October 2020

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It’s been a hectic month for the three of us so this will probably be a shorter issue.

      Ghoulish Stuff for the Season

Did Mary Shelley actually lose her virginity to Percy on top of her mother’s grave? 

Are We Running Out of Monster Metaphors for the Disasters of the Real World? Erika Swyler on Surviving Our Fears By Creating More of Them

John Cleese Intends to Have His Unread Books Buried With Him

How Will Crime Fiction Authors Hold Up in the Coming Zombie Apocalypse?

      Words of the Month

kokum (n): fake niceness, simulated kindness  (Says You! Episode #717)

      Goofy Stuff

Jonathan Franzen’s best piece of advice for young writers will probably surprise you.

The 45 Best Bad Amazon Reviews of In Cold Blood 

‘Who knew people wanted a funny book on punctuation?’: Lynne Truss on writing Eats, Shoots & Leaves

Jim Thompson Is The Cynical Voice of Reason We Need In This Dumpster Fire of a Year

      Serious Stuff

The city depicted in To Kill a Mockingbird just elected its first Black mayor. [it was published in 1960…]

The Irish Department of Education is considering removing classic literary texts like To Kill a Mockingbird from secondary school curricula after pro-Black Lives Matter families complained about the use of the n-word in classrooms.

For the 2021-22 school year, the University of Chicago’s English department, one of the top-rated in the US, will only accept students “interested in working in and with Black Studies.”

The Evolution of Racism: A look at how the word, a surprisingly recent addition to the English lexicon, made its way into the dictionary 

Can Italy Defeat Its Most Powerful Crime Syndicate?


Amazon Is Spying on Its Workers in Closed Facebook Groups, Internal Reports Show

Amazon Is Hiring an Intelligence Analyst to Track ‘Labor Organizing Threats’

From the Idaho Statesman – not a state of the radical left: Amazon is not a friend of the book or its authors

Amazon says its warehouses are safe for workers. But the numbers reveal that workers are getting hurt much more often than the company claims.


Here’s how publishers based in the West are responding to a difficult, destructive fire season.

Sadly, we were ahead of the game: Brentwood’s Diesel bookstore launches a GoFundMe as more stores struggle through pandemic

A Massive Trove of Newly Leaked Documents Shows How Big Banks Help Criminals Move Dirty Money 

Joe And Jennifer Montana Foil Attempted Kidnapping Of Their Grandchild

A Rare Day-by-Day Document of Life Aboard a Slave Ship 

Bestselling author James Patterson donates $2.5 million for teacher grants

      Words of the Month

foe (n):  Old English gefea, gefa “foe, enemy, adversary in a blood feud” (the prefix denotes “mutuality”), from adjective fah “at feud, hostile,” also “guilty, criminal,” from Proto-Germanic *faihaz (source also of Old High German fehan “to hate,” Gothic faih “deception”), perhaps from the same Proto-Indo-European source that yielded Sanskrit pisunah “malicious,” picacah “demon;” Lithuanian piktas “wicked, angry,” peikti “to blame.” Weaker sense of “adversary” is first recorded c. 1600. (etymonline.com)

      Awards

Here’s the longlist for this year’s National Book Award for Nonfiction.

All the poets on the longlist for the National Book Award for Poetry are first timers.

Six Young Women with Prizewinning Book Collections

Milan Kundera ‘joyfully’ accepts Czech Republic’s Franz Kafka prize

Namwali Serpell will donate Clarke Prize money to those protesting Breonna Taylor’s murder.

Nikky Finney has won the $100,000 Wallace Stevens lifetime achievement award.

Women’s Prize for Fiction: Maggie O’Farrell wins for Hamnet, about Shakespeare’s son

      Words of the Month

zombie (n.) From 1871, of West African origin (compare Kikongo zumbi “fetish;” Kimbundu nzambi “god”), originally the name of a snake god, later with meaning “reanimated corpse” in voodoo cult. But perhaps also from Louisiana creole word meaning “phantom, ghost,” from Spanish sombra “shade, ghost.” Sense “slow-witted person” is recorded from 1936. (thanks to etymonline)

      Book Stuff

The real-life origin story behind The Count of Monte Cristo ~ Alexandre Dumas wrote his famous novel as a revenge fantasy for his father.

From Lindsay Faye: A Brief Introduction to Charles Vincent Emerson Starrett

Gayle Lynds: My First Thriller

“When I’m telling a story I imagine the eavesdropper over my shoulder.” Walter Mosley on storytelling, writing advice, and Winnie the Pooh.

“The translator is a writer. The writer is a translator. How many times have I run up against these assertions?” Tim Parks on the writer-translator equation.

$3.2 million worth of rare stolen books have been found under a house in rural Romania.

Why Writers Are Always in Pursuit of The Maltese Falcon

Just how odd is this month’s bestseller list? A look at pre-election bestsellers from years past.

The Writer Who Helped Spark an Explosive Debate Over the Future of Romance Novels

Rare Edition of Shakespeare’s Last Play Found in Spanish Library

What Are the Sexiest Books in Contemporary Crime Fiction? Authors Discuss

Why you should read this out loud

The Grim Truth Behind The Pied Piper

The Evolution of Jack Reacher

      Other Forms of Entertainment

The ancient palindrome that explains Christopher Nolan’s Tenet 

How Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant Filmed One of the Sexiest Scenes of All Time

The Big Sigh: Exploring the Lost Continent of Classic French Film Noir 1932-1966


Hunt continues for James Bond guns stolen in raid

‘Mythical’ Aston Martin Bulldog supercar being restored

007th heaven: why Tom Hardy as the new Bond is too good to be true

You May Have Read Tom Hardy Was Cast as the Next James Bond. Here’s Why That’s Not Going to Happen.


It’s Time to Acknowledge Miller’s Crossing As the Best Coen Brothers Movie

Goodfellas at 30: Martin Scorsese’s damning study of masculinity

Prince’s Sign O’ The Times: An oral history

Great British Bake Off: ‘Excellent’ Matt Lucas charms critics on show debut

Who is Tatiana Maslany, the new star of She-Hulk?

The Emotional Legacy Of ‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater’

How George Michael transformed pop

‘If you steal music, you aren’t a real music fan’

From ‘SNL’ To Workout Videos, How RBG Became A Pop Culture Icon

      Words of the Month

bellicose (adj.) from the early 15th C., “inclined to fighting,” from Latin bellicosus “warlike, valorous, given to fighting,” from bellicus “of war,” from bellum “war” (Old Latin duellum, dvellum), which is of uncertain origin. (thanks to etymonline)

      Links of Interest

September 1: The Many Sides to Dan Brown ~ The author of “The Da Vinci Code” just released a classical music album for children. It happens to be one of the assets he and his wife are disputing in lawsuits over their divorce.

September 3: On a “body farm,” researchers are exploring whether the nutrients from human cadavers can change the look of plants, which authorities might use to locate missing persons.

September 6: How cold war spymasters found arrogance of Carlos the Jackal too hot to handle

September 6: Man blows up part of house while chasing fly

September 6: ‘But Do I Love You?’: Tips For Homebound Declutterers

September 6: John Cage musical work changes chord for first time in seven years

September 6: Man in box of ice breaks world record

September 8: The Unexpected Politics of Book Cover Design

September 9: The Very Brief Heyday of Crime Beat Magazine

September 9: Some in France are urging President Emmanuel Macron to relocate the bodies of poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine to the Pantheon, a memorial site known as the resting place of French cultural luminaries

September 10: The Black Dahlia: The Long, Strange History of Los Angeles’ Coldest Cold Case

September 10: Wuthering Heights: House that inspired Emily Bronte classic for sale

September 10: Santa Fe rejects George RR Martin’s request to build a ‘castle’ library

September 12: Crime Curators: Keepers of American criminal history

September 12: A Legendary Spy’s Unusual Recruitment in 1930S Shanghai

September 13: Reading Michael Cohen’s Disloyal as a memoir of jilted love.

September 14:“There’s a part o f me that feels the loss is incalculable. What if there was something in one of those crushed boxes that would have transformed literary criticism forever?” On the university that accidentally put Nadine Gordimer’s library on the street.

September 14: Warren Harding: Grandson of former US president asks to exhume his remains

September 16: Blood & Fire ~ the Bombing of Wall Street, 100 Years Later

September 16: Notorious B.I.G. crown and Tupac love letters sold at auction

September 18: The FBI, The Second Red Scare, and the Folk Singer Who Cooperated

September 18: ‘Bonkers’ reaction to Scottish store’s Taylor Swift signed CD surprise

September 22: John Lennon killer says sorry for ‘despicable act’

September 23: The National Portrait Gallery honors women who shaped the past century of American lit.

September 23: How a Team of Calligraphers Brought Jane Austen’s Fictional Letters to Life

September 24 : The Philosopher and the Detectives ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Enduring Passion for Hardboiled Fiction

September 24: Man dies from eating more than a bag of liquorice a day

September 26: Rimbaud and Verlaine: France agonises over digging up gay poets

September 27: Joe Montana (American football legend) & wife saves grandchild from kidnapping attempt

September 28: “Whether fiction or non, the lot of the double agent is rarely a happy one.”

September 29: The cat who hitched a lift on a worldwide tour

      RIP

September 10: Diana Rigg, “The Avengers” and 007’s only wife, dies aged 82

September 10: George Bizos obituary: Remembering Mandela’s gentle but fierce lawyer

September 10: Ronald Bell: Kool & The Gang founder dies aged 68

September 17: Legendary jazz critic, playwright, and essayist Stanley Crouch has died.

September 21: Winston Groom, author of pop cultural phenomenon ‘Forrest Gump,’ dies at 77

September 21: Sam McBratney: Guess How Much I Love You author dies

September 22: Michael Lonsdale, Bond villain and Jackal pursuer, dead at 89

September 22: Robert Graetz, Only White Pastor To Back Montgomery Bus Boycott, Dies At 92

September 24: Sir Harold Evans: Crusading editor who exposed Thalidomide impact dies aged 92

September 27: Miss Sherlock actress Yuko Takeuchi found dead at 40

September 30: Mac Davis: “In The Ghetto” songwriter dies aged 78

      Words of the Month

fear (n.) From Middle English fere, from Old English fær “calamity, sudden danger, peril, sudden attack,” from Proto-Germanic *feraz “danger” (source also of Old Saxon far “ambush,” Old Norse far “harm, distress, deception,” Dutch gevaar, German Gefahr “danger”), from PIE *pēr-, a lengthened form of the verbal root *per- (3) “to try, risk.”

Sense of “state of being afraid, uneasiness caused by possible danger” developed by late 12th C. Some Old English words for “fear” as we now use it were fyrhto, fyrhto; as a verb, ondrædan. Meaning “feeling of dread and reverence for God” is from c. 1400. To put the fear of God (into someone) “intimidate, cause to cower” is by 1888, from the common religious phrase; the extended use was often at first in colonial contexts:

“Thus then we seek to pu ‘the fear of God’ into the natives at the point of the bayonet, and excuse ourselves for the bloody work on the plea of the benefits which we intend to confer afterwards.” – Felix Adler, The Religion of Duty, 1950

(thanks to etymonline)

      What We’ve Been Up To

   Fran

I’m so sorry about last month. We’re moving from Washington State to New Mexico, which would be hectic at any time, but during COVID has been especially challenging. I can’t even begin to discuss the sheer volume of paperwork!

But my 60 boxes of books are packed, so there’s that. And I unearthed books from my To Be Read pile that honestly I’d forgotten about, 9781451649413which brings me to Kate Morton’s The Clockmaker’s Daughter. It came out in 2018. I may be behind but I’m sincere in my efforts.

The Clockmaker’s Daughter spans time from about 1850 to 2017, with stops along the way. Our narrator is Birdie, also sometimes known as Lily Millington. She’s been around for a very long time. The other person we’re following mostly is Elodie Winslow, in 2017. Obviously their paths intertwine, but it’s how and why that is so fascinating.

Birdie, as Lily, was the model for an up and coming painter in the late 1800’s, Edward Radcliffe. She was and is a highly intelligent and curious and free-spirited young lady, with a shady past. Elodie archives records and memorabilia surrounding a different 1800’s person, James Stratton, as well as dodges her soon-to-be mother-in-law whenever possible.

How these two women’s lives overlap, along with so very many other people, is at the heart of the story, but make no mistake, this is a murder mystery. Frances Brown was murdered at Edward Radcliffe’s house in 1862, and everyone believes they know what happened.

They’re wrong. Almost no one does. And finding out what happened will keep you reading, I promise. Kate Morton is an accomplished author, and she manages the different voices skillfully and deftly. This is an absolutely lush novel, and I think it would be a gorgeous movie, but no film could ever capture the depth, the insights, the myriad layers of personality and history that are encompassed in this book.

As the weather darkens and the year winds down, I really do recommend The Clockmaker’s Daughter as a great fireside read on a blustery day!

   JB

While he’s written a ton a great books, I’ve always thought The Poet is Michael Connelly‘s best book. Granted, I’ve not read it in a couple of decades but it has stuck with me as singular – and I plan to re-read it very soon.

9780316539425So I was excited to learn that his newest book, Fair Warning,  brings back reporter Jack McEvoy and eager to read it.

While the plot is, as always, original and interesting, this was a boring read. A dud. (Even the cover is bad – his publisher put a raven on it and there is zero plot connection to the earlier McEvoy novels.) The writing was flat and uninteresting, McEvoy struggles with and inability to make intimate relationships work with women – as most of Connelly’s male characters do – and I finished it just to see how it’d end. I hadn’t read any Connelly books in years and I should’ve kept it that way. A sad comment about a favorite author and nice guy.


On the other hand – – –

“It was rampaging imbecility, and possibly unstoppable.”

GET A HOLD OF THE NEW CARL HIAASEN AS FAST AS YOU CAN!

“The boy looked up from the canal bank to see what he’d snagged, dialed 911, cut his
line with a knife, and walked away. It was the third dead body he’s found while fishing, but such was the reality of a childhood spent outdoors in Florida. It was a testament to the teen’s passion for angling that he’d never considered getting a new hobby”.
Fiction or memory?

Not only is this about the usual insanity of Hiaasen’s Florida home state, it’s the insanity of the current year: covid, the election, the current occupants of the White House, MAGA fans who call themselves the Potussies (because these decadently wealthy women find “POTUS pussies” might risk their cherished places on the social registry), stripper poles in beach cabanas, tanning beds that must be test run, record-length pythons, violent texts about immigrants and howling mobs, and even a certain ex-governor. Oh, and fabulously expensive conch pearls.

“The whole place smelled like the exhaust vent at a Burger King”

The winter White House on Palm Beach island – Hiaasen has dubbed it “Casa Bellicosa” – is the scene of most of the action after Kiki Pew Fitzsimmons vanishes from a fundraiser. Soon we’re into a hunt for her involving the Secret Service, the local chief of police and a young woman who removes creatures from buildings and returns them to the wild. Angie used to be a wildlife agent but was sent to prison for feeding the hand of a poacher to an alligator. The only regret she had was that the poor alligator had to be shot.

Hiaasen does not lower himself to use the actual names of the President and First Lady – he used Secret Service code names of “Mastodon” and “Mockingbird” but he is otherwise scathing in his portrayal of the recognizable Leader of the Free World. As you might imagine. “Up on the TV screen, Mastodon wearing a vast beet-colored golf shirt that hung on his upper frame like an Orkin termite tent. His long-billed cap had been yanked down tight to keep his hairpiece moored to its Velcro moonbase during gusts of wind.”

The First Lady is treated with respect – though he gives her a fondness for a “a specific massage oil – eucalyptus and bacon mint”. She actually comes off as the only sane one in family. She may’ve even found true love!

I frankly didn’t care if the other passengers on the plane looked oddly at me for laughing out loud while consuming the book. How could you not?9781524733452

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

AND VOTE !!!!!!

September 2020

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A little something different in this months Words of the Month

Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. The sentiment has been attributed to many other minds. (thanks to Says You!, episode 2412)

    Odd Stuff

The shop’s e-mail filter has snagged a number of messages as nefarious. They’re supposedly from US sources and the subject lines say something like “Only The U.S. Presidential Team Will Save United States from Doomsday Ahead” or “The Exceptional Benefits of The United States Presidential Team”. Makes me wonder if these are attempts by “outside actors” to influence the election. Usually, we just get sunglasses brags or Nigerian princes’ pleas in Spanish…

Was Tony Soprano’s Therapist Good at Her Job?

Improve your relationships – with advice from counter-terrorism experts

Complete your pandemic aesthetic with this bookcase that converts into a coffin.  

Frans Hals painting ‘Two Laughing Boys’ stolen for a third time

The Art of Upsetting People 

Was The Graduate Inspired by a Brontë Family Scandal?

Don’t feel bad: even Danielle Steel, author of 179 books, couldn’t write under lockdown.

    Nice Stuff

Add a Tart Twist to Your Summer Reading List With These Cocktail Themed Mysteries

Is this the greatest TV commercial ever made for a public library?

How Dashiell Hammett’s Contintental Op Became a Depression-Era Icon 

“The Easiest Eighty Thousand Words Ever Put Together”: The Story Behind the Story of David Dodge’s To Catch a Thief 

A Bruce Lee Hong Kong sightseeing tour – visit where the martial arts icon lived, filmed, trained and went to school with this DIY guide 

One Twitter Account’s Quest to Proofread The New York Times 

Did you know that Truman Capote discovered Ray Bradbury? (Well, sort of.)

Words we think we know, but can’t pronounce: the curse of the avid reader

Poetry magazine will skip its September issue to address its “deep-seated white supremacy.”

Check out this gorgeous illustrated map of Black-owned bookshops across the country.

    Serious Stuff

Agency: Nearly 87,000 bogus unemployment claims filed in Washington state

Murders of California Indigenous Women 7 times less likely to be solved, report finds

“The Con,” a new five-part docuseries, examines the 2007-08 global financial crisis and the greedy bankers and politicians who got away with (figurative) murder. 

How a Russian Defector Became a Warning from Moscow to London

Alan Dershowitz claims a fictional lawyer defamed him. The implications for novelists are very real


Bookseller, writer, and publisher organizations want congress to go after Amazon.

Portland’s Powell’s Books says it ‘must take a stand’ and will stop selling books through Amazon

(Amazon owned)Whole Foods managers told to talk up donations while enforcing BLM ban


The Real Criminal Masterminds in America Aren’t Working the System—They Created It 

3 of the World’s Deadliest Serial Killers Come From the Same Place: Why?

‘History Is Corrected’: An Interview with Civil Rights journalist Jerry Mitchell 

Sex Offender Registries Often Fail Those They Are Designed To Protect

New York rejects 11th parole bid of John Lennon’s killer 

Global Raid Targets Major TV and Movie Piracy Group 

Writers Against Trump wants to mobilize the literary community in advance of the election. 

Fact Checking Is the Core of Nonfiction Writing. Why Do So Many Publishers Refuse to Do It?  

Independent bookstores struggle under national security law in Hong Kong

    Local Stuff

Half a century after 4 murders rocked a community and a courtroom, ‘Seattle’s Forgotten Serial Killer’ explores the case of Gary Gene Grant

    Words of the Month

Benfor’s Law: The louder the voice, the weaker the argument. Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real information available. (thanks to Says You!, episode 2412)

      Awards

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld wins International Booker for The Discomfort of Evening 

J.K. Rowling Returns Kennedy Human Rights Award After RFK Daughter Calls Author “Transphobic”

    Book Stuff

In turbulent times, culling my book collection gave me the illusion of control. Then the dilemmas began multiplying. 

Personal Space: Laura Lippman Dares to Focus on Herself

Hundreds of errors found in Hemingway’s works, mostly made by editors and typesetters

Elena Ferrante’s Master Class on Deceit: Her latest novel frames lying as a creative act.

Weird Women: The Forgotten Female Horror Writers of the 19th Century and Beyond 

What to Do About William Faulkner: A white man of the Jim Crow South, he couldn’t escape the burden of race, yet derived creative force from it. 

The Book in the Cathedral by Christopher de Hamel – adventures of a manuscript sleuth 

True Crime’s Messy, Interactive Renaissance 

The Lost Classics of One of the 20th Century’s Great Hard-boiled Writers 

The World of Robert B. Parker’s Spenser and the Birth of the 1970’s Private Detective

Middlemarch and other works by women reissued under their real names


My Pandemic Master Class with The Silence of the Lambs 

The Silence of the Lambs: The Seminal Serial Killer Novel, and Still the Best


My First Thriller: David Morrell

I prefer a more domestic murder‘: the thrilling nastiness of PD James

Surprising secrets of writers’ first book drafts

People want to support their local bookstores. They might be hurting them instead.


Vivian Stephens Helped Turn Romance Writing Into a Billion-Dollar Industry. Then She Got Pushed Out.

‘We Need People Within Our Publishing Houses Who Reflect What Our Country Looks Like’ Book publisher Lisa Lucas reflects on her career and how the literary world still isn’t diverse enough


The way you pull your favorite books off the shelf is probably ruining them.

On Repetition As a Powerful Literary Tool

    Author Events

Events, yes – signings, no

    Words of the Month

Sturgeon’s Law: “ninety percent of everything is crap.” wikipedia

    Other Forms of Entertainment

 

The 35 Most Iconic Caper Movies, Ranked

The Agony of Liam Neeson, Action Star

The Crime is Up: A hybrid podcast featuring original crime fiction and film noir appreciations.

The greatest femme fatale ever? 

What I Learned About Myself While Tallying The Body Count of Ozark’s First Season

Watch the steamy first trailer for Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile.

The Sherlock Holmes group The Baker Street Irregulars have a video podcast now, The Fortnightly Dispatch.

Otto Penzler finished his list of Greatest Crime Films of All Time

This One Line From Gone Baby Gone Plays on a Loop in My Head

    RIP

August 1: James Silberman, Editor Who Nurtured Literary Careers, Dies at 93

August 2: Wilford Brimley, Star of “The China Syndrome” and “The Natural” Dies At 85

August 4:  Pete Hamill, Quintessential New York Journalist, and Novelist, Dies at 85

August 4: Reni Santoni, Dirty Harry Actor and Seinfeld’s Poppie, Dead at 81

August 18: Ben Cross, British actor in Chariots of Fire and Sarek in Star Trek films, dead at 72

August 28: ‘Black Panther’ Star Chadwick Boseman Dies of Cancer at 43

    Words of the Month

Gibson’s Law: “For every PhD there is an equal and opposite PhD.”

    Links of Interest

July 30: Doubting Gauguin ~An amateur detective takes on the National Gallery, and the art world

August 2: He’s probably been in more movies than any actor in history (hint: he’s in “Chinatown”)

August  2: ‘Murder capital of the world’: The terrifying years when multiple serial killers stalked Santa Cruz

August 3: “I’m Going To Be Honest With You,” The Grandfather Told Police. “I Killed A Lot.”

August 4: This woman hunts for photos and other treasures left in used books — then returns them

August 5: Coups, lies, dirty tricks: The Police’s Stewart Copeland on his CIA agent father

August 5: Russia’s ‘Red Penguins’ Had Mobsters, Strippers, Beer-Chugging Bears—and Some Hockey

August 5: Whatever Happened to Eliot Ness After Prohibition?

August 5: The unusual new species of stingray found in a jar

August 6: My Life in True Crime ~ Kim Powers’ life has been spent writing about crime. But the suspicions about his own mother’s death were kept secret

August 6: The Spy Messages No Computer Can Decode

August 6: Medieval ‘wine windows’ are reopening, reviving Italian plague tradition

August 7: Tennis star, fashion designer, integration advocate . . . spy?

August 7: Cheeky boar leaves nudist grunting in laptop chase

August 9: Cavorting in Hot Springs, Ark., During Its Sin-Soaked Heyday

August 9: Gandhi’s glasses left in Bristol auctioneer’s letterbox

August 10: Thirty-year-old corpse discovered in cellar of €35m Paris mansion

August 17: Two men charged with 2002 murder of Run-DMC DJ Jam Master Jay

August 18: How a Fake CIA Spy Fooled Everyone and Swindled Millions

August 18: The Last Seduction: The greatest femme fatale ever?

August 19: The Bloody Benders: America’s First Family of Serial Killers

August 20: Jack Reacher and The Grand Unified Theory of Thrillers

August 23: Frank Sinatra Slept Here, and So Can You ~ In New York and across the country, the former homes of famous writers, musicians and film stars are available as short-term rentals

August 23: Assassins in stockings and stilettos: is it time movies killed off hitwoman cliches?

August 23: Tel Aviv covers over Peeping Toms beach mural

August 24: Kuwaiti writers welcome change to book censorship laws

August 24: Israeli youths unearth 1,100-year-old gold coins from Abbasid era

August 25: Discovery of scholar’s notes shine light on race to decipher Rosetta Stone

August 25: How Do Celebrity Conspiracy Theorists Become Who They Are?

August 25: What the Mythology of El Chapo Guzmán Tells Us About the Reality of Drug Trafficking in the Americas

August 25: Kevin Costner on ‘Dangerous’ Trump, a ‘Bodyguard’ Sequel With Princess Diana, and American ‘Amnesia’

August 27: Memories of a Coroner’s Daughter

August 28: My Top Five Female Detectives, Real and Imagined

August 28: Driven to Abstraction: the inside story of a $60m art forgery hoax

August 28: Forensics on Trial: America’s First Blood Test Expert

August 29: Denise Mina: ‘I couldn’t read until I was about nine’

     Words of the Month

Doctorow’s Law: “Anytime someone puts a lock on something you own, against your wishes, and doesn’t give you the key, they’re not doing it for your benefit.”

    What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

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Don’t forget to check out one of my other blogs – Finder of Lost Things! A serial mystery set in and around Nevermore Cemetery!

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Now due to the slowness of the mail recently all my new books were delayed in arriving, so I’ve not had a chance to read them yet. So instead, here’s a review of a Lego build I finished of a….

Bookshop!!!!!

This is probably one of the most fun (only surpassed by the detective’s agency) and detailed builds I’ve finished so far in Lego’s mains street builds. With trees, flowers, a backyard garden and books – what more can you ask for?

Lego categorizes this as an Creator Expert build – so unless you have a kid with large builds under their belt or can follow instructions well – I’d work up to this set.

However, it is totally worth practicing for!

Speaking of Lego – Here’s a funny story: Lego hand comes out of boy’s nose after two years

JB


I put this article here, rather in the Book Stuff section, ’cause Dave and Clete are two of my favorite people – no matter that they’re fiction: The Evolution of Dave Robicheaux and the Incredible Career of James Lee Burke

And then this appeared the next day: James Lee Burke on Art, Fascism, and the Hijacking of American Christianity


Charles Leerhsen‘s new biography, Butch Cassidy, 9781501117480was great fun. It’s full of interesting details – Etta’s first name was really Ethel but a typo in the Pinkerton’s file has forever changed that, and Sundance played the guitar well – who knew? I had not heard that Sundance’s mother’s maiden name was Place and that’s likely where Etta/Ethel got it.  In fact, it may be we really don’t know her birth name.

I had not heard of the collapse of beef prices during the blizzard called the The Big Die-Up of 1886-87 (a 15-inch snowflake still holds the world record for size from that storm) and that massive affect on the Old West. I had not realized the size of hauls the Wild Bunch got from banks and trains, and, as staggering as those numbers are, it is astonishing how they were always out of money. “You could go broke in the Wild West being a bandit.” And I had not realized just how far and how often they’d travel, whether by horseback or, one assumes, train.

What Leerhsen does best it draw portraits of the outlaws and juxtaposes those against what we all expect from the famed movie. Indeed, while haunted and hunted by the law, they still did quite a bit of straight work – cowboying on ranches all along the eastern Rockies. He does a similar job relating their years in South America. Again, I had not understood how long they were there. Hollywood, again. But Leerhsen points all of that out, even to the degree which screenwriter William Goldman purposefully didn’t research Cassidy and Sundance and still he got their personalities and era right.

With a light and amusing style, he sets down things that you know about in a new way. About the massive explosion in the train heist in Wilcox, WY – so well destroyed a second time in the movie, the author tells us: “When Woodcock came to, he was pleased to realize wilcoxthat the crimson splotches all over his clothes came from a shipment of raspberries that the blast had turned into flying jam. The red stuff now coated everything in sight – and would later make the stolen bank notes and coins easier to identify”. Later, one of the gang would be arrested after spending one of the stained notes.

 

There are many, many amusing passages in the book. Wish I’d kept better track of them!

But there are a few flaws to the book. For one, it’d’ve been a great help to have a map of their locations in the Eastern Rockies and in South America. Much more useful than the usual photos that are not new. They road hundreds of miles, worked at this ranch or that ranch, circled back to this one – where was that one again? He also remarks often about how Butch’s fame as an outlaw grew but he doesn’t match that but noting how many bank or train robberies there were. From what he includes, Butch seems to be an occasional outlaw, not a desperado with a national reputation.

But that leads to one glaring fault of the book. Maybe he didn’t feel the need to present anything comprehensive due to the large number of books about Butch. Indeed, time and again he mentions the authoritative or exhausting book that Richard Patterson or Kerry Ross Boren, or the work of Daniel Buck and Anne Meadows. Maybe the helpful maps are in one of those books…

At any rate, I highly recommend this book. There’s lots about the time period and what their Old Wild West was really like and, best of all, as Leerhsen seems to agree, there are no intrusive, annnoying Burt Bacharach songs.

 

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

August 2020 Newzine

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WOW – August already, huh…. ok, here we go!

On the Endless Symbolism of Jaws, Which Owes Its Dark Soul to Moby Dick

    Serious Stuff

Rulers vs. writers: The pre-Trump prehistory of author suppression


How Police Secretly Took Over a Global Phone Network for Organized Crime

Dutch police discover secret torture site in shipping containers


Activists’ books are disappearing from Hong Kong’s public libraries 

Women speak out about Warren Ellis: ‘Full and informed consent was impossible’ 

A Heist on Time and a Half: Inside The Most Corrupt Police Squad In The Nation [For more on Baltimore, don’t forget this terrific podcast about Agnew, and then there’s the Netflix series “The Keepers”…]

The Prophecies of Q

From Italy: An Entire Police Station Has Been Arrested for Dealing Drugs and Torturing Suspects 

9 Essential Books To Learn About Our Badly Broken American Political System

Does ‘Character’ Still Count in American Politics?

SFF authors are protesting Saudi Arabia’s cynical bid to host the 2022 WorldCon.

Amid a virus surge and government repression, Hong Kong’s oldest bookstore is closing.

    Local Stuff

‘I’ve been a lucky man’: Michael Coy, a mainstay in Seattle’s book scene, is retiring after 48 years in the business [Michael was one or JB’s teachers when Bill sent him to the American Bookseller’s Association’s Bookseller School. He’s a great guy and has always been very helpful with advice about bookselling. We wish him the best as he pushes back from selling to simply reading!]

Prosecutor admits grand jury gaffe with Thomas Wales witness but says perjury indictment should stand

Talking character, inspiration with Sujata Massey, author of Moira’s Book Club pick ‘The Widows of Malabar Hill’

    From the Dossier of SPECTRE

Jeff Bezos hated ads — now Amazon is America’s top advertiser

America’s Largest Unions Are Calling on the FTC to Stop Amazon 

The Amazon Critic Who Saw its Power from the Inside

MacKenzie Scott begins giving away most of her Amazon wealth. Here’s why, and where nearly $1.7 billion is going.

    Words of the Month

sibylline (adj.): From the 1570s, from Latin sibyllinus, from sibylla (see sibyl: “woman supposed to possess powers of prophecy, female soothsayer,” c. 1200, from Old French sibile, from Latin Sibylla, from Greek Sibylla, name for any of several prophetesses consulted by ancient Greeks and Romans, of uncertain origin. Said to be from Doric Siobolla, from Attic Theoboule “divine wish.”) thanks to etymonline

    Awards

Duende District, The Word, Launch BIPOC Bookseller Award

Colson Whitehead is the youngest writer to win the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

Hilary Mantel, Kiley Reid, Anne Tyler in Running for Booker Prize

    Book Stuff

 The Postman Always Rings Twice: 1934 New York Times review of James M. Cain’s sexually-charged, hard-boiled crime novel

Every Great Writer is a Great Deceiver: Vladimir Nabokov’s Best Writing Advice 

P. D. James: A Crime Reader’s Guide to the Classics 

Look inside Oslo’s stunning new public library, now open to the public.

My Writing Will Never Be as Good as Charles Willeford’s 

Visiting Europe’s Great Libraries from Rick Steves 

With Stores Closed, Barnes & Noble Does Some Redecorating

In Publishing, ‘Everything Is Up for Change’ 

My First Thriller: Steve Berry 

The Exhilarating, Dangerous World of Helen Eustis

6 book recommendations from crime writer Camilla Läckberg

The Celebrity Bookshelf Detective is Back

Cats and Cozy Mysteries, The Purr-fect Combination

María Elvira Bermúdez, the Agatha Christie of Mexican literature 

The Power—and the Responsibility—of True Crime Writing

    Author Events

maybe someday…..though we have heard that some places, some publishers, are doing on-line events, that still means no signatures

    Other Forms of Entertainment

“I Don’t Let Regret In” Pierce Brosnan on Love, Loss, and his Life After Bond  

My streaming gem: why you should watch Detour

Idris Elba says a Luther movie is ‘close’ to happening 

Candy: Elisabeth Moss to star in true-crime story of notorious Texas axe killer 

Fascinating Cases That ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ Viewers Helped Solve

On Netflix ~ Fear City: New York vs The Mafia & World’s Most Wanted

How They Shot the Wrong-Way Car Chase in ‘To Live and Die in L.A.’ 

Comfort Viewing: 3 Reasons I Love ‘Columbo’

How a 10-year-old created a lockdown print hit for punk fans

Loren Estleman:How Film Noir will Forever Change Your Worldview

Otto Penzler’s Greatest Crime Films of All Times Continues

The 50 Most Iconic Heist Movies, Ranked from Worst to Best

    Podcasts

“Las Vegas was better off when it was run by the mob.” Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas, an 11-part true-crime podcast series produced by the Las Vegas Review-Journal in partnership with The Mob Museum, chronicles the mob’s rise and fall in Las Vegas through the eyes of those who lived it: ex-mobsters, law enforcement officials, politicians and journalists. [JB recommends]

7 International True Crime Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

Son of a Hitman: the story of Charles Harrelson [JB recommends]

Could the CIA Have Planted Hair-Metal Propaganda During the Cold War?In the new podcast ‘Wind of Change,’ host Patrick Radden Keefe explores how the CIA used music to change hearts and minds [it is well documented that they did this with the abstract expressionists in the 50s, so why not?? – JB]

    Words of the Month

12 Common Words And Phrases With Racist Origins Or Connotations

    RIP

July 1: Rudolfo Anaya, towering figure of Chicano literature, mystery writer, dies at 82

July 6: Ennio Morricone, The Sound Of The American West, Dies At 91

July 6: Charlie Daniels: Country and southern rock legend dies at age 83

July 14: Grant Imahara: Mythbusters TV host dies suddenly at 49

July 15:  Louis Colavecchio, Master Counterfeiter, Is Dead at 78

July 25: John Saxon, ‘Enter the Dragon’, ‘Joe Kidd’, and ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’, dies at 83

July 26: Olivia de Havilland, Golden Age of Hollywood star, dies at 104

    Links of Interest

July 2: The Golden Dragon massacre ~ A bloody rampage in the heart of 1970s San Francisco

July 3: The Magic of Reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s Letters

July 6: Juanita ‘The Duchess’ Spinelli: The first woman legally executed in Calif. ran an SF crime school

July 7: The Rival Casinos That Built Hot Springs, Arkansas into an Unlikely Capital of Vice

July 8: Found – A Letter From Frederick Douglass, About the Need for Better Monuments

July 8: The Cold War and the Mysterious Death of Dag Hammarskjöld

July 9: Don’t Stay In These Famous Literary Haunted Houses!


Two versions of the same story, with different photos of the items on auction:

July 1: For Sale: Proof That Legendary Scientists Were Real People, Too

July 10: Tesla’s Patents, Einstein’s Letters and an Enigma Machine Are Up for Auction


July 10: The Secret Service Tried to Catch a Hacker With a Malware Booby-Trap. (“The attempt failed, but so-called “network investigative techniques” are not limited to the FBI, according to newly unsealed court records.”)

July 10: D-R-A-M-A ~ Big Scrabble’s decision to eliminate offensive words has infuriated players like never before.

July 13: Playing Cards Around the World and Through the Ages

July 14: Iron Age Murder Victim’s Skeleton Found in England

July 15: How Not to Deal With Murder in Space – A bizarre 1970 Arctic killing over a jug of raisin wine shows that we need to think about crime outside our atmosphere now.

July 15: The Deadly High-Speed Chase That Launched Miami into the 1980s

July 15: Don McLean’s handwritten lyrics to “Vincent” up for auction

July 16: James Patterson Reviving 30s-Era Crimefighter ‘The Shadow’ For New Novels, Films

July 16: Homicide at Rough Point: In the fall of 1966, billionaire Doris Duke killed a close confidant in tony Newport, Rhode Island. Local police ruled the incident “an unfortunate accident.” Half a century later, compelling evidence suggests that the mercurial, vindictive tobacco heiress got away with murder.

July 17: Beetle-mounted camera streams insect adventures

July 20: A ‘Fletch’ Reboot Starring Jon Hamm Is Officially In The Works

July 20: Missing Kansas dog makes 50-mile trip to old home in Missouri

July 22: The mystery of a stolen rare cello has a surprise ending

July 22: Man who forged his own death certificate to avoid jail is given away by a typo, DA says

July 23: Germany’s Ritter Sport wins square chocolate battle

July 24: Walter Mosley on What the Pandemic May Set Us Up For in the Future

July 24: Manuscript shows how Truman Capote renamed his heroine Holly Golightly

July 24: Charles Manson Wasn’t a Criminal Mastermind

July 24: Viewer spots Florida reporter Victoria Price’s cancer growth

July 24: US lottery jackpot shared after 1992 handshake

July 24: All in a Day’s Work ~ Why Do the Parker Novels Still Resonate So Powerfully?

July 27: What It’s Like To Spend A Decade Hunting A Serial Killer On The Internet

July 27: The Supreme Court Takes on a JFK Case

July 28: Banksy auctions refugee painting to aid Bethlehem hospital

July 28: It’s Pretty Easy To Level Up Your Coffee Game — Here’s How

July 28: Remington Gun-Maker Files For Bankruptcy Protection For 2nd Time Since 2018

July 29: How the U.S.-China consulate closures could impact espionage

July 29: Don Black ~ ‘the Pele of lyricists’ on Bond themes, Broadway and ‘Born Free

    What We’ve Been Up To

     Amber

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Finder of Lost Things is back!  With more posts and more photos!

Click here to read about the fallout from the Woman in White, what the Black-andBlue-Becker-Betting-Pool is all about and why Phoebe is sneaking out in the rain!

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Grady Hendrix – My Best Friend’s Exorcism

Need a good summertime read that will take you back to all the awkward moments of childhood? No? How about a book that takes you back to some of your best memories as a kid?

Sounds better right?

Remembering all those good times you had with your best friend at skating parties, talking on the phone for hours about nothing, summer vacations, or that one time you needed to exorcise a demon from your best friend’s soul? Yeah…not something everyone can relate to…but that’s precisely what Abby needs to do to save her best friend…

This book is an intensely fun read.

While it’s occasionally awkward and cringe-worthy (but in the best possible way), this uncomfortableness generated by the author adds a whole other layer to the horror/mystery/friendship story unfolding on the page. Seriously, I don’t know how Grady Hendrix did it – but episodes (minus the exorcism, demon, and animal sacrifice) feel as if he pulled them from my own experience – both the terrific and the embarrassing.

If you’re looking for a book to read under the covers with a flashlight, in the middle of the night – that will on occasion make the familiar nightly squeaks, creaks, and groans of your home sound new and strange… My Best Friend’s Exorcism is the book you’re looking for!

(P.S. Did I forget to mention it’s set in the eighties? In all, it’s spectacular Madonna influenced glory…)

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Do you like getting mail? Do you relish writing letters? Do you enjoy mysteries? Have you ever dreamed of being an armchair detective? Now’s your chance! With a mail-based mystery series called Dear Holmes.

I’ll let Mr. Holmes explain your new employment (as he’s more succinct than I):

“12/5/1901

Dear Detective,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to Dear Holmes, and your new career as a consulting detective. 

For the next few months, I will be handing some of my most challenging cases to you. My associates from around the world will write you each month with a challenging new mystery in need of solving.

Every week you will receive another letter with new details on the present mystery, bringing you closer and closer to the solution. I or Dr. Watson will receive the same letters, and reach out to the client to ask probing questions on your behalf.

Since we tend to receive some more peculiar cases, I will also make the knowledge of my network of experts available to you at times, to help shed light on some of the more perplexing details of the cases we encounter.

Your challenge is to solve the mystery before I do. Once I solve the case (at the end of the month), I will write you to share how I solved it. I sincerely hope you beat me to the task. 

Are you ready to put your deductive skills to the test?

The game is afoot!”

Now you can email the solution to Mr. Holmes for his perusal – but in the monthly Featured Detective contest – people who post their solutions thru the mail are given extra points! (Plus it gives you an excuse to purchase some top drawer stationary!)

Woot!

This is a fun and creative game that tests not only your deductive powers but your critical reading skills and the knowledge, you as a reader, have acquired of the era from which Holmes & Watson sprung.

I’ve only been a consulting detective for a month and I’m already hooked!

 

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

July 2020

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Attention: Please stop microwaving your library books.

    Cool Stuff

For you Longmire (book) fans: Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon Nib Brittle 

Mad Magazine legend Al Jaffee retires at age 99 after a record-breaking career 

Donkey released after Pakistan police swoop on gambling race 

Ancient Roman Board Game Found in Norwegian Burial Mound 

Before Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak was an incredible toy maker. 

Van Gogh’s Letter About His Brothel Visit Sells For $236,000 At Auction

Behold: your favorite movies, re-imagined as vintage book covers.

Did you know the first typewriter prototype was made with 11 piano keys?

Louisa May Alcott: Early work by Little Women author published at last 

Page Through This Incredibly Detailed Sino-Tibetan Book Printed in 1410

      Words of the Month

civil (adj). From the late 14 C., “relating to civil law or life; pertaining to the internal affairs of a state,” from Old French civil “civil, relating to civil law” (13th C.) and directly from Latin civilis “relating to a society, pertaining to public life, relating to the civic order, befitting a citizen,” hence by extension “popular, affable, courteous;” alternative adjectival derivative of civis “townsman” (see city).Meaning “not barbarous, civilized” is from 1550s. Specifically “relating to the commonwealth as secularly organized” (as opposed to military or ecclesiastical) by 1610s. Meaning “relating to the citizen in his relation to the commonwealth or to fellow citizens” also is from 1610s.

The word civil has about twelve different meanings; it is applied to all manner of objects, which are perfectly disparate. As opposed to criminal, it means all law not criminal. As opposed to ecclesiastical, it means all law not ecclesiastical: as opposed to military, it means all law not military, and so on. [John Austin, “Lectures on Jurisprudence,” 1873]

The sense of “polite” was in classical Latin, but English did not pick up this nuance of the word until late 16 C., and it has tended to descend in meaning to “meeting minimum standards of courtesy.” Courteous is thus more commonly said of superiors, civil of inferiors, since it implies or suggests the possibility of incivility or rudeness” [OED].

Civil case (as opposed to criminal) is recorded from 1610s. Civil liberty “natural liberty restrained by law only so far as is necessary for the public good” is by 1640s.            [thanks to etymonline]

      Serious Stuff

What It Feels Like to Be Shot by a Rubber Bullet 

A Conversation with a Serial Killer About the First Time He Killed a Taxi Driver


Publishers Sue Internet Archive Over Free E-Books 

The Internet Archive is ending the National Emergency Library over lawsuit from publishers.


Independent bookstore owner invests in online bookstore famous for destroying independent bookstores. [I have to add this question: she’s taking a ton of guff about being hypocritical for investing in her enemy. But why? If you can benefit from your enemy AND plow the profits off your enemy into the business they threaten, isn’t that the sweatest revenge? – JB]

Rachel Cargle Is Opening a Bookstore and Writing Center to Support Marginalized Voices 

#PublishingPaidMe reveals stark disparities between payment of white writers and writers of color. 

Over 1,000 Publishing Workers Strike to Protest Industry Racism

Olaf Palme Murder: Sweden Believes it Knows Who Killed PM in 1986

7 Times Internet Detectives Got the Wrong Guy 

They were some of California’s most brutal slave owners. Their deaths sparked a massacre.

Virginia Kellogg: The Forgotten Screenwriter Behind A String of Classic Noirs

How Women Writers Are Transforming Hardboiled Noir 

Inside Crime Novelist James Patterson’s New Jeffrey Epstein Doc


‘I pray it will finally be over’: Golden State Killer survivors hope guilty plea brings justice

Golden State Killer pleads guilty to crimes that terrorized California

An inside look at the Golden State Killer suspect’s behavior

A Startling Graph: Serial Killers By Country

Radford University/FGCU  Serial Killer Information Center

      Local Stuff

J.A. Jance: Growing Up In a Small Town, Books Opened My World

Daniel Kalla: A Thriller at the Intersection of Two Epidemics: COVID-19 and the Opioid Crisis

      Words of the Month

widdershins (adj.) From the 1510s, chiefly Scottish, originally “contrary to the course of the sun or a clock” (movement in this direction being considered unlucky), probably from Middle Low German weddersinnes, literally “against the way” (i.e. “in the opposite direction”), from widersinnen “to go against,” from wider “against” (see with) + sinnen “to travel, go,” from Old High German sinnen, related to sind “journey” (see send). [thanks to etymonline.com]

       Awards

Shortlist for the 2020 Hammett Prize has been announced. 

Behold the dark and twisted nominees for this year’s Shirley Jackson Awards.

Announcing the 2020 Dagger Awards Longlist

The shortlist for the Firecracker Awards is the perfect indie reading list. 

Bad Form Young Writers’ Prize launches with trade support

       Books and Publishing

Book World: The writer who inspired Sue Grafton – her father – gets a welcome republished mystery novel 

Will China’s entry into U.S. publishing lead to censorship? 

How this New Yorker is fighting Amazon and saving independent bookstores 

Can You Really Separate Edgar Allan Poe’s Work from His Life?

Resignations, accusations, and a board in crisis: The fallout at the National Book Critics Circle.

The National Book Critics Circle Has Imploded

By day, I’ve been trying to cull my book collection. But at night, eBay beckons.

Jefferson Davis House to Lose Literary Landmark Designation

Queer True Crime: A Reading List

Book Publishing’s Next Battle: Conservative Authors

‘It was precarious and still is’: Bookshops fight back against virus and Amazon


Authors leave literary agency over JK Rowling’s comments on transgender people 

JK Rowling: Hachette UK book staff told they are not allowed to boycott author over trans row


Bookselling in Britain ~

‘We’re back in business’: UK bookshops see sales soar 

‘It was precarious and still is’: Bookshops fight back against virus and Amazon

Britain’s wholesaler Bertram Books collapses with 450 jobs at risk


Meet Ed Vaughn, an understated Black Power icon and former bookstore owner.

Overwhelmed With Orders, Some Black-Owned Bookstores Ask for Patience

For What It’s Worth: We are often stumped about where to place a link. Some stories are Serious and Cool and Book related. Where should it be placed? For instance, the above story about Black-owned bookshops being overwhelmed with support could go in all of them. (Way to go America!) An argument could be made that most all of these Book stories could, and maybe should, go in the Serious section. Then there are the Links of Interest. Why there and not another section. The answer is: who knows. It is just a matter of where they seem to fit a the moment. We’re just the deeply flawed humans like the rest of you.

We’re not trying to downplay a story by not putting it in one place or another. We hope you’ll plow through the entire issue, clicking on things that pique your interest at first, maybe coming back to others over the month.

Lastly, as we hunt  for stories to paste in for you, please note that we often don’t get time to read them ourselves. The hunt is the goal and the pressure, and while you have time to read one issue over the course of a month, we’re already building the next issue… The fun for us is the assembly of the whole. So look it all over and have fun!

There’s no replacement for the thrill of browsing in a bookstore

      Other Forms of Entertainment

How The Asphalt Jungle Changed the Face of American Noir 

James Bond: Everything That Went Wrong With Quantum of Solace

Killing Eve’s Fiona Shaw Was “Very Disturbed” by That Moment in the Season 3 Finale 

Falling in Love with “The Rockford Files”—All Over Again 

Noir: An Antidote to Social Distancing 

John Logan, Creator of Penny Dreadful, on His New Spinoff Series, City of Angels 

Bone, Blood & Bigots: On ‘The Liberation of L.B. Jones’

Psycho at 60: the enduring power of Hitchcock’s shocking game-changer

Counting Down the Greatest Crime Films of All-Time: Continues 

“Enola Holmes”: Arthur Conan Doyle’s estate sues Netflix over film about Sherlock Holmes’ younger sister

Liz Garbus Is Taking Back the Voices Stolen by the Golden State Killer 

Learning Early From Hitchcock That Nightmares Can Be Real 

Discovering the Women Authors Behind Hitchcock’s Movies

‘Ozark’ Season 4: Netflix Renews for a Fourth and Final Season

       Words of the Month

ekphrastic: of poetry, words to describe a work of art. (thanks to Says You!, show 2101)

      RIP

May 29: Anthony James, actor in “Unforgiven,” “In the Heat of the Night”, dead at. 77

June 5: Grace Edwards, Harlem Mystery Writer, Dies at 87 

June 5: Harry Hoffman Dies at 92; Led the Expansion of Waldenbooks

June 12: Ricky Valance: First Welshman to have solo UK Number One dies

June 16: A Street Cat Named Bob: Stray who inspired series of books dies

June 19: Sir Ian Holm, star of Lord of the Rings, Alien and Chariots of Fire, dies aged 88

June 19: Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of The Shadow of the Wind, dies aged 55

June 23: Joel Schumacher, Director of Batman Films and ‘Lost Boys,’ Dies at 80

      Author Events

ahhh… nope

      Links of Interest

June 1: I Think About This ‘Die Hard’ Villain’s Great Hair a Lot

June 1: Dick Wolf Fires ‘Law & Order’ Spin-off Writer for Violent Facebook Posts

June 1: Why Cops and Soldiers Love the Punisher

June 2: Ancient DNA offers clues to physical origins of Dead Sea Scrolls

June 3: Know your place – poetry after the Black Death reflected fear of social change

June 4: How the creator of Rizzoli & Isles went from working late-night hospital shifts in Honolulu to writing bestselling thrillers.

June 5: Remembering When Women Ruled a Wild West Town

June 8: Hidden Treasure Chest Filled With Gold And Gems Is Found In Rocky Mountains

June 8: One day, my husband disappeared. It was only the start of a larger mystery.

June 9: Meet the insidious Mr. Bucket, who embodies Dickens’ misgivings about the police force he once enthusiastically supported.

June 9: How Advertising Taught Me The Art of the Twist

June 10: Prosecutors In Sweden Finally Close Case On 1986 Assassination Of Olof Palme

June 10: Banksy artwork stolen from the Bataclan in Paris is found in Italy

June 10: Eddie Redmayne speaks out against JK Rowling’s trans tweets

June 11: The True Crime Bond

June 12: Inigo Philbrick, Dealer Behind $20 M. Art-World Scandal, Arrested by FBI

June 12: The Library-Themed Livestream Where Birds Stretch Their Wings

June 14: The people solving mysteries during lockdown

June 14: France’s ancient burial brotherhood defies Covid-19

June 16: When Crime Photography Started to See Color

June 16: The High Seas Murder That Shocked—And Baffled—The World

June 16: Diego, the Galápagos tortoise with a species-saving sex drive, retires

June 17: Emma Watson joins board Kering

June 18: In 1905, someone murdered the founder of Stanford University. They’ve never been caught.

June 19: ‘Into The Wild’ bus removed from Alaska wilderness

June 19: A History of Black Cowboys

June 22: The Uneasy Noirs of Stephen King

June 22: I Can’t Believe Readers Are Still Getting Upset Over F*cking Swearing.  In Which Amy Poeppel Uses Some Very Bad Words

June 22: Diary of a Scottish Bookseller. Shaun Bythell Recounts Life in Scotland’s Largest Used Bookstore

June 23: Amanda Peet regrets some of her career choices. Playing a murderer isn’t one of them

June 23: Confederate monument enthusiasts targeted my store—and it comically backfired.

June 23: Decades ago, Octavia Butler saw a “grim future” of climate denial and income inequality.

June 23: Loch Ness Monster debate sparked after mystery creature ‘photographed’ 

June 24: American Gods has a new annotated version with a Sherlockian twist

June 24: Segway: End of the road for the much-hyped two-wheeler

June 25: Tiny Mysteries From the Files of the New York Times (Because history is full of the small, the inexplicable, and the downright confounding….)


June 27: Me and my detective by Lee Child, Attica Locke, Sara Paretsky, Jo Nesbø and more

June 27: Lee Child on Jack Reacher: ‘I don’t like him that much’


June 28: British state ‘covered up plot to assassinate King Edward VIII’

June 28: The Motorcycle-Riding Evangelist Behind ‘Perry Mason’’s Sister Alice

June 30: I Want All of Tony Soprano’s Clothes So Bad

      Words of the Month

paup (v.) “to walk about aimlessly” (Says You!); “probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse paufa to walk slowly, walk stealthily; akin to Old English potian to push, butt, goad ” (thanks to merriam/webster)

      What We’ve Been Up To

   Ambercoming soon july jpg

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Josephine They – Miss Pym Disposes

What would you do if you discovered the evidence needed to convict a murderer? Would you turn it in to the authorities? Of course, you would.

But what if…

What if you didn’t care for the victim? Found them off-putting and a tad smarmy? What if by turning in your crucial piece of evidence, you are condemning someone (someone you actually do admire) at the very outset of their life to the miseries of jail? Or even the noose?

Would you turn the evidence in then?

Or do you let the Fates work it out?

Because surely, if the gods wanted the murderer punished, the police would find other evidence…Right? According to every mystery novel written (other than Christie’s Curtain), every murder makes plenty of mistakes and leaves clues for the authorities to find…

But what if you found the only one?

This is the heart of Miss Pym Disposes – what would you do?

I cannot believe I’ve waited so long to read this book! Seriously it’s been sitting on my shelf for years – and I finally picked it up – and I have to say it is one of the most unique mysteries I’ve read in a VERY long time. It’s like a cross between Christie and Austen – kinda. Like Christie, Tey leads you inexorably towards the culprit – laying down twists, turns, clues, motives, and means without even seeming too. (And in such a way my veteran mystery lover’s eyes didn’t spot them as I was reading – but are super clear after I finished). It reminds me of Jane Austen a bit – because you’re nearly done with the book before the deed is done!

Seriously if you’re looking for an interesting and largely bloodless mystery (that is in no way a cozy in the sense of the genera nowadays) I would highly suggest Ms. Pym Disposes!

Fran

Hi!

I don’t have a review, because in true 2020 fashion, my life has taken a turn for the weird, and my wife and I are moving to New Mexico.

It’s a big change, yes, but it’s a good one, and we’re mostly looking forward to it. It’s the right move.

Except, now I have to move my books.

See? It’s a problem! Because of my time at Seattle Mystery Bookshop, I have a LOT of books. And many of them are collectible first editions.

Oh sure, I’ve been culling, getting rid of the Advance Reader Copies I’ve held onto since 2004 that I have to finally face I’m never going to read. And the truly tattered copy of a mass market where I’ve got a better copy, but that tattered one was my first one and I love it.

But it’s still hard. And I keep running into treasures, and I love re-reading so I’m constantly having to force myself to stay focused. Oh, and I’m still working, so there’s that, and Lillian’s doing advance work down in New Mexico, so she’s busy too.

Still, the books are my problem. She’s got woodworking stuff to deal with when she gets back. And I’ve been faced with the problem of what to keep and what to *gulp* get rid of. Rehome.

I’ve given a lot of books to Page 2 Books in Burien, donated to help build their inventory during the plague. They became my go-to indie bookstore, and I want them to thrive. Fans of Jayne Ann Krentz will recognize the name. And I’ve also taken a lot of the ARCs to work so folks get books for free, and so far they’ve scooped up four boxes.

But you wouldn’t know it to look at my shelves. Did I mention I’ve got a LOT of books? And I’ve gotta get them safely packed soon. Like in the next two weeks soon, because we’ll be down there by August. We’re old farts and we’ll be hiring movers to haul down the heavy stuff, but I don’t trust them to pack my books! I barely trust ME, and I’m a professional! Well, you know, I was. Still am at heart, darn it.

And they’re heavy as all get-out, so that means lots and lots of boxes of books. Even paperbacks add up in weight after a while, don’t they? And oh look, I forgot I had this one; I wonder if it’s still as good as I remember…

Focus. Boxes. Dust jacket wrappers for the ones I missed. Each in a plastic bag. Well, not the paperbacks.

Oh hell, I just found my comic book stash.

So anyway, that’s why I don’t have a review this month. However, I am – now and always – a part of Seattle Mystery Bookshop, and I’m still going to be reviewing books, just from a different location.

Talk to you next month, and in the meantime, wish me luck!

 – Fran

JB

I follow the thinking of Bill Farley when it comes to Robert Goldsborogh‘s Nero Wolfe books – they’re not up to Rex Stout but it is a way to spend time with old friends.

His last few have been very nice. Sorry to say the latest9781504059886, Archie Goes Home, was a dud.

As the title says, a call from him aunt draws Archie back to his hometown to southern Ohio. His aunt – a world-class busybody – thinks something fishy with the death of the local, and loathed, banker. So, since the bank balance at the brownstone is healthy, and given the chance take the convertible on a trip to see his mother, off he goes.

The whole thing is flat. The characters aren’t very real, the plot zips along without any sense of depth, and I thought the lack of Wolfe was the problem. Well, even the arrival of Wolfe (driven by Saul) can’t spice up the book. It was dull, sorry to report.


9780399589829On the other hand, John Meacham‘s The Soul of America is must reading. Not only does the historian’s words flow with a smooth and delightful zip, he gives you seven sections that lay out periods in our country’s past when things were grim and the future of the democracy seemed dire, and how the leaders of the time rallied to pull the country and the people out of the muck. He doesn’t continually point to our sad, current state but it is clear that he’s showing us comparisons to now and telling us to not loose hope. If you’re at all interested in the grand sweep of history and how we can learn from past mistakes, pick it up. It is erudite and educational, and it will give you some faith in our “better angels.”


At the end of his last book, Joe DeMarco was driving off into the sunset. Without a job, he was just going to cruise and play golf. Sounded like a splendid retirement – for him. For me, I was horrified that a favorite series might be at an end. NOT TO FRET!

With the results of the 2018 election, Mahoney is headed back to being the Speaker of the House of Representatives and has promised to find a new, if meaningless title, for DeMarco.

Mike Lawson is an inventive writer. His ingenious plots shoot into doglegs and hook into unexpected roughs. The crash of a small plane starts House Privilege and quickly DeMarco is off to Boston and upstate NY to slice open the events and sink the villains. It’s a trap of money and heavies, and politics and power, and maybe a little bit of love for our lonely hero. He certainly deserves it, even if it requires hockey.

The only problem with a Mike Lawson book – ok, there are two – is that it is impossible to put one down once started, so it is over all too quickly. The other is that you have to wait a year for the next. Can’t wait to see where DeMarco is sent next.

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June 2020

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    Stuff That’s Just Too Cool

Odd Job’s Lethal Bowler from Goldfinger Surfaces

LeVar Burton still loves reading aloud. His storytelling might be what you need right now.

John Grisham: Why Indie Bookstores Are Essential 

A journal Jim Morrison wrote in Paris will soon be up for auction. 

The Washington Post’s virtual literary event calendar is now available. Readers can find an updated list of national bookstore, library, author events and more!

A variation on “The Dog Ate My Homework” story: Fun fact ~ John Steinbeck’s dog ate the first draft of Of Mice and Men.

    Serious Stuff

Dirty money piling up in L.A. as coronavirus cripples international money laundering

The Dark History of America’s First Female Terrorist Group 

Why it’s so hard to read a book right now, explained by a neuroscientist 

Declassified FBI Photos Show the Horror of Being a First Responder in Jonestown 

What to Make of Isaac Asimov, Sci-Fi Giant and Dirty Old Man? Despite Calling Himself a Feminist the Author of the Foundation Stories Was a Serial Harasser

A renowned scholar claimed that he discovered a first-century gospel fragment. Now he’s facing allegations of antiquities theft, cover-up, and fraud.

An Alaska School Board Will Keep Classics on the Curriculum after an Uproar over Their Removal

The World’s First ‘Incel’ Terrorism Charge

The Atlantic lays off dozens of staff members as pandemic hits media budgets

    Local Stuff

‘Starting a New Chapter: Seattle Booksellers, moved by community support amid the shutdown, say ‘indie bookstores will thrive again’

How Seattle book workers have adapted to coronavirus shutdowns — and what they’ve been reading

Starting a novel while stuck at home? Seattle author Elizabeth George shares tips in ‘Mastering the Process.’ 

What Happens to Powell’s Books When You Can’t Browse the Aisles?

    Words of the Month

bada bing (adj?): According to this interview, James Caan just improvised the words during the filming of that scene from The Godfather. Others attribute it to the rim shot produced by drummers during a comedian’s set. Others, yet, say it goes back to a skit on “The Jackie Gleason Show”, which may’ve gotten it from some earlier forgotten use in the Catskills or vaudeville. In this 1965 album, Pat Cooper says it at 14:27 into his recorded performance – it goes by very fast. Clearly, the modern use stems from The Godfather in 1972.

    Awards

Bryan Washington has won the £30,000 Dylan Thomas Prize. 

Here’s the shortlist for the £10,000 Caine Prize. 

The NYPL has announced the 2020 Young Lions Fiction Award Finalists.

The National Book Foundation’s Innovations in Reading Prize goes to DIBS for Kids.

    Book Stuff

Inside the wild double life of rare books dealer John Jenkins

Legal Thrillers for Literary Snobs

Social isolation (and video chat) is bringing renewed attention to the art of the bookshelf

The Most Important (and Literary?) Meal of the Day 

Christie & Sayers & Allingham & Tey: Celebrating the Crime Queens of the Golden Age

The Cornerstones of Country Noir

Anything can be a Penguin Classic with this handy cover generator.


My First Thriller: Michael Connelly

Michael Connelly on ‘fake news,’ COVID-19 writing and his nonprofit-set thriller


How Novelist Megan Abbott Learned to Write for Television

Scott Turow on the One Character Who Keeps Coming Back to Him, Again and Again

Powell’s Books will be back, CEO Emily Powell pledges, but not soon

For Bookstore Owners, Reopening Holds Promise and Peril

For booksellers in L.A., a partial reopening brings hope and anxiety

Barnes & Noble is slowly reopening stores to shoppers in a few states.

‘Economic duress is nothing new’: Can America’s oldest black bookstore survive the pandemic?

Legendary Paris bookshop reveals reading habits of illustrious clientele

Research finds reading books has surged in the UK during lockdown

I wish more people would read … Damon Runyon’s short stories

Coronavirus Shutdowns Weigh on Book Sales 

Coronavirus forces National Book Festival to shift to online-only format this year

Martin Edwards on the Enduring Popularity of Traditional Mysteries 

25 GREAT INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORES IN THE U.S.

    Other Forms of Entertainment

Otto Penzler’s list of Greatest Crime Films of All-Time Continues

Michael Mann Is Talking to Directors, Wondering When They Can All Go Back to Work 

Before there was Jessica Fletcher, there were the Snoop Sisters.

Scrubs: A sitcom that’s actually aged well?

Hollywood’s Women in Criminal Justice: Sometimes Fact, Sometimes Fiction


Luca Guadagnino to remake Scarface with Coen brothers script

Scarface Hitman Geno Silva Dies of Dementia at 72


Die Hard With a Vengeance: The strange saga of Laurence Fishburne and how it ended up in court

“Hightown”: An Old-School Crime Drama That’s Thoroughly Modern 


Armed Guards and Death Threats: Inside the Making of Netflix’s Harrowing Jeffrey Epstein Documentary 

New book claims Bill Clinton had an affair with Ghislaine Maxwell

New Jeffrey Epstein doc should finally lead to a reckoning with Bill Clinton


    Words of the Month

contretemps (n): From the 1680s, “a blunder in fencing,” from French contre-temps “motion out of time, unfortunate accident, bad times” (16th C.), from contre, an occasional, obsolete variant of contra (prep.) “against” (from Latin contra “against;” see contra (prep., adv.)) + tempus “time” (see temporal). Meaning “an unfortunate accident, an unexpected or embarrassing event” is from 1802; as “a dispute, disagreement,” from 1961. It also was used as a ballet term (1706). [thanks to etymonline]

    RIP

May 10:Thomas Reppetto, Crime Watchdog and Historian, Is Dead at 88

May 12: Simon & Schuster President and CEO Carolyn Reidy Dies at 71

May 19: Leonard Levitt, Reporter Who Riled NYPD Brass, Dies at 79

May 28: Larry Kramer: Elton John leads tributes to playwright and Aids activist

    Author Events

nope, not yet…

    Links of Interest

May 2: Real-life Indiana Jones reveals £100million treasure trove dating back to 1200s

May 6: New Zealand coronavirus: Massive car heist under cover of lockdown

May 8: Authorities Recover 19,000 Artifacts in International Antiquities Trafficking Sting

May 11: Medieval Arrows Inflicted Injuries That Mirror Damage Caused by Modern Bullets

May 12: How It Felt Learning My Dad Is a Serial Killer

May 12: The Spy Who Handed America’s Nuclear Secrets to the Soviets

May 13: French serial-killer expert admits serial lies, including murder of imaginary wife

May 14: This AI-generated dictionary is very cool and also terrifying.

May 15: Why Do Some Writers Burn Their Work?

May 15: Lisa Scottoline’s daughter, Francesca Serritella, makes a name for herself as a novelist with ‘Ghosts of Harvard’

May 17: Dirty Harry’s blood-soaked San Francisco was a terrifying reality

May 17: Michael Jordan: NBA legend’s trainers sell for record $560,000

May 18: Text Found on Supposedly Blank Dead Sea Scroll Fragments

May 18: Sir Frederick Barclay’s nephew ‘caught with bugging device’ at Ritz hotel

May 18: Neil Gaiman spoken to by police after 11,000-mile trip

May 19: Do police sketches actually help catch criminals?

May 20: How to find a book without knowing the actual title

May 21: Bill Clinton and James Patterson reunite for a second thriller

May 21: A Crime Reader’s Guide to the Pope of Trash

May 21: Tony Hadley, a radio quiz, one syllable – and a $10,000 riddle

May 21: ‘I wrote my wife a poem every day for 25 years’

May 22: Loon stabs eagle through heart

May 22: Romance Writers of America aims for happy end to racism row with new prize

May 22: The Great Elmore Leonard Renaissance of the Late ‘90s

May 23: Berlin WW2 bombing survivor Saturn the alligator dies in Moscow Zoo

May 26: Canada tow-truck turf wars lead to nearly 200 charges

May 26: On Dracula‘s birthday, remember the copyright battle over the illegally-adapted Nosferatu.

May 26: ‘The Genetic Detective’ ~ CeCe Moore’s True Crime Career Started Out In An Unusual Way

May 27: About That Time Whitey Bulger “Won” the Mass Millions Lottery

May 27: What Do You Do With a Stolen van Gogh? This Thief Knows

May 27: Roman mosaic floor found under Italian vineyard

May 28: Sherlock Holmes and the Womanly Art of Self-Defense – Or, how to incorporate late 19th century suffragette self-defense movements into a Sherlock Holmes pastiche series.

    Words of the Month

melch (v.) to yield easily to pressure (thanks to Says You!, #522)

    What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

candyfinal

Guess What!!!! Season 2 of Finder of Lost Things is nearly ready to start posting! The story is finished and 2/3 of the photography is finished! So in the next couple of weeks it will go live!!! Woot!

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A Murderous Relation – Deanna Raybourn

Veronica Speedwell is back, and let me tell you, I’ve been looking forward to the next book in this series – and it didn’t let me down!

Though I must say when I read the flyleaf, I was a bit worried. As this story is set smack dab in Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror – and let me tell you everyone and their second cousin who writes historical mysteries in Victorian London eventually puts Whitechapel into their story…with varying degrees of success.

Happily, Raybourn has done a great job of incorporating the very well known string of murders in an intriguing way – while also skirting the specter that still haunts those cobblestone streets. By not only making sure we see the women as human beings (which often gets overlooked) but feel the fear that gripped London due to the London Police’ inability to apprehend him.

However, first and foremost, Veronica is asked by the royal family for help in making sure her half-brother and heir-to-the-throne doesn’t get caught in an indelicate position with someone who isn’t his future wife…Veronica initially says no…but then Lady Welly falls ill…and Veronica and Stoker decided to snoop around a bit.

And action, old enemies, and anarchy ensues.

I loved reading Rayborn’s mystery, writing, and flare from cover to cover! BTW – you don’t HAVE to read them in order…but if you read this one first, then go back and start with number one…well, you’ll have spoiled a portion of the tension in the earlier installments. So while you don’t have to read them in order – at this point I think you should! (You won’t be disappointed!)

Fran

So, isn’t 2020 a total pip? Something exciting around every corner, right?

Yeah, about that. So I decided to take a break from anything suspenseful, and on the recommendation of my favorite New Mexico hair stylist turned mask maker, I decided to read The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment by A. J. Jacobs.

9781416599067Jacobs has found his niche in journalism and writing. He doesn’t just try new things, he immerses himself in them to see how they work. For example, one of his experiments is detailed in a book I have yet to read called “The Know-It-All”, where he reads every word of an encyclopedia. He also lived Biblically for a year. His wife is a saint.

In My Life as an Experiment, A. J. Jacobs has put together some of his smaller projects. For example, one chapter deals with unitasking – focusing solely on doing only one thing at a time. Literally just one thing. If you’re eating, don’t talk. No background noise, just eat.

Another deals with telling the absolute truth, no filters. He did this for a whole month. It’s amazing he has any friends left, and did I mention his wife is a saint?

What could be just stupid and mockable is the way A. J. Jacobs writes. He’s smart. He’s funny as hell. And he lists his sources and resources for things he does. He approaches each experiment with total concentration and absolute focus, true, but he never loses sight of himself, his wife and kids, and his sense of delight and enthusiasm. If it doesn’t interest him, he won’t do the experiment. It has to be meaningful and interesting and educational to him.

And it will be to you as well.

Now, what I didn’t realize when I started My Life as an Experiment, that at the back, before the source list and acknowledgments and whatnot, there’s another subsection for each chapter. He makes some observations about what he wrote, and some of the details that didn’t go into the flow of the narrative but are still fascinating. There are a couple of Appendices that are equally fascinating.

It’s not a mystery. It’s not true crime unless maybe one instance of identity theft. But it’s interesting and fun and humorous and exactly the change I needed right now. I think you’ll enjoy it too.

JB

Still reading and enjoying and amazed by John Connolly’s“The Sisters Strange”, his Charlie Parker novella being written and published as it is ready. At this writing, there are nearly 40 short chapters.  It’s a neat trick to pull off and a great story – as usual.

Not really sure how long I’ve been reading the Nate Heller books from Max Allan Collins. Maybe before SMB existed? They’re a terrific mix of true crime events and hardboiled fiction as Collins puts his private eye into historical cases and provides his solution to the events. In an early one, the determination isn’t that Zangara wasn’t trying to shoot FDR that day but intended to, and did, kill Chicago Mayor Cermak. The first few books deal mainly with the Chicago Mob and the hit was ordered by them for Cermak’s treachery.

The books deal with nearly all of the famous and lurid crimes and figures of the 20th C.: Bugsy Siegel, the Lindbergh Kidnapping, the Black Dahlia case, the Torso Murders in Cleveland, the disappearance of Earhart and the death of Forrestal, and, of course, JFK.

9780765378293The new book, Do No Harm, inserts Heller into the Marylin Shepard case and reunites the PI with a number of figures – Eliot Ness, F. Lee Bailey, Flo Kilgore (his stand in for journalist Dorothy Kilgallen) – and re-creates the case, the crimes, the trials, and the suspects. As usual, it’s great fun.

However, there’s one major problem with the story: on one hand, Sam Shepard is portrayed as a philandering rogue, on another as a man whose beautiful wife found sex painful and allowed what we’d now call an open marriage, and yet on a third hand, the victim is said to have been having a torrid affair with a neighbor. Well, which is it – she found sex painful or she was having a torrid affair with the mayor? Collins doesn’t resolve it, or, I suppose, leaves it unresolved as just another aspect of the case muddied by the different views of those involved.

At any rate, I look forward to Heller’s next case, whatever it may be. Not many more big cases for Heller to tackle, but then Collins is always full or surprises. I recommend the book AND the series!

9781501176890In The New Iberia Blues, Dave and Clete and Alafair continue their peculiar journey through live, with irritation and love, anger and confusion, dealing with the horrors we inflict upon one another, intentionally or not. Some horrors are minor while others scar the mind. And in this small corner of the world, we’re lucky we have these people to tackle the bad guys.

Burke’s writing skills haven’t lost a step. He knows where the world has been – literature, too – and isn’t hesitant to show the trail. “Every literary plot is either in the Bible, Greek mythology, or Elizabethan theater. Hemingway said it was all right for an author to steal as long as he improved the material… Read Charles Dickens’s journalistic account of a public execution in London. It will make you want to flee humanity”. Maybe so, but humanity also produces prose like that of James Lee Burke. So let’s stay a bit longer, huh?

 



BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL




May 2020

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“Print culture will come back from all this. Books always survive, and anyone who thinks otherwise has probably never read one.” — Warren Ellis

Italy allows bookstores to reopen as an ‘essential good’

Bookshop hits $1 million raised for independent bookstores.

World Economic Forum: Book Sales Surge During Lockdown

      Serious Stuff

Annie Dookhan’s Drug Lab Crimes Compromised More Than 20,000 Criminal Convictions 

Daniel Pearl murder: Pakistani court overturns death sentence of accused 

In ‘Unprecedented’ Move, the U.S. Just Named a Bunch of Neo-Nazis a Terrorist Organization

The Hate Store: Amazon’s Self-Publishing Arm Is a Haven for White Supremacists

Alexander McCall Smith: ‘I hope the coronavirus makes us realise the ways we have abused the world’

The most dangerous active serial killer in 2020 

Inside Netflix’s “Innocence Files”: “The system is set up to attain convictions”

Here Are the Questions the Right’s Favorite Coronavirus Truther Isn’t Willing to Answer: John Berenson under the spotlight

A Good Journalist Understands That Fascism Can Happen Anywhere, Anytime

Crows Aren’t Bad Omens (But They May Be The Criminal Masterminds of the Bird World)

       Local Stuff

New book ‘Nature Obscura’ shows where Mother Nature is hidden in Seattle

‘We sent out an SOS.’ Seattle’s Stranger in the fight of its life

      Words of the Month

recumbentibus (n.)  A knock-out punch, either physical or verbal. (thanks to Says You!, episode #820)

      Awards

And the winner of the 2020 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is…

And the winner of the $35,000 Aspen Words Literary Prize is…

Coronavirus is topic one among newly announced L.A. Times Book Prize winners 

Here’s the shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

ELLERY QUEEN MYSTERY MAGAZINE READERS AWARDS


2020 Edgar Allan Poe Award Winners

The State of Crime Writing in 2020: Part 1


      Book Stuff

Woody Allen’s Memoir Is Shrouded in Secrecy. Why?  

Vidocq and the Birth of the Fictional Detective 

Border Stories: A Guide to the Novels of Don Winslow

Books Briefing: If Your Attention Span Is Shrinking, Read Poetry 

Filth in a time of handwashing: why lockdown erotica is the hottest trend in publishing 

Our new lockdown game: judging famous people by their bookshelves in their posts

Suing Hollywood: Author Tess Gerritsen took on a Hollywood studio for screenplay theft. It was just the start of a long, strange journey.

Brian De Palma and Susan Lehman Talk Noir, Scandals, and Pulpy Cover Art 

The 12 Darkest Endings in the History of Noir Fiction 

Elmore Leonard, Florida Man

We Owe More to Our Young Writers: On the Relevance of the Workshop

The Women Who Edited Crime Fiction

This Is the Book That Outsold Dracula in 1897

10 Must-Read Crime-Fighting Duos

Thanks to Bookshop, There Is No Reason to Buy Books on Amazon Anymore

What Personal Letters Reveal About Human Struggles

‘Everything collapsed like dominos’: How the literary world is adapting to survive lockdown

The 30 Best One-Star Amazon Reviews of . . . The Dictionary

What can we learn from Robinson Crusoe writer’s 1722 plague book?

Three May “Webinars” from Sisters in Crime! 

Majority of authors ‘hear’ their characters speak, finds study  

Barnes & Noble workers say warehouse is unsafe. 

Online Auction to Aid Comic-Book Shops Raises Over $430,000

Left-wing indie publishers have formed a coalition to support each other during the pandemic.

      Words of the Month

verbiculture (n) The “the production of words,” 1873, from Latin verbum “word” (see verb) + ending from agriculture, etc. Coined by Fitzedward Hall, in “Modern English.” He was scolded for it in the “Edinburgh Review.” (thanks to etymonline)

      Entertainments of other sorts

1971: Richard Burton and Liz Taylor on the set of Villain – in pictures 

‘It’s pure rock’n’roll’: how Money Heist became Netflix’s biggest global hit 

The Rise of Australian True Crime Podcasts

Don Cheadle on His Career and His Movies

The Showrunner of Murder House Flip on Why He Wanted to Flip Murder Houses


10 of the Greatest Con Artist Movies of All-Time 

Seven Fictional Con Artists and the Communities They Swindled

A Notorious Grifter Bought an Entire Restaurant With a Fake $400,000 Check


The movie role Dwayne Johnson lost to Tom Cruise (you can guess which one…)

HBO’s Latest True-Crime Documentary – Atlanta’s Missing and Murdered –  is Driven More by Twists Than the Truth

“Killing Eve” is back, with consequences

Here’s the first trailer for the new HBO series “Perry Mason”

Coronavirus: Banksy makes ‘bathroom’ lockdown art

Sunset Bloulevard Turns 70: Nancy Olson on Wilder, Holden and Why She Walked Away From Stardom 

Ross Thomas, the criminally neglected spy-caper author behind “Briarpatch” (an Edgar-winning novel and one of Bill’s all-time favorites!)


You Can’t Say American Psycho Didn’t Warn Us 

In Conversation: Mary Harron ~On almost losing American Psycho, fighting to cast Christian Bale, and why the movie’s reception reminds her of Joker.


My streaming gem: why you should watch The Killing of America 

Barry Sonnenfeld: On Making Blood Simple with the Coen Brothers

      Words of the Month

verbal (adj.) From the early 15th C., “dealing with words” (especially in contrast to things or realities), from Old French verbal (14th C.) and directly from Late Latin verbalis “consisting of words, relating to verbs,” from Latin verbum “word” (see verb). Related: Verbally. Verbal conditioning is recorded from 1954. Colloquial verbal diarrhea is recorded from 1823. A verbal noun is a noun derived from a verb and sharing in its senses and constructions. (thanks to etymonline)

      Links of Interest

March 31: ‘Stealing Home’ revisits Dodger Stadium’s nefarious origins

April 1: Portland comic book industry faces double challenge: social distancing and no new product

April 1: The Forgotten Kidnapping Epidemic That Shook Depression-Era America

April 2: The Writing Conference That Ended in a Russian Police Station

April 2: The Fallout of a Medieval Archbishop’s Murder Is Recorded in Alpine Ice

April 3: MI6: World War Two workers in rare ‘forbidden’ footage

April 3: Matt Lucas reveals the strange way he was hired for Bake-Off

April 9: Very rare’ handwritten ‘Hey Jude’ lyrics sell for £732,000 at auction 

April 9: Escape Into These Fantastical, Imaginary Maps

April 13: Donna Leon on Italian Culture, Environmentalism, and Her Long-Running Series

April 15: A Bookstore in Boulder Pivots to Bike Delivery of ‘Mystery Bags’

April 16: 500 Years of True Crime

April 17: The Mystery of a Medieval Blue Ink Has Been Solved

April 17: Gilded Age Women Who Got Away With Murder

April 20: Elliot Gould ~ The star of M*A*S*H, The Long Goodbye – and more recently, ‘Friends’ – talks about drugs, his fiery marriage to Barbra Streisand and getting his best reviews from Groucho Marx and Muhammad Ali

April 20: ‘Bored’ kookaburra bird in daily lockdown walk


April 20: Pierce Brosnan, the James Bond actor, recounted a table-pounding, martini-fueled chat with the “Pulp Fiction” director about making a James Bond movie together.

April 20: For your eyes only: Terry O’Neill’s unseen shots of James Bond – in pictures

April 21: Cary Fukunaga’s Original Idea for James Bond Sounds Like a Trippy 007 We’ve Never Seen Before


April 21: How a Mossad Agent and a Band of Survivors Hunted Down the Butcher of Latvia

April 24: Captain Tom tops the charts at the age of 99

April 24: Shakespeare Day 2020: Dame Judi Dench reads from Richard II

April 25: Dancer uses bin night to perform for neighbours

April 25: First edition of Roald Dahl book Gremlins up for auction

April 25: HK bookseller who defied China opens shop in Taiwan

April 25: Why the Mafia are taking care of everyone’s business

April 27: The Long, Winding History of Sexton Blake, the Adamantly British Crime Fighter. He was Britain’s most popular detective. Then he all but disappeared from the pop culture. Or did he?

April 28: Meet Nancy Wake ~ Socialite, Spy, and The Most Decorated Heroine of WWII

April 28: Why the FBI Almost Shut Down the Unabomber Investigation Before He Was Caught

April 29: The Valentine’s Day snake puzzle

April 30: The Bizarre Newspaper Hoax That Nearly Ruined Lizzie Borden

April 30: How Spider-Man Cracked the Comic Book Code

      Words of the Month

verbarian (n.) A “word-coiner,” 1873, from Latin verbum “word” (see verb) + -arian. Coleridge (or the friend he was quoting) had used it earlier as an adjective, and with a different sense, in wishing for: “a verbarian Attorney-General, authorised to bring informations ex officio against the writer or editor of any work in extensive circulation, who, after due notice issued, should persevere in misusing a word” (1830). (thanks to etymonline)

      Author Events?

nope…….not yet

      R.I.P.

April 6: Honor Blackman, star of “The Avengers” and Goldfinger, Dead at 94 

April 9: Mort Drucker, Master of the Mad Caricature, Is Dead at 91

April 15: Brian Dennehy, veteran stage and screen actor, dies aged 81 of natural causes

April 20: Richard Wadani: Austrian Nazi deserter dies aged 97

April 20: Sheila Connolly died in her beloved Ireland at age 70

April 29: Jill Gascoine ~ Pioneering British actress dies at 83

April 29: Irrfan Khan ~ a seductive actor capable of exquisite gentleness

April 29: Maj Sjöwall: ‘Nordic noir’ pioneer, author of the Martin Beck series, dies aged 84.   “The couple who invented Nordic Noir”.

      What We’ve Been Up To

   Amber

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Ben Aaronovitch – False Value

Okay, I must confess…

I’ve fallen behind in the ‘Rivers Of London’ series. Not because of the writing, but due to the space between my ears and I’ve only recently been able to start reading books set after the 1950s.

And, for reasons beyond my ken, I decided to pick the series back up after missing the last two books. Yeah, I know. However, I think its the sign of a good author that the reader can restart a series – after missing one or two installments – and not be confused about what’s going on.

And Ben Aaronovitch is an excellent author.

I can admit, I was a hair confused for the first three chapters – but I think it was more out of concern for Peter Grant than the writing itself. I should’ve had more faith in my author and resisted the urge to check the last page or two to see if my faves were together again!

That being said – this was a great book! Peter Grant providing security for a tech company? I mean, he gets distracted enough without a bevy of unique vending machines to sample his way thru, board games to play, and killer drones to deal with!

This book is one of the most interesting transition books I’ve read in a long time, giving you hints, crumbs of new allies? New Baddies? And inklings of new stresses coming soon to his home life…

If you’ve never read the ‘Rivers of London’ Series before, I think you can start with False Value and be alright – keeping in mind, there are a number of books that come before it. (However, I would suggest going back and starting with number 1 – because who doesn’t enjoy a police procedural with magic?)

Nancy_Drew_2019_TV

Nancy Drew

Question, have you ever tried going back a rereading a series you loved and adored as a child? Only to find your adult eyes can’t see past some glaring flaws your younger self missed? This same thing happened to me when I tried going back and reread Nancy Drew. I did manage to wade my way through my favorites, but the vast majority I needed to set aside, so my memory and love of them wouldn’t tarnish.

The preponderance of coincidences abounding in the mysteries was my biggest problem with the books. My second was the seemingly flawless nature of Nancy herself, and because she’s written as the quintessential daughter/friend/sleuth, she lacks the nuance I crave as an adult.

All this being said – I still couldn’t help myself from watching the first episode of the new television show.

I mean its Nancy Drew, how could I not?

So I watched the first episode – and found myself tilting my head going, “Ummm…..Guys? Are you sure this is what you really meant to do?”

But in the name of research, I download episode number 2….then 3….and 4…..by the 5th I was hooked and bought the whole series.

Why? Because the show’s clever in how it skirts around my two biggest grievances of the books. First, the writers added a supernatural element. Ghosts, spirits, and corporally challenged beings roam Horseshoe Bay. Which doesn’t sound like it ought to work – but it does. This supernatural element takes away our sleuth’s reliance on coincidences and happenstance to solve crimes. Instead it gives Nancy and her friends a different, eerier, avenue of investigation which they use. (After they start believing that supernatural beings are in fact in play.)

My other issue, the lack of depth, is also addressed – because neither Nancy or any of her friends are flawless in this adaptation. For example, Nancy’s mother dies less than a year before the series begins. It’s at this point we meet Nancy Drew. Still angry. Still grieving. Still in a tailspin that’s trashed not only chance at a college career but created a deep rift dividing her and her father, Carson Drew.

Nancy’s life is complicated, messy, and her need to expose the truth costs Nancy dearly – but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

The tv show itself isn’t without its issues. Owing mainly to the fact the majority (but by no means all) of characters are around eighteen – you get a fair bit of interpersonal drama. Which did, in the beginning, have me rolling my eyes saying, dude is this really necessary for the plot?

Turns out, yes, yes it is. So roll your eyes, throw popcorn at the tv – but keep watching! Because there are so many delicious layers to this show, so many reveals to be made – I promise you will get hooked!

   Fran

You know that John Connolly is an excellent writer with great characters, an incredible52771340._SX318_SY475_ story, and that fine balance between sadness and humor that his writing is addictive. Of course you know this.

But it wasn’t until I was partway through his latest Charlie Parker novel, THE DIRTY SOUTH (Atria, publication postponed to October 20!), the 18th of Parker’s travels, it finally struck me how easily John Connolly manipulates his readers. Well, me anyway.

See, he understands psychology and human nature, and how obsessive and irrational people can be. And by irrational, I mean that whole “just one more chapter” thing. You do it. You know you do.

So what John does is he throws in a couple of seriously short chapters, just paragraphs really, and you say to yourself in a dismissive tone, “Well, that didn’t really count as a chapter, and look, the next one’s short too, so I’ll just read a couple of short ones,” and the next thing you know, you’re caught up in his diabolical web, it’s 3:00 in the morning and the book just drops from your nerveless fingers. Just evil.

And he’s setting us up from the very beginning of THE DIRTY SOUTH with:

“Mr. Parker?”

“Yes.”

“This is-“

“I know. It’s been a long time.”

“It has. I hoped we’d never have to speak of this again. I’m sure you felt the same way.”

Parker did not reply and the man continued.

“I thought you should know,” he said. “They pulled a body from the Karagol.”

And then we’re swept back in time to when Parker’s wife and daughter are newly dead, when Parker’s beginning his long journey, and when things are barely beginning to unfold. This is the story of how Parker started to define the man we now know.

We meet the people in Burdon County, Arkansas, and they are  troubled and  complex, generally getting by, but someone’s been killing young women. Parker chances through, and becomes a catalyst. You know how that goes.

But this isn’t your typical Charlie Parker novel, and you’re going to be sucked into it, and the tensions between the people, and remembering the times. Oh, you’re in for a treat, I promise.

Also, John Connolly gets to play with language a lot in this one, and it’s beyond delightful!

Pre-order it from your favorite indie now. You don’t want to miss a moment of THE DIRTY SOUTH!

   JB

I AM SO JEALOUS THAT FRAN GOT AN ADVANCE COPY OF THE NEW PARKER NOVEL!!!

I am so glad she hadn’t told me she had it. I might have driven down to her house and burgled it!

So I have tried – tried, I say – to be satisfied with John’s on-going project, “The Sisters Strange”, his novella being written and posted daily. We mentioned it in the March newzine. It’s worth the wait. Each day.

“I once met a writer who believed some men were so morally corrupt that their depravity found a physical expression; in other words, their moral disfigurement manifested itself as an alteration to feature or form.  It was, I felt, a variation on phrenology or physiognomy, the discredited pseudoscientific convictions that the shape of a skull or face might disclose essential traits of character.  Were it true, the job of law enforcement would be made significantly easier: we could simply jail all the ugly people.”

That’s from the 15th section. Is that a chapter, or a part, or installment? Don’t know or care but the numbers give you a way to locate parts. As with his novels, Connolly is dealing with large-scale issues: good and evil, weird and normal, violence and the quest for peace. And, as with the novels, he’s introduced a number of memorable figures to populate Parker’s world: Ambar Strange and her older sister Dolors Strange, and the main menace of the tale (at least, so far) Raum Buker, who lives at the Braycroft Arms. Where does he get these names? I like to think in abandoned graveyards in the woods of Maine.  And then there is the odd and disturbing Mr. Kepler. Yesh.

” But evil – true evil, not the mundane human wickedness born of fear, envy, wrath, or greed – is adept at concealment, because it wishes to survive and persist.  Only when it’s ready, or is forced to do so, does it reveal itself.  Not even evil is free from the rule of nature.” [#15]

It’s exhilarating to follow this, to know John knows no more of what’s coming that we do. As a high-wire act, it’s something to behold. And a treat.

Come on, John – where’re we going?

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April 2020

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      Some Things

Our hearts go out ~

~ to Mary Daheim who lost a daughter. Mary sent this notice out: “…Barbara Daheim Resnick, who passed away Sunday at the age of 53. I also want to thank everyone who has contributed to the Go Fund Me site that Barb’s brother-in-law Paul Webber set up for her children, Flynn and Clara.”

~ to the family of Diana Mayabb, a staunch supporter of SMB for decades. She and her husband Jim were major collectors – though Jim collected mostly science fiction, we didn’t hold it against him and happily ordered those new releases for him – good friends and wonderful, kind and cheerful people. We miss them both terribly, and our thoughts are with Jim now. Dear Diana died early in March

~ to the world of mysteries, who lost Kate  Mattes, of Kate’s Mysteries in Cambridge, MA. Like so many of us, she was forced to close her shop years ago and had been living in Vermont. Her health had not been good and she was taken away by her heart on March 25th.

~ to past colleague Karen who suffered a catastrophic lost due to a flooded basement. Music, art, and her mystery collection, including – prepare yourself – a first edition Nero Wolfe. AAAAAAAAARRRRGGGGG!

And while it shouldn’t come as a surprise, it is still shocking when the virus creeps into your family. We hope everyone in your world is safe and not too bored being housebound. We hope this all might take your mind away from your worries.

It’s a long one, so settle back!

      Local Stories

From local writer J. Kingston Pierce: Seattle: Primed and Ready for Crime Fiction Fame ~Exploring the city’s history and character, through crime novels

      And some great news after a month of horror stories:

Powell’s Books rehires over 100 employees after surge of online orders

Love and labor rights in the time of COVID-19: The Book Workers Union forms at Capitol Hill’s Elliott Bay Book Company 

      Serious Stuff

Nazi name lists in Argentina may reveal loot in Swiss bank

Birmingham’s “Fifth Girl” survived a notorious hate crime. Now she wants resitution.

      Words of the Month

virus (n). late 14th C., “poisonous substance,” from Latin virus “poison, sap of plants, slimy liquid, a potent juice,” from Proto-Italic *weis-o-(s-) “poison,” which is probably from a Proto-Info-Eutoprsm root *ueis-, perhaps originally meaning “to melt away, to flow,” used of foul or malodorous fluids, but with specialization in some languages to “poisonous fluid” (source also of Sanskrit visam “venom, poison,” visah “poisonous;” Avestan vish “poison;” Latin viscum “sticky substance, birdlime;” Greek ios “poison,” ixos “mistletoe, birdlime;” Old Church Slavonic višnja “cherry;” Old Irish fi “poison;” Welsh gwy “poison”). The meaning “agent that causes infectious disease” is recorded by 1728 (in reference to venereal disease); the modern scientific use dates to the 1880s. The computer sense is from 1972. [thanks to etymonine]


JB admits he sometimes scans headlines too rapidly, and perhaps this was tinted by the times in which we live, but he thought “In case you’re stockpiling books this month, here are some gems you may have missed from February. | Lit Hub” said “some germs you may have missed…”


      Awards, etc.

Here are the finalists for this year’s PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

      Book Stuff

David Goodis’ Bleak, Beautiful Vision of Humanity 

‘Freshly cut grass – or bile-infused Exorcist vomit?’: how crime books embraced lurid green

Simon & Schuster is for sale because it is not videos.

In 1899, Arthur Conan Doyle Took Dictation for His Dying Friend’s Mystery Novel

From ‘Wuhan-400’, the deadly virus invented by Dean Koontz in 1981, to the plague unleashed in Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, novelists have long been fascinated by pandemics


The new documentary “The Booksellers” looks at the esoteric world of the antiquarian trade, and the passionate, eclectic and endangered characters who make it hum. 

Breathing New Life into Old Books


Woody Allen got a book deal. Staff at his new publisher have walked out in protest. 

Sixteen of the Most Perfect Murders in Crime Fiction 

The Fraught and Risky Business of Spotting a Historical Fake

Carolyn Wells, in the Library, with a Revolver: How a prolific mystery author with a penchant for collecting rare books helped to create the ‘biblio-mystery’ genre

8 Great Novels Where Things Disappear 

Stockholm, Are You Listening?Why Don DeLillo deserves the Nobel

The Complicated Literature of Daughters and Mothers

How Bookshops Are Helping With Isolation 

Dolly Parton is going to read us all bedtime stories.

       Other Forms of Fun

March 1: Star Trek: Picard borrows an unexpected concept from Sherlock Holmes

March 2: A new site for headline-inspired fiction launches today with stories by Carmen Maria Machado, Colum McCann, and more.

March 2: New HBO Doc Centers on the Atlanta Child Murders, Reopening of Case

March 3: Christopher and Bobby From ‘The Sopranos’ Are Starting a Podcast About the Show

March 4: Bond movie ‘No Time to Die’ pushed back to November

March 6: Robert B. Parker’s (and Ace Atkins’) Spenser returns to TV in a Netflix movie starring Mark Wahlberg


March 6: Zodiac – The Most Dangerous Animal of All

March 6: The Zodiac Killer has been a mystery for 50 years – but one man thinks he’s solved it


March 10: ‘Briarpatch’ May Just Be the Coolest Show on TV

March 17: How Pretty Woman Erased Sex From Its Story

March 19: Coronavirus: Hallmark Channel plans feelgood Christmas movie marathon

March 25: The Artist Who Captured America’s Most Dramatic Courtroom Moments—And Was Hounded by the FBI

March 26: Remember Annie’s anti-book-banning speech in Field of Dreams?

March 27: Read a Deleted Scene From ‘Get Out’

March 27: The Crime Cinema Renaissance of 1990

March 31: Houseparty offers $1m reward for proof of sabotage

      Words of the Month

quarantine (n): 1660s, “period a ship suspected of carrying disease is kept in isolation,” from Italian quarantina giorni, literally “space of forty days,” from quaranta “forty,” from Latin quadraginta “forty,” which is related to quattuor “four” (from Proto-Indo-European root *kwetwer “four”). So called from the Venetian policy (first enforced in 1377) of keeping ships from plague-stricken countries waiting off its port for 40 days to assure that no latent cases were aboard. Also see lazaretto. The extended sense of “any period of forced isolation” is from 1670s. Earlier in English the word meant “period of 40 days in which a widow has the right to remain in her dead husband’s house” (1520s), and, as quarentyne (15th C.), “desert in which Christ fasted for 40 days,” from Latin quadraginta “forty.” [thanks to etymonine]

      Links of Interest

February 20: The Hollywood Con Queen -She tormented studio executives, actors, makeup artists, security guys, photographers, screenwriters, athletes, even bobsledders and scuba divers for years—until corporate investigator Nicoletta Kotsianas was put on the case.

February 28: Ireland has a secret tree carved with famous literary autographs.

March 2: Man Fined for Engineering Without a License Was Right All Along

March 2: Stolen hearse with body inside leads police on wild chase

March 3: Double Indemnity Isn’t About Bad People – It’s About Redemption

March 4: How J. Edgar Hoover Used the Power of Libraries for Evil

March 4: Online Sleuths, Cold Cases, and The Early Days of a Very Particular Hobby

March 4: WeeGee: Photos of a seedy Underworld

March 6: The Art of Letting Your Heroes Get Beat Up Now and Again

March 8: Can you really hire a hit man on the dark web?

March 11: The Poison Pen Letter: The Early 20th Century’s Strangest Crime Wave

March 11: Dr. Lise Meitner: The Mystery of the Disappearing Physicist

March 11: Making a killing: what can novels teach us about getting away with murder?

March 12: The playboy Serbian spy who inspired James Bond

March 13: Saviour of the dead: Burying the bodies India forgets

March 16: ‘GoldenEye’: Why Timothy Dalton Didn’t Return For James Bond 17

March 17: U.S. Museum of the Bible’s Dead Sea Scroll Fragments Turn Out to Be Elaborate Fakes

March 17: In the Emergency Room, Doctors Need Detective Skills—And Empathy

March 18: Linda Fairstein Is Suing Netflix and Ava Duvernay For How She Was Depicted in ‘When They See Us’

March 18: Oldest bird fossil discovered, nicknamed ‘wonderchicken’

March 18: Your pictures on the theme of ‘reading’

March 19: ‘Roughing It’ on Seattle’s waterfront with Mark Twain

March 19: Harlan Coben Believes ‘PLANET OF THE APES’ is the Best Twist Ending in History

March 20: How Bad Times Bring Out the Best in People

March 20: Celebrating the 80th Anniversary of Batman’s Sidekick, Robin

March 21: Victor Olaiya: Nigeria’s ‘evil genius’ trumpeter who influenced Fela Kuti

March 22: Cigarette leads police to Florida cold case murder suspect

March 23: Book retrieval effort gives grad student welcome relief

March 24: ‘The Laughing Killer’: The Bay Area serial killer who wasn’t

March 26: The Evolution—and the Future—of the Private Eye

March 27 (an old article but one we don’t remember): The Mobster Who Bought His Son a Hockey Team ~ A tale of goons, no-show jobs, and a legendary minor-league franchise that helped land its owner in prison

March 27: The Long Tradition of Writers Needing Ritual

March 29: Serial Killer Lonnie Franklin, Known As The Grim Sleeper, Has Died In Prison

March 30: Van Gogh painting ‘Spring Garden’ stolen from Dutch museum

March 31: Alpine ice sheds light on medieval murder

March 31: Bob Dylan’s New JFK Assassination Epic Couldn’t Be More Prescient

      Words of the Month

brigand (n): c. 1400, also brigaunt, “lightly armed irregular foot-soldier,” from Old French brigand (14th C.), from Italian brigante “trooper, skirmisher, foot soldier,” from brigare “to brawl, fight” (see brigade). Sense of “robber, freebooter, one who lives by pillaging” is earlier in English (late 14th C.), reflecting the lack of distinction between professional mercenary armies and armed, organized criminals.

brigandage (n): “highway robbery by organized gangs,” c. 1600, from French brigandage, from brigand. [hypothetically, as an example, oh let’s say Senators who dumped stock after a briefing on a pandemic before the public had the same info – you know, insider trading! – us] thanks to etymonline

      R.I.P.

March 1: Laura Cauldwell, attorney, activist, and novelist

March 2: James Lipton, writer, actor, host of the wonderful “Inside the Actor’s Studio”, dead at 93

March 7: BarbaraNeely died after a short illness at 79

March 9: Max Von Sydow: The Exorcist and The Seventh Seal actor dies aged 90

March 13: Andreas Brown, Longtime Owner of Gotham Book Mart, Dies at 86

March 17: Stuart Whitman, prolific film and TV actor, dies at 92

      What We’ve Been Up To

    Amber

goodrealjpg

Finder Of Lost Things

I AM NEARLY DONE WRITING SEASON 2! HUZZA!!!

I’ve got two scenes to go – then I start editing, uploading and photographing for the posts! (But the writing takes far more time than these three steps.) So Season 2 will be on its way shortly? Well, sooner rather than later…then it’s on to writing Season 3!

IMG_8327

The Greek Coffin Mystery – Ellery Queen

The Greek Coffin Mystery is the fourth novel in the overall series of Ellery Queen. Still a fledgling in the art of detection, this novel features a critical episode which informs all of Ellery’s later investigations, according to the man himself, which I won’t spoil by elucidating here!

This, I must admit, is one of the more unique classic mysteries I have ever read, from Ellery’s numerous brilliant yet incorrect solutions to his challenge at the end of chapter thirty.

What’s the challenge you ask? Well, Ellery, as the author of the mystery as well as being the detective within, breaks the fourth wall and addresses his readers directly;

“…ungentle reader, you now have in your possession all the facts pertinent to the only correct solution of the trinitarian problem…”

Now, Agatha Christie came a hairsbreadth away from breaking the fourth wall on occasion with Ariadne Oliver. Who’s memorable tirade on the frustration of inadvertently tying her writing career to her Finnish detective, Sven Hjerson – when she knew nothing or had any interest in Finland. But she never actually laid down an out and out, rather cheeky, challenge the way our author Ellery Queen does.

However, this feature, along with the clever mystery, and our intrepid sleuth combine together to create a page-turning and exciting book – I would recommend to anyone looking for an excellent classic mystery.

Though one note when reading if like me, you identify as female. The men in here are written as they were at the time of its original publication – 1932. Nothing inappropriate happens. But the way in which a few, but by no means, all, refer to or speak to women did have me doing a double-take. But it is such a small percentage of words within the book, other than rankling; it didn’t detract from the deductions taking place on the page.

    Fran

I had a dream about being a bookseller again. However, this time the shop was owned by Stephen King – yes, THAT Stephen King – and no one would let me ring them up. Only Mr. King could make the sale. I was allowed to put things in  bags. But the store was packed, so there’s that.

Meanwhile, Amber was stuffing books into somebody’s hands, JB was explaining to another person how the book they were describing wasn’t the book they were thinking of but another book altogether, and Adele was at the door to let customers in and out, and keep the zombies outside because they stank up the place. And wouldn’t buy anything.


I had planned all along to write this review for this month. I love this trilogy and wanted to share it with you.

But it starts with a worldwide pandemic. Yeah. Not the flu, exactly, and certainly not COVID 19, but still, I wondered if I should.

And decided yes, because while terrible things happen in The Chronicles of the One by Nora Roberts, much good and hope happens too.9781250122971

Okay, hang on now, don’t be shaking your head like that. What, you think I can’t hear you? “Oh, Nora Roberts. I thought it might be something serious.” You’re assuming it’s three books about heaving and steamy and brainless, aren’t you? Boy, are you ever wrong!

There is, however, magick. Not prestidigitation but actual magick. People develop Uncanny talents and traits, and many of them are flat-out evil. You see, in Year One, on a New Year’s Eve in Scotland, a very nice man stumbles and bleeds into a strange little rock circle. It’s innocuous and no big deal, and he along with his very nice family have a very nice New Year’s Eve. Except he unwittingly releases a plague that decimates the Earth, and survivors are as often as not changed, physically changed into otherworldly creatures. Not everyone; there are plenty of ordinary humans left, but enough so that there’s a deep schism. Not between human and Uncanny, although that happens, but between Dark and Light.

The trilogy is called The Chronicles of The One, because there is one leading figure who can truly challenge the Darkness, and the books tell her story, so it’s about Fallon Swift and what she can accomplish.

9781250123008The second book, Of Blood and Bone, is her coming-of-age book, and it is at times painful reading, but absolutely perfect.

And if I thought the last book, The Rise of the Magicks, was a bit too rushed, perhaps it’s because I didn’t want to lose touch with these people I’ve come to love and admire.9781250123039

If anyone’s read the JD Robb books, you know that Nora Roberts can be absolutely vicious, bloody, and brutal to her characters, and that’s certainly true here. Very, very bad things happen, and the good guys don’t always win. The comparison to Stephen King’s The Stand are inevitable because the trope is the same one – good versus evil – but these authors are completely different, and so is their approach. Both are excellent, mind you. Just variations on a theme.

As always, it’s the people who captured me, and I still think about them. Relationships change, and under pressure, we find out who we really are.

And that’s why I decided to go ahead and review a pandemic series. Granted, none of us are sprouting wings or are able to create burning swords, which is kind of a shame, but we all have the resiliency that Nora Roberts brings to life, along with the need to help one another out, even when we’re afraid.

Besides, they’re seriously good stories!


Fran found out – her and JB’s delight – that John Connolly will be releasing a new Charlie Parker story in increments on his website. “But I did feel bad that publication of The Dirty South was postponed due to the current unpleasantness, and some editions in translation have also been affected. I also wanted to offer readers some small distraction over the coming weeks and months, because if you’re a writer, the only thing you can really do for those who enjoy your work is to write.” Starting April 2nd, “The Sisters Strange” will be posted daily as he writes it. “‘The Sisters Strange,’ by contrast, will involve letting readers see something like a work-in-progress as it’s being produced, and once I’ve committed to posting an extract, I won’t be able to rewrite it. In addition, you and I will be uncovering the nature of the story and the characters more or less at the same time.”

Thanks, John ~ we can’t wait!


      JB

Earlier in March I had a dream that was very rambling. I don’t remember much now but Bill and his wife BJo were both in it. I think we were all in a big shop, a bookshop? Not sure. But they looked like they did when the shop first opened, spry and happy, and it was a gas to see them again!

On the morning of the 23rd I dreamt that I’d been away from the shop for a long time. No reason from the dream that I remember. I got back and found that the place was jammed with used paperbacks that were not only not needed but jammed in the shelves in odd places and out of the authors’ places. I had to run out to do something and passed Bill on my way back in. He was dressed in his usual all-tan outfit and smiled a goodbye. Back in the shop, I went into the office and Tammy followed me in. In the way that dreams make no sense, the office was my grandparents’ library, but there was crap all over the place, piles of books, junk on the floor. Tammy was drinking coffee and I don’t recall how the dream ended.

If you never knew her, Tammy was hired by Bill back in ’92 while I was on paternity leave (yes, Bill was just that hip!). Tammy had been one of his earliest book reps but was then unemployed. The three of us ran the place and she was a key member of the staff. The weekly newzines were her idea, for instance. The photo of the crow on the outdoor sign was her shot. But she and her family went through some tough times and she got sick of Seattle and they left town about a decade ago. We’ve had zero contact since, so it is very odd that she’d turn up in a dream out of nowhere. But wait – –

On the morning of the 31st, I dreamt that I was in a bookshop with a cafe. Maybe like an Elliot Bay but it wasn’t clear. I took in a stack of paperbacks to trade and handed them to this blonde woman. While she was looking at them, I got into a conversation with a couple of other booksellers, a very tall, skinny man and a shorter woman, and we commiserated about how hard it was for booksellers these days. I could see that the woman with my books was ready to talk but then my phone rang. It was Tammy. She wanted her job back. Evidently, she hadn’t heard that SMB had closed and we then got into a long conversation about how bad things were, how high rents were, and how impossible that seemed for a bookshop to be able to make it. We hung up and I went to the counter to find the woman with my books. She handed me a crumpled up piece of paper with the notes about the books. As I was trying to smooth it out, the booksellers from before called to me to join them at their table by the window. Then the blond woman shrilly whistled to get my attention – and her whistle ended the dream…..

9780307957009James Ellroy’s This Storm is the second volume in his projected new quartet. It follows closely on the heels of Perfidia, 9780307946676which took place between the attack on Pearl Harbor and New Year’s Eve, 1941.

This Storm continues to follow that cast into uniform and into new schemes and cons during the first three months of 1942, while adding to the cast. Mendacity, violence, and lust are the order of the day while a few of the less-crooked characters actually try to solve a web of crimes instead of simply getting rich. At the center is a load of gold stolen from a train in 1931 and an LA fire in ’33. Overlording it all is Dudley Liam Smith, LAPD sergeant and now Army Major. We’re only halfway through this quartet and I already think I need to go back and re-read Clandestine and the first quartet, starting with The Black Dahlia. Considering how thick the books are, I would have all of my reading planned out for the decade. But considering that I first read the start of the quartet about 30 years ago, it’s hard to recall how this Dudley fits into that Dudley.

But think of the audacity! Clandestine unnamedis the first book in which Dudley appears, 1982. The Black Dahlia was published in ’87. He’s got to make what is happening in books written now fit into what he wrote 38 and 33 years ago. No small feat! And re-reading it all would be daunting. I mean – that’s seven and a half inches of Ellroy!

Needless to say, This Storm is brilliant and utterly scandalous. There’s not an iota of political correctness in the story. It’s violent. It’s abrupt. It’s sexy. It’s evil. It’s a drug-induced romp.

NOT TO BE MISSED

 

this storm, this savaging disaster”, attributed to W.H. Auden, surely a title for our times.




During this ongoing nightmare, it is even more crucial to support your neighbors and friends by shopping with small businesses. 

SUPPORT SMALL, SAVE SMALL

March 2020

March jpg

Pardon the slide into politics, but… British man found guilty of trying to steal Magna Carta. Guess he needed the Senate behind him…

And photos of a library to make you drool: Inside the ‘Vibrant Intellectual Ecosystem’ of Larry McMurtry’s Home Library:Bibliostyle_McMurty-p112_B-1

See our old stomping grounds in a photo from 1880 – Cherry Street in the snow

      Serious Stuff

Nambi Narayanan: The fake spy scandal that blew up a rocket scientist’s career 

The art heists that shook the world – in pictures

Police suspected a crime lab technician of murder. Their mistake led him to hang himself, his widow says.

CIA and German intelligence controlled global encryption company for decades, says report

Corruption, Inc.: Andrea Bernstein on the Trumps, the Kushners, and the Age of the Oligarchs

After a night at the cinema in 1986, Olof Palme was assassinated on Stockholm’s busiest street. The killer has never been found. Jan Stocklassa discusses whether novelist Stieg Larsson’s theory can provide any answers. 

Authors Guild releases grim 50-page report on “The Profession of the Author in the 21st Century”

Opening a Pandora’s box of truths about rape kits 

Two teens held on manslaughter charges in deadly California library fire

Did Medgar Evers’ Killer Go Free Because of Jury Tampering? 

Piled Bodies, Overflowing Morgues: Inside America’s Autopsy Crisis

      Words of the Month

ekphrastic: of poetry, words to describe a work of art.    (thanks to Says You!, show 2101)

      Awards

John Le Carre’s acceptance speech upon receiving the Olaf Palme (take the time to read this, it is worth it!)

Nominees for the 2020 Barry Awards have been announced. You can find them here. We don’t recall if they’ve done this before but, at the bottom, are the nominees for Best of the Decade.

Here’s the longlist for the 2020 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. 

Announcing the finalists for the $35,000 Aspen Words Literary Prize. 

The L.A. Times announces its 2019 Book Prize finalists and a new award for science fiction.

      Words of the Month

griffonage: illegible handwriting     (thanks to Says You!, show 2101)

       Author Events

March 4: John Straley, Third Place/LFP, 7pm

March 6, John Straley, Powell’s, 7pm

March 6: J.P. Gritton, Third Place/Ravenna, 7pm

March 7: Phillip Margolin, Third Place/Ravenna, 6pm

March 8: Michael Christie, Powell’s, 7:30pm

March 12: Anne Bishop, Powell’s, 7pm

March 13: Emily Beyda, Powell’s, 7:30

March 14: Phillip Margolin, Everett Public Library, 2pm

March 16: Anne Bishop & Patricia Briggs, UBooks, 6:30pm

March 17: Matt Ruff, Elliott Bay, 7pm

March 17: Phillip Margolin, Powell’s, 7pm

March 19: Matt Ruff, Powell’s, 7:30pm

March 23: Jason Pintor, Third Place/Ravenna, 7pm

March 24: Matt Ruff, Third Place/LFP, 7pm

      Book Stuff

New Nancy Drew comic celebrates beloved sleuth’s 90th birthday by killing her

Carl Hiaasen: A Crime Reader’s Guide to the Classics


Review: Sam Wasson takes a deep dive into Chinatown

And a sample from the book: How Raymond Chandler and the Tate-LaBianca Murders Inspired the Making of Chinatown

See JB’s section for his review of the book


The Belgrade Book Collection That Survived War, Fascism, and Neglect. One family has kept it going—and growing—since 1720.

Taking Maigret’s first case in for questioning 

‘No Divine Revelation, Feminine Intuition or Mumbo Jumbo’: Dorothy L Sayers and the Detection Club 

Patti Smith pitches in to help burgled Oregon bookshop 

Everyone Can Be a Book Reviewer. Should They Be?

New women’s fiction prize to address ‘gender imbalance’ in North America 

How not to separate your church from your state: Tennessee seeks to make Bible “state book.”

NYC Books Through Bars explains how you can support prison books projects—or start your own 

Printing Novels in the Gulag: How Soviet prisoners turned to 19th century detective fiction to while away the long hours.

Georges Simenon’s remarkable novel manages to make its loathsome protagonist compelling company 

Sophie Hannah on the recipe for a perfect crime novel – books podcast

Heroic Librarians: Unexpected Roles and Amazing Feats of Librarianship 

The Great Los Angeles Crime Novel—And the Women Who Are Revitalizing It 

The strange quest to crack the Voynich code

Not a Cult, a new bookstore in Los Angeles, puts authors of color at the forefront. 

The Books Briefing: A Study in Sleuthing 

Spanish-language newsstand, a 1940s Boyle Heights gem, braces for the end

Who Should Decide What Books Are Allowed In Prison?

Jane Goodall’s next book, ‘The Book of Hope,’ to be released in fall 2021  

The Life and Work of C.W. Grafton: Crime Novelist, Lawyer, and Father to a Mystery Icon

The Cozy Mysteries of the Pacific Northwest

Take a walking tour of Seattle’s liveliest literary neighborhood: Pike Place Market

      Other Forms of Fun

Jodie Foster Set To Direct Drama On 1911 Theft Of Mona Lisa; Los Angeles Media Fund-Backed Film

“Back To The Future” is being rebooted – on stage, not on screen

‘Friends’ to reunite for one-off special

The artistic wizard who brought Oz to life

Tom and Jerry: 80 years of cat v mouse 

Doc Savage: Man of Bronze – Classic Pulp Hero Headed to Television 

These Famous Noirs and Mysteries Were Inspired by Real-Life Crimes 

Juries and Judgement in Hollywood Cinema

Perry Mason returns to TV later this year


Counting Down the Greatest Crime Films of All-Time

Mystery power house Otto Penzler gives his list of the 106 best crime films. You may have quibbles of his rankings as we did (The Fugitive is #54 yet Bullitt is #98?!?) but it’s a fun and informative list. Click on each title to get the skinny!


      Words of the Month

foe (n):  Old English gefea, gefa “foe, enemy, adversary in a blood feud” (the prefix denotes “mutuality”), from adjective fah “at feud, hostile,” also “guilty, criminal,” from Proto-Germanic *faihaz (source also of Old High German fehan “to hate,” Gothic faih “deception”), perhaps from the same Proto-Indo-European source that yielded Sanskrit pisunah “malicious,” picacah “demon;” Lithuanian piktas “wicked, angry,” peikti “to blame.” Weaker sense of “adversary” is first recorded c. 1600. (etymonline.com)

       Links of Interest

January 30: Agatha Christie’s Greatest Mystery Was Left Unsolved

January 31: New Clue May Be the Key to Cracking CIA Sculpture’s Final Puzzling Passage

February 3: The Oxford Professor Who Kept Tabs on His Student—Who Turned Out To Be a Conman ~ The (Mostly Unknowable) Life of a Fraud

February 3: Amazon knows more than just what books I’ve read and when – it knows which parts of them I liked the most

February 4: Never Do That to a Book ~ Sure, you love books. But is it courtly love or carnal love?

February 5: My Uncle, The Librarian-Spy ~ In 1943, a Harvard librarian was quietly recruited by the OSS to save the scattered books of Europe. 

February 7: Why Avocados Attract Interest Of Mexican Drug Cartels

February 9: Identification 95 Years After Ship’s Disappearance Puts Mystery To Rest

February 10: Whitechapel mural will celebrate the lives of Jack the Ripper’s victims

February 10: Stolen Art, Nazis, and the Eternal Search for Justice

February 11: How the Earliest Crime Scene Investigators Identified Murder Victims

February 12: ‘Trust your dog’: extraordinary pets help solve crimes by finding bodies

February 13: Objects Made by Prisoners in the United States

February 13: Rebels of Black History: The Life and Legend of Madam Stephanie St. Clair

February 14: Bookshop burglary foiled after prosecco distracts raiders

February 14: The Legend of a Cave and the Traces of the Underground Railroad in Ohio

February 14: How a Trashed Italian Manuscript Got Sewn Into a Sweet Silk Purse

February 14: The Lancashire hideaway of an Italian mafia boss

February 14: In 1933, two rebellious women bought a home in Virginia’s woods. Then the CIA moved in.

February 17: Facial Recognition Technology Is the New Rogues’ Gallery

February 18: The Best James Bond Themes that Never Made it to the Screen

February 18: PenguinRandomHouse Makes Progress in Green Initiatives

February 18: Neanderthal ‘skeleton’ is first found in a decade

February 19: Compassion fatigue is taking its toll on librarians.

February 19: How to Murder Harry Potter ~ In “deathfic,” writers of fan fiction find unexpected comfort in killing off their favorite popular characters.

February 19: Date night couple foil attempted armed robbery

February 19: The NYT Spelling Bee Gives Me L-I-F-E by Laura Lippman

February 20: How a stolen safe changed a burglar’s life

February 21: Romulus mystery: Experts divided on ‘tomb of Rome’s founding father’

February 21: Elizabethan playwright Ben Jonson once beat a murder charge by translating some Latin.

February 23: Brockport book shop makes plea to customers and community

February 24: People v. Gillette: How an Obscure Execution in the Finger Lakes Inspired Generations of Storytellers

February 25: France rock riddle contest gives meaning to mysterious inscription

February 25: The unbelievable history of con artists ~ The neuroscience of why we believe hucksters has made fraud a steady business over the centuries.

February 26: The Best Gifts for Writers, According to Writers (From John Waters to Jeremy O. Harris)

February 27: Don’t Pick Your Nose, 15th-Century Manners Book Warns

      R.I.P.

Kirk Douglas died at the age of 103 on February 5th. There will have been a yuge number of articles about him, his life, career, and personality. They’ll have written about Sparticus and on and on. We’d like to narrow our view to one timeless, classic performance – badman Whit in Jacques Tourneur’s 1947 film noir masterpiece Out of the Past. Along with Robert Mitchum and Jane Greer, the triangle at heart of this clash of love and power is the epitome of noir. If you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and see it. ~ JB

February 8: Robert Conrad died at 84. We remember him for his 1959 TV show “Hawaiian Eye” and, with “West, James West”, bringing James Bond to “The Wild, Wild West” in 1965. Great theme song, great opening credits, great train full of gadgets.

February 13: Charles ‘Chuckie’ O’Brien, who called himself Jimmy Hoffa’s ‘foster son,’ dies at 86

February 18: True Grit author Charles Portis dies aged 86

February 19: The Computer Scientist Responsible for Cut, Copy, and Paste, Has Passed Away

February 20: Frank Anderson, former CIA spymaster in the Middle East, dies at 77

February 23: Walter Satterthwait, dead at 73

February 24: Katherine Johnson: Nasa mathematician dies at 101

February 26: Creator of New York City subway map Michael Hertz dies

February 26: Clive Cussler: Dirk Pitt novels author dies aged 88

       Words of the Month

fustigate (v.)”to cudgel, to beat,” 1650s, back-formation from Fustication (1560s) or from Latin fusticatus, past participle of fusticare “to cudgel” (to death), from fustis “cudgel, club, staff, stick of wood,” of unknown origin. De Vaan writes that “The most obvious connection would be with Latin -futare” “to beat,” but there are evolutionary difficulties.

       What We’ve Been Up To

   Amber

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Finder of Lost Things

I’m working furiously and I’m nearly finished writing Season Two of Finder of Lost Things! Then comes editing and photography so I’m hoping it will be out in the next month or two! I’ll keep you guys posted.

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Golden In Death – J.D. Robb

I’m not going to go into a synopsis of the mystery as this is quite literally the fiftieth installment in the ‘In Death’ series.

Suffice to say there’s a murder in New York and Eve’s on the case.

Despite hitting this landmark installment number, don’t look for this book to get mired in nostalgia for Eve and her crew. Golden In Death is a very mystery-centric story uncluttered by unnecessary parties, conflicts, and dramas (aside from the whole murder thing). All of our favorites Mavis, Leonardo, Trina, and Nadine (and her new rocker boyfriend), Peabody’s family – are all included – but in a nebulous and natural fashion. Giving us just a glimpse of what they’re up too, without losing the momentum of the case at hand.

Even better? The standard boilerplate descriptions of Eve and Roake have been rejiggered and reworked, so they feel fresher to the well-indoctrinated eyes of Eve Dallas fans!

I really enjoyed this book. The mystery is one that I found interesting and relevant to this milestone installment. (Which, truth be told, is the real reason why I didn’t write a synopsis – as I did not want to spoil a single twist in this book!) I thoroughly enjoyed reading each page and stayed up well past my bedtime in order to finish it – as once again – I couldn’t help myself.

BTW – if you haven’t started this series yet, because you’re intimidated by the sheer length and breadth of it, never fear. You can start with this book and be just fine. Though if you want to avoid spoilers and giveaways, I’d suggest going back, after finishing Golden In Death and start with Naked In Death. I know there’s a lot of books in between these two – but having read them all already – you have at least two hours* of fun ahead of you!

(*Which is only a rough estimate as I’ve no clue how long it would take to read this series – and I love you guys – but I’m not going to time myself to find out!)

   Fran

Truly Devious

And the mystery is solved! Do you know who did it?

We first met Stevie Bell in Maureen Johnson’s Truly Devious, where we learned about the famous Ellingham Academy – what would you be accepted for? – and the troubles that happened there back in the 30’s. Stevie’s determined to solve the mystery of whatever happened to young Alice Ellingham, but trouble besets her in her current life.

In The Vanishing Stair, things get even more complicated. Stevie’s not even supposed to come back to Ellingham, but fate conspires in her favor. Still, now she has more mysteries to unravel.

Finally, in The Hand on the Wall, Stevie figures things out. But what’s the price? And does she really see a moose?

In this trilogy, Maureen Johnson has created a fabulous homage to the Golden Age mystery writers, especially Agatha Christie, but she’s put a decidedly modern twist on it, and it works perfectly. And of course the Dorothy Parker style poem adds flair! But it takes a special talent to combine the subtle clues and genteelly labyrinthine story with modern day complexities, and there’s no one quite like Maureen Johnson, who takes on this challenge and not only makes it work, but keeps it riveting and thought-provoking.

These are considered young-adult novels, but trust me, you don’t need to be a tween to enjoy this trilogy, and I promise you that you will!

   JB

My love of Chandler, my adoration of Chinatown, 9781250301826and my interest in history and true crime smash together in San Wasson’s The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Years of Hollywood

The basics of the book are the story of the movie – the initial conception, the years of work to get it in filmable shape, filming, and its reception. But the book is jammed with so much more.

The story told contains the sense of LA at the time, the impact of the Manson murders on LA and Hollywood, where the various participants came from, and how they came together to make this remarkable movie. It then tells the story of the movie making and how each participant moved on from there. And, really, how this was the height of a creative period in Hollywood that was supplanted by the era of the blockbuster and the takeover of the studios by money people interested more in return than film making, than in “art”.

Overall, this is a melancholy book, itself a story that ends badly, like all noir must. There are Robert Towne’s battles to get the thing written and then seeing it overtaken by Polanski. There are Polanski’s experience of horrors – the loss of his mother in Auschwitz and the murder of his wife. There are Robert Evans’ battles with those above him who wanted something different, something better, out of the movies he was producing. There was Nicholson who was dealing with personal nightmares throughout the period and whose dream of a fabled trilogy of Gittes films never came to pass.

But it is a story of lightning in a bottle. That all of these figures came together at this time and managed to create this singular movie is a demonstration of the odds against such a thing happening at all.

Wasson’s book is  well crafted and informative, and never fails to surprise and never fails to show the entire period with all of its faults, ugliness, astonishments, and creativity. And, like all true noir, no one leaves the story unmarred. In the end, we are all left with a stunning work of art, a movie that shows what can emerge out of human minds, out of human suffering.

 

Buy Local ~ Support Local

February 2020

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Every now and then we lose a member of the SMB family and, though they are perhaps not well known to you, we want to note their passing –

Jim Norman recently died. Hard to say exactly when he moved into the orbit of the shop but it certainly was way back in the days of our Jance events at The Doghouse. Jim was a HUGE Jance fan and he and his first wife Carol created and gave a J.A. Jance tour to show other fans places where key events in Judy’s books occurred. Carol was killed in a collision with a drunk driver and the tours ended.

Jim was a loyal customer for at least a couple of decades and was always ready with a large smile to match his big frame and followed it with caring questions in his deep, soft voice. We got to know his second wife, Lynne, at later Jance signings and when she’d stop by to pick up books for him after he retired to the Olympic Peninsula.

Jim had a big life. He was in law enforcement in California, and owned a bookshop at one point. That gave him a special fondness for Bill’s bookshop, and sympathy when we were having a hard time.

Our hope is that Jim and Bill have found one another and are sharing laughs and a meal in a booth at The Doghouse in the sky.

      Serious Stuff

On the Antifascist Activists Who Fought in the Streets Long Before Antifa ~ The Rich American History of Nazi-Punching 

Jo Nesbø: ‘We should talk about violence against women’ 

Satan, the FBI, the Mob—and the Forgotten Plot to Kill Ted Kennedy

Soul Assassin: The Brief Life and Death of Jerome Johnson. In 1971, somebody hired a young Black man to assassinate an Italian mafia boss. Five decades later, the mystery continues.

True Crime Podcast, “The Murder Squad”, Leads to Arrest in 40-Year-Old Cold Case 

Smorgasbords Don’t Have Bottoms – Publishing in the 2010s (obviously written before the news of the downtown B&N closed)


Rural Montana Had Already Lost Too Many Native Women. Then Selena Disappeared. 

New app created by Clyde Ford’s company aims to reduce number of missing and murdered Native women


Bombs and blood feuds: the wave of explosions rocking Sweden’s cities

A New Missouri Bill Proposes Jailing Librarians Who Provide Children with “Age-Inappropriate” Books

      Awards

Lee Child Announced as One of the Judges for the Booker Prize

Romance Writers of America Cancels Awards Program 

John le Carré wins $100,000 prize, donates the money to charity.

      Words of the Month

auld lang syne : the good old times

From “Auld Lang Syne”:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Robert Burns never actually claimed to coin the phrase “Auld Lang Syne”—he said it was a fragment of an old song he’d discovered—but scholars credit him with the song we hear every New Year’s.

(Thanks to Merriam-Webster for the definition!)

      Book Stuff

From the Book of Genesis to contemporary crime writing, a look at why “trouble is always the most interesting element in any story.”

Fiction’s Most Manipulative Masterminds

Chuck Palahniuk on His Childhood Love of Ellery Queen and Writing in a Good Mood

The Noir Poetry and Doomed Romanticism of Cornell Woolrich 

Reviving the Traditional Mystery for a 21st Century Audience 

The case of the Encyclopedia Brown mystery that makes no sense 

Walter Mosley: ‘Everyone Can Write a Book.’ 

Graham Greene and Dorothy Glover’s Amazing Collection of Victorian Detective Fiction 

The Strange Cinematic Afterlife of ‘Red Harvest’

A library found it was missing $8 million of its rarest items. Nearly three years later, a man on the inside admitted to selling the items to a local bookstore 

How One Librarian Tried to Squash Goodnight Moon. There’s a reason this classic is missing from the New York Public Library’s list of the 10 most-checked-out books of all time.

Why Philosophers could transform your 2020 

Sold: Pierre de Coubertin’s Blueprint for the Olympics. The 14-page speech is now the world’s most expensive piece of sports memorabilia.

Shakespeare’s First Folio: Rare 1623 collection expected to fetch $6m at auction

The Making of a Harlequin Romance Cover

How a Book Cover Gets Made: Nicole Caputo on Belletrist’s Studio Sessions

Bookshop.org hopes to play Rebel Alliance to Amazon’s Empire (not sure how this is not a repeat of Indiebound, but more power to ’em!)

Dutch Art Sleuth Finds Rare Stolen Copy Of ‘Prince Of Persian Poets’

Real Book Lovers Aren’t Afraid to Cut Them in Half

Feminist Zines Have Have Been Around Longer Than You Thought—Here’s Where One Began

Anne Brontë is the least famous Brontë sister. But she might have been the most radical.

“The Third Rainbow Girl” author on the true story of a double murder she didn’t set out to write

HAPPY 120TH BIRTHDAY UNIVERSITY BOOKSTORE! Here are some things you might not have known about it.

Nourishing ‘long roots’: In a year, Madison Books has forged an essential role in one of Seattle’s oldest communities 

Exclusive: watch the trailer for The Booksellers, a new documentary about rare book dealers.

      Other Forms of Fun

The Year in Sherlock Holmes A Sherlockian Review of 2019

The Most Anticipated Crime Shows of 2020

Brad Pitt Reveals The Reaction To Se7en‘s Twist Ending Was Not What He Expected 

Season Four ‘Fargo’ Trailer: Chris Rock’s Loy Cannon Battles Mafia to Control Kansas City 

‘Silence of the Lambs’ Sequel ‘Clarice’ Gets Series Commitment at CBS

Ross Thomas’s Edgar-Winning Novel Briarpatch coming to USA Network Feb. 2nd

Marvel to get first transgender superhero

      Author Events

February 3: Clyde Ford, Powells 7:30pm

February 12: Joe Ide,  Third Place/LFP, 7pm

February 13: Joe Ide, Powell’s 7:30pm

February 27: Charles Finch, Powell’s, 7pm

February 28: Charles Finch in conversation with Mary Anne Gwinn, UBooks, 6pm

      Words of the Month

Apricity: the warmth of the sun in winter

This word provides us with evidence that even if you come up with a really great word, and tell all of your friends that they should start using it, there is a very small chance that it will catch on. Apricity appears to have entered our language in 1623, when Henry Cockeram recorded (or possibly invented) it for his dictionary The English Dictionary; or, An Interpreter of Hard English Words. Despite the fact that it is a delightful word for a delightful thing it never quite caught on.

(Thanks to Merriam-Webster for the definition!)

      Links of Interest

January 3: “One Last Job, Then I’m Out…”: Broken Resolutions in Classic Crime Films A brief history of broken promises in noir.

January 4: ‘The ghost of Manzanar’: Japanese WW2 internee’s body found

January 7: Alpacas dine out on donated Christmas tree feast

January 8: Why We Love Untranslatable Words

January 9: Burglar cooks snack in Taco Bell then falls asleep

January 9: Did The Trojan War Really Happen?

January 12: Night rider: 21 years sleeping on a London bus

January 13: The True Crime Story That Changed My Life

January 14: My decade as a fugitive: ‘I felt I could be killed at any moment’

January 14: Billie Eilish to sing the new James Bond theme

January 14: The teenage Dutch girls who seduced and killed Nazis

January 14: ‘The Irishman’ tells us who killed Jimmy Hoffa; a lawyer with a secret trove of documents says the movie got it wrong

January 15: James Bond’s greatest hits – and biggest misses

January 15: The accidental Singer sewing machine revolution

January 16: Golden Age Hollywood was Full of Ex-Cons

January 16: Meet the NASA intern who discovered a new planet on his third day

January 17: Textbooks are pricey. So students are getting creative.

January 16: Spain billionaire guilty of trying to smuggle a Picasso

January 22: Burglar traps himself in Vancouver store

January 22: The art heists that shook the world – in pictures

January 24: The secret life of Yakuza women

January 24: Mummy returns: Voice of 3,000-year-old Egyptian priest brought to life

January 27: Philip Pullman calls for boycott of Brexit 50p coin over ‘missing’ Oxford comma. Critics fume over the omission of Oxford comma from phrase ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship’ as new coin enters circulation

January 27: Me and the G-Man. A crime writer’s research sparks an unlikely
friendship with an FBI agent

January 27: Man Sentenced to Probation Despite Stealing More than $1 Million From Dr Pepper (JB swears it wasn’t him…)

January 28: What Authors Can Learn from the Greatest Long Takes in Movie History

January 28: Tesco cat Pumpkin defies Norwich supermarket ‘ban’

January 29: Ken Harmon’s “Fatman: A Tale of North Pole Noir” to come to the screen (One of Amber’s favorite comic mysteries!)


Food Fights

January 8: How New York’s Bagel Union Fought — and Beat — a Mafia Takeover. The mob saw an opportunity. Local 338 had other ideas.

January 17: In 1930s New York, the Mayor Took on the Mafia by Banning Artichokes


      R.I.P.

Buck Henry, comedy icon beloved for The Graduate and ‘Get Smart,’ dies at 89 

Edd Byrnes, Who Played ‘Kookie’ in ’77 Sunset Strip,’ Dies at 87

Stan Kirsch: Highlander and Friends actor dies aged 51

Forensic Artist Betty Pat Gatliff, Whose Facial Reconstructions Helped Solve Crimes, Dies at 89

Former Seattle Attorney Egil Krogh, Nixon ‘plumber’ who authorized a pre-Watergate break-in, dies at 80

Terry Jones: Monty Python stars pay tribute to comedy great

‘First Middle-earth scholar’ Christopher Tolkien dies

      Words of the Month

forensic (adj.) “pertaining to or suitable for courts of law,” 1650s, with -ic + stem of Latin forensis “of a forum, place of assembly,” related to forum “public place” (see forum). Later used especially in sense of “pertaining to legal trials,” as in forensic medicine (1845). Related: Forensical (1580s). [thanks to etymoline]

      What We’ve Been Up To

   Amber

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Finder of Lost Things – I am furiously working on the end of season two! So please be patient!!!! On the upside you’ve now got time to catch up if you’ve fallen behind!

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Shelley Noble – Tell Me No Lies

Lady Dunbridge is back, and her second stab at detection doesn’t disappoint! Her reputation for being of assistance in a crisis is growing. So much so, that when a man is found murdered (and ignobly shoved into a laundry shute) after a debutante’s ball – the host comes to Phil (our Lady Dunbridge) for help.

One of the best things about these books (so far) is how seamlessly Noble has taken the traditional English Manor House mystery and plunked it down in historic NY City amongst; the Great Stock Market Crash of 1907, Teddy Roosevelt’s recent departure as the head of NY Police Commissioner’s Board (thus leaving a vacuum and allowing dirty cops free reign again), and the Gilded Age of the NY City elite (partying in full swing).

Well, those who didn’t lose their shirts in the aforementioned crash…

Another reason why I enjoy this burgeoning series is the number of mysteries Nobel packed betwixt the cover of her books!

Not only do we have the murder at hand to enjoy watching Lady Dunbrige solve…We also have the continuing mystery of Phil’s maid Lily. To whom Phil hasn’t a clue what her real name is, where she comes from or her history. What she does know is Lily keeps a stiletto strapped to her ankle at all times, knows her way around locks, and speaks several languages.

Lily’s worked hard under the supervision of Phil’s butler Preswick learning her new trade as a lady’s maid – but the question is, can Phil really trust Lily?

Then there’s MR. X, a man who Phil possesses even less data on than Lily (including what he looks like). However, it’s his motivations that are the true mystery. Why is he footing the bill for her year-long lease at the Plaza? Why does he want her at the ready should he need her talents (social position, connections, and brains) to help solve murders (so far…)? Even more important are they working on the same side of the law?

Both of these carried over questions, which Noble does a great job of dropping bread crumbs to keep her readers following her questionable characters, are only the tip of the iceberg of curious people and tangled motivates present in her two books.

If you enjoy nearly bloodless, fast-paced, smart, witty historical mysteries, you’ll find the Lady Dunbrige Mysteries well worth your time.

Though, as my colleague below has pointed out – you need to start with the first book first! Ask Me No Questions. Otherwise, the second installment won’t have nearly the depth of flavor!

the-rook

Now onto a Television Show Review!

If you perused our Best of the Decade book lists we compiled and published in January, then you know The Rook by Daniel O’Malley was at the top of my pile. So let me tell you I was really excited when I learned, back in May, STARZ had optioned it into a television series! (Unfortunately, because I’m disinclined to sign up for yet another streaming service, I had to wait until January before it became available on iTunes. Hence why I am reviewing it now.)

Here’s the thing.

(There’s always a thing with adaptations.)

When I first started watching The Rook, I needed to squint my eyes and look at it sideways to see the original text on the screen.

Not only does the show delete several beloved (well maybe not beloved but definitely interesting) Court members.

If you’re looking to see the Chevaliers Eckhart & Gubbins (metal manipulation & contortionist extraordinaire), Bishop Alrich (vampire) or Lord Wattleman (who sunk a submarine while naked in WWII and never had his powers really explained – that I recall) striding across the screen – you’ll be in for a disappointment.

It’s also missing the incidents with the purple spores & all the chanting, the cube of flesh bent on absorbing people, The Greek Woman, the dragon, a rabbit, and well quite a bit more besides.

The screen writes also futzed, which is a rather tame word for utterly reworked, the plot. Oh’ there’s still plenty of intrigues, infighting, and backstabbing – never fear.

But the villains of the piece have shifted dramatically.

To say the on-screen adaptation bears only a passing resemblance to the book and lacks much of the original wit and whimsy is an accurate assessment.

HOWEVER.

This is the thing.

If you think of books, television, movies, plays, and musicals as different universes – creating an artistic multiverse if you will – then it should be accepted that what happens in a book won’t translate exactly onto a television screen.

This is what happened with The Rook.

Both versions occupy different parts of the multiverse, and both versions contain strengths and flaws…

…and I love them both.

Much of what I love about the book is utterly impractical for a television (or computer) screen. If they’d tried, I fear we would’ve end up with something like The Hobbit. Where Peter Jackson used so much CGI, the movie felt more like a cartoon and lost a lot of the charm the original Lord of the Rings trilogy contained.

So the writers needed to edit, manipulate, and rework the plot.

And where they ended up is not only relevant, it shines a bright light on an under-addressed problem in the world today – Human Trafficking.

The specter haunting the Chequy employees isn’t the Grafters and their flesh manipulation techniques… But Vultures, like Peter Van Suoc, who hunt down and kidnap EVA’s (acronym for Extreme Variant Abilities). Then take them to the Lugate organization to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

It makes sense. It’s compelling. It moves the story along. It is different.

Our other narrative mover and shaker Myfanwy Thomas – still wakes up in the rain surrounded by people wearing latex gloves, she still loses her memory, she still has a choice between the red & blue keys, she still writes her new self letters and she still pursues the questions of who she is & who stole her memory.

Perhaps the television version is bleaker than its counterpart in the book universe – but is that such a bad thing? The adaptation strays much farther into grey areas than the book ever did. Mainly by asking the question – what really separates the Vultures & Lugate from the Chequy at the end of the day?

So if you can wrap your mind around an artistic multiverse, I would highly suggest watching The Rook. Not only is the story compelling – but watching the treatment Gestalt received at the hands of both the writers and the actors – is brilliant.

Seriously.

   Fran

I’ve been deep in series-itis for as long as I can remember, and I’ve told you about these three before, so I’m not going to go into plot details because either you know already or I might reveal spoilers, so I’m just going to talk about them kind of generally.

Mind you, I LOVE THESE SERIES, so I’ll also remind you which is the first one in case you’ve been looking for a new series to read. They’re best read in series order, although with the first two, if you pick up the one I’m talking about, it’ll stand on its own, but won’t have the impact you’ll get if you read them in order.

Read them in order, dammit.

9781250207173First off, J.D. Robb’s Vendetta in Death.

Eve Dallas and company are back chasing a serial killer who is dealing out her perception of vengeance against men who have done awful things to the women who love them. She goes by the name “Lady Justice”, and her method of handing out said justice is brutal.

I know a lot of people dismiss Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb since she’s primarily known as a “romance” writer, but there’s quality in what she does.

I was witness to grace and strength, and for some reason it scraped me raw.” That one sentence sums up so much.

Start with Naked in Death.

Secondly, Ian Hamilton’s latest Ava Lee novel,
9781487002039

Mountain Master of Sha Tin knocks it right out of the park. Hamilton’s come up with the most off-the-wall protagonist in a long time in Ava Lee. Who expected a Chinese-Canadian lesbian forensic accountant to be the star of a thriller series? And yet, here we are.

I really recommend having read all the books before this, because Mountain Master of Sha Tin kicks you in the gut, especially if you’re as invested in these folks as I am. And Ava Lee in love is much more vulnerable than you might think. Besides, you won’t necessarily understand all the triad position names unless you do.

And you won’t be as excited as I am to know that Ian Hamilton’s started a series that tells Uncle’s back story!

Start with The Water Rat of Wanchai.

And now for the hat trick.

John Connolly. Charlie Parker. A Book of Bones. That’s really all I should have to say, honestly.

9781982127510This world, Quayle said, would continue almost exactly as before, except for those who understood where, and how, to look. They would see shadows where no shadows should be, and forms shifting at the periphery of their vision. As for the rest, they would watch the rise of intolerance, and the subjugation of the weak by the powerful. They would witness inequality, despotism, and environmental ruination. They would be told by the ignorant and self-interested that this was the natural order of things.

But in their hearts they would know better, and feel afraid.

A Book of Bones is, in many ways, the showdown we’ve been waiting for, and we are not disappointed. It almost feels like things are wrapping up.

And then John Connolly ends the book with a twist that had me staring blankly into space, calling him a right bastard, and admiring the brilliance of the twist.

This series you have to read in order; you can’t just pick up A Book of Bones and hope to know what’s going on. Besides, you don’t want to miss the dynamics between Louis and Angel. Trust me here. For hardened killers, they’ll steal your heart, as will Charlie’s daughters, but for quite different reasons.

Start with Every Dead Thing.

We’ll talk again after you’ve caught up, say about the time Golden in Death, The Diamond Queen of Singapore, and The Dirty South are out and devoured. Honestly, I can’t wait!

   JB

Two bookshop dreams:

First one is harder to recall but I was trying to reassemble bookshelves. Can’t remember why they were unassembled but it was crazy trying to fit bolts into boards and match the holes so that nuts could go onto the bolts, I’m on my knees with my nose about four inches from the floor, my glasses were falling off, I was trying to dodge the feet of customers…

The second one was that I was expecting one of my old sales reps to come over so we could have lunch. David was one of our reps for Random House. But the guy who showed up was a young rep, a new rep, and he was expecting to take an order for books in a new set of catalogues! He didn’t know that the shop was no longer active. He walked back to his car and then I realized that I needed those catalogues so that I could finish the next newsletter… To make it weirder, the house were all of this took place was the house I grew up in, not my current home. I think these newsletter dreams happen when it is getting closer to posting these newzines.

Three shows to recommend:

On Netflix, “The Confession Killer”, a documentary about Henry Lee Lucas and his confessions to hundreds of murders. At that time, back in the late 70s and early 80s, he was thought to be the serial killer with the most victims. Then it all fell apart. This documentary is more about the way it all fell apart – the internal warfare within law enforcement – than the murders. Very well done.

Also on Netflix, “Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez”, a three-part look at this man who was such a talented athlete but whose internal monsters – whatever their source – drove him to destroy it all. Very well done.

Lastly, from HBO: “The Outsider”, an adaptation of a Steven King novel about an awful murder and the people who are destroyed by it – and then it gets weird. Very well done.



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January 2020

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WELCOME TO A NEW YEAR

WELCOME TO A NEW DECADE

We’ve recently learned that Sandy, the creator and original editor of our quarterly newsletter and one-time bookkeeper, has moved back to town.

Welcome Back! We hope to see you soon.

‘It’s really flattering’: Obama picks Spokane’s Jess Walter for favorite books of the year list

Extra! Extra! Pike Place Market newsstand to close after 40 years

      Serious Stuff

Bone-Marrow Transplants Alter Genetic IDs, Complicating DNA-Based Criminal Analysis

Henry Lee Lucas Was Considered America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer. But He Was Really a Serial Liar.

Evidence Scandal In Orange County Stirs Conflict Within Law Enforcement 

How This Con Man’s Wild Testimony Sent Dozens to Jail, and 4 to Death Row

Is this cave painting humanity’s oldest story? 

Stop Believing in Free Shipping 

Prime Leverage: How Amazon Wields Power in the Technology World ~ Software start-ups have a phrase for what Amazon is doing to them: ‘strip-mining’ them of their innovations. 

New Research Identifies Possible Mass Graves From 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre


From The Guardian’s Editor’s Best Stories of 2019: ‘Blood on their hands’: the intelligence officer whose warning over white supremacy was ignored

This Is America: Eleven years after Obama’s election, and three years into the Trump presidency, the threat of domestic terrorism can’t be ignored.


A group of self-taught investigators is confronting the limits of using DNA and genetic genealogy to identify victims.

      Words of the Month

vade-mecum (n.) “a pocket manual, handbook,” 1620s, Latin, literally “go with me;” from imperative of vadere “to go” (see vamoose) + me “me” + cum “with.” 

      Book Stuff

An Algorithm Can Tell Us How Much Shakespeare Was Actually Written by Shakespeare

In Greenwich Village, the Perfect New York Bookstore Lives On

Latin Dictionary’s Journey: A to Zythum in 125 Years (and Counting)

Janet Evanovich wins big with Stephanie Plum series and TV deals 

Alaska: Northern Noir ~ Crime fiction has found a strange home in the cold wilds of Alaska. (have to say these people are way behind the curve if they think this is new…)

Couth Buzzard Books, celebrating a milestone anniversary, has become the ‘Cheers’ of Greenwood

The Ferrante Effect’: In Italy, Women Writers Are Ascendant ~“My Brilliant Friend” and Elena Ferrante’s other best-selling books are inspiring female novelists and shaking up the country’s male-dominated literary establishment.

New book claims Albert Camus was murdered by the KGB 

7 Things Crime Readers Will No Longer Tolerate by Christopher Fowler

Get Radcliff!: The Search for Black Pulp’s Forgotten Author. Gary Phillips on the trail of Roosevelt Mallory, who helped revolutionize 1970s pulp fiction, then disappeared.

From Gar Anthony Haywood: I Wrote the Kind of Character I Wanted Most to Read About

The Elements of the Haunted House: A Primer or, How to Build a Haunted House Mystery from the Ground Up 

Jeff Lindsay Has a New Anti-Hero ~ The Dexter Author Talks Craft, Character, and Cannibalism 

Peter Pan’s dark side emerges with release of original manuscript 

George RR Martin opens bookshop next to his cinema in Santa Fe 

America 2019: Area man steals rare books in order to pay for cancer treatment. 

How Do Some Authors “Lose Control” of Their Characters?

The (Quiet) Death of a Legendary Parisian Bookstore

These are the 10 Best-Selling Books of the Decade

From Portland, another bookshop closes: Another Read Through is leaving Mississippi Avenue

Do apostrophes still matter?

The tricks that can turn you into a speed reader

Booksellers get holiday bonuses from James Patterson  

Rediscovering Dorothy B. Hughes’ Brutal Hollywood Take-Down, Dread Journey 

A Romance Novelist Spoke out about Racism. An Uproar Ensued

Here are the most popular books checked out of the Seattle Public Library in 2019

       Author Events

January 11 – Candace Robb and Kim Zarins, 4pm, UBooks

January 21 – Chad Dundas, 7:30pm, Powell’s

January 29 – Mary Wingate, 7pm, Village Books

January 30 – Russell Rowland, 7:30pm, Powell’s

      Other Forms of Fun

Motherless Brooklyn: Ed Norton on the film it took him 20 years to make 

How Olga Kurylenko Won ‘Bond’ and Narrowly Lost ‘Wonder Woman’

The Evolution of the Femme Fatale in Film Noir

The Bone Collector, Jeffery Deaver’s first book with forensic anthropologist Lincoln Rhyme, was made into a 1999 film staring Denzel Washington as Rhyme and Angelina Jolie as the young cop who becomes his “legman”. Rhyme is a quadraplegic and needs Amelia Sachs to visit the crime scenes. The books are a true updating of the armchair detective story – it’s a great series. Now, starting Friday, Jan. 10, the book comes to the smaller screen when ‘Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector’ debuts on NBC. As they say, check your local listings!

The Most Underrated Crime Films of the Decade

Coming in February: ‘Narcos: Mexico’: Scoot McNairy Hunts Diego Luna in Season 2 First Look 

From “Making a Murderer” to “Don’t F**k with Cats,” the evolution of true crime this decade

BioShock returns for more gene-enhanced gaming

      Words of the Month

Ignis fatuus: a light that sometimes appears in the night over marshy ground and is often attributable to the combustion of gas from decomposed organic matter or a deceptive goal or hope.

Ignis fatuus is a Latin term meaning, literally, “foolish fire.” In English, it has come to designate a hovering or flitting light that sometimes appears in the night over marshy ground that is attributable to the combustion of gas from decomposed organic matter. Other names for this light are jack-o’-lantern and will-o’-the-wisp—both of which are connected to folklore about mysterious men, Jack and Will, who carry a lantern or a wisp of light at night. A Scottish name for ignis fatuus is spunkie, from spunk, meaning “spark” or “a small fire.” It has also been told that ignes fatui (the Latin plural form) are roaming souls. No doubt these stories spooked listeners by candlelight, but in time, advancements in science not only gave us electricity to dispel the darkness but proved ignis fatuus to be a visible exhalation of gas from the ground, which is rarely seen today.

‘But thou art altogether given over, / and wert indeed, but for the light in thy face, the son of utter / darkness. When thou ran’st up Gadshill in the night to catch my / horse, if I did not think thou hadst been an ignis fatuus or a / ball of wildfire, there’s no purchase in money. O, thou art a / perpetual triumph, an everlasting bonfire-light! ‘

— William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1, ca. 1597

(Thanks to Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

       Links of Interest

November 26: Lee Child: How Jack Reacher Fits Into a Long History of Folk Heroes

December 2: Great Film Composers: The Music of the Movies: How the rise of the Nazis gave us the best film noir music

December 2: Judge tosses $71-million verdict against NBC Universal over ‘Columbo’ profits

December 2: ‘The Irishman’ Left Out the Full Story of the Disastrous Angelo Bruno and Frank Sidone Murders

December 3: ‘He Had It Coming’ looks back on the ‘Murderess Row’ that inspired ‘Chicago’

December 4: Five ‘hot mic’ moments that got leaders in trouble

December 5: The murdered ‘handsome’ priest with a decades-long secret

December 5: Spassky vs Fischer: How the chess battle became a theatre event

December 6: How to conquer work paralysis like Ernest Hemingway

December 9: Perfect’ Scotch whisky collection could be worth £8m

December 10: Failed plot to steal domain name at gunpoint brings 14-year prison term

December 11: “Portrait of a Lady” ~ Stolen Klimt mystery ‘solved’ by gardener in Italy

December 11: Art Forgery Is Easier Than Ever, and It’s a Great Way to Launder Money

December 11: Buyer returns Grease jacket to Olivia Newton-John after auction

December 12: The CIA’s Former Chief of Disguise Drops Her Mask

December 13: Hosting an Orgy? This 1970s Cookbook Has You Covered

December 13: Octopus and eagle square off at Canadian fish farm

December 16: Christopher Reeve’s ‘Superman’ Cape Sells at Auction, Sets Record

December 16: Mice watching film noir show the surprising complexity of vision cells

December 16: Babe Ruth: Baseball player’s landmark home run bat fetches $1m\

December 16: Meet a Bad Man Who Became a Truly Great Spy

December 16: Grave of top Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich opened in Berlin

December 17: A New Way of Looking at ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

December 17: Judge rules in favor of US effort to take Snowden book money

December 19: James Blake uses unseen Planet Earth footage in new video

December 19: Is the Netherlands becoming a narco-state?

December 20: Democratic lawmakers pushed Spy Museum to alter CIA torture exhibit\

December 21: Police department finds furry culprit behind toy theft

December 22: Take a look behind the ‘small doors to imaginary spaces’ within bookshelves

December 22: The night Samuel Beckett was nearly stabbed to death by a pimp

December 23: LS Lowry: Lost painting to go on sale after 70 years

December 23: I was a teenage code-breaker at Bletchley Park

December 23: Daniel Craig Wanted to Resign as Bond After ‘Spectre’. Here’s the Real Reason He Returned For ‘No Time to Die’

December 27: Sriracha hot sauce recall over ‘exploding’ bottle fears

December 31: Lawyers: Robert Durst Wrote Incriminating ‘Cadaver’ Note

December 31: Human remains found in Idaho cave identified as outlaw who died over 100 years ago

      Words of the Month

terroir: the combination of factors including soil, climate, and sunlight that gives wine grapes their distinctive character. First known use was in 1863. From Old French tieroir, from Vulgar Latin *terratorium, alteration of Latin territorium. (thanks to Merriam-Webster) [what a difference and “i” makes…]

      R.I.P.

December 3: D.C. Fontana, famed writer for Star Trek, dies at 80

December 7: Friends actor Ron Leibman dies at the age of 82

December 8:  Winston Lawson, Secret Service agent with JFK in Dallas, dies at 91

December 8: Caroll Spinney: Sesame Street’s Big Bird puppeteer dies

December 9: Overlooked No More: Rose Mackenberg, Houdini’s Secret ‘Ghost-Buster’

December 9: Battle of Britain pilot Maurice Mounsdon dies aged 101

December 10: George Laurer, an Inventor of the Modern Bar Code, Dies at 94

December 11: Jeanne Guillemin, pioneering researcher who uncovered a Cold War secret, dies at 76

December 13: Danny Aiello, beloved character actor and Oscar nominee for ‘Do the Right Thing,’ dies at 86

December 13: Elisabeth Sifton, editor and tamer of literary lions, dies at 80

December 16: Nicky Henson: Stage and screen actor 

December 20: Claudine Auger: French actress known for Thunderball role dies aged 78

December 20: Acclaimed Author and Journalist Ward Just Dead at 84

December 25: Allee Willis: ‘Friends’ theme songwriter

December 26: Sue Lyon, teenage star of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Lolita,’ is dead at 73

December 31: Sonny Mehta, visionary editor and head of Alfred A. Knopf, dies at 77

December 31: M. C. BEATON: R.I.P.

      Words of The Month

vamoose (v.): “to decamp, be off,” 1834, from Spanish vamos “let us go,” from Latin vadamus, first person plural indicative of vadere “to go, to walk, go hastily,” from Proto-Indo-European root *wadh- (2) “to go” (source also of Old English wadan “to go,” Latin vadum “ford;” see wade (v.)). (thanks to etymonline)

      What We’ve Been Up To

   Amber

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Finder of Lost Things

This coming Friday we come to the last post for series one! Can you believe it? And we will see how Phoebe and Joseph cope with the after effects of the Woman In White’s attack.

Series Two – will drop in about two-ish months. I will give you guys plenty of warning when I’m going to start posting! Though on the upside if you haven’t started reading my story yet – this is the perfect time to catch up!

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Chloe Neill – Wicked Hour

The second book in the Heirs of Chicagoland series is a fun, fast-paced romp that is stronger than its predecessor by a factor of five. While a few of the original cast make their presence felt, they only enter into the narrative when necessary. Rather than making gratuitous and/or distracting appearances – which is really lovely.

The mystery presented in the second installment is also solid. Part of the Pack living in Northern Michigan is experiencing problems…and that’s putting it mildly. So Connor Keene, heir apparent to his father’s position as Apex, is sent to figure out what exactly is going on.

What he finds is a hornet’s nest.

Into this mess of resentment, issues, and anger Conner’s also brought, Elisa Sullivan. Because if things aren’t already stressful enough, let’s bring along the girl you’re more than just a little interested in and see how the pack reacts.

Elisa is more than capable of staring down a few shifters – katana in hand.

Then we get to the murder…and the other murder…and bad magic.

Seriously this book was a whole lotta fun to read. Neill introduced us to a quasi-new character named Alexei Breckenridge – who next to Lulu and Elisa’s cat Eleanor of Aquitaine (who will exact revenge if called by anything less than her full title) – is my favorite thus far. Mostly due to his dry sense of humor, the fact he enjoys needling Elisa by continuing to sneak up on her and the fact you never know where any of his sentences will take you.

If you are looking for a new-ish shifter/sorcerer/vampire mystery series to read, without needing to go back and read the original Chicagoland series (which honestly you should because it was great), you should start with Wicked Hour!

   Fran

I’ve been trying to figure out how to sell M. R. Carey‘s post-apocalyptic thriller THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS (Orbit) to myself, if I was still selling books. Because on the surface, I’d have turned it down, despite the whole post-apocalyptic thing. I guess it’s a “Trust me” book.

9780316334754See, it’s written in present tense, and we all know how weird I am about that. But worse, it’s about zombies. I really don’t like zombies. Bleah. I know lots of people do love them, and they’ll jump all over this book, but I find them boring.

However, I really do like the TV series “Lucifer”, and M. R. Carey is the writer behind that. He creates amazing, three dimensional and compelling characters, and I’m a sucker for great characters! And twisty, well told stories. He does those brilliantly.

Oh, short synopsis, yeah. In this devastated future in a military base in England, children are strapped into wheelchairs, arms, legs and heads. Then they’re wheeled into classrooms where they’re taught all the things school children learn. Melanie is about ten years old, and her favorite teacher is Miss Justineau. Miss Justineau makes learning fun, and she really interacts with the children. Melanie loves Miss Justineau, the other teachers not so much.

However, outside the base, things are  bleak. A fungus, Ophiocordyceps, has mutated – or has been mutated – so that it no longer just infects ants, and has taken over mankind. Well, most of mankind. And the fungal infection moves quickly, thoroughly, no chance of recovery ever, and makes  the new hosts mindless and hungry.

I don’t want to say too much more because THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS takes off at breakneck speed, and it really doesn’t slow down. M. R. Carey understands timing and plot and tension, but he also understands how complicated people are, and how powerful love can be.

So yeah, this is a “Trust me” book, but I really do want you to trust me on it! The science is disturbingly cool (I kind of want to watch the David Attenborough documentary about the ants, but I’m afraid it’ll just creep me out), the story revolves around a teacher and her pupil, and the writing is simply brilliant.

Trust me.

   JB

Shop dream on the morning of Xmas Eve: what I remember was looking into a box of books, a shipment all jumbled together, and realizing that reserves hadn’t been pulled so I was digging through the books and flipping pages in the reserve book, trying to match up authors to lists of customers who wanted a copy. The books in the box were in no special order, so I was flipping back and forth in the reserve book as I fished out a hardcover, for some reason not taking all the books out first and organizing them… Where do these dreams come from !

Could there be a better way to end the year, and to relax over a few days away, that to catch up on a 9780802129307.jpg favorite author’s book you’d missed???? I doubt it, I really do.

I had ordered what I thought was his latest book last Spring to take on a trip back to KC but it ended up being the story from the year before. What the hell – I read it again on the trip, the books are that good. So it had always stuck in some shadowed part of my brain that there must’ve been a DeMarco from this year that I’d not read. Finally, I started to wonder when there’d a be a new one next year and that’s when I finally cleared to mush from my cabasa and got a copy of House Arrest.

It’s a very different DeMarco story, even while it is another great DeMarco story.

Arrested for the murder of a congressman in the Capital, DeMarco sits in jail with a target on his forehead. In many ways, this is Emma’s book, as she swings into action to prove he was framed. To do that, she’s gotta provide the FBI with the real killer. So she relies on her years of training and work and those she’s gotten to know to save DeMarco. Why? She abhors his love of baseball and golf, thinks his wardrobe is ridiculous, and is pained to know he works for a man she detests but, really, Emma likes DeMarco. She appreciates his spirit, his ethic, and his willingness to put himself in the line of fire to help someone – as he has with Emma a couple of times.

There are big changes in DeMarco’s life mandated by publicity of the arrest and I have no idea where Mike will put him. It could be the end of the series – any of books could – but I think he has freed DeMarco to do other things.

And I can’t wait.


Fridays in January ~ Our Best of the Decade Lists



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