LeVar Burton Reads: The Best Short Fiction, Handpicked by the World’s Greatest Storyteller – Literally LeVar Burton (of Reading Rainbow & Star Trek fame) reading short stories (all kinds) to you!
Netflix has released a new series that IS interesting and certainly IS grisly: Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes. It is also full of period film of Seattle in the 70s.
Word of the Month
supergrass (n): supergrass is a British slang term for an informant who turns Queen’s evidence, often in return for protection and immunity from prosecution. In the British criminal world, police informants have been called “grasses” since the late 1930s, and the “super” prefix was coined by journalists in the early 1970s to describe those who witnessed against fellow criminals in a series of high-profile mass trials at the time…
The first known use of “grass” in that context is Arthur Gardner’s crime novel Tinker’s Kitchen, published in 1932, in which a “grass” is defined as “an informer”. The origin of the term “grass” being used as signifying a traitor, a person who informs on people he or she knows intimately, ostensibly can be traced to the expression “snake in the grass”, which has a similar meaning. The phrase derives from the writings of Virgil (in Latin, latet anguis in herba) and has been known in the English language, meaning “traitor”, since the late 17th century.
An alternative claim is made for the term originating from rhyming slang, whereby “grasshopper” is defined as “copper”, meaning “policeman”. The rhyming slang version was supported in 1950 by lexicographer Paul Tempest. (wikipedia)
February 4: April Henry, 7pm Powell’s
February 9: Mike Lawson, 1pm Barnes & Noble, Silverdale
February 14: Mary Daheim AND Candace Robb, 7pm Third Place/LFP
February 16: Mike Lawson, 3pm, Magnolia Bookstore
February 24: Jasper Fforde, 6pm Third Place/LFP
Links of Interest
January 6 (from the UK): Independent bookshops grow for second year after 20-year decline
January 11: Some Dos and Don’ts from Famous Authors
January 11: Can Romance Novels Save Heterosexual Sex?
January 11: British sarcasm ‘lost on Americans’
January 12: Can a fugitive remain on the run forever?
January 15: The Homeless Man Who Set Up A Book Club
January 15: ‘Most famous’ banned book to be sold
January 17: The Library Of Forbidden Books
January 17: New York’s Secret Travel Club
January 23: ‘Buffy’ returns with a modern comic book reboot
January 23: A week in the life of a London murder detective
January 27: Booker Prize Looses Sponsor
January 27: The Knotty Nostalgia of the Hardy Boys Series
Word of the Month – Continued
croodle (v): To cower or cuddle together, as from fear or cold; to lie close and snug together, as pigs in straw. (thanks to wordfinder)
We say farewell to Ed Kennedy, a customer who went back to the early days of the shop. He’d bop in with a big smile and a friendly “Hey, Man!” He bought books for himself, mysteries and special orders for himself and relatives. Ed had a deep, smooth voice and would often be on his way to or from a session of taping a book for the Washington Talking Book. This seemed to be one of his great pleasures, reading a book aloud for those who couldn’t read themselves. With that voice he must’ve been one of their stars.
Thanks, Ed. Vios con dios!
January 4: Edgar Winner Brian Garfield, dead at 79
Word of the Month – Lastly
Rivulose – adjective – marked with irregular, narrow, sinuous, crooked lines or furrows resembling rivers marked on a map.
While they may use this word primarily to describe the irregular, surfaces of bugs, fishes, and mushrooms (for purposes entomological, ichthyological, and mycological), you can apply it as you wish. It can, for example, do the job of describing the wrinkles on your typical lexicographer’s shirt. The word is Latin in origin, tracing back to rivulus, meaning “rivulet,” and the English suffix –ose, meaning “possessing the qualities of.” Something that is rivulose is marked with lines reminiscent of those made by a rivulet—that is, a small stream—as viewed from far above.
What We’ve Been Doing
Don’t forget! Check out my mystery blog!
After an eventful night which included a mysterious FLYT fare, the discovery of Little Ben’s ill conceived pet cemetery plans and getting chewed out by Joseph at Nevermore. Phoebe’s on her way home for a quiet snack and then bed…
But her night’s not quite over yet!
No Wind Of Blame by Georgette Heyer
So this mystery is a bit of a conundrum.
Because, for one reason or another, until the murder of Wally Carter I disliked every character Heyer introduced into the narrative. Since the deed wasn’t done until page one-hundred-and-thirty-one…well let’s just say it took me a while to work my through the cast’s hysterics, dramatics, whining, and martyrdom to the meat of the matter.
But two things kept me from shelving the book permanently, neither Heyer nor her foil, Inspector Hemingway has ever let me down.
And as you’ve guessed, (since I’m writing a review) my patience was rewarded, because the last half of the book was excellent.
Through Hemingway’s investigation, observations, and dry wit, you come to understand exactly who these people are and their motivations, which shed an entirely new light on the first half of the book, making it infinitely more interesting – and well worth a reread.
Perhaps not the best of Heyer’s mysteries (it is definitely not the worst), the solution straining the boundary of credulity, it is still a satisfying read.
You just need to stick with it!
BTW – Source Books has reissued all of Georgette Heyer’s mysteries! So if you couldn’t find them previously, they are easy to find now! And I highly recommend a read thru of her mysteries, if you enjoy classic 1930s-1950s British mysteries!
Okay, let me just say up front that I adore Amber and trust her implicitly. Therefore you have to understand the sorrow with which I tell you, Amber lied.
Amber lied BIG TIME.
Okay, first of all, go back and read her review of Brandon Sanderson‘s book, LEGION. It’s okay, we’ve got time. I’ll wait. It’s back in December, so you won’t have to scroll far.
I’m not going to recap the synopsis; you just read it. But what you’re not getting is how BADLY SHE UNDERSELLS THIS BOOK!
Granted, if you’re looking for Sanderson’s telltale fantasy story, you’ll be disappointed, but only briefly because the writing is incredible! It’s a suspense story, yes, and it’s told in three parts, but once again, it’s the characters that make it. And Stephen Leeds’ “aspects” are so fully formed, so incredibly wonderful, that you can’t help but get involved with them.
And if you have an artistic friend, perhaps a writer, this helps you understand how complex characters can be created.
I’ll be re-reading it, I have no doubt. It’s the kind of story that is multi-layered, and psychologically complex.
And I do wish we were still working together because Amber would have had me read this much sooner than I did, and that would have been wonderful. So now, listen to her, listen to me, and go read Brandon Sanderson’s LEGION!
Why are you still here? Go!
Coming in April is a fascinating history of the Allies’ use of women to work with the Resistance during World War II in preparation for the invasion of Europe.
Sarah Rose’s D-Day Girls is a heady mix of mission and personality as you get to know these women – Rose takes pain to note that the women involved did refer to themselves as “girls” – the men in charge of the missions in London, and the men hunting them in France.
Rose details the resistance within the Allies to allowing women to have a role in the fight, partly due to the usual, age-old sexism that women can’t or shouldn’t go into battle, partly due to racism (one woman was Jewish and could she be trusted!!), and partly due to real qualms about possible sexual torture if captured. There’s a pageant of humanity in this story – fear and courage, hope and frustration, passion and fury, good and evil – all told with a lively writing style that is somewhere in-between Ben McIntyre, Eric Larson, and Alan Furst.
In one of those strange quirks of history, the man in charge of these heroes was Captain Selwyn Jepson. It was his job to find people to insert into France and it seemed only logical to him that if men were in short supply send women. Jepson was a well-known mystery novelist and screenwriter before and after the war.
It’s a fascinating story with details and dates. I guess I’d always thought that the French Resistance took place throughout the war but Rose shows that the Resistance as a nation-wide organization really only started in 1943, with the women spending ’42 being trained in tradecraft. It was due to the approach of the invasion that the Allies used the Resistance to bedevil the Nazis so that they couldn’t respond well to an invasion. Luckily for us all it worked well enough to allow Normandy to succeed.
Thank god the men got out of the way and let these women do their jobs!
The author notes that the indignities these women went through before going into enemy territory didn’t end then. After the war, they were not awarded to the same extent as the men who did the same thing, their medals were of lesser levels. And then, of course, they were ignored by historians for the last sixty years.
I’m glad Sarah Rose has stepped in to redress this contemptuous treatment.
Individuality, Neighborhoods & People
Shop Small Businesses…
The new “community guidelines”* announced by tumblr are, to me, insidious and dangerous. We’re being told that anything with “adult content” will not be allowed. It is limiting free expression in so very many ways and leaves us at the mercy of the repressive tastes of others. In effect, tumblr is setting itself up to be an “adult filter”. In 1964, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stevens wrote “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”], and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.“ Bullshit!
My fear now is that the mystery and crime and noir images that I have spent years assembling may fall prey to tumblr’s new rules and old images may have to be removed, new images will be rejected, or this entire site may be turned off by them against my choice.
It is very true that a majority of the images I have posted over the years involve violence and cruelty by one person against another: thugs roughing up women, gunman blasting tommyguns at g-men, femme fatales shooting marks, dames stealing and tux-clad dandies smiling while they turn the screws. These are the dark streets of American culture as Chandler eloquently wrote, accompanied by “the raucous laughter of the strongman.”
I do not support the violence included in these images but they are images that we can no more suppress or ignore than we can ban Mark Twain for the language of his time that he used in his books. This is the way it was, ladies and gentleman, deal with it. It is our cultural history, our cultural landscape. You cannot have “Chinatown” or “LA Confidential” without the pulp images of the early 20th C. Do we no longer show “Psycho” because a naked woman is slaughtered in a shower?
And while we’re at it, some of those who painted the covers for the early pulps were Great American Artists: Dalton Stevens, H.J. Ward, Norman Saunders, Gloria Stoll, Robert Maguire, Robert McGinnis, Walter Popp, Robert Stanley, Modest Stein, Jes Schlaikjer – the list is large. No one should be able to tell you you can’t see any of them due to a painting of a fist, a knife, an unclad bust, or a face twisted in fear. That’s just un-American. It is also ludicrous.
I reject that anyone can tell me what I can see. I reject that anyone has the right to monitor and decide for themselves what can be seen. Tumblr may say they are doing this to create a safe place for all but censorship to achieve safety is a slippery slope. Are you prepared to “exchange a walk-on part in the war for a lead roll in a cage”?
I will continue to post what I want, what I think is good and worthy of being shared. I do not post what I find to be cruel or salacious. I post what I find interesting visually. There are thousands of images of true crime magazines from the 60s on what are stupidly ugly and there’s nothing at all, for me, redeeming in how they’re presented or designed or composed.They’re just mean and I won’t use them. Others may think what I have posted are mean and that’s fine. Turn away, don’t look. But I filter myself, you don’t get to do it.
I began this blog as a creative outlet for myself and for something else for the customers and fans of the bookshop. Since then, as of this moment, I’ve posted 15,561 images, I have 61 in queue to post and have 142 in draft form. I had never thought about how long I’d continue but rebel at the idea that others may decide what I can and cannot post. That’s unacceptable.
So it may come some day that there are no more posts on the Seattle Mystery Bookshop Hardboiled site. My bookshop is gone, living only in our memories and in places like this. Building this collection has been a labor of love. I hope to continue. If it ends, it will not be by choice.
If you enjoy this site, if you like sites like this, take the time to let those who have instituted it know.
~ JB Dickey
*From tumblr’s new guidelines:
“Adult Content. Don’t upload images, videos, or GIFs that show real-life human genitals or female-presenting nipples —this includes content that is so photorealistic that it could be mistaken for featuring real-life humans (nice try, though). Certain types of artistic, educational, newsworthy, or political content featuring nudity are fine. Don’t upload any content, including images, videos, GIFs, or illustrations, that depicts sex acts. For more information about what this guideline prohibits and how to appeal decisions about adult content, check out our help desk.
Violent Content and Threats, Gore and Mutilation. Don’t post content which includes violent threats toward individuals or groups – this includes threats of theft, property damage, or financial harm. Don’t post violent content or gore just to be shocking. Don’t showcase the mutilation or torture of human beings, animals (including bestiality), or their remains. Don’t post content that encourages or incites violence, or glorifies acts of violence or the perpetrators.”
That cover is from 1941. It was Stan Lee’s first job in comics, writing an issue of “Captain America”.
Sometime in the mid-60s, I discovered Spiderman and the Fantastic Four and Captain America and began collecting the back issues. I subscribed to them as well and each month they arrived in the mailbox. It was heaven. I was a member of the Mighty Marvel Fanclub, too. Somewhere around here I have a couple of sheets from a notepad sent to members.
That’s the earliest Spiderman issue that I have that has an intact cover. From there they go up to around #100. The Ditko years were the best.
That’s the return of Captain America, found frozen in the ocean, revived and back to fight the bad guys – Kirby and Lee!
Lee was the last of those greats. Jack Kirby died in 1994 at the age of 76. Steve Ditko died last Summer, June 29th, at 90.
But we’re left with their creations.
‘Nuff Said ….
Something we all need these days..