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]
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
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]
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)
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
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
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!
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!
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 latest, 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.
On 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.
BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL