meant we saw her less and less but she’d call and say “Hello, dear,  how are you?” – and she really wanted answers.

A psychotherapist for 40 years and a lover of books for much longer, her dream was to retire one day and volunteer the Seattle Mystery Bookshop to be with all of her dear friends, human & books alike. Her husband, Tom, donated 69 boxes of Gina’s books to the Friends of the Library Foundation in her honor. She often told Tom, “You never give away your friends.” Gina was a woman of great spirit, determination, humor, and love.

Our best to her husband Tom.

Rest in Peace, dear. We miss your calls.

August 16th, Moranga King, jazz singer and actress (Mama Corleone in The Godfather)

August 19th:  John Calder, British Publisher Who Fought Censorship, Dies at 91

    What We’ve Been Doing

   Amber

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Theodora Goss – The Strange Case of The Alchemist’s Daughter

Our heroine’s story begins with a funeral. Mary’s mother finally succumbed to the madness which had threatened to overwhelm her for years. Beyond just losing her mother Mary Jekyll (yes, the daughter of that Mr. Jekyll), she also lost her income. Meaning? While Mary still has a house to live in, she has virtually no money to keep body and soul together, much less run a household.

Her prospects are slim indeed until her mother’s solicitor gives her a sheaf of papers which hint at the location of the notorious murderer, Mr. Hyde. Unsure whether the reward for his capture is still viable, Mary consults Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. The one hundred pound reward would be a great stopgap measure until she worksed out a more permanent solution for her money woes.

The only problem? Her mother’s information doesn’t lead them to Mr. Hyde but to his daughter.

And that’s when Mary’s real adventure begins.

This is a fantastically fun book! Seriously. If you enjoy reading a mystery populated by all the best characters from old gothic novels (and one of the greatest literary detectives of all time), you’ll love this book!

What I loved is how Goss was able to take the titans of the gothic/horror canon and twist them slightly into something new – while keeping true to their fictional roots. Plus, it is ever so much fun reading about beloved characters through another author’s eyes and how they interpreted these classic stories. By using the daughters of well-known mad scientists, she’s able to breath new life into these stories making them into something new without significantly deviating from the original novels from whence they spring!

Now here’s the thing – you have to be able to suspend a bit of disbelief while reading this book – mainly because coincidences are a tad thick. Not unbelievable mind you, they are well explained and plausible, but just rather prevalent. But, honestly, if you can read from the POV of the daughters of Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde, Dr. Frankenstein, Dr. Moreau and Dr. Rappaccini (an evil scientist from a short story by Nathaniel Hawthorne), I think you can handle a slight overabundance of coincidences. Plus if I am honest, they keep the book moving at a breakneck speed which is a whole lotta fun to read!

So I guess the above is more of a heads up than a warning…

I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoyed reading Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series or classic gothic novels! I devoured The Strange Case Of The Alchemist’s Daughter in two sittings, and I look forward to rereading it again very soon.

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Rhys Bowen – Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding

The latest installment of the Royal Spyness Mysteries was released this month!

And I loved it!

In Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding, we find Georgie & Darcy making all the decisions one needs to when planning a wedding. Which only get more complicated when the King and Queen invite themselves, their kids, half of the nobility of Europe, and ask if the princesses can be her bridesmaids!

One bright note? Georgie’s godfather offered her an early wedding present – his home! Since Georgie is Sir Hubert’s only heir and he’s away so often climbing mountains, he thinks it would be wonderful if she could be the mistress of Eynsleigh! This prospect positively delights Georgie, the real estate pickings in London are slim indeed, unless you enjoy basements, attics, or a view of a brick wall. Deciding to get the estate back in ship shape before Darcy comes to join her, Georgie leaves immediately for her new digs.

The only fly in the ointment? Sir Hubert thinks things might not be running smoothly in his absence and when Georgie arrives, she agrees. Something is rotten in the Eynsleigh estate!

Once again Bowen delivers a beautiful installment in the Royal Spyness series! She’s filled it with hope under the looming cloud of the impending war, the King’s death, and his son’s abdication. This series does a great job of giving a very human side of the Great Depression and the historical context of the period – without ever  losing Georgie’s voice or the fact she’s investigating one mystery or another!

In all seriousness, I love this series and would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a slightly lighter read! Or enjoys historical aspects in their mysteries!

*Just for those who may have read her in the past – there are no ghosts or supernatural elements in this mystery! So pick it up and read with wild abandon! I promise you will love it!

   Fran

Stories from work. The spelling is mine, but the all-caps are hers.

Gal came to turn herself in to go to jail. She’d been using, was being up-front about it, and it’s the weekend, so why not? We gave her a form to fill out, telling us what she used, and why.

“What did you use?” Crystal Meth, Alcohol, Heroin, and CIGARETTES.

Why did you use these? USA FREEDOM

Um…okay.

9780374265922SO LUCKY (MCDxFSG), but the story being told has little to do with murder, and much to do with mayhem, especially the mayhem created when your body fails you.Mara Tagarelli is at the top of her game, CEO of a multi-million dollar AIDS foundation, happily married, martial arts teacher. And it all comes crashing down.

In one week, her wife asks for a divorce, Mara is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and she loses her job. When things crash, they crash hard.

The story is fiction, make no mistake, but the sentiments are raw and real. Nicola Griffith captures the pain and fury – indeed, incandescent rage – that engulfs someone when their life changes and there is nothing to be done to stop what’s happening, when all you can control are symptoms. When you go from self-reliant to needing the help of strangers.

This is a fast, fast read – you’ll do it in a day if only because you cannot stop turning the pages! Nicola Griffith is always a master wordsmith; she’s put her heart into SO LUCKY, and it shows.

I asked one of my friends who also has MS to read the book, tell me whether or not it resonated for him. His response: Around the MS angle, it resonated to the point that I will hand this book to those curious about the disease as it speaks of my experiences in ways I can rarely muster.

Read it for the joy of reading Nicola Griffith’s work. The fact that you’ll be profoundly moved is an incredible bonus.

 

I was trying to decide which of two books I was going to read next when the Beatles came on the radio, talking about Lucy in the sky, and my decision was made. 9780062412843 David Handler’s THE GIRL WITH KALEIDOSCOPE EYES (Wm. Morrow) it was.

I have deliberately not read Handler’s “Stewart Hoag” mysteries because I know myself. When I love one series by an author, I generally don’t love another. I’m weird that way, and I own it. I adore Carolyn Hart’s “Death on Demand” series and while I enjoy “Henrie O”, Annie Darling has my heart. I can read Nora Roberts, but for me it’s J. D. Robb all the way. And, because I’m weird in my own special way, Laurie R. King’s “Kate Martinelli” series calls to me more than her “Mary Russell” stories.

When it comes to David Handler, I’m a “Berger and Mitry” fan to my bones. I adore that mis-matched duo with a profound devotion. Start with The Cold Blue Blood if you can find it, and go from there. But because I am who I am, I didn’t want to read the “Stewart Hoag (Hoagy)” series, because it couldn’t possibly live up to Mitch Berger and Desiree Mitry.

I hadn’t counted on Lulu.

Stewart Hoag (known as Hoagy, after the sandwich not Carmichael) is a literary genius who has written one hugely acclaimed critical masterpiece, crashed and burned, and now is reduced to ghostwriting celebrity bios, at which he excels. Unfortunately, celebrities attract trouble and Hoagy can’t just let things go. He has to know the truth, hence the series of murder mysteries.

In THE GIRL WITH KALEIDOSCOPE EYES, it’s 1992, and Hoagy and his intrepid sidekick Lulu – his mackerel munching  basset hound – are specially requested to write a tell-all for the famous Monette Aintree, brand-name celebrity. That would just be an ordinary day’s work, except Hoagy was once head over heels in love with Monette’s sister, Reggie. And their long-lost father, Richard Aintree, wrote a book that’s known to everyone, is read in every school, and who has vanished after his wife, the girls’ mother, committed suicide.

It’s been 20 years since David Handler has written a Hoagy and Lulu mystery, and now I’ve read two of them. He absolutely has the same voice in the latest as he had in the earlier one, which is a testament to his talent, since that kind of hiatus can change things beyond recognition. And I can see why people have been clamoring for more.

At first, I was a bit put off by the amount of name dropping Hoagy does, but then the gentle cynicism he represents hooked me, and now I find it charming. In both the books I’ve read, it’s Mr. Handler’s ability to create characters that sucks me in. You know me, characters are key.

Generally I advocate beginning a series from the beginning, but I haven’t seen a copy of The Man Who Would Be F. Scott Fitzgerald since the shop closed, and it was rare there. I’m slowly gathering them, but it’s a delight to have a new hunt for treasure.  If you start with THE GIRL WITH KALEIDOSCOPE EYES, you’ll feel right at home.

Go, find it, enjoy!

   JB

Observation from work: cashiering at a hardware store is the first job I’ve had were people coming at you with knives, pitchforks, sledgehammers, and axes is not a bad thing. It means they want to buy them, not make you the body in a book…

Back in early 2006, I picked up a debut novel. She was a complete unknown, as debut authors are by definition. The author was from my hometown and I was curious. The premise of the book sounded interesting so, what the hell, I’d give it a shot.

That was Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects. 9780525575757My review in that Friday’s newzine a dozen years ago started with “WOW”.

My opinion of her work has only increased.

With the HBO adaptation that we’ve been watching, I haven’t been able to remember the nitty-gritty of the book and how they compare. So, I decided to re-read it. This is what has stood out to me:

#1 – It’s very well cast

#2 – The show downplays how active Camille’s scars are and how her feelings at any moment cause different words she’s carved into her skin to buzz. Not sure how they could adequately do it without a narration, to be fair. Still, something is lost in the translation.

#3 – Amma is toned down in the show, not being a super-bitch as in the book.

#4 – No rollerskating in the book, but it is a great visual in the show.

#5 – As always, no adaptation from book to screen can capture that beauty of the author’s writing. Even with a narrator, it can’t be done because you can’t be startled by the words and go back to re-read and re-appreciate them.

“Crisp clean clothes to make us forget all the drips and dank smells that come from our bodies. I was in college by the time I realized I like the smell of sex. I came into my friend’s bedroom one morning after a boy darted past me, smiling sideways and tucking his socks into his back pocket. She was lazing in bed, splotchy and naked, with one bare leg dangling out from under the sheets. That sweet muddy smell was purely animal, like the deepest corner of a bear’s cave. It was almost foreign to me, this lived-in overnight odor. My most evocative childhood scent was bleach.”

That’s why I appreciate and adore Gillian Flynn’s writing. Her words are evocative and her sentences circle around with surprising bite.

Now if we could just get her back to writing novels…

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~-Until October-~

Support Small Businesses 

If You Don’t, They Go Away…

July’s Newzine

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2018 Nero Finalists Have Been Announced!

The “Nero” is an annual award presented to an author for literary excellence in the mystery genre. The award is presented at the Black Orchid Banquet, which is traditionally held on the first Saturday in December in New York City; this year the banquet will be on Saturday, December 1, 2018.

This year, the finalists are:

Kathleen Kent, The Dime (Mulholland Books/Little, Brown)
Loren D. Estelman, The Lioness is the Hunter (Forge)
Matt Goldman, Gone to Dust (Forge)
Stephen Mack Jones, August Snow (Soho)
Warren C. Easley, Blood for Wine (Poisoned Pen Press)

This year’s nominees join a procession of fine writers including Lee Child,
Walter Mosley, and Linda Fairstein, all of whom have been honored with the
prestigious “Nero.”

Congratulations to all!

Stephannie, Nero Award Chair (NeroAwardChair@nerowolfe.org)
Jane K. Cleland, Black Orchid Novella Award Chair (BlackOrchidAward@nerowolfe.org)

     Signings

Linda Castillo, Third Place Books, July 19th, 7pm

Carola Dunn, Third Place Books, July 20th, 6pm

Kevin O’Brien, Elliot Bay Books, July 31st, 7pm

Megan Abbott, Third Place Books, July 30th, 7pm

Megan Abbott, Powell’s, July 31st, 7pm

     Word of the Month

fredo: cold and passionless, a direction in music, (thanks to Says You, #1014) or, political commentary…

     Links of Interest

Here is a two-part story about a murder and the man imprisoned for the crime. It is very much in the vein of the series that have been on podcast or cable: “Blood Will Tell”, Part 1, Part 2

Daily Beast, June 1st: MH379 Didn’t Just Disappear, It was Caught in a Swamp of Corruption

Seattle Times, June 2nd: The Soviets Secretly Mapped Seattle

The Guardian, June 2nd: A Story of Survival: New York’s Last Remaining Independent Bookshops

WRAL, June 2nd: Listen Carefully, Book Lovers: Top Authors Are Skipping Print (yes, they’re going instead to audio – and to whom? Audible… aka SPECTRE! Seems they’re not yet done raiding the crippled world of publishing.)

Daily Beast, June 2nd: How Cuba Helped Make Venezuela a Mafia State

The Independent, June 3rd: James Bond producers want Helena Bonham Carter to play a villain

Newser, June 4th: What May Be ‘Most Famous Map in English Lit’ Up for Grabs – 1926 EH Shepard sketch of Hundred Acre Wood appears in AA Milne’s ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’

The Guardian, June 5th: Editorial: The Guardian view on Amazon: not a normal monopoly 

The Guardian, June 6th: A queer, diverse Nancy Drew: is this how to keep children’s classics alive?

The Oregonian, June 6th: Portland(ia) Feminist Bookstore, In Other Words, is Closing 

BBC June 10th: Serial poopers: What makes people poo in public places?

The Guardian, June 12th: Tim Miller Can Find Almost  Anyone. Can He Find His Daughter’s Killer?

BBC, June 12th: Demolished Londonderry house still receives post

BBC, June 12th: A plan to use pupils to run school libraries

The Washington Post, June 13th: Years ago I wandered into a used book store and a man named X handed me this gem [ JB agrees – these books are jewels!]

BBC, June 13th: Daredevil raccoon’s Minnesota skyscraper climb

The Guardian, June 13th: “Conan Doyle for the Defence” by Margalit Fox review – a case worthy of Sherlock Holmes

The Guardian, June 13th: Morality clauses: are publishers right to police writers?

The Guardian, June 19th: Oxford English Dictionary extends hunt for regional words around the world

BBC, June 21st: Why Hitchcock’s “Kaleidoscope” Was Too Shocking to be Made

Vox, June 22nd: Water rights, freeways, and Hollywood gossip: the secret history of LA, in 3 detective movies 

Atlas Obscura, June 22nd: Why Medieval Monasteries Branded Their Books

The Guardian, June 23rd: How alleged Toronto serial killer Bruce McArthur went unnoticed

The Guardian, June 23rd: How Well Do You Know Your Fictional Bookshops?

The Washington Post, June 25th: Supreme Court won’t hear the case of Brendan Dassey, sentenced to life as a teen and featured in ‘Making a Murderer’

BBC, June 26th: My best friend’s killer got away – until I made police try again

The Guardian, June 27th: Publishers are paying writers a pittance, say bestselling authors

The Atlantic, June 27th: What Is “The Staircase” Trying to Do?

The Guardian, June 30th: All the Pieces Matter review – the inside story of “The Wire”

Vox, June 30th: You can rent a room above this bookstore by the sea and run the shop

          RIP

BBC, June 6th: Jerry Maren: Last Wizard of Oz Munchkin dies aged 98

BBC, June 8th: Anthony Bourdain

BBC, June 9th: The first Bond girl, Eunice Grayson, dies at 90

LA Times, June 28th: Celebrity admirers bid farewell to Harlan Ellison, a ‘great author and cautionary tale’

Miami Herald, June 29th: Rob Hiaasen, journalist killed in Maryland newsroom shooting, had deep South Florida ties  (our best to his brother Carl)

                    What We’ve Been Doing

     Amber

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Georgette Heyer – The Unfinished Clue

Put one – gold-digger & jealous husband, amused spinster, nervy wife & her would-be-lover, a tyrant, a self-absorbed dancer & a sap, a snake charmer, old friend, a vicar & a gossip under the same roof for an entire weekend and you’re bound to have a murder!

No one was particularly sad to see Sir Arthur Billington-Smith go toes up at the end of the weekend; the only real complaint they had was his lousy timing! They were all still residents when he got himself murdered.

Even worse?

None of the partiers (aka suspects) can leave until the culprit is caught!

I enjoyed this mystery. You have a house stuffed to the gills with great suspects, a bevy of motives and a couple of red herrings! There are only three characters in the entire book I liked, Finch (the butler), Dinah (the victim’s sister-in-law) and Inspector Harding (from Scotland Yard). The rest of the cast of characters are so abominable in their own unique way I could hardly wait to see what they would do next!

Then there’s Georgette Heyer’s use of language – words like “highfalutin” and “nincompoop” are used conversationally. Her vocabulary taken with her singular turn of phrase make this book a joy to read!

Shakespeare’s Hamlet tells us that “Brevity is the soul of wit,” in Heyer’s case, this is true. The Unfinished Clue is by far the shortest mystery I’ve read by her – and it works. At no point did I feel like this book dragged on – between the arguments, accusations, hysterics, and murder – this book never stops chugging along.

If you can overlook one or two outmoded ways of thinking which make this book feel a bit dated ( a touch of misogyny and the horror of a “nice you man” falling into the clutches of a dancer) – this is a fantastic mystery. One I would recommend to most mystery readers who relish a delightful English country house mystery.

     Fran

I’ve added my reviews separately (because of course I did) so let’s see if I can come up with an anecdote from work.

We have folks who go FTR – Failure To Report – rather a lot, as you’d suspect. If you’re a mystery writer, let me clue you in on something. Vengeful ex-girlfriends (generally our culprits are guys, so I’m not stereotyping much here) are a real thing.

We get calls all the time from ladies scorned who know more about how (and when) to find their ex-guys than any PI ever written. They put bill collectors and student loan repayers to shame. I can’t tell you how many calls we’ve gotten from women saying, “You wanna know where to find the sonofabitch? Let me tell you, he’ll be walking into 1234 Main Street, Apt. 56, at 1:34 a.m. with that SKANK, and by 1:45 they’ll be asleep because he sucks in bed!”

You want top-of-the-line surveillance? Get an ex on the job!

You know how you say that once you retire, you’ll read all those books you’ve been buying but never got around to? Or hope to contract some disease that can only be cured by reading books so you can finally attack the piles towering around you?

Well, since I’m not getting fabulous new ARCs every day any more (small sob), I decided to do just that – read something I’ve been meaning to read. Something I was told years ago to read, by Janine and Adele and Tammy in this case.

I picked up Tim Maleeny’s STEALING THE DRAGON (Midnight Ink). And of course I love it. THEY TOLD ME I WOULD! And they were right, and I should have years ago, but I’ve come to my senses now.

Trust me, if these three tell you to read something, don’t put it off. Otherwise you’ll miss out on characters like Cape Weathers, Tim’s protagonist who’s been a lot of things in his disreputable past but is now a private investigator in San Francisco.

You’d think that idea would have been worked to death, that there couldn’t be anything new or different about a PI in Frisco, and, like me, you’d be wrong. Tim Maleeny is smart, funny, wickedly sharp, twisty and wonderful.

In STEALING THE DRAGON, you meet Cape who is an old friend to you by page three. And the premise here is that a cargo ship filled with illegal Chinese immigrants crashes into Alcatraz, which has nothing to do with Cape until it’s brought to his attention that just about the only person who could have done what happened on that ship is his best friend and protector, Sally.

As the story progresses, we see things unfolding in Cape’s investigation, but we also see how Sally became to be who she is, and she’s amazing and magnificent.

So take the advice of those wiser than I am and do yourself a favor. Go to your local indie bookshop (because duh!) and order STEALING THE DRAGON, BEATING THE BABUSHKA, and GREASING THE PINATA, and enjoy yourself. Do not make the mistake I did of reading the first one without the other two close at hand.

Seriously – learn from my mistakes here and enjoy yourself immensely in the process!

     JB

I’ve been a fan of Chandler and Marlowe for decades – no secret there. So I was thrilled to read in the Seattle Times about a new Philip Marlowe novel coming out in July. I was able to secure an advanced reader copy, Lawrence Osborne’s Only to Sleep, from the publisher. It’s an odd book, but then most of Chandler’s novels were, too, when you think about it. Sometimes they don’t make sense, you don’t always know who did what, and behind the wondrous prose is gauzy world of Marlowe and the rich and poor of Chandler’s imagination, not necessarily of the real LA.

In Osborne’s novel, a 72 year-old Marlowe has retired and is living simply on Mexican coast. He uses a cane due to a broken foot from a decade ago but still seems to get around. The cane has a sword in it and that’s his only weapon. No shoulder holster under his coat, no Luger in a hidden compartment in the car. He seems to be a puzzled old man trying to figure out what his did with his life and what it was all about. Then he gets a chance have one more case.

Like most of his cases, its pretty banal. An insurance company wants him to check to see if someone who is supposed to be dead really is before they pay out the policy. And why not? “There was, I thought, something calling to me from out in the dark. It came out int he tempest, even from the lights of the fishing boats a mile out to sea. You can be called to a last effort, a final heroic statement, because I doubt you can call yourself to leave comforts and certainties for an open road. But the call is inside your own head. It’s a sad summons from the depths of your own wasted past. You could call it the imperative to go out with full-tilt trumpets and gunshots instead of the quietly desperate sound of a hospital ventilator.” Right there, on page 10, you can feel that Osborne has captured the mind-set of Marlowe, a sense of nobility swirled with fatalistic boredom.

On the way, Marlowe will meet a raft of people as well as the dame in the center of the case. Is she a grieving widow or a femme fatale? It’s 1988. Surely they’ve not gone extinct? “So I skipped that question and just enjoyed her presence. She was the only thread I was handling as I groped my way through the dark on my small and wind-swept odyssey. A thread as soft as silk, shiny and mysterious, or, if you want to put it another way, a dance partner that is different with every step. Count me as one of those who knows that life is unbearable not because it’s a tragedy but because it’s a romance.”

That’s Chandleresque.

This is the second new Marlowe novel the estate has commissioned, not counting the Robert B. Parker works. The first was Benjamin Black’s The Black-Eyed Blonde. I hope and expect them to continue. I would just ask that they speed up the publications.

From Third Place/Ravenna, I have on order the newly released The Annotated Big Sleep, which Adam Woog profiled in his recent Seattle Times column.

Then there’s the used hardcover of Frank Nitti: The True Story of Chicago’s Notorious “Enforcer” by Ronald D. Humble. I thought I’d known a lot about Nitti but from this book I have a far greater understanding of his power and reach. It’s a book with a great deal of information but is unfortunately presented with haphazard organization and wooden writing. Wish he’d had a better editor…

Lastly, if you’re into podcasts, there are three I’d recommend:

~ One has been out awhile – Shit*town is a wild and strange trip into the head and heart of a brilliant man who loathes his small hometown. The story begins with an accusation of murder and then spins off into weirdness.

~ Slate has just released a series of episodes on Watergate called Slow Burn. It’s well done, interesting and very, very timely. Again, thought I knew a lot about that era but I’m learning more with each episode.

~ The last and newest is The RFK Tapes, which re-examines the Robert Kennedy assassination. There are three episodes out so far. Not sure how many there will be. Again, well done, interesting and very very timely.

 

That’s It Until August.

Support Small Businesses if you don’t, they go away!

June Newzine

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Summer, right? Well, we’re now past Memorial Day, so it must be that time in which livin’ is easy… so they say.

And, a reminder: these new Newzines are not meant to be read in one sitting, as the old Friday afternoon missives could be. We imagine folks coming back to these monthly posts more than once. They’re long, but so are months. Err, or they used to be when we had summer vacation from school!

Something Special from a Good Friend

The following is from one of the SMB’s most valued customers, most supportive collectors, and trusted friends. Steve has had some thoughts since the shop closed, and sent us this:

Missing SMB

First, a confession: I am a book collector and assess bookshops with a jaundiced eye. I’ve been in every variety of bookstore from the well heeled, inefficiently designed rare book shop that is a book shy a designer’s idea of a library, to the tatty, dusty, work-of-love, paperback-only shop that can only subside due to free rent while the landlord waits for a real tenant to amble in. I collect first editions of various literary genres, but especially mysteries. My wife and I are passionate about books, so much so that when we paid off our original mortgage we took out another to build the library we’d always wanted in order to house our substantial book collection. Or at least part of it, since books are everywhere in our home and may be the only things keeping it upright.

As a result of my affliction, I loved the Seattle Mystery Bookshop (SMB). When I say that I loved the shop, I loved everything about it, everything that had taken so long for the owners (Bill Farley, then JB Dickey) to compile: the knowledgeable and affable staff; the efficient attention to customers’ needs and wants; the broad assortment of inventory composed of new and used books displayed for comfortable, lazy browsing; the quarterly newsletter focused on upcoming publications that allowed me to send a list to the staff so that they could have my published choices ready for me during my next visit; my own space on their back shelves where I could first see some of the new books I was about to buy; their locked shelves of rarer books where I might, and often did, find a treasure.

But I also loved the composite whole, an institution much greater than the sum of its parts that was a retreat from daily concerns where I could get lost in the possibilities and implicit joys of future reading.

So when SMB finally closed, I was bereft. I had a system that I had worked out with SMB’s staff to ensure that I would never miss a favorite author’s newest work. I had staff backup in case I did miss a favored new work since the staff would always question me about my error. And the staff always made certain to tell me about new authors that I’d never heard of that fell within my range of interests, either spontaneously in a statement of enthusiasm beginning “you just have to read this” or in response to my oft asked question at the conclusion of each visit: “What have I missed?”

It finally became apparent to me that I could no longer argue with JB that he ought to keep the store open. I came to understand the stress he endured from so many pressures: competition from low priced online retailers; rude so-called “customers” who came to sample books they were about to buy on-line for less money; trying to operate a retail shop in a city hostile to smaller businesses; the constant lack of nearby parking spaces; the constant construction and street closures that adversely affected business; the steadily falling income due to the deadly combination of fewer walk in customers, rising hardback prices, and the steadily increasing portion of new books which were lower priced (and, therefor, less profitable) paperbacks; the rise of the e-book; and on and on. JB was stressed by this storm of ill luck and needed a break, so I had to learn to shut my mouth and, as a friend, help him extricate himself from the lifelong dream that had gradually become a nightmare.

But what was I, the now-former customer, to do after SMB closed?  I approached this problem with my customary optimism. I have been a professional problem solver all my life, so I just knew I’d find a way. And I tried. Boy, how I tried! But like any other good thing, even I who loved the SMB institution didn’t know how good I’d had it until the institution was gone; I didn’t understand how bad the alternatives could be. I confess to failing to find a good, or even a marginally acceptable, alternative – at least so far. I am still searching.

Since SMB closed, I have tried many things to feed my passion for mysteries. I have subscribed to on-line mystery lists to see what is upcoming, but they are nowhere close to being as comprehensive as SMB’s newsletters which was blind to categorized favoritism and a major publication in and of itself. I’ve tried to deal with other storied mystery retail institutions only to find flaw after flaw in their operations. (One well known New York store never updates its listings of rare books, such that out of the six rare books I have attempted to buy from them only one has been delivered as the others were already sold. I no longer even bother to look at their on-line inventory of rare books on the presumption that if a book is listed there it must be gone. Why waste my time?) I’ve haunted the mystery sections of local booksellers, but none have the breadth of collection that SMB had, and the only one that comes close has no attentive staff dedicated to making my day’s selections as complete or as interesting as they could be. And there is no one there to ask what I might have missed before I go out their door. And even if there were, they wouldn’t know me well enough to advise me effectively.

No, nothing has worked well for me. I’ve made do since SMB closed its doors, but just making do is never very satisfying to a passionate collector. The pleasure in my monthly purchases of mysteries has been reduced from a sigh of contentment to a sigh of regret. I have to make my own lists of wants without help from a knowledgeable staff – lists I either forget to make or forget to take. There is no one who, when I become too ill to visit, will take my orders by email and lovingly wrap and mail them to me as SMB uncomplainingly did. There is no one to make each visit to their store both bookishly satisfying as well as a pleasant reunion with old and dear friends of both the quick and the tome varieties.

I’m about ready to scream my frustration. Hell, I can’t find anyone I can deal with who is even remotely efficient; I’d settle for adequate if I could ever stumble upon it. My frustration is probably Bill’s and JB’s fault for setting the bar so high. If only they and their staff hadn’t created something so perfect, I could have, in my ignorance, settled for so much less.

Sigh!

A New Series of Mystery Reprints

Otto Penzler of The Mysterious Bookshop is starting a new publisher. Penzler Publishing will reissue classic American mysteries. In some way, this press will be filling the void that Rue Morgue left. “Reprints of Golden Age classics by British writers have been very successful,” Penzler noted, “so it seems the time has come to recognize the best American authors of traditional detective fiction.” The first  batch of titles due out this Fall are from instantly recognizable authors: Rice, Queen, Rinehart, Hughes, Rawson, and Palmer.

Word of the Month

snollygoster (n.): From 1846, American English slang, a fanciful coinage – “originally an unprincipled politician or crooked lawyer, today in means someone either incompetent or “ethically challenged”, someone who will not keep a promise.” (thanks to etymonline and Says You! #906)

Author Events

June 2nd, Erica Miner, Third Place Books/Lake Forrest Park, 6pm

June 7th, Leslie Budewitz, Third Place Books/Lake Forrest Park, 7pm

June 7th, Nicola Griffith, Eagle Harbor Books, 6:30

June 11th, Ruth Ware, Powell’s, 7:30

June 12th, Ruth Ware, Third Place Books/Lake Forrest Park, 7pm

June 21st, Christine Carbo, Third Place Books/Lake Forrest Park, 7pm

June 22nd, Cara Black, Third Place Books/Ravenna, 7 pm

 Links of Interest

The Guardian, April 27th: Vetting for stereotypes: meet publishing’s ‘sensitivity readers’

Daily Beast, May 1st: The CIA Cleared Her Book Twice. Then It Took It Back. Why? It’s a Secret

The Guardian, May 1st: Books by Women Priced 45% Lower, Study Finds

The Guardian, May 1st: Why does it seem like serial killers all wear the same glasses?

The Guardian, May 1st: Are women responsible for all the extreme sexual violence on screen? (Germaine Greer has stirred up a hornet’s nest with her latest claims, suggesting women are more enthusiastic than men when it comes to depictions of sex and violence. We asked leading crime writers for their views)

BBC, May 3rd: Mystery Pooper Caught In The Act

BBC, May 4th: Whoops! Idaho State University Lost Some Plutonium

Daily Beast, May 5th: From Russia’s Secret Espionage Archives: The Art of the Dangle

New York Times, May 6th: Save Barnes & Noble!

Daily Beast, May 8th: The Surreal Story of a Purple-Faced Lady and My Mom’s Stolen Jewels

The Guardian, May 12th: Barnes & Noble: why it could soon be the bookshop’s final chapter

Daily Beast, May 12th: The Blue Diamond Affair: The Jewel Heist That Became a Diplomatic Nightmare

Vox, May 14th: Louisa May Alcott on Little Women: “I grow tired of providing moral pap for the young”

The Guardian, May 14th: Waterstones accused of breaking pledge not to take on independents

The Guardian, May 14th: Bacon, cheese slices and sawblades: the strangest bookmarks left at libraries

Seattle Times, May 14th: A 14th human foot – this one in a hiking boot – washes ashore in Canada

The Oregonian, May 18th: D.B. Cooper Case Drops Another Suspect Into the Spotlight

The New York Times, May 19th: A Staten Island Man Found a Safe of Cash in His Backyard. Then Things Got Weird.

Crosscut, May 21st: Seattle is a ‘City of Literature’. Now What?

The Guardian, May 21st: My Friend Dahmer”: is it time to stop glamorising the serial killer?

The Guardian, May 22nd: John le Carré letter reveals author’s contempt for British political class

Atlas Obscura, May 22nd: Lesbian Pulp Fiction That Saved Lives

Seattle Times, May 24th: Daniel Craig to Return as 007 in 2019, Danny Boyle at Helm

Daily Beast, May 26th: Love and Death and the Queen of Diamonds

Seattle Times, May 27th: How a Canadian Mystery Writer Found the Clues to Success (hint: she writes about Three Pines…)

The Oregonian, May 27th: End of a Story for a Hawthorne Boulevard Bookstore (JB used to hit this place on Portland book-hunting trips)

The Atlantic, May 28th: Killing Eve” and the Riddle of Why Women Kill

New York Times, May 28th: How Dostoyevsky Predicted the ‘True Crime’ Craze

AtlasObscura, May 29th: Secrets Revealed at NSA’s National Cryptologic Museum

AtlasObscura, May 29th: Grave Robbing 101

RIP

May 13th – Margot Kidder, Lois Lane in the earlier Superman movies, 69.

May 21st  – Bill Gold, one of Hollywood’s best-known creators of film posters, has died aged 97 – the creator of the iconic Dirty Harry, Goodfellas & Dial ‘M’ For Murder and 2,000 more posters!

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

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So Pretty A Problem – Francis Duncan

Chief detective inspector Jonathan Boyce’s boss has ordered him to take a holiday. A recent bout of pneumonia has left him weak and tired to the point the commissioner felt the need to intervene. Unable to do anything but comply with his boss’s order Jonathan decided it was high time he paid a visit to his sister in Falporth in Cornwall.

Wanting to impress said sister he asks his friend Mordecai Tremaine if he’d like to come along (she’s read about Mordecai’s second career in the papers and Jonathan’s letters). Mordecai readily agrees to the trip despite the uncomfortable situation it places him in. Oh not with Boyce’s family, but with a close acquaintance who also resides in the small seaside town.

A few weeks previously he discovered that the wife of painter Adrian Carthallow was having an affair, which caused Mordecai’s romantic soul to cringe. When the artist and his wife relocated to their summer home for a few months, Mordecai was relieved….until the unexpected invitation for Boyce propelled him back into their sphere.

Mordecai’s vacation soon turns into a busman’s holiday when Adrian Carthallow is shot dead by his wife. The only hitch in the giddyup? The wife’s story is so full of holes it looks like swiss cheese, and there are about a half-a-dozen other people who had a motive to want the man dead.

I love this mystery!

If you took the setting of And Then There Were None, the motives of Murder In Retrospect, the detective Columbo, and Sherlock Holmes’ pipe, then shook them up in a bag, you might come close-ish to this latest installment in the Mordecai Tremaine series.

Francis Duncan flawlessly combines the locked-room mystery with the English country house murder in this “new” book. What I enjoyed reading was the deftness which Francis manipulated and updated these classic tropes. He was able to keep them recognizable but change them in such a way that made them feel different.

The other fascinating aspect of this book? Every suspect was under the same emotional influence, love. Francis does a great job in showing the variants of this seemingly pure emotion and how it provided more than enough motive for murder.

Though So Pretty A Problem was written in 1947 this book doesn’t feel dated. Which I think broadens the appeal of this mystery to those who enjoy reading the occasional timeless trope. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a classic golden age mystery and/or looking for something to fill the void after finishing the Agatha Christie (or alternatively needing a break from them). Or someone who is looking for something without much blood that doesn’t fall into the cozy trap!

Fran

I’m loving my new job still, and it’s always interesting.  For example:

So, a guy gets out of jail on Monday. He’s supposed to show up in 24 hours, but hey, sometimes life happens so we gave him 48. Not everybody would, and not every offender gets a break, but once in a while, we’re nice. Don’t judge.

But then, by Wednesday when he’s a no-show, we sigh and put out a warrant for him. We tried to be nice, but the rules are the rules.

Thursday the warrant’s issued, and we trundle along as we always do.

Today. Today he shows up. We ask if there’s a reason he didn’t check in. Nope. Not really. Just didn’t.

We peer at him closely. “Are you high?” He nods, happily.

“Before coming here? What did you take?”

“Meth.”

There are several exchanged looks, puzzled and frowny.

“So you took meth before you came here?” He nods again.

“You know that means you’re going to jail, right?” He nods.

More exchanged looks.

“Okay, fill out this form admitting that you’ve used drugs.” He does.

“Alrighty then, you wanna tell us why you took meth and then came here on a Friday afternoon?”

Long pause. “….it might rain?….”

Like I said, my job is always interesting.

 

REVIEWS NOW:

9780544947306Now, before you go sighing, “Oh dear goslings, ANOTHER ONE?” let me tell you that Carrie Vaughn‘s BANNERLESS (Mariner) is not your typical everything’s-awful or how-will-we-survive type dystopian novel. Far from it.

It’s hopeful. And nice.

Dystopian, yes. It’s after the Fall, civilization has collapsed and has been re-formed and made into something that will work, at least for the time period we’re concerned about.

Along the Coast Road region, communities are thriving. People are organized into households within their towns, groups of people who live within their own communities to help each other. The households work together so that the towns thrive, and everyone depends on everyone else doing their part.

When a household has proven its stability and resourcefulness, they can be awarded a banner, which entitles that household to have a child. No children are allowed without a banner; population control is key to maintaining survival. Starvation is still a real possibility. Outcasts and children born outside of the rules are considered to be “bannerless” and are therefore shunned. Mostly.

Crimes tend to be of the more mundane sort – who’s hoarding food, not contributing enough, over-extending their growing fields without permission – and to handle those sorts of things, investigators travel to the communities with problems and resolve them. Investigators’ word is law; they have the power to dissolve households and even remove awarded banners as they see fit.

Enid of Haven has only been an investigator a short while. Generally, being an investigator isn’t a full-time job, so she and her household are doing what they normally do, but then she’s tasked with investigating a suspicious death in a nearby town, Pasaden. Suspicious deaths are very, very rare, so Enid takes this seriously. She and her enforcer, her former mentor Tomas, go to Pasaden to see if they can figure things out.

And on the surface, Pasaden seems to be a quiet, safe and welcoming community. What happened?

This is the first in a series, and I devoured it. In BANNERLESS, Carrie Vaughn has crafted a world that is fully functional, multi-dimensional, and captivating. It’s a straight-up murder mystery (no spoiler there, I promise) but it’s got such complexity and such deep layers that it captures the imagination.

If you like traditional mysteries and are game for a slightly different setting with rules that take a bit of getting used to but which make perfect sense once you do, I can’t recommend BANNERLESS enough. Even if you’re not into science fiction or things of that genre, trust me, you’ll enjoy this one. I can’t wait to read the sequel!

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So yeah, here I’m going to be talking about two books, but they tie in together so hang with me. ‘Kay? Thanks!

9781501118364First, if you haven’t picked up John Connolly‘s book of short stories, Night Music (Emily Bestler Books), you should have. I know there are a lot of you who don’t much like short stories, but please, make an exception here, for two reasons.

One is that you absolutely need to read (or re-read) the seventh short story, “The Fractured Atlas – Five Fragments” before you read his new Charlie Parker novel, about which I’ll talk later.

A lot of what you find out in “The Fractured Atlas” will ring bells for you from things discussed in earlier Parker novels, but having this set of short stories under your belt will make The Woman in the Woods (Emily Bestler Books) much more understandable.

Besides, they’re beautifully written and just creepy enough to make you uneasy. But then, several of the short stories are. You know how John Connolly can take something ordinary and give it a slight twist? These are distilled Connolly.

The last thing I want to say is that when you read – or re-read – the first story, “The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository”, if it doesn’t ring a chord deep within in you, I’m not sure we can be friends any longer. Yeah, it’s that good.

9781501171925So then, onto the The Woman in the Woods. Obviously there’s not a lot I can say about it because if you haven’t read the series, there are spoilers, and if you have and are waiting for this one to come out, which it does this month, I believe (thank you, Claire Lamb, for seeing that I got an ARC – I am forever in your debt!) then by reading “The Fractured Atlas”, you’ll know all you need to know.

However, I must say that I absolutely adore the insights into Louis and Angel’s relationship we get due to Angel’s illness, and Charlie is perfect in his response to the whole situation.

Granted, some of Louis’s anger is going to lead to problems down the line, but it’s nothing that can’t be handled. In fact I’m looking forward to that confrontation.

Enough being cryptic. Trust me, you’re going to enjoy The Woman in the Woods and it will leave you wanting the next installment Right Now. In fact, I may have to go re-read the entire series while I wait. That’ll make the time pass quickly and will be such a treat!

JB

I know I wasn’t the only one who was struck by the oddity of the 2003 bank robbery in which a pizza delivery guy held up a bank with a bomb affixed to him. I never really followed the case but I remembered it. So did GM Ford, because he used it in Blown Away, his last Frank Corso novel in 2006. On the last page, he left poor Corso trembling in a bank with  a bomb locked around his neck.

If you have access to Netflix (I hope Jerry does) I recommend Evil Genius, a four-part documentary about the crime, the cops who investigated it, and those suspected and charged in the crime. Netflix gets it right when they say “This baffling true crime story starts with the grisly death of a pizza man who robs a bank with a bomb around his neck — and gets weirder from there.” Sure as hell does.

Like any fan of crime and mystery and whodunnits, I’ve talked this series over with a number of fans, trying to figure out questions that were left and we can’t get very far. I’ll admit it isn’t for the cozy crowd, but it is a fascinating series, well constructed and engrossing.  Give it a try. netflix-Evil-Genius-s1-bg-1

Soon as I finish John Meacham’s biography of Andrew Jackson, I’m going to dig into a large pile of mysteries – new books by Mike Lawson, John Straley, Phillip Kerr, James Lee Burke, John Connolly, and, the most intriguing, Lawrence Osborne’s forthcoming Philip Marlowe novel, Only to Sleep!

When the hell will we see a new book from Carol O’Connell, Carl Hiaasen, Don Winslow, James Ellroy, and Gillian Flynn! We’re so out of the loop now that we no longer see publisher’s catalogs. We’re lost, just like all of you.

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May Day!

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Here’s the old e-mail computer from the shop set up on JB’s dining room table to send out that blast about the newzine. Dedication and Dr Pepper!

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2018 Edgar Awards Winners Announced

Best Novel: Attica Locke, Bluebird, Bluebird

Best First Novel by an American: Jordan Harper, She Rides Shotgun

Best Paperback Original: Anna Mazzola, The Unseeing

Here’s the full list of winners. Congratulations to all.

Tryin’ Something New

Since the shop closed, we’ve been stymied about author events and signed copies. Maybe you’ve felt that, too… So we’re going to try (TRY) to keep track of what authors are coming into the PNW and when they’ll be signing. The trick is there is no centralized listing anymore. The papers have let it go and we’re out of the circle, so this may not work. But we’ll try ’cause we’d like to know who is coming around as well. If you’re interested in anyone who is listed, its up to you to make the moves to go see the author or order from that particular bookshop:

May 8th, Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz), Third Place Books, 7pm

May 16th, Nicola Griffith, Elliot Bay, 7pm

May 17th, Sam Wiebe in conversation with Brian Thornton, Third Place Books, 7pm

May 22nd, Nicola Griffith, Powells, 7:30

Word Of The Month

fuller (n): “one who fulls cloth,” Old English fullere “fuller” (Mark ix.3), from Latin fullo “fuller” (see foil (v.)). The native word is walker. Fuller’s earth (silicate of alumina) is recorded by 1520s; so called because it was used in cleansing cloth.

Something Serious Now

Help with a cold case: Will new sketches lead to killer of Canadian couple, slain during trip to Seattle in 1987?

This is new to us but there’s a new type of mass murderer – the “family annihilator”. Not surprisingly, most are men. But women are catching up. A recent instance is this story of an Oregon family. Deadly Hart crash stands out for experts who study family annihilators

How, we often wonder, has the human race survived this long?

Links of Interest

The Independent, March 2nd: Why Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is Still Popular 80 Years On

The Oregonian, March 8th: ‘The Godfather’ at 49: The vendettas, tirades and real Mob threats behind the classic novel, movie

New York Times, March 30th: Ernie Cline ~ By the Book

The Daily Beast, March 31st: Strippers, Cocaine and Murder: The Crazy (True) Story of Two Crooks’ Pursuit of a Soviet Submarine

The Guardian, April 1st: Macbeth by Jo Nesbø review – something noirish this way comes

BBC, April 3rd: Has London’s murder rate overtaken New York’s?

BBC, April 5: The History Detective

New York Times, April 6th: A Traffic Jam Changed Her Life (interview with Jacqueline Winspear)

Politico, April 7th: How Trump is Shaking Up the Book Industry (read this while remembering the people wringing their hands are the same ones who for decades sneered at crime and mystery novels as mere “genre fiction”)

Vox, April 7th: Apparently There’s a Longstanding and Vicious Feud Between Architects and Librarians 

The Guardian, April 10th: There’s No Female Conspiracy in Publishing ~ Your Book Just Might Not Be Good

BBC, April 12th : New Tolkien Work To Be Published

NY Times, April 12th: By the Book – James Comey

The Guardian, April 12th: : It’s no mystery that crime is the biggest-selling genre in books

Seattle Times, April 13th: Chagall stolen in 1988 New York heist turns up after aging criminal wants to clear his conscience

The Guardian, April 14th: Packing My Library by Alberto Manguel

The Guardian, April 14th: The Perfect Crime: Why Thrillers are Leaving Other Books for Dead

The Guardian, April 20: Al Pacino on Scarface 35 Years Later

The Daily Beast, April 21st: The Crazy (True) Story of One Man’s Hunt for $2 Million in Buried Cocaine Treasure

The Oregonian, April 23rd: Conservative author Brad Thor calls Donald Trump ‘unfit to serve,’ launches 2020 primary challenge

Daily Beast, April 25th: Golden State Killer, Joseph DeAngelo, Arrested After 40-Year Hunt, Authorities Say

Independent, April 27th: How Spider-Man creator Stan Lee got caught up in a web of strife

The Guardian, April 28th: Top [UK] Writers Choose Their Perfect Crime – Crime fiction is now the UK’s bestselling genre. So which crime novels should everyone read? We asked the writers who know …

Daily Beast, April 28th: Whatever Happened to the Book Herman Wrote After Moby Dick?

The Atlantic, April 30th: Artificial Intelligence Is Cracking Open the Vatican’s Secret Archives

RIP

BBC, April 1st: Hill Street Blues creator Steven Bochco dies aged 74

BBC, April 15th: Full Metal Jacket actor R. Lee Ermey dies at age 74

BBC: April 30th: Twin Peaks Actress Pamela Gidley dies at age 52

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

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Murder Has A Motive & Murder For Christmas by Francis Duncan

Mordecai Euripides Tremaine

One of the best detective names I’ve seen…I think ever. He’s a sixty-something, retired tobacconist who has a secret weakness for the serials in Romantic Stories (think romance novels doled out in weekly bite-sized portions). His other hobby? Murder.

While occupying his place behind the counter of his tobacco shop, he’d refined his eye for detailed observation. The summing up of the people around him without giving them the smallest hint he was the least bit interested in them is a skill he painstakingly taught himself. Couple this skill with an inoffensive look? It’s a lethal combination, for the criminal element.

While only an amateur, Mordecai’s keen eye has come to the attention of certain members of Scotland Yard – who are more than willing (and slightly embarrassed) to use him as their “man on the inside” when needed. Much to Mordecai’s delight.

Originally both these mysteries were printed in the late 1940’s – but with the recent spat of reprints, Francis Duncan’s unique detective has found a second life on bookstore shelves. Both titles feature an English country house style of mystery which the author executes in grand style. Each character is well written, and the mysteries are engaging. And while Mordecai may have a romantic heart, it never interferes with his ability to solve whatever crime presents itself.

I reading both Murder Has A Motive & Murder For Christmas. Perhaps not as literary as Elizabeth Daly or as quick a read as an Agatha Christie, I find Francis Duncan’s more playful than either of the other great ladies. These books feel like Duncan liked her detective and the murder he was solving.

I would recommend these books to anyone who enjoys reading an excellent classic English mystery in a similar vein as Georgette Heyer, Elizabeth Daly or Agatha Christie.

 

IMG_7910Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

Set in the same world as one of my favorite books, Written In Red, it features a whole new cast of characters, locations, and dangers.

In Vicki DeVine’s divorce settlement she was awarded the gently decaying resort called The Jumble located on the shores of Lake Silence. Newly renovated, but still rustic, Vicki is making a real go at running her own business, which hits a bump when she finds her only guest reheating an eyeball in the wave cooker. Why? It would be too squishy to eat otherwise.

When Vicki calls the police, after confiscating the eyeball, it sets in motion a series of events which might find the resort and the small town of Sproing wiped off the map, because the Elders won’t stand for human machinations.

Lake Silence is lighter than any of the books in the first series of The Others. However, don’t let that fool you. While being smart and sassy, Bishop still keeps that dark edge hovering just under the surface of the mystery. Written in alternating perspectives of the main cast of charecters, it moves along at a breakneck pace, and I couldn’t put it down.

You don’t need to have read her first series, just knowing they exist is enough (well that and the fact that The Others have zero problem eating humans that try anything devious with them). Bishop mentions a few of the old guard, but they never make an on page cameo in the book. Otherwise, this reads more like a stand-alone mystery which just happens to be set down the road from the events of Written In Red.

I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading urban fantasy mysteries.

(Added bonus? You get to meet Sproingers. And no I won’t tell you what/who they are – you have to read the book!

Fran

It’s been interesting to see how real crime plays out. I’ve read a LOT of police reports in my new job, and there are some interesting people out there. Fortunately, I’ve discovered that murder is much less common than mystery and thriller writers would have  us believe (whew!), but drug usage is as commonplace as toilet paper.

I’ve also become accustomed to the sound of tasers being tested, something I never thought would be commonplace for me. I work with good folks, and so far things have been running smoothly in my little section of the Department of Corrections, and I’m pleased for that.

For the longest time after the shop closed, I couldn’t read mysteries, but Mike Lawson got me out of that by presenting me with a signed copy of his new Joe DeMarco book, HOUSE WITNESS, and of course I couldn’t resist. The twelfth in such an excellent series, it was the perfect re-introduction.

I’m not going to say much about the plot except to say that one of Mahoney’s past encounters has left him with a son whom Mary Pat knows nothing about. When Mahoney’s son is killed in what seems to be a random act of violence, Mahoney is compelled to find out why, and he sends DeMarco to figure it out.

But what should be an open-and-shut case becomes something completely different, and DeMarco finds himself chasing what may be an illusion. Or it may be something much more complicated and dark.

If HOUSE WITNESS doesn’t read quite like a typical Mike Lawson book, it’s because it started off being a stand-alone, with a completely different perspective – the story was told from the bad guy’s perspective. But Mike’s publishers wanted it to be a DeMarco book, and I’m so glad they did! Still, you’re going to find that the antagonist in HOUSE WITNESS is stunningly conceived and disturbingly real.

On a side note, Mike told me he’s working on a project that is not at all a mystery or thriller, but more of a comedy. I hope – oh man, I hope! – that comes to something and we get to read it! Mike Lawson has a great deal of talent, and spreading his wings can only be good for us, his fans!

Truly Devious

Fran here, again.

Remember those days when you’d walk in or call and I’d come toward you with that kind of crazy light in my eyes and a book in my hands, thrust the book at you and say, “Trust me, you want this!”?

Yeah. I’m doing that again. It’s a straight-up mystery, nothing otherworldly about it, and yes, it’s being marketed as a Young Adult book, but I don’t care, you need to read this. The only drawback is that it’s the first of a trilogy and the other two aren’t written yet.

Read it anyway.

Maureen Johnson’s newest book, TRULY DEVIOUS, is amazing, but you’ve probably already figured out I think that, and I do – to the point where I’ve given away two copies, have one for myself, and will be giving away another copy soon.

I LOVE THIS BOOK! You may have picked up on that.

It starts with a riddle, a threatening poem, really, and the story alternates between events that happened in the 1930s and today. Ellingham Academy is a school that is free to those who meet admittance criteria, and Stevie Bell has been offered a place there. She’s curious and bright and comes from a bohemian background, and she has a passion for true crime. And back in the 30s, there was a kidnapping and murder which no one has ever solved, so that’s Stevie’s goal – to figure out who did it and what happened.

She meets other eccentric types at the school – actors and singers and a writer suffering from serious writer’s block, and those are just the students. The faculty is equally unique.

You’ll bounce between what is actually happening in both timelines, seeing how the kidnapping took place, along with modern day crimes that do result in another murder. So now Stevie has two crimes to solve, if she can handle it. It’s one thing to think about historical crime, and quite another to actually be a part of it.

This is a brilliant bit of writing and an homage to a lot of the Golden Age writers, especially the Golden Age ladies who wrote, not just Agatha Christie but many of the others Amber has mentioned in the past, and I can’t wait to see where it goes next.

So yes, I’m coming across the shop floor with this book in my hands saying, “Trust me, you want this book. You really do!”

JB

Here’s a summation of the books that I’ve read since the shop closed. You’ll note that there’s not much crime or mystery included. I guess it’s natural that I’ve shied away from those books:

Stephen King’s It: Hadn’t read it in a couple of decades and thought I’d do it now after having seen the latest movie. Still a great, epic read.

Bill James and Rachel McCarthy James, The Man from the Train: James is the baseball writer who single-handedly revolutionized statistics in the game but he’s also a true crime aficionado. His Popular Crime is just as entertaining as his Baseball Abstract. His co-author and daughter traced a couple of famous lurid murders into something much larger, something unconnected by the police of 100 years ago.

Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century: She meant the mirror to reflect on the 20th C., but it reflects awfully well on the 21st, too. “Havoc in a given period does not cover all of the people of the time, and though its effect is cumulative, the decline it drags behind takes time before it is recognized.”

Michael  Isikoff and David Corn, Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump: A clear and detailed account of Russia’s attack – on-going if reports are to be believed – from the start of their undeclared war to the time the book was released. By two, top-flight investigative journalists, sure to make your blood boil.

Malcolm Nance, The Plot to Hack America: A fuller, more infuriating explanation of the Rooskie’s attack on America and her allies. Nance is from the world of intelligence and is a smooth writer.

Mike Lawson, House Witness: Ingenious, smooth, assured, witty, smart, clean – just some of the ways to characterize Mike’s writing. His latest DeMarco is a perfect example of that. I consumed it over my last weekend and wish it had been longer to have given me more time in his words.

 

housewitness

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