October 2022

SEATTLE ANTIQUARIAN BOOKFAIR ~ October 8th & 9th You don’t have to buy but it’s great to look!

Floppy disks in Japan: Minister declares war on old-fashioned technology

A shipment of baby wipes turns out to be $11.8 million worth of cocaine

Bigfoot Believers Uncovered a Lost Manuscript About the ‘Soviet Sasquatch’

Today’s hero: the 82-year-old Egyptian man who has collected 15,000 books for his community.

Sorry, Batman, This Luxury Lifestyle Brand Is All About Bruce Wayne

Longest single-volume book in the world goes on sale – and is impossible to read (at 21,450-pages – – – )

Attention, phonies: a rare signed edition of The Catcher in the Rye is up for sale.

The Enduring Wisdom of ‘Goodnight Moon’

Words of the Month

lucubration (n): a piece of writing, typically a pedantic or over-elaborate one.

Serious Stuff

A new ransomware gang is starting to ramp up its operations — and its exploits focus on a programming language that makes it harder for researchers to crack.

Here Is the Manual for the Mass Surveillance Tool Cops Use to Track Phones

Facebook Engineers Admit They Don’t Know What They Do With Your Data

A Different Heatwave Warning: Online Hate—Like Violent Crime—Soars With High Temperatures, Study Suggests

Google and Oxford Scientists Publish Paper Claiming AI Will “Likely” Annihilate Humankind [Skynet, anyone??]

FBI tracked Aretha Franklin’s civil rights activism, declassified file shows

The Sinaloa Cartel Is Controlling Water in Drought-Stricken Mexico

A Hotter, More Violent World

Screaming in Secret: Dahlia Lithwick on the Women Who Work Within the Legal System

Incel Communities Are Reportedly Engaged in a ‘Brothers-in-Arms’ War Against Women

Louisiana’s Infamous Angola Prison Will Now Lock Up Children

New report reveals ‘devastating scale’ of harassment and discrimination in the music industry

Cybersecurity firm Mandiant uncovers sophisticated espionage campaign

Researchers Say the CIA’s Amateurish Websites Led to the Exposure of Critical Assets

Censorship

Oklahoma Wants to Revoke License of Teacher Who Shared ‘Books Unbanned’ QR Code

Teens Are Fighting Back Against LGBTQ Book Bans

SLJ Survey Shows That Censorship Will Have Long-Term Effect on School Libraries

A Lot More Censorship Is Coming to a School Near You

Arizona Zine Shop Counters Book Bans With Inclusive Offerings

Book Bans Impact Over 4 Million Students: PEN America’s Sobering New Report

Overwhelming Majority of American Voters Strongly Oppose Book Banning According to National Poll

A Colorado Library Board Has Voted to Ban Book Bans

Jenny Holzer Unveils Massive Outdoor Installation at the Rockefeller Center ~ Text-based artwork that comes to the aid of writers and journalists in the midst of rising censorship around the world.

How to beat a book ban: students, parents and librarians fight back

40 Years of Banned Book Week: The ‘dangerous’ books too powerful to read

City of Chicago and Chicago Public Library Declare Themselves Book Sanctuaries

More than 1,600 books banned during 2021-22 school year, report finds

Democrats introduce ‘book ban’ resolution amid nationwide censorship movement

Brooklyn’s library moves to slip books through red state bans

Pennsylvania school district accused of banning Girls Who Code book series

The Long and Gruesome History of the Battle Over American Textbooks

Canadian Right-Wing Book Banning Groups Don’t Know How School Boards Work

Words of the Month

caconym (n.) “a name rejected for linguistic reasons, bad nomenclature in botany or biology,” 1888, from caco- “bad, ill, poor” + -onym “name” (from PIE root *no-men- “name”). (etymonline)

Local Stuff

Why Seattle libraries had 130-plus closures this summer

New Black-owned Central District bookstore celebrates Black culture

‘Riverdale’ actor Ryan Grantham gets life in prison for killing his mother

High-level gangster vanishes while on parole in B.C.

Walls of Books fills the bookstore-shaped hole in the hearts of Issaquah readers

How a Powell’s Books outpost ended up in Condon, population 760

Odd Stuff

James Patterson’s ‘Blowback’ asks, ‘What if we elected a psychopath?’

Food Delivery Robot Casually Drives Under Police Tape, Through Active Crime Scene

Five Ways to Break Up, According to Michael Mann’s Films

The Mystery of the Headless Goats in the Chattahoochee

Words of the Month

threap (n): An argument or disagreement, often un-resolvable. (Says You!, #1016)

SPECTRE

Amazon keeps growing, and so does its cache of data on you

Amazon’s eastern Oregon expansion sends carbon emissions soaring

California sues Amazon, alleging antitrust law violations

Speedreaders Lose, Authors Win in New Amazon Ebook Policy Change

Words of the Month.

opisthography (n.) “the practice of writing on the back of anything,” 1715, from Greek opisthographos “written on the back,” from graphos “writing” (from graphein“to write” (see -graphy) + opisthen “behind, from behind, at the back,” from opi, a variant of epi “on it, at it” (see epi-). (etymonline)

Awards

The Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize named 11 recipients this year, awarding a total of $1.1 million.

The Griffin Poetry Prize has created the largest international prize for a book of poetry.

Here are the finalists for the 2022 Kirkus Prize, one of the world’s richest literary awards

Here are the bookies’ odds for the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature

Words of the Month

scrawl (v.) From the 1610s, “write or draw awkwardly and untidily,” a word of uncertain origin, perhaps from a specific use of Middle English scrawlen “spread out the limbs, sprawl” (early 15c.), which might be an alteration of sprawlen (see sprawl (v.)) or crawl (v.). Some sources suggest a contraction of scrabble. Related: Scrawled; scrawling.

The noun in the sense of “piece of unskilled or inelegant writing” is by 1690s, from the verb; the meaning “bad style of handwriting” is by 1710. (etymonline)

Book Stuff

Books at One expands to Dublin; Murder One and Capital Crime launch; Colm Tóibín premiere

A Conservative Publisher Wants to Be the Answer to Liberal Children’s Books. There’s Just One Problem. “The books aren’t bad, necessarily. They’re just not for kids.”

Books newsletter: Proust in Dublin; Culture Night; Catholicism debate; Yeats sculpture unveiled

New UK PM Truss urged to invest in libraries and abolish tax on audiobooks

Is climate-change making it too hot for many of the nation’s libraries?

The Shopkeeper Sleuth: Cozy Mysteries Featuring Crime-Solving Business Owners

Impossible Murders In Crime Fiction

Deanna Raybourn: On Writers and (Characters) of a Certain Age

The New James Bond Novels Are Fun, Progressive, and Totally Thrilling

What Women Mystery Writers and Female Sleuths Owe to Nancy Drew

A publisher abruptly recalled the ‘2,000 Mules’ election denial book. NPR got a copy.

Laurie R. King On Returning to Her San Francisco Roots During Lockdown

Boerne book festival kicks off spooky season with monsters and mysteries

A Deep Dive Into the History of Bibliomysteries

The State of the Crime Novel: A Roundtable Discussion with Crime Authors – part 1, part 2

S. A. Cosby: Interview and Cover Reveal

A recent episode of NPR’s Marketplace, reported on the continuing difficulties publishers are having getting books manufactured

Tom Hanks announces ‘wildly ambitious’ first novel

10 Shadowy Meetings of Crime and the Occult

Horror Fiction In The Age of Covid: A Roundtable Discussion

The Unstoppable, Fearsome, Delicious Allure of the Witch

On Theda Bara and the Origins of the Vamp

Miss Christie!

Rhys Bowen: Miss Marple is Agatha Christie’s best character. A new book reminds us why.

Agatha Christie by Lucy Worsley review – in search of the elusive author

Author Events (in person)

Tues, Oct 18: Candace Robb signs her new Owen Archer, A Fox in the Fold: Third Place/Ravenna, 7pm

Other Forms of Entertainment

Library Sitcom ‘SHELVED’ Could Be The Show We Need

Indiana Jones 5: Is it really over for Harrison Ford as an action star?

Scenes from a Marriage: Watching the “Thin Man” Movies as a Set

James Bond Producers Are Focused on Figuring Out a Villain Before Casting the Next 007

Porfirio Rubirosa: the Dominican man who inspired James Bond

When Hollywood Was Punished for Its Anti-Nazism

Yes, There’s a Wonderful New ‘Fletch’ Movie Starring Jon Hamm. Not That You’d Know It Exists

8 True Crime Podcasts You Need to Listen to This Fall

The Many Crime Stories of Robert De Niro

Words of the Month

chirography (n.) “handwriting, the art of writing,” 1650s, from chiro “the hand”+ graphy “writing.” Chirograph “formal written legal document” is attested from late 13c. in Anglo-French, from Latin chirographum, from Greek kheirographia “written testimony.” Related: Chirographer; chirographic. (etymonline)

RIP

Sept. 3: Award-Winning Underground Comics Writer/Artist Diane Noomin Dies at 75

Sept. 4: Sterling Lord Dies – Literary Agent For Jack Kerouac’s ‘On The Road’ Was 102

Sept. 7: Best-selling horror writer Peter Straub has died at 79

Sept. 11: Spanish novelist Javier Marías dies in Madrid hospital aged 70

Sept. 12: NSA analyst jailed for life for selling US secrets to Soviets dies aged 80

Sept. 13: Ken Starr, the prosecutor on the Clinton Whitewater investigation, has died at 76

Sept. 14: Earl Silbert, first prosecutor in the Watergate case, dies at 86

Sept. 14: Irene Papas, celebrated Greek actress from ‘Guns of Navarone’, ‘Zorba’ to ‘Iphigenia,’ and ‘Z’, has died at 96

Sept. 16: Henry Silva, Bad Guy in ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ and Many Other Movies, Dies at 95

Sept. 17: Maximilian Lerner, Whose Espionage Skills Helped Win a War, Dies at 98

Sept. 19: Lily Renée Phillips, Pioneering Comic Book Artist, Dies at 101

Sept. 21: John Train, Paris Review Co-Founder and Cold War Operative, Dies at 94

Sept. 23: Wolf Hall author Hilary Mantel dies aged 70

Sept. 23: Louise Fletcher, Oscar Winner for ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,’ Dies at 88

Sept. 29: Leonard Cole, Who Detailed Secret Army Germ Tests, Dies at 89

Links of Interest

Sept. 1: The nation’s poorest state used welfare money to pay Brett Favre for speeches he never made

Sept. 1: A Gang Called Drug Rich Is Robbing Celebrities All Over Atlanta

Sept. 1: What Canada’s Largest Art Heist Reveals about the Art World’s Shady Side

Sept. 4: The Fiery Godmother Who Avenged Her Husband With 29 Bullets

Sept. 5: Man Headed to Prison for Dumping Toxic Pollution Into Ocean

Sept. 6: How Eliot Ness Wound Up Hunting a Serial Killer in Cleveland

Sept.7: Suspect Nabbed in Half-Century-Old Cold Case Killing of Maryland Cop

Sept.7: Police Arrest Woman Who Faked Her Own Kidnapping to Extort Her Mom—for the Fourth Time

Sept. 8: County Official’s DNA Found at Site of Vegas Journalist’s Grisly Slaying

Sept. 8: MAGA Pastor Settles After Being Accused of Scamming Old Lady

Sept. 8: How Murdered Journalist Jeff German’s Colleagues Hunted Down His Alleged Killer

Sept. 9: CT Scans Reveal Gnarly, 1,000-Year-Old Mummies Were Murdered

Sept. 13: Looted coin worth $1m returned to Israel after years-long hunt

Sept. 13: A Sensational Murder Trial in the Newly Founded New Yorker

$ept. 14: ‘Santa came today’: Brett Favre texts show his role in Mississippi welfare scandal

Sept: 14: Arnold Rothstein: New York’s First Criminal Genius

Sept. 14: Missing people, buried bones at center of Oklahoma mystery

Sept. 15: Was This Letter Written by Sherlock Holmes?

Sept. 15: He Killed a Stranger He Thought Was a Werewolf. A Judge Just Banned Him From Social Media

Sept. 1`6: The Treasures Within the World’s Greatest Wine Library

Sept. 16: What Do We Really Know About the History of the Printing Press?

Sept. 19: 4 Library Collections Filled With Culinary Treasures

Sept. 20: Adnan Syed: Conviction overturned in Serial podcast murder case

Sept. 20: U.S. charges ‘brazen’ theft of $250 million from pandemic food program

Sept. 20: Prosecutors allege an inside job. The target? Rare bourbon

Sept. 22: Can Science Solve the Mystery of the Concrete Book?

Sept. 22: How Leopold and Loeb Ended up with the Country’s Most Famous Lawyer

Sept. 24: How a suburban St. Louis detective broke a 30-year-old serial killer case wide open

$ept. 24: Brett Favre pressed for facility funding despite being told legality in question, court filing says

Sept. 25: Author makes case for most compelling Zodiac Killer suspect in decades

Sept. 26: One Man’s Search for the First Hebrew-Lettered Cookbook

$ept. 27: Brett Favre is the face of a scandal, but Mississippi’s issues go deeper

Sept. 28: Kandinsky painting returned to Jewish family as Netherlands shifts approach to looted art

Sept. 28: The Evils of Larry Ray: A Creepy Dad Who Started a Sex Cult at Sarah Lawrence College

Sept. 28: Hollywood-Beloved Espionage Author Ben MacIntyre on What Truly Motivates Spies

Sept. 28: RFK assassin Sirhan asks to go home to live ‘in peace’

$ept. 28: Brett Favre’s foundation, aimed at helping children and cancer patients, gave funds to USM athletics

Sept. 29: Man Pays $75 for Medieval Text That Could Be Worth $10,000

Sept. 30: The Lindisfarne Gospels: ‘everyone should see this show at least once’

Words of the Month

cacoethes (n.) “itch for doing something,” 1560s, from Latinized form of Greek kakoēthēs “ill-habit, wickedness, itch for doing (something),” from kakos “bad” (from PIE root *kakka- “to defecate”) + ēthē- “disposition, character” (see ethos). Most famously, in Juvenal’s insanabile scribendi cacoethes “incurable passion for writing.” (etymonline)

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

Deanna Raybourn – Killers of a Certain Age

Ready to retire, four women (of a certain age) are treated to a boat cruise by their former employers as a reward for their exemplary service. A vacation which they enjoy right up until one of the group spots a former colleague on the same boat. 

The only problem — Billie, Mary Alice, Helen, and Natalie’s former job title: Assassin.

Deanna Rabourn’s tale is a rollercoaster ride of the first water! Blending together the librarians from Gunpowder Milkshake, the general premise of Burn Notice, and Lana’s origin story from Archer — you’ve now got an inkling of the wild ride between the covers of Killer’s of a Certain Age.

Seriously, I couldn’t put Killers of a Certain Age down. 

I’d recommend this book to anyone who needs a fantastic, fast-paced read for the bath or a holiday. Seriously, I love how these women outwit, outmaneuver, and outshine their pursuers using experience their younger counterparts don’t yet possess…

Plus, it was just lovely to sit down for a few hours and read a book from cover to cover — especially when Raybourn penned such a satisfying ending! 

Fran

Keep an open mind

I had just finished watching the series “Madam Secretary” when I picked up State of Terror. Now, if you were going to write a thriller involving the Secretary of State, and you wanted a fast-paced, well plotted book with intriguing characters, who would you have author it? Be fair, be honest, who knows their stuff?

Hillary Rodham Clinton knows the ins and outs of being Secretary of State. Whatever you may think of her, she knows her stuff.

Louise Penny has proved time and again that she can write a gripping novel filled with real people.

Together, they created State of Terror, and honestly, now is the time to read it.

I want to sit down and talk about this book with you face to face so you can see my enthusiasm. But it’s good that I can’t, because I’d give away spoilers. For our plot purposes here, let me just say that Ellen Adams was a harsh critic of now President Doug Williams during her media mogul days, so it was a huge surprise when he appointed her Secretary of State. Adams handed off her media empire to her daughter and accepted the position, where her first assignment failed miserably. Let’s just say this did not displease President Williams.

But when bus bombs happen in a couple of European cities, Adams and Williams have to work together to figure out where the next target is. One of Secretary Adams’ people in the Pakistan office gets a clue, and the race is on.

“The most amazing thing that has happened in my lifetime is neither putting a man on the moon nor Facebook having 2.8 billion monthly active users. It is that in the 75 years, 7 months, and 13 days since Nagasaki, a nuclear bomb has not been detonated.” – Tom Peters

The more I read this book, knowing HRC‘s insider knowledge of Washington politics and its back door dealings, combined with Louise Penny’s astonishing ability to put you right in the heart of the story, the more terrifying it became. And watching current news cycles both in the US and around the world, this book becomes more relevant every day. I had no idea.

Which is not to say it doesn’t have moments of levity. Some of the characters will jump right into your heart. Betsy Jameson, Secretary Adams’ good friend and counselor is one of them. She’s the “Mrs. Cleaver” below, because she looks so ordinary and friendly.

“Steve Kowalski, Ellen’s head of Diplomatic Security, a longtime veteran of the service, turned in the front seat to look at Mrs. Cleaver as she combined and conjugated words that should never, really, have conjugal relations. The ensuing progeny was both grotesque and hilarious, as she turned nouns into verbs, and verbs into something else entirely. It was a display of linguistic gymnastics the agent hadn’t thought possible. And he’d been a Marine.”

You’ll get chills, and it’s possible that your sleep will be disrupted by this novel – and remember, it is just a novel – and with good reason. The possibilities given here are far too plausible not to be considered, and when a power team like this presents it to you, you pay attention.

Also, it’s a great thriller! Trust me, you want to read State of Terror now.

JB


I was thrilled to find that Rinker Buck had a new book coming out. The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey was one of the best books I read when it came out in 2016. I’ve given away at least a half-dozen copies. In it he builds a canastoga wagon and set off, powered by three mules, across the Oregon Trail. It is an outstanding book, jammed with history and interesting tidbits, and I was ready for a new adventure.

Life on the Mississippi: An Epic American Adventure mirrors that earlier book but this involves first building a flatboat – the sort first used to navigate the Father of Waters – and then float it from the start of the Ohio River and down to New Orleans. Nearly everyone he discusses this plan with tells him he’s going to die. They’re all quiet serious. Perhaps it is hubris, or his own native mule-headedness, but he plunges on. It’s a daunting plan but you know he survived ’cause you’re reading the book.

Along the way you accumulate a flowing history of how the commerce and settlement of the country was enhanced by European-Americans moving West and following the waters. Of course, the current river is nothing like the unfettered highway of 200 years ago – just as the Oregon Trail no longer exists as it was when first blazzed. Buck is aghast at the garbage and trash (it often was, he says sadly, a “floating junkyard”). “And the river has been so contained and shaped so as to stay within it’s bounds that is in no way as wild as it once once. That’s not to say it isn’t dangerous; big storms along any of the rivers that feed it can make it swell and churn, and the commercial traffic is astonishing. Then, too, there are the weekend fools.

Like the junk that float by, so too does the awful history of our country – Buck does not shy from explaining the ways the waters helped to decimate the natives that had ruled and helped to spread slavery further into the landscape. Truly, life on the Mississippi is both a grand tale of human progress corrupted because of the costs that it charges on all who used it.

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All Haunting is Regret

Don’t worry if you start Hell and Back and can’t figure out what is going on. Neither can Walt. Craig Johnson puts all of us – readers and characters – in a place that defies explanation and populates it with people who can’t possibly there. In fact, there are so many people from Walt’s past that I stopped reading the new book and re-read the previously three and it helped. It is a book overflowing with mystery and mysticism. It is a book unlike any of the previous Longmires, yet is is easily experienced as another in a long line of Absaroka County stories that are unique and comforting. Because at the center is Walt Longmire and he is trustworthy to all.

“Words are important, no matter what the language – they are perhaps one of the most powerful things we have. Words can preserve life or invoke death and should be handled with the same care as any deadly weapon.” Those are Virgil’s words, but the truth is Craig’s.

Boy Howdy…

=================================

Pulitzer-nominated investigative reporter Howard Blum‘s brand new book is astonishing. The Spy Who Knew Too Much: An Ex-CIA Officer’s Quest Through A Legacy of Betrayal begins with a boat sailing itself into the shore of the Chesapeake Bay and gets strange from there.

So starts an entertaining and convoluted story of the hunt for a Soviet mole in the CIA. Scads of books have been written about this hunt, the suspects, the battles over which Russian turncoat to believe, and the destruction and devastation the hunt caused to US intelligence. Blum’s book follows the investigation of Tennent “Pete” Bagley, a retired American spook who lived through that destruction and suffered from it. The circumstances of the mystery sail boat brings him back to the hunt and it unfolds like a well crafted whodunnit. Clues, red herrings, and blind alleys abound and, along the way, you see the Cold War games of both sides of the spy landscape.

If you’re interested in American history, Cold War history, CIA history – or even if you don’t think you are – pick up the books. It’s a great mystery, but all true.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Next up: a book that was released in Feb. but that I just discovered near the end of Sept – Fran has been yelling at me for years to read Joe Ide. So far I haven’t but I will now. To my knowledge, this is the third book the Chandler estate has engaged current authors to pen a new Philip Marlowe novel. First, in 2014, there was Benjamin (John Banville) Black’s The Black-Eyed Blonde, a follow-up to The Long Goodbye. In 2018, Only to Sleep by Lawrence Osbourne was released. In that, Marlowe is 72 and living in Mexico.

It’s one thing to search for new books by a favorite author. I’m not sure how you search for new books about a favorite character!

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

September 2022

Following the attack on Salman Rushdie, his books are leading the bestseller lists.

Kentucky’s flood-affected bookstores need your help.

Attention book lovers: your dream job is hiring again.

How Does the FBI Break Into a Safe?

How Spider-Man Led to the Invention of the Prisoner Ankle Monitor

Take a Look Inside Dr. Seuss’ La Jolla Home Before it Sells For The 1st Time in 70 Years

Missing Pages: the podcast revisiting jaw-dropping literary scandals

The 15 Most Instagrammed Bookstores in the World

The Orient Express Is Resuming Its Legendary Journeys From Paris—and It’s More Glamorous Than Ever

Here’s another incredibly strange dream-like Chinese bookstore.

Newly published Charles Dickens letters reveal he was ‘a bit of a diva’

Spice Up Your Life: Swag for Unabashed Smut Readers

Words of the Month

school (n.): [place of instruction] Middle English scole, from Old English scol, “institution for instruction,” from Latin schola “meeting place for teachers and students, place of instruction;” also “learned conversation, debate; lecture; disciples of a teacher, body of followers, sect,” also in the older Greek sense of “intermission of work, leisure for learning.”

This is from Greek skholē “spare time, leisure, rest, ease; idleness; that in which leisure is employed; learned discussion;” also “a place for lectures, school;” originally “a holding back, a keeping clear,” from skhein “to get” (from PIE root *segh- “to hold”) + -olē by analogy with bolē “a throw,” stolē “outfit,” etc.

The basic sense of the Greek word is “leisure,” which passed to “otiose discussion” (in Athens or Rome, the favorite or proper use of free time), then it came to be used for the place for such discussion.

The Latin word was widely borrowed (in addition to Old French escole, French école, Spanish escuela, Italian scuola; Old High German scuola, German Schule, Swedish skola, Gaelic sgiol, Welsh ysgol, Russian shkola).

The meaning “students attending a school” in English is attested from c. 1300; the sense of “school building” is by 1590s. Sense of “people united by a general similarity of principles and methods” is from 1610s; hence school of thought (by 1848). As an adjective by mid-18th C., “pertaining to or relating to a school or to education.”

School of hard knocks “rough experience in life” is by 1870; to tell tales out of school “betray damaging secrets” is from 1540s. School-bus is from 1908. School days is from 1590s. School board “local committee of education” is by 1836; school district “division of a town or city for the management of schools” is by 1809. (etymonline)

Serious Stuff

+Stephen King in Books Merger Trial: “Consolidation Is Bad for Competition”

‘Assassin with loaded AK47’ faces federal charges for surveilling home of Iranian-American journalist

Grand jury declines to indict woman in Emmett Till killing

Howard Carter stole Tutankhamun’s treasure, new evidence suggests

‘Hackers against conspiracies’: Cyber sleuths take aim at election disinformation

Mexico calls disappearance of 43 students a ‘state crime’

Mexico arrests former top prosecutor over 2014 missing students case

The big idea: should revenge ever be a part of justice?

Over 90% of Medieval Manuscripts Have Been Lost, Study Says 

30 years ago tonight [Aug. 25], Sarajevo’s National Library was burned to the ground

How Two Mexican Drug Cartels Came to Dominate America’s Fentanyl Supply

Joyce Carol Oates and Margaret Atwood on All Things Evil

Books and bomb shelters: Ukraine returns to school

CENSORSHIP OR THE AMERICAN TALIBAN

After Anti-LGBTQ Attacks, Suburban Chicago Bakery Threatened With Fines

Books by Toni Morrison and others now feature a warning label in a Florida school district.

New York will censor a book about the Attica uprising in its state prisons

US library defunded after refusing to censor LGBTQ authors: ‘We will not ban the books’

Virginia Republicans are testing a new way to ban books and restrict their sales. In the long run, it might just work.

Tennessee District Attorney Now Denies That She Would Prosecute Librarians for Keeping Queer Books

universities scrap ‘challenging’ books to protect students

School librarians in Missouri pull books as new law allows charges for ‘explicit’ material

Librarian sues over accusations that kids’ section contains “erotic” books

A school librarian is suing the right-wing “activists” who defamed and harassed her.

Book banning goes full ouroboros as a Texas school district removes the Bible from its shelves.

Students lose access to books amid ‘state-sponsored purging of ideas’.

A Florida district declines dictionary donations as it navigates a new book law

A Texas woman went to the cops about an actual library book.

Afghan women open library to counter growing isolation

The book-banning lawsuit against Barnes & Noble is moving forward in Virginia.

Judge thwarts Va. Republicans’ effort to limit book sales at Barnes & Noble

They’re shooting books now: censorship-loving, book-banning vigilantes stoop to a new low.\

Local Stuff

True Crime Byline: Surprise verdict in Robert Pickton trial upset family, supporters

I’ve been battling Indigenous art fraud for 30 years. It’s only getting worse.

Mercer Street Books has become a world-famous neighborhood bookstore

Odd Stuff

Last Convicted Salem ‘Witch’ Is Finally Cleared

An Update on a Previously Posted Story: Man Who Lost $180 Million Bitcoin Hard Drive 9 Years Ago Still Trying to Dig Through Trash – He’s not ready to give up.

Texas man who shot a woman in the neck is killed after bullet also hits him

Man trying to burn spider with lighter sparked Utah wildfire, police say

John Lennon’s Scathing Post-Beatles Breakup Letter to Paul McCartney Goes to Auction

Tarek Abi Samra on Stealing Kant From a Bookstore

“It has absolutely nothing going for it, except Satan.” Read James Baldwin on The Exorcist.

+These are the best lines from all the PRH-S&S antitrust trial erotic fiction on the internet.

Jigsaw Puzzles for Crime Fans

Amina Akhtar and Erin Mayer Talk Fashion and Murder

Artwork of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang invention has sold for £3500

French justice ministry under pressure to explain jail go-karting

‘Mutilated by rats,’ burned, trashed: 200 years of presidential papers lost

The Monkees’ Micky Dolenz Would Like a Word With the FBI

Great Moon Hoax of 1835 convinced the world of extraterrestrial life

A 1835 illustration in the New York Sun claimed to show animals on the moon, discovered by Sir John Herschel in his observatory at the Cape of Good Hope, and copied from sketches in the Edinburgh Journal of Science. New York Times

Words of the Month

learn (v.): Old English leornian “to get knowledge, be cultivated; study, read, think about,” from Proto-Germanic *lisnojanan (cognates: Old Frisian lernia, Middle Dutch leeren, Dutch leren, Old High German lernen, German lernen “to learn,” Gothic lais “I know”), with a base sense of “to follow or find the track,” from PIE root *lois “furrow, track.” It is related to German Gleis “track,” and to Old English læst “sole of the foot” (see last (n.1)).

From c. 1200 as “to hear of, ascertain.” Transitive use (He learned me (how) to read), now considered vulgar (except in reflexive expressions, I learn English), was acceptable from c. 1200 until early 19th C. It is preserved in past-participle adjective learned “having knowledge gained by study.” Old English also had læran “to teach” (see lere). (etymonline)

SPECTRE

Dum Dums hustle on Amazon costs family candy business millions

Amazon is diving deeper into health care. That’s raising eyebrows

+The books merger that’s all about Amazon | Commentary

Amazon Wants to Make TV Out of Your Front Yard

Uh Oh, Amazon Bought Your Favorite Robot Company

Amazon keeps growing, and so does its cache of data on you

007=’

Desmond Llewelyn’s James Bond archive sells for 15k

Watch the Lego store in London build a life size James Bond Aston Martin DB5

James Bond’s Tastes: ‘Goldfinger’

Why David Bowie Turned Down A Chance To Be A Bond Villain

Daniel Craig Learned A Painful Lesson On His First Day As James Bond

James Bond’s Dr No is getting Steelbook boxset for 60th anniversary

Bond films’ future secured after MGM and WB agree deal

Was Goldfinger’s Famous Gold Paint Scene Based on a Real-Life Incident?

Christopher Nolan Is Still The Best Director Choice For James Bond 26

Words of the Month

study (v.): Early 12th C., “to strive toward, devote oneself to, cultivate” (translating Latin occupatur), from Old French estudiier “to study, apply oneself, show zeal for; examine” (13th C., Modern French étudier), from Medieval Latin studiare, from Latin studium “study, application,” originally “eagerness,” from studere “to be diligent,” from PIE *(s)teu- (1) “to push, stick, knock, beat” (see steep (adj.)). The notion appears to be “pressing forward, thrusting toward,” hence “strive after.

From c. 1300 as “apply oneself to the acquisition of learning, pursue a formal course of study,” also “read a book or writings intently or meditatively.” From mid-14th C. as “reflect, muse, think, ponder.” Meaning “regard attentively” is from 1660s. (etymonline)

Awards

Tess Gunty has won the inaugural Waterstones debut fiction prize.

Book Stuff

The True Story Of The World’s Most Obsessive Book Collector

‘Heat 2’: Why Michael Mann’s Sequel to His Classic Crime-Movie Had to Be a Novel

Charity shop’s ‘donation of a lifetime’ with first edition Charles Dickens classic

Meet-Cute: Susan Coll on Falling In Love with (and at) a Bookstore

People of color driving rise of independent bookstores

What We Gain from a Good Bookstore

Ex-cop charged after fatally shooting another officer during training exercise at a DC library

Eight Courtroom Dramas That Leave Readers Reeling 

Uh-oh! Scientists have invented… augmented reality books.

Dollars, Cents, and Being Left With the Bill: Jillian Medoff on Breaking Up With Her Literary Agent

If You Want to Ruin Bookstores for Yourself, Become a Writer

Shelf Talkers: What They’re Reading at Brazos Bookstore in Houston, Texas

Hold the Backstory: Or, How To Open Your Novel with a Bang

Sara Paretsky: ‘The story of Joan of Arc made me long for a vision’

Pages Upon Pages: 5 Favorite Books-Within-Books

The Independent Bookstore, as Imagined by a Corporate Lobbyist

The Creative Life and Death of Bruce Montgomery, aka Edmund Crispin

Color Her Orange: Talking with Grace Ellis About Her New Graphic Novel Featuring Patricia Highsmith

A Reading List of Psychopathic Women

The World of Philo Vance, Spectator of Life (this is the introduction to the new edition of Van Dine’s The Benson Murder Case)

What Is Going On With Barnes & Noble?

Book Publishers Go to War With the Internet Archive 

A Reading List of Psychopathic Women

Darwin’s Lost Treasure, Found

Andrew Cuomo wins lawsuit over his $5 million book deal

Bad Blood: A poet is suing Taylor Swift for more than $1 million for copyright infringement.

On Crosswords and Crime Fiction

Hungry Like a Dog: James Ellroy Will Not Stop Being James Ellroy

The Dangers of the Open Road: 5 Key Works of Motorcycle Noir

On Maggie Bradbury, the woman who “changed literature forever.”

Good news for books: The Washington Post’s book section is back!

In “The Life of Crime,” Martin Edwards takes on the colorful history of the detective novel, and its enduring fascination.

Author Events (in person)

Sept.6: Craig Johnson signs his new Longmire, Third Place/LFP, 7pm

Other Forms of Entertainment

‘Irredeemable’ Batgirl movie unexpectedly cancelled despite being in final stages

The Truth Finally Comes Out About Why David Fincher’s Mission Impossible 3 Never Happened

Terrence Malick Is One Of The Unsung Heroes Behind Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry Role

10 Underappreciated American Neo-Noirs of the Early 1970s 

We’re getting a Keanu Reeves prestige TV series: Erik Larson’s Devil in the White City

How Quinn Martin and His Crime Shows Came to Dominate 1970s TV

French Connection‘s “Picking Your Feet In Poughkeepsie” Line Explained

Robert De Niro, Barry Levinson Team for Warner Bros. Gangster Drama ‘Wise Guys’

The Bourne Identity at 20: the surprise hit that changed action film-making

Rediscovering a Vanished Species: Half-Hour TV Mysteries

Remembering Harry O, The Seventies’ Second Best, Mostly Forgotten Private Eye Series (remembered fondly by JB!)

Enough James Bond. Give These Spy Books a Movie.

Steve Carell’s Understated Performance Kills in Serial-Murder Drama ‘The Patient’

Ryan Gosling in Talks to Join Margot Robbie in New ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ Movie

Confess, Fletch Trailer: Jon Hamm Takes Over The Troublesome Reporter Role From Chevy Chase

‘After Dark: Neo Noir Cinema’ Collects Memorable Noirs from the 90s

Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson’s Batman Sequel Is Officially
Moving Forward

The Big Sleep Was Smart To Cut A Major Humphrey Bogart Scene

Review: ‘Out Of The Blue’ Is A Film Noir With Ample Self-Awareness

Clue Drops Bodies in a New Animated Series

Steve Carell Led Series ‘The Patient’ is a Surprisingly Profound High Concept Thriller

Apple show halts production in Baltimore after shooting threat

10-hour marathon of rarities highlights Music Box film festival

Eddie Murphy’s ‘Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley’ Sets Cast

The Best Crime Shows Coming Out in September

Words of the Month

class (n.): c. 1600, “group of students,” in U.S. especially “number of pupils in a school or college of the same grade,” from French classe (14th C.), from Latin classis “a class, a division; army, fleet,” especially “any one of the six orders into which Servius Tullius divided the Roman people for the purpose of taxation;” traditionally originally “the people of Rome under arms” (a sense attested in English from 1650s), and thus akin to calare “to call (to arms),” from PIE root *kele- (2) “to shout.” In early use in English also in Latin form classis.

Meaning “an order or rank of persons, a number of persons having certain characteristics in common” is from 1660s. School and university sense of “course, lecture” (1650s) is from the notion of a form or lecture reserved to scholars who had attained a certain level. Natural history sense “group of related plants or animals” is from 1753. Meaning “high quality” is from 1874. Meaning “a division of society according to status” (with upper, lower, etc.) is from 1763. Class-consciousness (1903) is from German Klassenbewusst. (etymonline)

RIP

Sad note: we just learned that Seattle mystery writer Frederick D. Huebner died on December 31, 2019. He was a great writer, a great friend of the shop, and one of the very few people who ever bought one of JB’s paintings. Sorry we didn’t know it at the time to pay tribute then.

Aug. 1: Vadim Bakatin, last head of Soviet KGB, dies at 84

Aug. 6: Clu Gulager, Actor in ‘The Virginian,’ ‘The Last Picture Show’ and ‘Return of the Living Dead,’ Dies at 93 (he was also one of The Killers, the last movie of Ronald Reagan’s)

Aug. 7: Roger E. Mosley, Actor on ‘Magnum, P.I.,’ Dies at 83

Aug 8: David McCullough, award-winning author, has died at 89 (he was also the narrator of Ken Burns’ epic series “The Civil War”)

Aug. 10: Raymond Briggs, Beloved Author and Illustrator of ‘The Snowman,’ Dies at 88

Aug. 16: Wolfgang Petersen, German Commander of ‘Das Boot,’ ‘Air Force One,’ ‘In the Line of Fire,’ ‘Outbreak’, Dies at 81

Aug. 18: Andrew J. Maloney, Prosecutor Who Took Down John Gotti, Dies at 90

Aug. 23: Writer Michael Malone, 80, Dies of Pancreatic Cancer (great books – Uncivil Seasons, Handling Sin, Time’s Witness)

Aug. 29: Robert LuPone, “Sopranos” and Broadway Actor, Dead at 76

Links of Interest

July 31: Meet the Exotic Dancer Who Went Undercover to Take Down Domestic Terrorists

Aug. 1: Why Armstrong, Sinatra and Crosby all had mob connections: ‘Get yourself the biggest gangster’

Aug. 1: Have Scholars Finally Deciphered a Mysterious Ancient Script?

Aug. 1: Exclusive: 83-Year-Old Paroled for Starved Rock Murders Claims New DNA Results Prove His Innocence

Aug. 2: The Greatest True Spy Stories

Aug. 4: The Crime of My Life – A crime reporter turned his investigative skills toward an old family crime with deep contemporary relevance and finds himself implicated

Aug. 5: Crypto Company Offers Massive Bounty to “White Hat Hackers” After Giant Heist

Aug. 5: ‘Soon I Will Own You’: Inside the Wild Life of a Fake CIA Bro

Aug. 7: Learjets, Mistresses, and Bales of Weed: My Dad’s Life as a Drug Kingpin

Aug. 7: Ex-Scientologists Came Forward with Shocking Child Trafficking Claims. Now They Say They’re Being Stalked

Aug. 9: Drug Lord Mass-Killer ‘El Chueco’ Strikes Fear in Mexico’s Sierra Madre Mountains

Aug. 10: Realtor Accused of Trying to Put a Hit on Former Mother-in-Law Is in Hot Water Again

Aug. 10: After a career of cracking cold cases, investigator Paul Holes opens up

Aug. 10: Lake Mead’s bodies may be identified using genetic genealogy, a science redefining ‘unsolvable’

Aug. 11: Stolen €250,000 Gagliano violin, sold by thief for just €200, recovered by police 3 years later

Aug. 12: At What Point Do You Become a Money Launderer?

Aug. 15: Human remains reportedly found in suitcases bought at New Zealand auction

Aug. 15: Julian Assange lawyers sue CIA over alleged spying

Aug. 15: Stolen Picasso painting ‘worth millions of dollars’ found during drug raid, Iraqi authorities claim

Aug. 16: Two of New York’s Oldest Mafia Clans Charged in Money Laundering Scheme

Aug. 16: Using Fake Psychics, Brazilian Woman Allegedly Stole $142 Million Worth of Art

Aug. 18: Justice Department announces 3 men charged in Whitey Bulger’s killing

Aug. 18: Photographer Theo Wenner Spent Two Years Following Homicide Detectives in Brooklyn’s Most Dangerous District. Here’s What He Saw

Aug. 19: On the 1981 Wonderland Murders and the 2003 film that reconstructs its events

Aug. 22: France remembers De Gaulle’s close escape depicted in The Day of the Jackal

Aug. 24: Crowd-sourced detective work narrows window for disappearance of Winston Churchill portrait (it was replaced by a fake…)

Aug. 30: A Salem Witch Trials exhibit is coming to the New-York Historical Society

Aug. 31: Ruth Dickins was convicted of murder in 1948. A new book re-examines the case.

Aug. 31: New Exhibition Explores Three Generations Of Family Of Pulitzer Prize-Winning Writer John Hersey

Aug. 31: Utica Sculpture Residency Vandals Are Under the Age of 11, Police Say

Words of the Month

recess (n.): 1530s, “act of receding or going back or away” (a sense now obsolete), from Latin recessus “a going back, retreat,” from recessum, past participle of recedere “to go back, fall back; withdraw, depart, retire,” from re– “back” (see re-) + cedere “to go” (from PIE root *ked “to go, yield”).

Meaning “hidden or remote part” is recorded from 1610s; that of “period of stopping from usual work” is from 1620s, probably from parliamentary notion of “recessing” into private chambers. Meaning “place of retirement or seclusion” is from 1630s; that of “niche, receding space or inward indentation in a line of continuity” is from 1690s.(etymonline)

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

Nonna Maria and the Case of The Missing BrideLorenzo Carcaterra

I finished this book in a day. 

I tried so hard to take it slow, I swear! 

I gardened, did laundry, baked cookies, made the bed betwixt chapters…and yet, I still devoured the pages in less than twelve hours!

The thing is, Nonna Maria occupies the space between Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple. Driven by neither cold logic nor the belief in the baseness of people’s motivations — Nonna Maria serves at the pleasure of her fellow islanders. Intervening when asked, she combines island gossip, a decade’s worth of past experiences, and her own leg work to solve whatever problem presented to her — relying on a plethora of friends, a legion of family members, and occasionally the Carabinieri to catch the culprit (and have her back during perilous situations).

I know Barnes & Noble placed Nonna Maria in their cozy section. Probably because there’s not much in the way of on-stage bloodletting…However, there’s still plenty of death, thugs, threats, and mystery to satisfy any reader without relying on a shoehorned in themes like cats, gourds, cookies, Santa, quilting, dumplings, or crafting to generate interest in the story.

I cannot recommend Nonna Maria and the Case of The Missing Bride highly enough. Set in sun drenched Southern Italy, this mystery is everything I didn’t know I wanted to read over and over again this August!

Fran

Louise Penny isn’t afraid of tackling difficult subjects. She never has been, even before her collaboration with Hilary Rodham Clinton, about which I’ll write in another post.

But in The Madness of Crowds, she delves much deeper into a dark place that most of us would really rather avoid. I don’t want to get into specifics because of spoilers, but she taps into a collective awareness that no one wants to look at, but of which we have all glanced at.

All the regulars are back, and this is really not a stand alone. To get the full impact, you need to have read all the books that have come before, beginning with Still Life. There are new, compelling characters here, ones who will remain with you forever, and there are the ongoing delights. Rosa has expanded her vocabulary, and is teaching it to the children, much to their parents’ dismay. There is laughter and humor, compassion and passionate humanity, and all of it stems from people being people, in the best and worst possible ways.

I really cannot recommend Louise Penny’s writing strongly enough. They do need to be read in order, and once you have experienced the world of Three Pines, even if you’re not a fan of police procedurals, you’ll want to visit this village time and again, I promise.

JB

Finally, finally, after toooo many decades, I read Fredric Brown’s The Fabulous Clipjoint. Published in 1947 – and winning the very first Best Novel Edgar – it’s a lively and raucous story of a young man and his uncle who undertake an investigation into a murder – the young guy’s father and his uncle’s brother.

This is the first in a series to feature Ed and his uncle Am (short for Ambrose). Am is a carny and the pages are jammed with the hardboiled jargon of the late 40s AND carnival lingo. Am also makes for a good investigator. His years sizing up “marks” at the carny give him an edge when talking to those involved.

Here’s one line that I found particularly sharp. Uncle Am says to his nephew, “I’m not worried about going to hell, Ed, but I begrudge the money the ticket costs.”

A bonus is the introduction by Lawrence Block who takes you on a tour of his reading as a young man.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

A year or so before the shop closed, a man came in one afternoon and introduced himself: James Grady. Now, maybe you have to be a “certain age” to have reacted as Fran and I did. Six Days of the Condor was published in 1974, which means I probably read the paperback in 1975 when it came out. The movie version, Three Days of the Condor was released around the same time. I’d read a number of his books over the years, Old Dogs was one that stands out.

We chatted awhile and he explained that he had an idea for a thriller that took place on a train going from Seattle to Chicago and was in town to start his research. We talked about the long history of train mysteries and showed him our list in the Yellow Notebook that we refereed to when people came in asking for one. I kept my eyes alert for his book, and it’s out now.

James Grady’s This Train features an odd cast of characters who first see one another in the Seattle train station. At first, they’re “named” by their visual shorthand. As the trip progresses, you learn names and details. You can tell that some are a bit shady but, if you’ve been reading thrillers as long as I have, you know that anything is possible from any one character.

The fun, of course, is finding out who is who and if you’re suspicions were correct. You find that the short-hand descriptors from the start – the guy in the camel-colored cashmere coat or the young woman with the intense red hair – are also accurate descriptors of their personalities.

And then, or course, why are all of these people on this one train and what about the SWAT team, and the guy who always lugs around the beat-up satchel? Well, find out yourself. It’s a great ride!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This debut by Dwyer Murphy got great reviews. The New Yorker promoted it, and the cover carries a one-word rave by Walter Mosely. As a bonus, An Honest Living is billed as a bibliomystery and who isn’t looking for the next John Dunning? So I got a copy right away.

This is very much a New York Novel. The lawyer who narrates the story is certain to tell you what street he’s on, where he turns, where he eats or drinks, details about the neighborhoods, and so on. In that, it reminded me very much of the Scudder books by Lawrence Block. The City itself is a character.

The time frame was a bit puzzling. At one point, he looks someone up on-line and mentions Gawker – stopped publishing in 2016 but recently re-started- so I was unclear about when the book was set. Of course, that shouldn’t really matter, but when I first read that name it popped me out of the story. And that’s not a good thing.

And I can’t point to any good things. He writes well, the characters were interesting…

Overall, it was a very easy book to put down. I have no particular fascination for the minutia of NYC when it is a major component of the story. It read as if it was filler, in place of a plot – because the mystery, and the bibliomystery element, aren’t there. I don’t even think it is fair to call it a mystery for a number of reasons but I can’t tell you those and not ruin the story. Go ahead, give it a try.

Especially if you live in NYC…

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

AUGUST 2022

Man Who Accidentally Got Paid 330x His Salary Quits, Disappears

Hip, Woke, Cool: It’s All Fodder For the Oxford Dictionary of African American English

Love the Smell of Old Books? This Bookseller Would Like You to Leave.

Drool over the personal bookplates of 18 famous writers.

The Secrets of a Long-Overlooked Cipher Linked to Catherine of Aragon

After a local bookstore was scammed out of $35K their Detroit neighbors stepped in to save it

The Crypto Revolution Wants to Reimagine Books

Oakland librarian reflects on nearly 10 years of chronicling found objects

Mystery of Australia’s ‘Somerton Man’ solved after 70 years, researcher says

Rare 1952 Mickey Mantle baseball card going up for auction


After Selling for $43 million, Rare Copy of the Constitution Goes on Display

Teens who mostly read paper books are better readers, a recent study says.

Books and bouncy houses: How the Uvalde library is helping a broken community heal

Words of the Month

nonsense (n.) “that which is lacking in sense, language or words without meaning or conveying absurd or ridiculous ideas,” 1610s, from non “not” + sense (n.); perhaps influenced by French nonsens. Since mid-20th C., non-sense, with the hyphen, has been used to distinguish the meaning “that which is not sense, that which is different from sense,” not implying absurdity.

Serious Stuff

>Police Department Used Images of Black Men Holding Guns as Target Practice

*How To Directly Impact Democracy: Book Censorship News, July 1, 2022

*Who Controls What Books You Can Read?

*Pathetic Proud Boys Ruin Another Pride Month Event for Kids at Indiana Library

*Battle Over Sex and Gender in Books Divides a Texas Town

*All the Little Things You Lose in the Culture War

*Oklahoma Threatens Librarians: ‘Don’t Use the Word Abortion’

*School District Enacts One of ‘Strictest’ Book Bans Yet After Raucous Meeting

People Are Using AI to Generate Disturbing Kids’ Bedtime Stories

An Old Waterpark Could Be Mexico’s Largest Narco Mass Grave

Six Reasons the Murder Clearance Rate Is at an All-Time Low

Two men jailed for Molotov cocktail attack on Dutch journalist’s home

>Emmett Till’s Accuser Wrote A Secret Memoir!

>Emmett Till’s Chicago Home Will Be Preserved

>MS Police Chief Boasted “Shot That N-Word 119 Times,’ According To Leaked Recording

>Co-defendant in Central Park Five case to be exonerated

A Hacker Explains How to Shoplift

Rare medical book collection tracks tangled history of women’s health

28 Incarcerated Women Allege That Guards Allowed Male Inmates to Rape Them for $1000

Local Stuff

Do you recognize this woman? Mounties renew appeal to help ID woman found dead in Richmond marina (Vancouver Sun)

Lucinda Turner, who worked to combat illicit trade in Indigenous art, has died at 63

Planes, parachutes and armed robbery: Netflix take on the master criminal who became a folk hero (D.B. Cooper documentary)

From books to weddings and memorials, Island Books has served Mercer Island for nearly 50 years

D.B. Cooper, the changing nature of hijackings and the foundation for today’s airport security

The Outsider Journalist: The Story Behind a 70 Year Old Cold Case Murder and the Push for Alaska’s Statehood

Shelf Talkers: What Booksellers Are Reading at Third Place Book

Portland’s Books With Pictures named best comic shop in the world

Words of the Month

hooey (n.)“nonsense, foolishness,” 1922, American English slang, of unknown origin.

Odd Stuff

How TikTok Became a Bestseller Machine

As Watergate simmered, Nixon buckled down on a sportswriting project

Feds Nab Woman Who Tried to Rent a Hitman on RentAHitman.Com.

Dressed to Kill: A True Crime Collection of Criminal Clothing

A Judge Pulled a Gun in the Courtroom—and Then It Got Weird

How an Unqualified Sex Worker Allegedly Infiltrated a Top Air Force Lab

Million-Dollar Wine Heist Ends With Mexican Beauty Queen Arrested in Europe

The YouTuber making millions from true crime and make-up

FBI Comes Up Empty-Handed in Search for Jimmy Hoffa in New Jersey Landfill

How a Dick Pic Helped Detectives Crack a $30M Celebrity Diamond Heist

Alabama Officials Tell Reporter Her Skirt Is Too Short to View Inmate’s Execution

The Sinaloa Cartel Is Now Selling Tesla and Prada Branded Cocaine

Eadweard Muybridge: The Eccentric English Bookseller Who Created the First ‘Motion Picture’ Was Also a Murderer

The Collected Works of the Zodiac: Was the 1960s serial killer a frustrated author, desperate for his voice to be heard?

Codebreakers Find ‘Sexts,’ Arctic Dispatches in 200-Year-Old Encrypted Newspaper Ads

Literary-themed cruises with famous writers are apparently a thing now.

Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul Unveil Bronze Statues of ‘Breaking Bad’ Characters in Albuquerque

Words of the Month

twaddle (n.)“silly talk, prosy nonsense,” 1782, probably from twattle (1550s), of obscure origin.

SPECTRE

Security News This Week: Amazon Handed Ring Videos to Cops Without Warrants

Amazon Gave Ring Doorbell Videos to US Police 11 Times Without Permission

Fake online reviews lead shoppers to overpay, new study says

Amazon wants to be your doctor now, too

Amazon’s Dangerous Ambition to Dominate Healthcare [Time Magazine, no less]

Words of the Month

guff (n.)“empty talk, nonsense,” 1888, from earlier sense of “puff of air” (1825), of imitative origin.

Awards

Mick Herron wins crime novel of the year award for Slough House

Booker prize unveils book club challenge

2022 Booker prize longlist of 13 writers aged 20 to 87 announced

These 24 debuts just made the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize longlist.

Here’s the shortlist for the first Ursula K. Le Guin Fiction Prize.

Book Stuff

Writer’s Digest Best Writing Advice Websites For Writers 2022

Iowa City Public Library eliminates fines for overdue materials

HarperCollins Union Has Voted To Strike

Sotheby’s To Bring A Most Rare Shakespeare First Folio Under The Hammer In New York On July 21

PS: Rare original copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio sells for £2m ($2.4M US)

Irish writers dropped from UK school curriculum in move to increase diversity

Daphne du Maurier: Novelist who traced past to a French debtors’ jail

The New York Public Library Opens a ‘Virtual Branch’ on Instagram and Launches a Reading Recommendation Project Using Augmented Reality Technology

‘First modern novel – oldest language’: Sanskrit translation of Don Quixote rescued from oblivion

Collecting first-edition Beatrix Potter books

The Cult Classic That Captures the Grind of Dead-End Jobs

News From Nowhere: Inside Liverpool’s iconic radical bookshop

His First Novel Was a Critical Hit. Two Decades Later, He Rewrote It.

The Great Locked Room Mystery: My Top 10 Impossible Crimes

Tess Gerritsen: ‘There’s always comfort in Sherlock Holmes’

My First Thriller: Laura Lippman

Dana Canedy, Publisher of Simon & Schuster’s Flagship Imprint, Has Left the Job

London and the Long, Dark shadow of Charles Dickens

A copyright lawsuit threatens to kill free access to Internet Archive’s library of books

This Website Makes It Easy for You to Support Local Bookstores

Writer Gets Locked Out of Novel Draft by Chinese Word Processor for Illegal Content

From Mo Hayder: The Desert Brings Danger and Mystery in This First Look at The Book of Sand

The Bookseller Who Helped Transform Oxford, Mississippi

Little Essays on Sherlock Holmes: “The Engineer’s Thumb”

Book review by Joseph Kanon: A (dubious) suicide, a (possible) mole and an enduring CIA mystery

Ian Flemings ’13 Rules for life’ notebook sells for $52,500 [“Rule 13. Live until your dead.“]

A historic lesbian-owned queer bookstore is fighting to stay open.

21 Independent Bookstores to Browse in the DC Area 

Attention ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ fans: Rare Dr. Seuss collection coming to Columbia

With Violence All Around Us, What Does It Actually Mean For a Book To Be a Crime Novel?

Artist Barbara Bloom and Writer Ben Lerner Invent a New Kind of Book

How do you organize your books? 9 authors share their favorite shelves.

Vintage Typewriters Are Taken Apart and Reassembled Into Movable Bird Sculptures

How a Book Is Made – Ink, Paper and a 200,000-Pound Printer

Milton Propper: Scion and Imitator of the Golden Age Mystery, Pioneer of the Procedural

We Need to Reckon with the Rot at the Core of Publishing

Meet the People Behind Some of Today’s Best Small Publishers Specializing in Crime Fiction

From Duluth to Decatur these bookstores are helping in the fight for reproductive justice.

The Search for the Funniest Crime Novel Ever Written

Author Events

Aug. 3: Deborah Cuyle signs Murder and Mayhem in Spokane, Auntie’s 7pm

Aug. 4: Leah Sottile signs her Idaho true crime book, When the Moon Turns to Blood, Elliot Bay Books, 7pm

Aug. 9: Mercer Island author Mark Pawlosky signs Hack, Island Books 6pm

Aug. 13: 2 OR authors sign their new cozies from Kensington ~ Angela M. Sanders and Emmeline Duncan, University Books, 2pm

Aug. 19: Beverly Hodgins signs Mercy and Madness: Dr. Mary Archard Latham’s Tragic Fall From Female Physician to Felon!, Auntie’s 7pm

Aug. 23: Patricia Briggs signs her new Mercy Thompson, University Books 6pm

Aug. 23: Peter Blecha and Brad Holden sign Lost Roadhouses of Seattle, Third Place/Ravenna 7pm

An Interesting List That Mixes Books and Film

The 50 Greatest Fictional Deaths of All Time

Other Forms of Entertainment

True crime psychologist sharing insights with Central Illinois library-goers

‘Dark Winds’ Renewed for Season 2 at AMC

+Michael Mann Plans To Turn His Heat 2 Novel Into ‘One Large Movie’

+Why Marxist Heist Masterpiece ‘Thief’ Was James Caan’s Finest Work

+Inside Tokyo Vice, the Flat-Out Coolest Show of the Year

Daredevil’s Darker Tone Called For A Different Kind Of Superhero Costume

The 25 Best True-Crime Podcasts of All Time

7 Movies Depicting a “Perfect” Murder

Girl in the Picture review – the scale of the true-crime monstrosity will leave you reeling

All Agents Defect: Espionage in the Films of David Cronenberg

‘Almost mythical’ Michael Flatley thriller Blackbird gets September release; Lord of the Dance star ‘thrilled’ self-financed film finally being released four years after premiere

The ‘Butcher of Delhi’ Was One of the Most Savage Serial Killers in History. A New Netflix Series Dives Into His Twisted Mind.

‘Noir Alley’ host celebrates cinema’s double crosses and doomed characters

Tony Sirico Used to Direct His Sopranos Castmates, Whether They Liked It or Not

Is Christopher Nolan’s ‘Insomnia’ a Successful Remake?

Two Drivers Shooting at Each Other Crash Into Chicago Set of FX’s ‘Justified: City Primeval’

8 International Podcasts To Listen to This Summer

The HBO True Crime Series That Starts With an Exoneration—Then Gets Really Interesting

Five of the Best Unexpected Crime Movies of All-Time

Your Guide to the Best Crime Shows Coming Out This Month [published at the very end of July]

Deliverance at 50: a violent battle between urban and rural America

Jonathan Banks of ‘Better Call Saul’ explains Mike’s saving grace

Words of the Month

fiddlestick (n.): 15 C., originally “the bow of a fiddle,” from fiddle (n.) and stick (n.). Meaning “nonsense” (usually fiddlesticks) is from 1620s. As an exclamation, c. 1600.

RIP

July 1: Joe Turkel, the Bartender in ‘The Shining,’ Dies at 94

July 3: Novelist and former Guardian journalist Susie Steiner dies at 51

July 7: James Caan, Macho Leading Man of Hollywood, Dies at 82 [here’s a link to what we put up on the day of his death]

July 8: Tony Sirico, ‘The Sopranos’ Actor, Dies at 79

July 8: Larry Storch, Corporal Randolph Agarn on ‘F Troop,’ Dies at 99

July 9: L.Q. Jones, ‘Wild Bunch’ Actor and Member of Peckinpah’s Posse, Dies at 94

July 11: Bond theme composer Monty Norman dies aged 94

July 12: Frederick Nolan, thriller writer and publisher who became an authority on the American old west and Billy the Kid, was 91

July 21: Taurean Blacque, Det. Neal Washington on ‘Hill Street Blues,’ Dies at 82 [let’s be careful out there!]

July 23: William Richert, Writer-Director of ‘Winter Kills,’ Dies at 79

July 24: Bob Rafelson, Director of ‘Five Easy Pieces’ and Co-Creator of ‘The Monkees,’ Dies at 89

July 25: David Warner, Convincing Big-Screen Villain in ‘Time Bandits,’ ‘TRON’ and ‘Time After Time,’ investigator in ‘The Omen’, Dies at 80

July 25: Paul Sorvino, Actor in ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘That Championship Season,’ Dies at 83

July 27: Faye Marlowe, Actress in the Film Noir Classic ‘Hangover Square,’ Dies at 95

July 27: Stone Barrington novelist Stuart Woods dies at 84

July 28: Mary Alice, Actress in ‘Fences,’ ‘Sparkle’ and The Matrix Revolutions, Dies at 85

Links of Interest

July 3: Long-Lost Alexander Hamilton Letter to Marquis de Lafayette Discovered

July 5: Top secret D-Day map of Omaha Beach goes to Library of Congress.

July 9: Where Is Pete Panto? A union leader on the Brooklyn docks disappeared 81 years ago, presumably murdered by the mob.

July 12: Bombs, blackmail and wire-taps: how I spent my childhood on the run from the FBI

July 13: Prisoners of their own device? Men accused over theft of Hotel California manuscript

July 14: Man exonerated in Malcom X murder sues New York City for $40m

July 14: Roman Polanski rape case testimony can be unsealed, prosecutor says

July 14: ExCIA Hacker Convicted for ‘One of the Most Damaging Acts of Espionage in American History’

July 15: Mexico Captures Drug Lord Rafael Caro Quintero, Portrayed on ‘Narcos: Mexico’

July 15: New Report Shows Criminals Are Mixing Crypto Streams to Conceal Revenue

July 16: Crypto Founders Say It’s Not Their Fault They’re Enabling Ponzi Schemes

July 17: Millions in jewels stolen from armored truck outside LA

July 18: FBI Warns Fake Crypto Apps Are Stealing Millions

July 18: Inside the Stringer Bell Bandit’s Bank Heist Spree

July 19: Rhino Horns, Tiger Teeth and 6 Tonnes of Ivory Seized in $18M Record Bust

July 19: Italian police thwart illegal sale of Artemisia Gentileschi painting

July 19: ‘Law & Order: Organized Crime’ Crew Member Shot & Killed On Set Of NBC Drama

July 20: A discarded coffee cup may have just helped crack this decades-old murder case

July 20: How Professor Maynard Burned Down – The criminologist on trial for serial arson.

July 20: Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing, wanted for questioning over real-life killing

July 21: Thieves stole ‘Precious Blood’ relic. It reemerged at detective’s door.

?July 22: Rays’ Wander Franco Has $650K Worth of Jewelry Stolen from Car in Hotel Parking Lot [pardon the editorializing, but who needs that much jewelry, and who is dumb enough to leave it in a car?!?!?!]

July 22: Three Picasso artworks discovered in three months

July 22: A German Woman Turned Herself in for a Brazen Art Theft, but Claims She Lost the Painting

July 23: Woman sentenced to prison for collecting $400,000 in viral GoFundMe scam

July 25: Former GOP Congressman Made Hundreds of Thousands Off Insider Trading Scheme, Feds Say

July 25: She seemed like an elderly Sacramento landlady. Dorothea Puente was actually a serial killer.

July 25: French Authorities Detain Two Archaeologists, Including a Louvre Curator, as Part of an Ongoing International Art-Trafficking Dragnet

?July 25: NYPD: Preacher, Wife Robbed of $1M in Jewelry During Sermon [see July 22 – same questions]

July 27: KGB Photo Deepens Mystery of Texas Couple Who Stole Dead Babies’ Identities, Feds Say

July 27: Anti-Vaxxers Looking for Love Had Their Data Exposed

July 27: Third set of human remains found at Lake Mead amid drought, National Park Service says

July 28: Father of JonBenet Ramsey is pushing for new DNA testing

?July 29: Brooklyn Pastor Robbed of $1 Million in Jewelry Accused of Plundering Congregant’s $90,000 Retirement Fund [now watch – the crime reader in us wonders if he staged the robbery to collect on the insurance?]

July 29: California court upholds death penalty for notorious serial killer Charles Ng

Words of the Month

falderol (n.)also falderal, falderall, folderol, etc., 18th C. nonsense words from refrains of songs; meaning “gewgaw, trifle” is attested from 1820.

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

A Bride’s Guide to Marriage and Murder — Dianne Freeman

Familiarity breeds contempt…and when it’s your family?

Well…..

Things can get explosive.

And explode they do (though not literally). When a murder, accusations of infidelity, thugs, and rivalries all come to a head at and after France and George’s much-anticipated wedding.

Seriously, if your looking for a light-hearted historical murder mystery that never takes itself too seriously — the Countess of Harleigh Mystery series is the one for you! Freeman does an excellent job of blending the time period, manners, and societal rules into an excessively readable mystery.

What I love the most about the Countess of Harleigh Mysteries (BTW – Frances is said Countess) is their funny. Not a slap you on the back hardy-har-har kind but wry, sly, and observational humor that one can relate to – especially if you’ve ever tried planning a wedding with the “help” of your family and/or in-laws.

Now, you don’t need to read them in order….However, there are only four predecessors, so starting at numero uno, A Lady’s Guide To Etiquette and Murder isn’t too much of a stretch, and hopefully, you’ll laugh (or at least smile) as much as I did whilst turning the pages.

Fran

Okay, so hear me out

I don’t have a review, but I have a really good explanation. A couple of ’em, if I’m being honest. And one is legit book stuff!

The mother of a dear friend of mine passed away, and she lived near me. Her son and his wife, both of whom are great friends of mine, asked me to assess her books to see if there was anything worthwhile in there. We all figured probably not, but hey, you never know, right? And she was a pack rat, as was her late husband, so treasures were possible.

There were a couple of catches. One was that she lived near where we had originally moved to in New Mexico, which is now an hour away from where I now live, but is certainly much closer than the five hours away where Bill and Kate live. I have time and am certainly willing to help, so that was just a minor thing.

The bigger issue is that, while I’m pretty good at mysteries, I’m not so well versed at Southwestern history.


Like not at all. And it’s been educational.

There have been books, and pamphlets, and cookbooks, and all manner of things. Including Hillermans and Jances, which were easy enough. But mostly it was Southwestern stuff.

Boxes and boxes of books. It’s kept me busy, and it’s been immense fun.

But that’s why I haven’t reviewed anything.

Well, that and the fact that I’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. But that’s not really a good reason. Assessing books, however, really is.

I’m going to try to have a review next month, but I’m planning on putting these books up for sale, and honestly, that may take a lot of time, so we’ll see what next month brings.

Oh, but it’s exciting!

JB

After catching up on my Haller, Bosch, and Ballard, I picked up another from my always growing To Be Read Pile – Stephen Hunter’s Game of Snipers from 2019. Burned through it in two days, as one does with a thriller of this quality (please note I chose to not writer “of this calibre”. Swagger books are reliable fun. I don’t know about anyone else, but I skip over the nitty-gritty details of the guns in play and stick with the action. This one is as if one put the Day of the Jackal in the US with Swagger part of the team hunting the sniper. And thanks to David G. for keeping me supplied!

We’ve been watching a number of series that I’d recommend: “Dark Wind”, the adaptation of Tony Hillerman’s The Listening Woman, “Reservation Dogs”, “Obi-Wan Kenobi” with a wonderfully guilt-ridden Obi-Wan, “DB Cooper Where Are You”, and “Under the Banner of Heaven”. After watching that, I bought a copy of Jon Krakauer’s book on which it was based and burned through it. First of all, the series is quite accurate when it says “inspired” by the book. While the series is a good police procedural, it is largely fiction. Written in 2003, it is a deep dive into the Mormon faith and the fundamentalist offshoots. True it does center around a vicious double murder but it really is about people blinded by their faith and incapable or unwilling to look at the real world before them. While Krakauer does make a few faint parallels to Isis and other foreign “tribes”, the book felt more relevant to me when matched to Trumpism, and the true believers who know that they know to be truth and everyone else is just wrong.

This being the 50th Anniversary year of Watergate, I’ve read four books on that “event”- that period is better. In 2012, Lamar Waldron released his mammoth, 808 page Watergate: The Hidden History. It’s a deep dive into the subject. Then, in 2013 came Phil Stanford’s slim trade paperback White House Call Girl: The Real Watergate Story. Earlier this year, Garrett M. Graff’s Watergate: A New History was released. It was just under the page count of Waldron’s. I wrote about both of those in an earlier newzine. [If you want to read just one, read Waldron’s. And then read Graff’s!]

Now, what I expect to be the last “major” book on Watergate (at least this year) is out: Jefferson Morley’s Scorpion’s Dance. I’d looked forward to this, as I thought his book on James Jesus Angleton, The Ghost, was quite good. But I found this book focusing on the lethal dance between President Nixon and CIA Chief Richard Helms to be oddly light. I suppose I was expecting something of the heft of Waldron’s or Graff’s and I found it short on depth. For instance, during the heat of August 1973, he glides over the details of the Saturday Night Massacre in one small paragraph and doesn’t use that weighted term. I certainly followed along because I knew the details and was hoping for new revelations. There was little of it. I would not recommend this to someone not familiar with that crucial and sordid history.

Yet there were a few bits new to me that I found interesting:

~ After his arrest, James McCord directed his wife and a neighbor, who was also a CIA officer, to burn papers and copies of transcripts of the DNC wiretaps. The damper in the fire place was closed, they filled the house with smoke, and had to explain what was going on to the fire department.

~ He never points to a specific rationale for the Watergate break-ins, but does repeatedly write about the salacious recordings that the bugs provided. It is the supposition of some – like Stanford – that a call girl ring was being run out of the DNC office and the bugs were to get dirt on the Dems. Indeed, the office of Larry O’Brien, the head of the DNC, never was bugged.

~Helms quoted a Nixonian threat as having a “devious, hard-nosed smell”

~ Sometimes it is just the way he phrases things: “In this perilous situation, Helms had one advantage that Nixon did not. For the president, it was illegal to conceal of destroy material evidence, suborn witnesses, or dissemble to law enforcement. Helms, not so much… As CIA director, Helms had discretion to hide certain activities from law enforcement. As the duly sworn president, Nixon did not. And that would make all the difference in determining who would fall first.”

~ I had not known that like JFK, LBJ, and Nixon, Helms had recording equipment in his office. Those recordings and transcripts were destroyed damn fast. Likewise, the day after Nixon’s resignation, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who had been recording and transcribing their meetings since the end of WWII, destroyed all of those records.

~ After his fall, Helms was stunned by how Washington had deserted him. “‘ It was unthinkable that the Establishment would turn against Dick Helms’… He could not understand with all these powerful friends and with all these connections and with all these people who he had helped and become socially close to them and that retained positions of influence and power, that this could nonetheless be done to him…” This brought to mind the disbelief in the intelligence world after Philby defected to the Soviets. He was one of them, he was from their schools, they socialized and ate dinner and drank in the same clubs – this “Old Boy” network was the rot at the center of the post-war Free World. Those who belonged to it were deluded and took us down with them.

~ At Helms’ sentencing, the judge threw down the wrath of the bench at him: “If public officials embark deliberately on a course to disobey and ignore the laws of our land because of some misguided and ill-conceived notion and belief that there are earlier commitments and considerations which they must first observe, the future of our country is in jeopardy.”

What would that Judge, Barrington Parker, an African-American Republican appointed by Nixon, think of January 6th and The Big Lie that won’t die????

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

May Day May Day ~ 2022

These green books are poisonous—and one may be on a shelf near you

Words of the Month

astonish (v.): c. 1300, astonien, “to stun, strike senseless,” from Old French estoner “to stun, daze, deafen, astound,” from Vulgar Latin *extonare, from Latin ex “out” (see ex-) + tonare “to thunder” (see thunder (n.)); so, literally “to leave someone thunderstruck.” The modern form (influenced by English verbs in -ish, such as distinguish, diminish) is attested from 1520s. The meaning “amaze, shock with wonder” is from 1610s. (etymonline)

Watch for this new documentary, “Hello, Bookstore”

Want to See the Weirdest of Wikipedia? Look No Further.

Debunking the Mechanical Turk Helped Set Edgar Allan Poe on the Path to Mystery Writing

Scottish university cruelly cancels poor, defenseless, under-read Jane Austen. England panics.

Turns out, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote an episode of Veronica Mars.

One of the greatest legacies left by “The Godfather” was basic instructions on how to make dinner

In California, you can borrow state park passes from your local library

Earliest evidence of Maya calendar found inside Guatemalan pyramid

Scientists find earliest record of aurora in ancient Chinese chronicle

A Mysterious Sarcophagus Discovered Beneath Notre-Dame Will Soon Be Opened

An Inside Look at Judith Jones’ First Notes for Julia Child

Rare proof sheets of first Harry Potter book expected to sell for £20,000

‘We got a kick out of it’: art forgers reveal secrets of paintings that fooled experts

Original Death of Superman Artwork Sells for Over Half a Million at Auction

Man Upset Over ‘Gay’ Superman Accused of Terrorizing ‘Woke’ Companies

‘Captain America Comics’ No. 1 Sells for $3.1M

1941 creation by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, first appearance of Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes and the Red Skull

Words of the Month

confound (v.) c. 1300, “to condemn, curse,” also “to destroy utterly;” from Anglo-French confoundre, Old French confondre (12th C.) “crush, ruin, disgrace, throw into disorder,” from Latin confundere “to confuse, jumble together, bring into disorder,” especially of the mind or senses, “disconcert, perplex,” properly “to pour, mingle, or mix together,” from assimilated form of com “together” (see con-) + fundere “to pour” (from nasalized form of PIE root *gheu- “to pour”).

From mid-14th C. as “to put to shame, disgrace.” The figurative sense of “confuse the mind, perplex” emerged in Latin, passed into French and thence to English by late 14th C. The Latin past participle confusus, meanwhile, became confused (q.v.). The meaning “treat or regard erroneously as identical” is from 1580s.

confounded (adj.) as an intensive execration, “odious, detestable, damned,” 1650s, past-participle adjective from confound in its older sense of “condemn, curse,” which came to be considered “a milder form of imprecation” [OED]. It is perhaps a euphemism for damned. The sense of “put to mental confusion” is recorded from mid-14th C. [etymonline]

Serious Stuff

:A Ukrainian book publisher is collecting donations to get books to refugee kids.

Waterstones launches scheme to raise £1m for Ukraine

:Russian Nobel-winning editor says he was attacked with red paint

:US Government Disrupts Botnet Controlled by Russian Government Hackers

:Tchaikovsky’s house destroyed by Russian army in north-east Ukraine

:Finnish customs seizes millions of dollars’ worth of artwork headed to Russia

:Finland Returns $46 M. In Detained Artwork to Russia, as France Continues To Hold Russian Paintings

:Navalny review – extraordinary documentary about the attempt to kill Putin’s rival

:Why Putin Is Itching to Get His Hands on This Ex-American Banker

>Book Banning Efforts Surged in 2021. These Titles Were the Most Targeted.

>Democrats must hit back hard at GOP book bans. Here’s a start

>More books are banned than ever before, as Congress takes on the issue [oh good, we’re saved...]

>New York Public Library makes banned books available for free

>The Brooklyn Public Library is giving eCards to teens nationwide to challenge book bans

>Banned Books Are About to Be the New Pussy Hats

>‘Out of touch’: children’s authors describe increasing censorship of books on diversity

>Censorship battles’ new frontier: Your public library

>Florida rejects 54 math books, claiming critical race theory appeared in some

>Oklahoma library cancels adult romance book club after board bans sexual content

>Oklahoma public library’s sexual content ban also cuts abuse prevention program and Pride displays

>Llano County faces federal lawsuit over censorship in library system

>California Man Arrested for Alleged Threats to ‘Shoot Up’ Merriam-Webster for Defining ‘Woman’

>GOP Tennessee lawmaker suggests burning inappropriate books

>Florida activist seeks to ban Bible from schools for being too ‘woke

>Tennessee Republican says he would ‘burn’ books censored by bill

>Whitman’s ‘Leaves of Grass’ was banned — and cost him his federal job

The Female Spies Who Helped Win World War II

Two men arrested after targeting Secret Service agents in influence operation

Canadian government introduces legislation to force online giants to compensate news outlets

What We Get Dangerously Wrong About Psychopaths

A Driver Took Her Final Photo. Now She’s on a Long List of Missing Women.

Son of novelist Paul Auster charged with homicide over baby daughter’s fatal overdose on heroin and fentanyl

Son of acclaimed author Paul Auster dies of overdose while awaiting trial for daughter’s death

Newly formed board to review Civil Rights-era cold cases faces time crunch

Abraham Bolden: Ex-Secret Service agent pardoned by Biden [for a fuller account of Bolden’s case]

He caught the Golden State Killer, but the obsession took a toll [see signings!]

Report: Hackers Have Been Sexually Extorting Kids With Data Stolen From Tech Giants

Local Stuff

First missing, murdered indigenous alert system created in U.S.

Oregon Bandits on the Run With $1 Million in Stolen Fake Cash

Iowa survivalist who faked death to avoid trial arrested in Washington state

The Oregonian: ‘Threat Dictionary’ showcases power of words and how they’re used to spread, combat fear

Local author’s ‘Skid Road’ is a look at Seattle’s homeless past

Beachcomber stumbles across body partially buried in the sand near Lincoln City

Vancouver’s Black Dog Video closing for good

Melvin ‘Pete’ Mark’s heralded collection, featured at Oregon Historical Society, goes to auction

Lateness, Cursing, a Broken Sink: Starbucks Keeps Firing Pro-Union Employees

Very Oregonized Crimes ~An atlas of Oregon crime fiction.

My First Thriller: Robert Dugoni

The Oregon literary community is pissed off about poet Carl Adamshick’s $10,000 fellowship.

Words of the Month

confusion (n.) c. 1300, confusioun, “overthrow, ruin,” from Old French confusion “disorder, confusion, shame” (11th C.) and directly from Latin confusionem (nominative confusio) “a mingling, mixing, blending; confusion, disorder,” noun of action from past-participle stem of confundere “to pour together,” also “to confuse” (see confound).

Meaning “act of mingling together two or more things or notions properly separate” is from mid-14th C. Sense of “a putting to shame, perturbation of the mind” (a sort of mental “overthrow”) is from c. 1400 in English, while that of “mental perplexity, state of having indistinct ideas” is from 1590s. Meaning “state of being mixed together,” literally or figuratively, “a disorderly mingling” is from late 14th C.

confuse (v.) From the 1550s in a literal sense “mix or mingle things or ideas so as to render the elements indistinguishable;” from mid-18th C. in the active, figurative sense of “perplex the mind or ideas of, discomfit in mind or feeling,” but not in general use until after c. 1800. From 1862 as “erroneously regard as identical.” It took over these senses from its older doublet, confound (q.v.).

The past participle confused (q.v.) is attested much earlier, in Middle English (serving as an alternative past tense to confound), evidently an adaptation of Old French confus or Latin confusus, “with the native ppl. ending -ED and the present stem a much later inference from it” [OED]. (etymonline)

Odd Stuff

QAnon Surfer Who Killed His Kids Was Radicalized by Lizard People Conspiracies

In Minnie Mouse’s Dress, Right Wingers See a Penis — and a LGBTQ Conspiracy

David Mamet Comes Out as Right-Wing Culture Warrior, Claims Teachers Are Inclined to Pedophilia

Man Inspired by QAnon and Hopped Up on Caffeine Purposefully Derailed Train

Gender-Neutral Words Like ‘People’ and ‘Person’ Are Perceived as Male, Study Suggests

Shelf-promotion: the art of furnishing rooms with books you haven’t read

Goldfinger Onesie, anyone? Yours for only $545! Not the one from the movie…

Sinaloa Cartel Suspect Arrested in Colombia Thanks to His Date’s Facebook Pics

Twice Accused of Murder, This Writer Later Foresaw the Sinking of the Titanic

He Created the First Known Movie. Then He Vanished.

D.C. police arrest seven people found with dog taken in armed robbery

The Business of Fake Martian Dirt Is Blasting Off

A New Electronic Nose May Help Sniff Out Counterfeit Whiskey

The CIA’s ‘Torture Queen’ Is Now a Life Coach Hawking Beauty Products

Two Charged After Pet Duck Helps Solve Murder Mystery

The One American Serial Killer Whose Star Won’t Stop Rising

Walter Sickert review – serial killer, fantasist or self-hater? This hellish, brilliant show only leaves questions

Anglo-Saxon kings were mostly veggie but peasants treated them to huge barbecues, new study argues

Words of the Month

puzzle (v.) 1590s, pusle “bewilder, confound, perplex with difficult problems or questions,” possibly frequentative of pose (v.) in obsolete sense of “perplex” (compare nuzzle from nose). To puzzle (something) out “resolve or discover by long cogitation or careful investigation” is by 1781. Puzzling (adj.) “bewildering, perplexing,” is from the 1660s. Bepuzzle (v.), to “perplex,” from the 1590s, from be- + puzzle. (etymonline)

SPECTRE

Amazon plans to block words including “union,” “ethics,” and “restroom” from its employee chat app

Amazon Discussed Banning the Words “Fairness” and “Pay Raise”

>A Cinderella Story: How Staten Island Amazon Workers Won Against the Multi-Billion-Dollar Company

>He was fired by Amazon 2 years ago. Now he’s the force behind the company’s 1st union

>Amazon seeks to undo Staten Island union victory

Delivery company files class action on behalf of 2,500 Amazon-branded partners

Working at an Amazon Warehouse Got Even More Dangerous in 2021

Amazon CEO Blames New Workers for the Company’s High Injury Rate

How Barnes & Noble Went From Villain to Hero

What You Don’t Know About Amazon

From Amazon to Apple, tech giants turn to old-school union-busting

9 Ways to Imagine Jeff Bezos’ Wealth (a visual presentation, best viewed seated)

Words of the Month

boggle (v.): 1590s, “to start with fright (as a startled horse does), shy, take alarm,” from Middle English bugge “specter” (among other things, supposed to scare horses at night); see bug (n.); also compare bogey (n.1), boggart. The meaning ” hesitate, stop as if afraid to proceed in fear of unforeseen difficulties” is from 1630s; that of “confound, cause to hesitate” is from 1640s. As a noun from 1650s. Related: Boggled; boggling; boggler (from c. 1600 as “one who hesitates”). [etymonline]

Awards

Rabih Alameddine takes home the 2022 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

Announcing the winners of the 2022 Whiting Awards.

This year’s International Booker Prize shortlist is led by women

38th annual B.C. and Yukon Book Prizes shortlist announced

Vancouver poet makes short list for top Griffin poetry prize

The winner of this year’s Story Prize is Brandon Taylor’s Filthy Animals

The National Book Foundation has announced this year’s 5 Under 35

Here’s the very first Chowdhury Prize in Literature winner.

Lauren Groff has won the 2022 Joyce Carol Oates Prize.

Interview: Evelyn Araluen wins $60,000 Stella prize: ‘I was one paycheck away from complete poverty’

Women’s Prize for Literature Shortlist showcases global talent

Here are the winners of the 2022-2023 Rome Prize in literature.

Here are the winners of this year’s LA Times Book Prizes.

Book Stuff

Remembrance of Bookstores Past

‘Stolen’ Charles Darwin notebooks left on library floor in pink gift bag

The Library Ends Late Fees, and the Treasures Roll In

What Kind of Bookstore Browser Are You? We booksellers have seen it all.

Why a Bookstore’s Most Quiet Moments Are (Sometimes) Its Most Important

Tokyo’s Manuscript Writing Cafe won’t let you leave until you finish your novel

Why the Color Red Carries so Much Weight in Film and Literature

Gillian Flynn’s Anti-Heroines And The Dark Side of Feminism

Brandon Sanderson’s Record-Breaking Kickstarter Is the Exception, Not the Rule

Ebook Services Are Bringing Unhinged Conspiracy Books into Public Libraries

The book that sank on the Titanic and burned in the Blitz

Interview: Don Winslow ~ ‘I’m a cupcake. I certainly couldn’t be a leg-breaker’

Dope: On George Cain, New York City, and Blueschild Baby

A Treasured Mumbai Bookstore’s Colorful Makeover, and Other News

On the (Secret) Crime Novels of E.L. Doctorow

Lost Charlotte Brontë Manuscript Sells for $1.25 Million

Holocaust Survivors Ask Israel Museum to Return One-of-a-Kind Haggadah

The Charming Mid-Century Murder Mysteries and Rich Interior Life of Edith Howie

UK publishers take £6.7bn in sales as TikTok crazes fuel purchases

Waterstones launches scheme to raise £1m for Ukraine

‘I can’t leave all 10,000 to my son’: the bookshop selling one man’s lifetime collection

Interview: Stella Rimington: ‘I fell into intelligence by chance’

Library of Congress Acquires Neil Simon’s Papers and Manuscripts

Four times more male characters in literature than female, research suggests

Why is the second hand book business booming?

Dispatches from this year’s New York International Antiquarian Book Fair

Why the Mystery Novel Is a Perfect Literary Form

Don Winslow on New England Roots, Greek Poetry, and Clams in Broth

How Dorothy B. Hughes’ In a Lonely Place Brought a New, Disturbing Kind of Noir to the Postwar American Experience

Lost and Found: Rediscovering E.C.R. Lorac’s Two-Way Murder  

6 Thrillers That Will Fool the Most Seasoned Readers

The State of the Crime Novel: A Roundtable With The Edgar Nominees Edgar Awards Nominees Reflect On How The Pandemic Has Changed Their Writing Lives

The State of the Crime Novel in 2022, Part 2: Genre, Publishing, and What to Read Next

Famous first lines, rewritten with a thesaurus.

Find books set in your hometown with this neat tool

Industry trend? Jon McGregor just did his book tour by bicycle.

In-Person Author Events

May 3: Seanan McGuire, University Bookstore, 6pm

May 4: : Paul Holes, Powell’s, 7pm

May 17: Christopher Moore, Powell’s, 7pm

May 18: Christopher Moore, Third Place Books/LFP, 7pm

May 23: Adrian McKinty, Third Place Books/LFP, 7pm

Other Forms of Entertainment

Sherlock Holmes May Be Coming to Streaming Thanks to Robert Downey Jr.

Mugshots of the Real Peaky Blinders

Bruce Willis’s Minimalist Star Power

15 years ago, Tarantino released his worst movie — with the most incredible stunts

Jason Isaacs: ‘Daniel Craig is more comfortable naked than with clothes on’

A Rage in Harlem by Chester Himes audiobook review – vintage crooks and conmen (read by Samuel L. Jackson)

My streaming gem: why you should watch Scarlet Street

“Operation Mincemeat”: the startling story of deception that fooled Hitler and helped win the war

Operation Mincemeat’: The Welsh drifter who helped end WW2

Harrison Ford Didn’t Do It

Serial-Killer Clown John Wayne Gacy Speaks in New Docuseries

~Peter Berg on Being Linda Fiorentino’s Sex Toy

~Kathleen Turner Made the Modern Femme Fatale

‘Killing Eve’ EP Sally Woodward Gentle on How Going With Her Gut Shaped Four Seasons and a Finale

Podcast: Run, Bambi, Run Profiles Playboy Bunny Turned Milwaukee Police Officer Turned Killer

Looking back on one of the scariest serial-killer films ever made, 10 Rillington Place

Hugh Laurie brings Agatha Christie murder-mystery to TV [his favourite, Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?]

On the Genuine Delights of Hugh Laurie’s Murder Mystery Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?

The Hound of the Baskervilles review – tongue-in-cheek sleuthing

= David Simon, Jon Bernthal and the Makers of HBO’s ‘We Own This City’ on Dirty Cops, the Drug War and the Legacy of ‘The Wire’

=‘We Own This City’ Brings George Pelecanos Back to Baltimore

Sam Peckinpah’s ‘The Osterman Weekend’ Finally Comes Home

‘Villanelle will be back!’ Killing Eve’s author speaks out over the catastrophic TV finale

‘Shining Girls’: Elisabeth Moss Tracks a Time-Traveling Serial Killer

‘The Offer’ review – the making of The Godfather makes for hit-and-miss TV

Thomas Perry’s The Old Man comes to TV staring Jeff Bridges on June 16

The True Story Behind ‘The Untouchables’

Insiders Call B.S. on ‘Tokyo Vice’ Backstory

James Patterson: “The Hollywood adaptations of my books suck”

Words of the Month

amaze (v.)”overwhelm or confound with sudden surprise or wonder,” 1580s, back-formation from Middle English amased “stunned, dazed, bewildered,” (late 14th C.), earlier “stupefied, irrational, foolish” (c. 1200), from Old English amasod, from a- (1), probably used here as an intensive prefix, + *mæs (see maze). Related: Amazed; amazing. (etymonline)

RIP

A farewell to long-time customer John Cunningham who died March 2, 2022

Mar. 30: Paul Herman Dies: ‘The Sopranos’, ‘Goodfellas’ Actor Was 76

April 2: Thomas F. Staley, Dogged Pursuer of Literary Archives, Dies at 86

April 5: Alan J. Hruska, a Founder of Soho Press, Dies at 88

April 6: Nehemiah Persoff Dies: Prolific Actor Of ‘Yentl’, ‘The Twilight Zone’, ‘Gunsmoke’ & Many More Was 102 (he was in EVERY crime show in the 60s, probably more than once!)

April 10: Bestselling author Jack Higgins dead at 92

April 9: Mimi Reinhard, secretary who typed ‘Schindler’s List,’ dies at 107

April 14: Letizia Battaglia, pioneer photographer who defied the Mafia, dead at 87

April 1`5: Christopher Coover, Auction Expert in the Printed Word, Dies at 72

April 30: Neal Adams death: Batman comic artist dies, aged 80

Links of Interest

Mar. 31: This Father-Son Team Helps People Brute-Force Their Lost Bitcoin Wallet Passwords

Mar. 31: St. Louis’ Murder Total Has Fallen, but Some Killings Went Uncounted

Mar. 31: More Than a Dozen Antiquities Linked to Disgraced Dealer Seized from Yale’s Art Gallery

April 2: Jack Ruby Is the Key to the Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy Theories. So Why Have We Forgotten About His Trial?

April 2: Man Sentenced to 650 Years in Prison in Brutal 1980s Sex Crimes

April 2: Did Body Found on Somerton Beach Belong to Cold War Spy?

April 5: Mob Hit Man Who Escaped as Sentence Neared Its End Is Recaptured

April 5: Hackers Hijacked Crypto Wallets With Stolen MailChimp Data

April 5: The novelist who wrote “How to Murder Your Husband” is now on trial for murdering her husband.

April 6: Investigating the Cold Case That Inspired ‘Twin Peaks

April 7: Yakuza Boss Bagged at Steakhouse in Rockets-for-Heroin Plot

April 8: Alex Jones Accused of ‘Jaw-Dropping’ Scheme to Hide Money From Sandy Hook Families

April 8: Former Goldman Sachs banker found guilty in 1MDB scheme

April 8: D.C. Man Pleads Guilty to Attempting to Steal More than $31 Million in COVID-19 Funds

April 8: Cops Nab Five Alleged Ringleaders of Scam-Filled Assassin Marketplace on Dark Web

April 9: Florida Man Stole Almost $600K in Crypto While Setting Up Security System: Cops

April 10: Man Finds “Priceless” Napoleon Memorabilia Stolen in Museum Heist — on eBay

April 11: Police Discover More Than 1,000 Stuffed Wild Animals in Giant Taxidermy Bust

April 12: Aides to Texas County Judge Indicted in $11M Vaccine Contract Scandal

April 12: Law Enforcement Seizes RaidForums, One of the Most Important Hacking Sites

April 13: Gangs are following and robbing LA’s wealthiest, LAPD says

April 13: US federal alert warns of the discovery of malicious cyber tools

April 14: Coca-Cola Enterprises boss admits taking £1.5m in bribes

April 14: Meet the Blockchain Detectives Who Track Crypto’s Hackers and Scammers

April 14: One hundred years ago, the British spy was caught in what appears to be the Irish Republican Army’s only authorized attack on American soil

April 15: QAnon Leaders Push Followers Into Multi-Level Marketing

April 15: How Cryptocurrency Gave Birth to the Ransomware Epidemic

April 15: ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ Is Changing His Tune on Crypto

April 16: How An Alleged Rapist And Former Twitch Streamer Helped Build An NFT Startup By Hiding Behind A Pseudonym

April 20: Cops Arrest COVID-19 Vaccine Scammer With ‘Top Secret’ Clearance Hookup

April 20: He Was a Penniless Donor to the Far Right. He Was Also a Russian Spy.

April 21: Shiba Inu Memecoin Launches Metaverse, Someone Creates Swastika Immediately

April 21: Supreme Court ruling aids family seeking return of painting confiscated by Nazis

April 21: After Pardon for Bannon, 2 Admit Bilking Donors to Border Wall

April 22: EXCLUSIVE – Washington man arrested for impersonating agent left trail of defaults and debt

April 22: Jeffrey Epstein, a Rare Cello and an Enduring Mystery

April 23: U.S. hasn’t stopped N. Korean gang from laundering its crypto haul

April 28: Ten men from same family arrested in Amsterdam for money laundering

April 28: Meta Found Snooping on Student Aid Applicants

April 29: Val Broeksmit, Deutsche Bank, and the Birth of a New Conspiracy Theory

April 29: Cops Kill Man Over Stolen Pokemon Cards in Target Parking Lot

Words of the Month

bamboozle (v.) “to cheat, trick, swindle,” 1703, originally a slang or cant word, of unknown origin. Perhaps Scottish from bombaze, bumbaze “confound, perplex,” or related to bombast, or related to French embabouiner “to make a fool (literally ‘baboon’) of.” Wedgwood suggests Italian bambolo, bamboccio, bambocciolo “a young babe,” extended by metonymy to mean “an old dotard or babish gull.” Related: Bamboozled; bamboozler; bamboozling. As a noun from 1703. (etymonline)

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

Murder Maps: Crime Scenes Revisited 1811 – 1911 — Dr. Drew Gray

There are many reasons why Murder Maps makes an excellent read. One of which is the selection of crimes featured in the book. Namely, most cases highlight a new forensic technique, first conviction using said technique, and/or new methodology police use to catch the perpetrator. We take techniques like fingerprinting, crime scene photography, and criminal profiling for granted – however, they aren’t nearly as old as one might think!

The second reason why I loved reading this book was the crimes Dr. Grey decided to detail. Of course, the covered period 1811 – 1911 includes the notorious crimes of H.H. Holmes, Crippen, and Jack the Ripper. However, rather than sticking to the stock descriptions of these heinous crimes, Dr. Grey includes often overlooked details. Including the five other possible victims of Jack the Ripper, the pioneering techniques the police used during the Ripper’s spree, and their failures.

Besides coving the most notorious crimes and culprits, Murder Maps also includes all kinds of other murders, including examples I’ve read repeatedly in fiction but never imagined having a real-life counterpart! Such as this old trope: an innocent actor unwittingly wields a real weapon instead of a prop and kills a fellow actor while on stage during a performance….

Speaking of the crimes detailed in Murder Maps, it reminds me of one of my favorite podcasts, The True Crime Files. The book gives you just enough details of the crime: who the victims were, where it took place, if/how it was solved, and how the judicial system dealt with the perpetrators (if they were, in fact, guilty). So if, for one reason or another, one of the crimes sparks your interest, you’ve enough information at your disposal to look it up for yourself.

Then there are the maps.

Each entry in Murder Maps, no matter how big or small, contains at least one illustration (usually from one newspaper or another) or photo (mug shots and/or crime scene photos), a brief description, and a map. Now, I must admit (for me), the maps containing only a single point (where the crime occurred) were only somewhat helpful. However, the maps where Dr. Grey put multiple features of interest, such as where the killers lived, worked, or were born in relation to where the victims were worked, attacked, or found – provide a wealth of information.

I can honestly say it’s been a very long time since I’ve enjoyed a piece of true-crime writing as much as I’ve enjoyed Murder Maps.

I would highly recommend Murder Maps to anyone who would like to dip their toes into the genera or to an aficionado looking for a new case to obsess over, new details/perspective on an old fave, and/or appreciates a well-laid-out book.

Seriously, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Fran

A Touch of Home

Since we moved back to New Mexico, I’ve been drawn to re-reading some of the authors that made New Mexico home. I know, you’re thinking about Tony Hillerman, and you should since he was fantastic, and I hope you’ve followed his daughter, Anne’s career.

But looking at these mountains out my front door has led me down more non-traditional paths.

View from my front door.

So I decided to read some Walter Satterthwait. Granted, his Joshua Croft books are set in Santa Fe, which this absolutely is not, and there’s a definite rivalry between northern and southern New Mexico, but for a good, solid story, Walter Satterthwait is spot on.

But outside town, the countryside is still spare and uncluttered, the sunlight still reels down from a clear blue silky sky, the mountains and the buttes still soar wild and reckless from a landscape so nonchalant about its lean rugged beauty, so indifferent to the passage of time, and the passage of man, that it takes the breath away. Driving through this country can be, should be, an exercise in humility; and that may be one of the very best exercises possible.

One of the things that I like about Joshua Croft is that his cynicism extends to himself. He questions everything, including his own impressions of people and events, and that is brilliantly showcased in The Hanged Man, where Croft is asked to investigate the murder of a man who just paid an undisclosed but enormous amount for a single Tarot card.

The cast of characters and suspects is just as colorful as any Tarot deck, and the delight of Satterthwait’s writing is that the people come close to being cartoonish, almost caricatures, and then he brings them back down to earth in some commonplace way that resonates.

The Hanged Man was written in 1993, and the delight of it is that, while much of New Mexico has urbanized and changed, the bones are still the same. I know these dusty roads, and back ways, and the way that people here can seem more open when they’re really quite secretive.

The Hanged Man

Maybe it’s the sun, maybe it’s the heat, maybe it’s the fact that you can trust a rattlesnake to be more honest than a human being half the time, but whatever it is about living in New Mexico, and about looking into the shadows, Walter Satterthwait is well worth your time.

JB

National Portrait Gallery exhibition looks at Watergate 50 years later

Jack Davis’s 1973 caricature of Richard Nixon, center, and his closest aides is part of the National Portrait Gallery exhibition “Watergate: Portraiture and Intrigue.” (Photo by Mark Gulezian/National Portrait Gallery/Gift of Time Magazine)

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

SEPTEMBER 2021

Big Study About Honesty Turns out to be Based on Fake Data

A bloody shame: Britons find a new favourite swearword

Female Octopuses Throw Things at Male Harassers (GOOD FOR THEM!!)

Serious Stuff

The White Christian Nationalism Behind the Worst Terrorist Attack in American History

The rightwing US textbooks that teach slavery as ‘black immigration ‘

Downtown Seattle courthouse safety issues are keeping jurors away, judges say

Tech Firms Pledge Billions to Bolster Cybersecurity after Biden Meeting

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History displays a bullet-riddled sign that documented Emmett Till’s brutal murder

Local Stuff

Oregon High School Janitor Stockpiled Weapons for Mass Shooting: Cops

Crime historian digs for DB Cooper case evidence: ‘Authorities looked in wrong area’

More meth, cocaine contamination found at Washington state toxicology lab

High Schoolers in Seattle Build a Tiny Library That Makes Room for Everyone

Read a previously unpublished Ursula K. Le Guin poem

A naked baby helped Nirvana sell millions of records. Now 30, he’s suing the band and alleging child porn

Seattle Public Library to reopen all branches by later this fall

Words of the Month

sucker (n.) A “young mammal before it is weaned,” late 14th C., agent noun from suck. Slang meaning “person who is easily deceived” is first attested 1836, American English, on notion of naivete; but another theory traces the slang meaning to the fish called a sucker (1753), on the notion of being easy to catch in their annual migrations (the fish so called from the shape of its mouth). As a type of candy from 1823; especially “lollipop” by 1907. Meaning “shoot from the base of a tree or plant” is from 1570s. Also the old name of inhabitants of Illinois. (etymonline)

Odd Stuff

Here’s why poisonous animals don’t poison themselves

A $100,000 Chicken McNugget Triggered a Child-Sex-Trafficking Conspiracy Theory

Robert Durst Reflects on Decision to Appear in ‘The Jinx’: A ‘Very, Very, Very Big Mistake’

75 Arrests, 134 Marathons & 1 Stabbing: Kansas City Superman

What Do CIA Analysts and Investigative Journalists Have In Common?

Words of the Month

folly (n.): From the early 13th C., “mental weakness; foolish behavior or character; unwise conduct” (in Middle English including wickedness, lewdness, madness), from Old French folie “folly, madness, stupidity” (12th C.), from fol (see fool (n.)). From c. 1300 as “an example of foolishness;” sense of “costly structure considered to have shown folly in the builder” is attested from 1650s. But used much earlier, since Middle English, in place names, especially country estates, probably as a form of Old French folie in its meaning “delight.” (etymonline)

SPECTRE Stuff

We’re eliminating this section of the newzine. What’s the point? They are into everything and will soon own everything. The windmill has won…

Awards

The Barry Award Winners 2021

Amanda Gorman and PRH have established a $10,000 prize for public high school poets.

Book Stuff

After a month of major controversies, the American Booksellers Association has responded

Dolly Parton Teams With Bestselling Author James Patterson To Pen First Novel ‘Run, Rose, Run’

The summer of writing scams continues with a series of Goodreads ransom notes.

In Praise of the Info Dump: A Literary Case for Hard Science Fiction

An Original Graphic Novel about Ed Gein, The Serial Killer Who Haunted America and Inspired Psycho, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Silence of the Lambs

Advance copies of Sally Rooney’s unpublished book sold for hundreds of dollars

By the Book: The Crime Novelist William Kent Krueger Still Loves Sherlock Holmes

James Lee Burke on Organized Labor, Corporate Evils, and the Plot to Dumb Down America

Hachette Book Group Will Acquire Workman Publishing for $240 Million

Want to be a bookseller? This chicken-coop-turned-bookstore is up for grabs

Mexican Noir: Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Velvet Was the Night is a thrillingly fresh take on a hard-boiled classic

Megan Abbott Discusses How to Create an Atmosphere of Dread, Anxiety, and Obsession

New York’s Legendary Literary Hangouts: Where Writers Gathered, Gossiped, Danced and Drank in NYC

Browse over one million newly digitized images from Yale’s Beinecke Library

how publishers are approaching new releases this fall

The Joys and Difficulties of Writing a Faithful Sherlock Holmes Novel

The Storyteller’s Promise: William Kent Krueger on the power of fiction and the profound experience of offering readers a little hope

Miss Marple back on the case in stories by Naomi Alderman, Ruth Ware and more

Interview with Paula Hawkins: ‘I wasn’t interested in writing the same book again’

Other Forms of Entertainment

Kate Winslet Says Mare of Easttown’s Creator Has “Very Cool Ideas” for Season 2

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzmán to Play Morticia and Gomez Addams on Tim Burton’s Wednesday [Cara mia!]

We’re not robots’: Film-makers buckle under relentless appetite for Danish TV

A Rumination on DCI Jane Tennison

How a tragic unsolved murder and a public housing crisis led to Candyman

Words of the Month

rube (n.): From 1896, reub, from shortened form of masculine proper name Reuben (q.v.), which is attested from 1804 as a conventional type of name for a country man… As a typical name of a farmer, rustic, or country bumpkin, from 1804. The Reuben sandwich of corned beef, sauerkraut, etc., on rye bread, an American specialty (1956) is the same name but “Not obviously connected” with the “country bumpkin” sense in rube [OED], but is possibly from Reuben’s restaurant, a popular spot in New York’s Lower East Side. Various other Reubens have been proposed as the originator. (etymonline)

RIP

August 7: Nach Waxman, Founder of a Bookstore Where Foodies Flock, Dies at 84

August 9: Markie Post, veteran TV actor on ‘Night Court,’ dies at 70

August 11: Patricia Hitchcock O’Connell, actor and daughter of Alfred Hitchcock, dies at 93

August 12: Una Stubbs, ‘Till Death Us Do Part’ and ‘Sherlock’ actress dies aged 84

August 28: Caroline Todd (half of the Charles Todd team) RIP

August 29: Ed Asner, the Iconic Lou Grant on Two Acclaimed TV Series, Dies at 91 [Asner was born in Kansas City and his brother Ben owned a record store just across state line in Missouri called Caper’s Corners. It was the place we all went to get concert tickets and buy LPs. Later it was revealed that Ben Asner was one of the biggest fences in the city.]

Links of Interest

July 26: Co-Owner of Shady Beverly Hills Vault Business Accused of ‘Extensive’ Criminal Empire

July 28: In Session with Lorraine Bracco at MobMovieCon

July 28: Revisiting “The Year of the Spy”

August 4: The True Crime Junkies and the Curious Case of a Missing Husband

August 5: Tycoon Arrested After Allegedly Blabbing About His $100 Million Fraud Over Email

August 5: Investigation reopened into death of tobacco heiress Doris Duke’s assistant after paperboy comes forward

August 8: Barris Kustom Industries Car Shop For Sale, In Danger Of Closing. The legendary Hollywood shop was responsible for the iconic Batmobile

August 9: How the case of the kidnapped paperboys accelerated the “stranger danger” panic of the 1980s

August 10: Piecing Together the History of Stasi Spying

August 11: A History of Serial Killers Who Went Quiet Before Being Caught

August 12: A Lawyer’s Deathbed Confession About a Sensational 1975 Kidnapping

August 13: A Brief History of the CIA’s Efforts to Infiltrate Africa by Funding an Elaborate Network of Nonprofit Goodwill Organizations

August 15: British man accused of spying for Russia will not be extradited from Germany

August 16: Dallas Police Dept Loses 8 Terabytes of Crime Data, Throwing Court Cases Into Chaos

August 16: Gunshots Were Fired at a Dutch Museum as Two Thieves Tried to Steal a Monet Painting—and Then Dropped It on the Way Out

August 19: Police Just Found Nearly 10 Tons of Cocaine Behind a Fake Wall in Ecuador

August 22: The artist, the mafia and the Italian job: is heist mystery about to be solved?

August 24: Al Capone’s granddaughters to auction his estate, including Papa’s ‘favorite’ pistol

August 24: Mexico May Free the Cartel ‘Godfather’ Behind a DEA Agent’s Murder

August 25: Sirhan Sirhan, convicted of Robert F. Kennedy assassination, seeks parole with no opposition from prosecutors

August 27: When Comic Books Were America’s Secret Superpower – The cheaply produced, easily digestible stories were once the perfect cover for state-produced propaganda

August 29: French Woman Arrested for Stealing Jewelry Off Corpses

August 30: COVID Troll Alex Berenson Implies He’ll Sue to Get Twitter Access Restored

August 31: Doctor Accused of Trying to Hire Hells Angel to Get Rid of Witness at His Oxy Fraud Trial

Words of the Month

con (adj.): “swindling,” 1889 (in con man), American English, from confidence man (1849), from the many scams in which the victim is induced to hand over money as a token of confidence. Confidence with a sense of “assurance based on insufficient grounds” dates from 1590s. Con artist is attested by 1910.

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

Due to events – mainly moving house and then painting the entire house (inside and out) I’ve fallen behind on my writing! Season 3 is on its way – but it will be a bit before I’ve got it finished, polished, and photographed…But hey, if you’ve fallen behind this is a great opportunity to catch up…right?

A Noodle Shop Mystery (series) by Vivien Chien

One of the pitfalls of no longer working in a bookshop is that one occasionally falls behind in a series. Which I must confess – I don’t really mind. Why? Because when I eventually recall the temporarily neglected author, I’ve a backlog to zip my way thru! Thus allowing me to dive headlong and immerse myself in the world of an old friend and catch up with them…

This awkward phenomenon occurred most recently with Vivien Chien’s Noodle Shop Mystery series. Where over a week, I devoured Fatal Fried Rice – where Lana’s cooking instructor winds up dead and lands Lana in very hot water. Killer Kung Pao – where the sourest business owner in the Asian Village is accused of murder, and her sister asks Lana to clear her name. And Egg Drop Dead – during Noodle House’s first catering gig, for the owner of the Asian Village, one of the owner’s staff ends up dead, and Lana’s detective skills are pressed into service.

I reveled in every word I read.

Here’s what I love about this series: Chien does a great job in varying motives, methods, investigative techniques (as Lana learns or stumbles onto new strategies), and culprits. Thus giving each of her books a sense of freshness, variety, and surprise – a feature often missing from other cozy mysteries. Another reason I enjoy this series is the fact the book’s solutions make sense. As in, I don’t need to suspend my disbelief in thinking an amateur sleuth could stumble onto the truth. Which, again, is a nice change of pace.

Above and beyond these aforementioned attributes – these books are witty, fun, and intelligent reads.

Okay, so the titles are punny – but I can assure you that’s where the cloying coziness ends. Lana just happens to manage her family’s noodle shop – it is the backdrop for the books, not the central theme. I promise.

I would recommend this series to anyone looking for a new cozy-ish series to immerse themselves in.

(BTW – I did make an entry in my phone’s calendar to remind me Chien’s new book, Hot and Sour Suspects, is out in January 2022 – so I didn’t accidentally forget again….)

Fran

Dorothy Uhnak was a real police detective in New York in the Sixties, when being a female detective was only marginally accepted. She turned her experiences into stories, several of which were turned into movies.

Victims wasn’t made into a movie, but it should have been, and honestly, still should be. Loosely based on the brutal murder of Kitty Genovese (you remember her, right? She was murdered and over 30 people heard it but did nothing), Victims follows the investigation into the murder of a young woman while people in the neighborhood watched but did nothing because they all thought it was “the Spanish girl”.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is victims.jpg

Victims is set in the 80’s – which, sadly, I’ve lately heard called “vintage”, which I find appalling because it was just yesterday, dammit – but the only thing that differentiates the setting between then and now are cell phones and digital capabilities. It’s a solid police procedural, but with a twist.

As Miranda Torres investigates the murder of Anna Grace, journalist Mike Stein investigates the lack of response by the neighbors with an eye to a searing expose of the witnesses. Technically, they are not at cross-purposes, and for some reason, Stein has been allowed access to all of NYPD’s findings. Torres is meticulous, observant, and wickedly smart.

Between them, the two find out a great deal, but since their final goals aren’t the same, neither are their investigations.

Dorothy Uhnak brilliantly captures the delicate and pervasive racism, favoritism, back-room dealing, and political chicanery that invades all areas of society, and she makes it personal. I’ve always been a fan of her Christie Opera series, and you should read them, but Victims hits home with a gut punch that lingers.

When you finish it, if you aren’t mad as hell, you haven’t been paying attention!

JB

There are series that I’ve read more than once, and there are series that I’ve read many times, six or more. This series I have read, I think, twice, and some of the books more than that. I like re-reading. It’s time spend with favorite characters, favorite voices. And now and then I still read a sentence that stands out. I’m not sure how I’ve not noticed it before. Maybe I did but this time it captured my eyes. “My thoughts struggled in my brain like exhausted swimmers.”

Maybe it locked me because it is how I’m feeling these days. I find myself having difficulty focusing on things – long books, long movies, even a ball game. It’s not those things, it’s my concentration. That’s when re-reading comes in handy. I don’t have to worry too much about tuning into the pages as I’ve been there before. That’s another reason why that line hooked me; I wasn’t looking for something remarkable and new, and it fit my present self.

By the way, it was from Lawrence Block’s Eight Million Ways to Die.

Kennedy’s Avenger: Assassination, Conspiracy, and the Forgotten Trial of Jack Ruby by Dan Abrams and David Fisher was a compete waste of $27.99. I knew it from the first few pages when the authors started from the position that Oswald was the lone assassin. While Melvin Belli’s defense tactics were amusing, I quit reading before 50 pages. A waste of paper, printer’s ink, shipping, human efforts and, as I said, money.

I bought James Lee Burke’s A Private Cathedral the week it appeared in hardcover in the Summer of 2020. Just got to it now – and now it is in trade paper. I can’t quite explain why the long wait as I love the Robicheaux series. Doesn’t matter, really.

This is an odd one on two fronts. On one, it is set in the past, as if it makes any difference to Dave and Clete. Alafair is still in college and Helen isn’t the chief of police until the end, so maybe a ten, fifteen years? The other oddity is that this one deals more with the “electric mist” and it isn’t just Dave seeing figures out of time. It is almost fair to call this one a ghost story. Certainly the main characters are spooked by what they experience.

Still, for these differences, it was a great book.

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

AUGUST 2021

Sculptures that make novel use of books – in pictures

Oof, Y’all, Dictionary.com Just Added Over 300 New Words And Definitions

Sleeping or Dead? and other hilarious “practical books for librarians” in pulp classic form. [do yourself a favor and loot at them all!]

Serious Stuff

Famed Crime Reporter Shot in Head After Leaving Amsterdam TV Studio

Inside the Rash of Unexplained Deaths at Fort Hood

How the Banning of Joyce’s Ulysses Led to “The Grandest Obscenity Case in the History of Law and Literature”

Booksellers at Hong Kong’s book fair are being forced to self-censor their selections.

A Reporter’s Fight to Expose Epstein’s Crimes — and Earn a Living

Two men charged in alleged plot to firebomb California Democratic Party headquarters

Private Israeli spyware used to hack cellphones of journalists, activists worldwide

Local Stuff

Attorneys for woman accused of lying to grand jury in Thomas Wales killing want indictment dismissed

Powell’s Books is celebrating its 50-year anniversary with a curated collection of 50 books

Alaska’s libraries are facing devastating funding cuts

Portland literary icon Ursula K. Le Guin gets a Forever stamp

The days are getting shorter. Embrace the dark with 4 mystery and crime novels

SPECTRE

Fired by bot at Amazon: ‘It’s you against the machine’

Investigating Amazon, the Employer

Amazon Transformed Seattle. Now, Its Workers Are Poised to Take It Back.

Amazon Is Selling a Bogus ‘Plandemic’ COVID Conspiracy Book in Its ‘Science’ Section

FTC Launches Investigation Into Amazon’s MGM Acquisition: Report

Amazon tells bosses to conceal when employees are on a performance management plan

Amazon Denied a Worker Pregnancy Accommodations. Then She Miscarried.

Amazon sued by U.S. product-safety agency over dangerous items

Rumored to Accept Bitcoin by End of 2021 and Develop Own Currency by 2022: Report

EU regulator hits Amazon with record $887 million fine for data protection violations

Odd Stuff

Woman Joined International Drug Syndicate to be Closer to Her Son, Court Hears

Now you can buy the glorious mansion where Mark Twain died

Cops Ignored Threat Posed by Menacing Clowns

The Scary Story Behind The Most Haunted Painting In History

Words of the Month

dreadnought (n.): Literally (one who or that which) “fears nothing,” from the verbal phrase (drede ich nawiht is attested from c. 1200); see dread (v.) + nought (n.). As a synonym for “battleship” (1916) it is from a specific ship’s name. Dreadnought is mentioned as the name of a ship in the Royal Navy as early as c. 1596, but the modern generic sense is from the name of the first of a new class of British battleships, based on the “all big-gun” principle (armed with 10 big guns rather than 4 large guns and a battery of smaller ones), launched Feb. 18, 1906. (etymonline)

Awards

Here are the dark and twisty nominees for the 2020 Shirley Jackson Awards

2021 Agatha Award Winners

The 2021 Booker Prize Nominees

Book Stuff

Significant Edward Lear poems discovered

J.P. Morgan’s Personal Librarian Was A Black Woman. This Is Her Story

For the first time, Patricia Highsmith’s diaries will be available to the public.

A nun just unearthed a previously unknown Dante manuscript

Two Editors Who Showed What Publishing Should Be

One Good Thing: An incredible true crime book about the problems with true crime books

10 Crime Novels Full of Style, Plot, and Dark Humor

Booksellers Association Apologizes for Including Anti-Trans Book in Member Pack [morons...]

How to Write a Memorable Hit Man: A Conversation Among Connoisseurs

Octavia Butler’s 1979 bio is an object lesson in writing author bios

Bookstore’s Viral TikTok Calls Out Shoppers Who Turn Around LGBTQ+ Books To Hide Covers

Tess Gerritsen Still Prefers to Read Books the Old-Fashioned Way, on Paper

Meg Tilly on the Crossover Between Acting in Thrillers and Writing Them

A new start after 60: ‘I handed in my notice – and opened my dream bookshop’

Shawshank Redemption is actually about the power of libraries

Revisiting Raymond Chandler’s most iconic lines

Other Forms of Entertainment

Five Great Movies Based on Patricia Highsmith Books (That Aren’t the Ripley Adaptations)

The fascinating, horrifying history behind Steven Soderbergh’s new heist movie

Remembering Miss Fury – the world’s first great superheroine [here’s a cover]

Danny Trejo opens up about being typecast — and a close call with the Mexican Mafia

“Scarface” Startles Anew on the Criterion Channel

Murder Is My Business: In the true crime genre’s latest iteration, writers, reporters, bloggers, documentary filmmakers, and podcast hosts have taken a soiled brand and turned it into a collective exercise in retributive justice, recording and correcting the history of sexual violence.

The Real Story Behind ‘The Monster of Florence’

The Many Saints of Newark’ is Not the Story of Young Tony Soprano

The Strange Story of Orson Welles’ Lost Film, Mr. Arkadin

Mad Men’s John Slattery and Jon Hamm Reunite for Confess, Fletch

Graham Roland, Robert Redford, George R.R. Martin Making Hilleman’s ‘Dark Winds’ Series Starring Zahn McClarnon

The Decades-Long Road Behind AMC’s ‘Dark Winds’ Native American Drama Series

Cannes Review: Oliver Stone’s ‘JFK Revisited: Through The Looking Glass’

Mark Millar Returning to Spy World With Graphic Novel ‘King of Spies’

Karls Monzon Organized One of The Biggest Heists in Florida History. Here’s Where He is Today.

Antonio Banderas Is Indiana Jones 5‘s Latest Wild Acquisition

The 33 Sexiest Erotic Thrillers

8 True Crime Podcasts You Need to Listen to this Summer

Let’s Talk About Sneakers, the Most Charming, Baffling Espionage/Heist Movie
of the 1990s

1980s Noir Films Are Better Than 1940s Noir Films: Discuss

Words of the Month

daredevil (n.): 1794, “recklessly daring person, one who fears nothing and will attempt anything,” from dare (v.) + devil (n.). The devil might refer to the person, or the sense might be “one who dares the devil.” Compare scarecrow, killjoy, dreadnought, pickpocket (n.), cutthroat, also fear-babe a 16th C. word for “something that frightens children;” kill-devil “bad rum.” As an adjective, “characteristic of a daredevil, reckless,” by 1832. (etymonline) [The Marvel superhero first appeared in April, 1964.]

RIP

July 1: Robert Sacchi, Who Played Bogart Again and Again, Dies at 89

July 2: Jack Downing, Cold War spy who came out of retirement to help CIA, dies at 80

July 5: ‘Superman,’ ‘Lethal Weapon’ director Richard Donner dies at 91

July 9: William Smith, Action Actor and Star of ‘Laredo’ and ‘Rich Man, Poor Man,’ Dies at 88. The 6-foot-2 Smith, who was a champion discus thrower at UCLA, an arm-wrestling champion and a black belt in the martial arts, had 18-inch biceps and could do 5,100 continuous sit-ups and reverse curl 163 pounds. As prolific as he was strong, he had a whopping 289 credits on IMDb, seemingly in everything from the ’60s onward.

July 12: Charlie Robinson, ‘Night Court’ Star, Dies at 75

July 24: James Polk, Pulitzer winner for Watergate reporting, dies at 83

July 28: ‘Extraordinary’ crime writer Mo Hayder dies at 59

July 30: Jerry Granelli, drummer behind ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’ and former Cornish instructor, dies at 80

Links of Interest

July 6: The baffling persistence of plagiarism in the internet era

July 6: Constructing the Perfect Villain: The Bad Contractor

July 7: Inside the Fiction Group in a Maximum-Security Psychiatric Hospital

July 7: Shirley Jackson’s Love Letters

July 8: Charlotte Philby Remembers Her Paradoxical Grandfather, Kim Philby

July 9: Setting a Murder Mystery in the Real Hollywood Canteen Required Piercing a Veil of Myth and Nostalgia

July 12: Take this soothing room-by-room virtual tour of Jane Austen’s house

July 15: Cocaine stash worth €9m lands on roof of home in Sardinia

July 15: In Victorian London, Dr. Thomas Neill Cream Was a New Kind of Killer

July 15: For One Writer, Rediscovering the Novels of Dick Francis Was the Answer to a Personal Crisis and a Mysterious Illness

July 16: The Louvre’s Art Sleuth Is on the Hunt for Looted Paintings

July 19: Repentant thieves return Big Bird costume with a note: ‘Sorry to be such a big birden’

July 19: Tablet Reveals Babylonians Studied Trigonometry Before the Greeks

July 19: The Internet Made Crime Public. That’s When Things Got Complicated.

July 20: Thomas Gilbert and the Murder That Brought Down One of New York’s Most Privileged Families

July 20: Fragments of Ancient Egyptian ‘Book of the Dead’ Reunited After Centuries

July 20: The Story of 18th Century England’s Booming Graverobbing Industry, and the Man Who Inspired ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’

July 20: Defections and Detections: How a Sprawling Soviet Atomic Spy Network Was First Exposed

July 22: How Detective Fiction Helps A Forensic Psychiatrist in Her Work With Violent Offenders

July 22: Why Has Jeffrey Dahmer Become A Household Name, While The Names of His Victims Are Forgotten?

July 23: House of horror: Bath opens the world’s first museum dedicated to Mary Shelley

July 23: There is no National crime – all crime is local

July 23: Elvis’s annotated copy of The Prophet, gifted to his bodyguard and close friend, is on sale now

July 24: Who Killed the Nazi on Campus?

July 25: Some people just don’t get it. Cultural references, I mean

July 25: Buried in concrete: how the mafia made a killing from the destruction of Italy’s south

July 25: A Utah arrest shows the danger of laws that let government enforcers chill speech that they don’t like

July 26: How an 18th-Century Cookbook Offers Glimpses of Jane Austen’s Domestic Life

July 26: A Cozy Mystery Writer on the History of Class and Tea

July 27: Hobby Lobby Gives Up Stolen 3,500-Year-Old ‘Gilgamesh Dream Tablet’

July 27: A Margaret Keane ‘Big Eyes’ Painting Stolen Decades Ago Has Been Recovered

July 27: This Story About a KKK Prison Guard’s Murder Plot Is Flat Out Astonishing

July 29: Erik Larson Has a Scary Story He’d Like You to Hear

July 29: “Brother, you’ve got a fan now!” Read a letter from Nina Simone to Langston Hughes

July 29: Does ‘The Da Vinci Code’ Writer Have a Secret?

July 30: The first bestselling paperback original in the US was a work of lesbian pulp fiction

July 30: He Hired 2 Men to Kidnap His Wife. They Ended Up Drowning

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

Chloe Neill – Shadowed Steel

The third installment of the Heirs of Chicagoland was a fast, fun and enjoyable read!

I mean, what’s not to love when you’ve got vampires, werewolves and everything in-between? Even better, Shadowed Steel finally sees our heroes and heroines emerge from their legendary parent’s shadows (and plot lines) to explore the mysteries and problems facing their Chicago.

(If you’re not acquainted with the series – the characters in Heirs are the kids of the original series – Chicagoland Vampires. You don’t have to read the original series to understand the new one – but I highly recommend it as they’re brilliant and add extra layers of nuance and fun to the newer books!)

Fran

It’s the writing, you see

I’ve mentioned before how much I love Rennie Airth’s writing, and if you’ve read his work, I know you get it.

If you haven’t, start with River of Darkness, and just keep going with John Madden’s investigations. You’ll be immersed in post-WWI life, and all the repercussions of the Great War.

I just finished The Decent Inn of Death, and it’s got some lovely surprises. Not whodunnit, at least not for me. But like every book by Rennie Airth, it’s not the surprise at the end but the whole journey. And here he takes us to visit Agatha Christie. Not literally, but The Decent Inn of Death definitely reminded me of Mousetrap.

One of the surprises is that, for the most part, the story doesn’t follow John Madden. Instead, we’re following his old chief and friend, former Chief Inspector Angus Sinclair, who goes to visit friends while the Maddens are away, and who gets caught up both in a mystery and a snowstorm, where there’s definitely something suspicious going on. And Angus has a murder to solve, but his health isn’t good, and these are stressful times.

It occurred to me while I was reading The Decent Inn of Death that I really like how Rennie Airth writes women. They’re strong, opinionated, forceful, and each woman is an individual character. They’re never cookie-cutter. And often, they’re surprising.

For example, Lucy Madden, John and Helen’s daughter, says this about marriage:

‘The trouble is I can’t see myself tied to any one man.’ She sighed. ‘The shine wears off so quickly. What I’d really like is to be one of those sultans who had scores of wives and kept them in a harem. I could probably manage with four or five – husbands, I mean. It would be so nice to be able to say, I’ll have you today…No, not you…you.’

‘You’re joking, of course.’

‘Am I?’ She sent a sly glance his way.

There are several women whom you will meet during your visit at The Decent Inn of Death, and each one is unique and, in her own way, perfect, although they have all manner of flaws. But you won’t become confused as to who is whom; Rennie Airth really does write women well!

JB

Bill Farley always said that they weren’t Stouts but it was always nice spending time with old friends. Robert Goldsborough’s Trouble at the Brownstone keeps up that trend. In his latest Nero Wolfe novel, the group on West 35th is disturbed when master gardener Theodore Horstmann is found nearly beaten to death. Only recently had he moved out of the brownstone into his own apartment and so the questions of where and how it happened are multiplied. All hands are called in to help and even Insp. Cramer is working with them – grousing a bit, of course, but everyone is working hard to find the culprit even as Horstmann remains in a coma. The solution may be unsurprising but is still satisfactory.

Stephen Hunter moves into a new world with Basil’s War. The book is set during WWII, the central character is an upper-class, cheeky and glib Brit, and the action is as speedy as the plot is convoluted. It is all about getting a clue to who is the Soviet spy in British intelligence not to expose them but so that information can be slipped to them that will convince Stalin to do what the Brits need him to do. They’re certain that if they just ask, he’ll think it is a devious plot and refuse, so they concoct this elaborate scheme to nudge him. Got it? Don’t worry, you’ll see once Basil’s carried out his mission. It’s a delightful book – none are exactly who you assume them to be…well, maybe van Boch of the SS. It is a very different turn from Hunter but its every bit as imaginative and serious as any of his other books, but this one is topped with a deceptive icing of nonchalant, even sporty, wit.

Respected independent scholar Jonathan Marshall is also an award-winning journalist. The reviews of his new book, Dark Quadrant: Organized Crime, Big Business, and the Corruption of American Democracy piqued my interest. It’s a fascinating book, beginning with FDR and moving forward through the growth of the Federal government, the Mob, the military-industrial complex (we really need to use Eisenhower’s original choice of “military-industrial-congressional-complex” all the time), and the parasites who affix themselves to all concerned. He brings it forward into the Trump administration and few come out of the book not covered with filth. Many of the names you’ll know – Roy Cohn, Howard Hughes, Tommy the Cork, Robert Maheu, Joseph McCarthy, Meyer Lansky, J. Edgar Hoover, Sam Giancana, Richard Nixon, on and on. Congressmen, Senators, CEOs and appointees. It’s all about greed and power, without an ounce of loyalty or civic responsibility. Talk about a shadow government… The depth and scholarship of his indictment is staggering. It’s simply staggering.

Granted, his tale is takes up nearly a century, and the players weave themselves deep into the country’s government and fabric, surfacing here and there through the decades and, following the money, entwine themselves with a variety of public figures from different facets of power. But it was disarming to continually run into his notes of “See chapter X” throughout the book, from the beginning chapters to the final ones. It gives the book a disjointed feeling, as if you’re to stop in chapter 2 to go to chapter 9 or go back from chapter 10 to chapter 5. Don’t, just keep plowing through sordid history of disgusting muck. It is an infuriating read due to subject and due to his scholarship. It’s an important subject and therefore an important book.

Finally, we’ve run into “issues” with WordPress. They’ve changed the way the program works making it less user friendly. To top it off, there was some sort of glitch and I lost reviews and links that I’d added. It’s been very frustrating. If this newzine seems thinner and less packed with goodies, that’s why.

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July 2021

Seriously Cool

Inside Lin-Manuel Miranda’s New NYC Bookstore That Takes Design Cues From Broadway

You Won’t Find the Hardcover of Dave Eggers’s Next Novel on Amazon. “The Every,” a follow-up to his hit book “The Circle,” will be available in independent bookstores in October. The paperback will arrive just six weeks later, but the hardcover will remain exclusive to independent stores.

The People Have Spoken: Jeff Bezos Should Go to Space and Stay There

If even superheroes can’t have fun sex, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Why bother organizing your books? A messy personal library is proof of life

The Early, Wild, Exploited, and Sometimes Radical Days of the Comic Book Industry in America

Did you know that Daryl Hannah created best literary board game of all time?

Attention: LeVar Burton wants to read your short stories.

The Surprisingly Fun Story of How the Popsicle Was Invented by an 11-Year-Old Boy

Serious Stuff

Whatever Happened to Elise De Viane? On The Mystery Woman in Dashiell Hammett’s 1931 Sexual Assault Case

How the Father of Modern Policing ‘Abolished’ the Police

Is Poe the most influential American writer? A new book offers evidence

Jack Ruby Is the Key to the Kennedy Assassination Conspiracy Theories. So Why Have We Forgotten About His Trial?

The D.C. crime lab is in trouble — again

‘If publishers become afraid, we’re in trouble’: publishing’s cancel culture debate boils over

Inside the UK’s top secret ‘Increment’: Unit of real-life James Bonds is so classified, the British government won’t admit they exist

Why the US government murdered Fred Hampton

Narco Hitmen on Jet Skis Sprayed a Cancun Beach With Bullets, Killing Two People

Investigators Find Remains of 17 Victims Under A Suspected Serial Killer’s House

Maine tries to shift some costs of recycling onto companies instead of taxpayers

The Federal Writers’ Project created jobs, built trust, and invigorated American literature. We should try it again.

Florida Republican Threatened to Call in Hit Squad to Make Rival ‘Disappear’

Why Have Local Newspapers Collapsed? Blame Readers.

Tell Us If You Know More About These Financial Crimes Investigated By the SEC

How Our Investigation Into Untested DNA Evidence Helped Solve a 1983 Murder

How the Banning of Joyce’s Ulysses Led to “The Grandest Obscenity Case in the History of Law and Literature”

‘The Mafia Was Behind This’: Why Are Politicians Ignoring a Climate Activist’s Murder?

In a Muffled Hong Kong, Bookstores Offer Freedom of Thought

Ex-Marine and Neo-Nazi Told Followers How to Shoot Truckers to Dismantle Supply Chain

Right-Wing Death Squad’: Active-Duty Marine Plotted to Bomb DNC, Murder Black People, Feds Say

Bill Cosby Walks Free From Prison After Conviction Is Tossed

Local Stuff

A key witness was scared to testify in a murder trial. Days later, his tavern burned down and he vanished

Two Girls Were Snatched From a Tiny Logging Town. Is This Man Responsible?

Here’s when Seattle and King and Snohomish counties plan to open all their library branches

Goodbye to Reckless Video, Seattle’s next-to-last video store

From a new location in Pioneer Square, Arundel Books is in the business of selling dreams

A UW student with a 2-book deal and more from this week in Seattle Times books coverage

Price Gougers Rip Off Pacific Northwest Heatwave Victims

Words of the Month

screwball (n): crazy, insane, odd or eccentric, predates the “screwball comedy” of Hollywood. From baseball, a pitch that breaks the other way from a curve ball, invented in the 1890s. (Says You! #1523)

SPECTRE

Amazon Worker Who Won $1 Million Delighted He Can Now Pay His Bills

Amazon’s Cost Saving Routing Algorithm Makes Drivers Walk Into Traffic

Amazon provides $100 million to build affordable housing near Sound Transit stations

Amazon files 13 lawsuits against alleged counterfeiters

Amazon’s not so secret problem: bogus product reviews

Amazon Workers Call for Strike on Prime Day in Germany

Internal Amazon documents shed light on how company pressures out 6% of office workers

Amazon is said to be in talks to buy stake in self-driving truck startup Plus

Footage of Amazon destroying thousands of unsold items in Britain prompts calls for official investigation

Amazon faces MPs’ scrutiny after destroying laptops, tablets and books

Amazon is destroying thousands of unsold books

Amazon Acquires Encrypted Messaging App Wickr

Lessons of a self-published writer: independent bookstores are good, Amazon not so much.

Black and Brown Amazon Drivers Face Guns, Racial Slurs, and Dog Bites on the Job

Amazon delivery contractors quit Portland routes, citing ‘unsafe’ work expectations

It’s Finally Clear Why Amazon Bought Whole Foods

Oo7=’dd Stuff

This is, of course, all fiction – fictional characters in fictional movies. But the work and care that went into creating this theory makes it worth the read ~ JB

Wild Fan Theory That Sean Connery’s Character In ‘The Rock’ Is Actually James Bond Is Hard To Deny

Words of the Month

blockhead (n.): 1540s, also block-head – a “stupid person,” someone whose head is impenetrable, from the head-shaped oaken block used by wig-makers and hat-makers, though the insulting sense is equally old.

Awards

David Diop’s At Night All Blood is Black has won the 2021 International Booker Prize

Here are the winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prize

Here are the winners of the 2021 Orwell Prizes

Hilary Mantel has won the Walter Scott Prize . . . again

The shortlist for this year’s Arthur C. Clarke Award is all debuts

Joy Williams has won the 2021 Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction

The Macavity Award BALLOT 2021your chance to vote!

Words of the Month

nincompoop (n.) 1670s, nicompoop; modern form from 1713. Despite similarity [noted by Johnson] to Latin legal phrase non compos mentis “insane, mentally incompetent” (c. 1600), the connection is denied by the OED’s etymologists because the earliest forms lack the second -n-. Weekley thinks first element may be a proper name, and cites Nicodemus, which he says was used in French for “a fool,” or Nicholas. Klein says it is probably an invented word. Century Dictionary has no objection to the non compos mentis theory. (etymonline)

Book Stuff

The Conservative Publishing Industry Has a Joe Biden Problem

The Literature of the Con: Great Books About Grifters and Swindlers

A Translator Considers the Joys of Crime Fiction

James Lee Burke Goes Time Traveling

How to Write an Effective Villain

How America’s Weirdest Guidebooks Were Funded by the Government

The Shadow Was Pulp Fiction’s Original Pop Culture Phenomenon. Now, He’s Mostly Forgotten. What Happened?

The Conservative Publishing Industry Has a Joe Biden Problem

New Publisher Says It Welcomes Conservative Writers Rejected Elsewhere

Trump’s Memoir Is Bringing Publishers to a Long-Overdue Reckoning With Truth

Brontë Auction Is on Hold as Group Tries to Keep Library Intact

A Brief History of the Rise—and Evolution—of True Crime Books

What Makes a Killer Plot Twist?

Queer Crime Fiction: A Roundtable Discussion

On the destruction by fire of the greatest library in the world you’ve never heard of

How Elizabeth Bowen’s Big Houses Laid the Groundwork for Irish Domestic Noir

The Man Rewriting Prison from Inside

Deadpool Creator Fabian Nicieza on (Finally) Finishing His Novel

Stealing Science-Fiction: Why the Heist Works so Well in in Sci-Fi

Donna Leon: A Crime Reader’s Guide to the Classics

Archivists Find Vincent Van Gogh Sketches Used as a Bookmark

Parul Khakhar: The Indian stay-at-home mum trolled for poem on Covid dead

The clever folds that kept letters secret

‘Most of Australia’s literary heritage is out of print’: the fight to rescue a nation’s lost books

Mystery book-lover at Waterstones Yarm gives £100 of vouchers to shoppers

Cozy Mysteries for Gardeners

The Hot-Spot Library Was Born In Two Shipping Containers In A Cape Town Slum

The Crime Books Top Authors Read Twice Because They’re Just That Good   

The PI of Color: When It’s About More Than the Crime

A Flight Attendant Drafted Her Novel on Cocktail Napkins. It Took Off.

Seven Mystery Novels Where the Crimes Are Motivated by Books

Author Events – with the country opening up, maybe we’ll see the return of in-person signings? We’ll start watching!

Other Forms of Entertainment

Jamie Lee Curtis’ Blumhouse Adapting Series Based on Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta Books

Listen, There’s This Charade Remake Where Mark Wahlberg Speaks French and I Really Want To Tell You About It

‘Lupin’ Took the World by Stealth. Part 2 Can’t Be So Sneaky

The Curious Case of “Herlock Sholmès”: When the creators of Lupin and Sherlock got into a copyright dispute, the solution was as inelegant as it was hilarious.

For Heaven’s Sake Makes True Crime Feel Cozy

Trump wanted Justice Department to stop SNL from making fun of him, report says

Harrison Ford Injured While Filming ‘Indiana Jones 5’

Michael Connelly Says Bosch Is Just Like Batman …

‘The Limey’: How Steven Soderbergh Subverted the Classic Revenge Film

Soderbergh, Cheadle return to Detroit in ‘No Sudden Move’

Steven Soderbergh Is Thinking About An Ocean’s 14 Says Don Cheadle

Every Unmade Alfred Hitchcock Movie Explained

Words of the Month

sucker (n): someone not weened, innocent and gullible to the ways of the world. 1600s. (Says You! #1523)

R.I.P.

June 2: Dan Frank, Adventurous Pantheon Book Editor, Is Dead at 67

June 3: F. Lee Bailey, tenacious defense lawyer for the famous and infamous, dies at 87

June 6: Clarence Williams III, ‘Mod Squad’, American Gangster, and Prince’s dad in ‘Purple Rain,’ dies at 81

June 7: Richard Robinson, who turned Scholastic into a children’s book giant, dies at 84

June 13: Ned Beatty, actor Known for ‘Network’ and ‘Deliverance,’ Dies at 83

June 14: Richard Baron, Who Published Baldwin and Mailer, Dies at 98

June 18: Frank Bonner, who played Herb Tarlek on ‘WKRP in Cincinnati,’ dies at 79

June 19: Vance Trimble, who won Pulitzer Prize by exposing congressional corruption, dies at 107

June 21: Robert Quackenbush, Creator of Animal Detective Stories, Dies at 91

June 27: ‘Cops’ Creator John Langley Dead at 78

June 28: Robert Keppel, who spent his life chasing serial killers including Ted Bundy and the Green River killer, dies at 76 [We had the pleasure, the honor, to host Bob a couple of times for signings. His Signature Killers is fascinating. Beyond that, he’d often stop in when in downtown Seattle just to say hello and chat. He was a nice man. Do yourself a favor and read the obituary if you don’t know about him. He led an impressive and important life. ~ eds.]

Links of Interest

May 31: The Somerton man died alone on a beach in 1948. Now Australian scientists are close to solving the mystery

June 1: An Inside Look at One Woman’s Life in the FBI Academy

June 1: An Apple Detective Rediscovered 7 Kinds Of Apples Thought To Be Extinct

June 1: How Frigid Conditions and a Failed Execution in 17th Century England Pointed the Way To a Scientific Breakthrough

June 2: How Forensic Anthropologists Read the Skeletons of the Dead For Clues

June 2: From prison, a convicted drug dealer designed a board game. It challenges players to go legit

June 3: Hollywood Flashback – Zoot Suit Riots Rocked L.A. in the Summer of 1943

June 3: 1914 Babe Ruth trading card valued at record $6 million

June 4: The man who uncovered Lou Gehrig’s letters

June 7: Australia’s Most Wanted Crime Bosses May Have Infiltrated Its Biggest Airline to Traffic Drugs

June 9: The Scottish Anthropologist Who Inspired Dracula

June 10: Get away from it all with a trip to this Japanese book hotel

June 11: Kerry Greenwood’s Life In Crime

June 11: A Very Memorable Monster: Fictional Serial Killers You Can’t Forget

June 11: Edgar Allan Poe’s Other Obsession

June 12: Detectives Just Used DNA To Solve A 1956 Double Homicide. They May Have Made History

June 15: How the FBI’s National Stolen Art File Reunites Lost Works With Their Rightful Owners

June 15: Rare orchids found in City of London bank’s rooftop garden

June 16: California Woman Steals Car With Baby Inside—Then Tries to Give Kid to Stranger: Police

June 15: “They Wanted Something for Nothing”: The Many Cons of the Yellow Kid

June 16: The Balloon-Hoax of Edgar Allan Poe and Early New York Grifters

June 16: British Woman Guilty of Killing Sleeping Hubby With Boiling Sugar Water

June 17: A Former Cop Has Confessed to Being a Serial Killer

June 17: Police Ask Public to Be ‘Vigilant’ After Body Parts Found in Multiple Locations

June 18: Criminals Are Sending Malicious Hardware Wallets to Steal People’s Crypto

June 18: We Talked to the Realtor Who Sold the Infamous Manson Family Murder House

June 18: Husband Confesses to Murdering Wife As Smartwatch Data Exposes His Cover-up

June 18: The Case of the Stolen Watch Detective

June 19: The Rosenbergs were executed for spying in 1953. Can their sons reveal the truth?

June 19: As Money Launderers Buy Dalís, U.S. Looks at Lifting the Veil on Art Sales

June 19: When a grifter gets swindled: Former GOP chairman accused of stealing from Paul Manafort’s PAC

June 19: Scottish Man Who Faked His Death in California Is Jailed for Rape

June 20: Enthusiastic Amateurs Advance Science As They Hunt For Exotic Mushrooms

June 21: California man arrested over theft of 42,000lbs of pistachios

June 22: Murder accused ‘thought family was hoarding gold hidden from Nazis’

June 22: The Book Smugglers Who Defied the Nazis — Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum’s New Exhibit Chronicles a Stunning True Story

June 22: I’ve Cracked Zodiac, a French Engineer Says. Online Sleuths Are Skeptical

June 23: ‘Redneck Rave’ Descends Into Throat Slashing, Impalements, and Mass Arrests

June 23: AI helps restore Rembrandt’s Night Watch masterpiece

June 24: No one knows why Ambrose Bierce disappeared, but here are some theories

June 24: Which writers have the best tombstone inscriptions?

June 25: Letter From ‘Father of Vaccination’ Edward Jenner Sold at Auction

June 25: Police Swapped a Cocaine Shipment with Icing Sugar – and Ruined Their Own Case

June 26: ‘At first I thought, this is crazy’: the real-life plan to use novels to predict the next war

June 28: The FBI searched cave for Civil War gold, fearing Pa. officials would seize it, new court documents

June 28: A Maryland attic hid a priceless trove of Black history. Historians and activists saved it from auction

June 28: Turkey’s mysterious ‘portal to the underworld’

June 29: Picasso painting found as builder arrested over art heist

Words of the Month

whackjob (n): one whose beliefs are not based in reality, first used in Elmore Leonard’s 1992 Rum Punch. (Says You! #1523)

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

The Broken Spine – Dorothy St. James

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this mystery. 

Tru, our librarian heroine, spoke to the not-so-secret rebellious streak housed in my heart of hearts. By not only saving hundreds of books – that her town’s leading lights consigned to the dump for being “obsolete” – then used said books to open a secret lending library! (Can it get any better?) As the aforementioned leading lights, decided to transform Tru’s beloved library into a bookless technology center. 

But no good deed goes unpunished.

Just as Tru and her cohorts are spit polishing the brass for the secret opening of their clandestine reading room – one of the driving forces behind this abominable shift in biblio-philosophies is found crushed beneath a shelf of DVDs. And Tru, who didn’t mince any words about his bookless library scheme, is suspect numero uno.

So now, unless she’s willing to rat-out her secret project (Which isn’t going to happen even if it gives her an iron-clad alibi) Tru must figure out who actually did the deed to save her own bacon!

While this is a cozy mystery, it’s not a cute one, and it’s a fine first in series. St. James does a good job in adding layers to her characters and nuance to her plot. If you enjoy reading biblio mysteries, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with The Broken Spine.

Oh, and did I mention there’s a cat named Dewey that has his paws all over things?

Fran

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is swallows.jpg



It’s summertime, vacation time, time away from school. So let me drag you back to high school via the inestimable Lisa Lutz. Trust me, even if you’ve been to boarding school, you haven’t been to Stonebridge Academy, a New England prep school with a terrible secret.

Alexandra Witt didn’t really want to teach at Stonebridge, but her famous author dad knew she needed a job after things went sideways at her last teaching gig, and he got her a place at the Academy. Alex takes the job, but with serious reservations; she and her father have a difficult past.

It doesn’t take Alex long to figure out the usual issues: teens with issues and egos, teachers with issues and egos, and an eccentric curriculum designed to allow students freedom of expression, which doesn’t always bring out the best in, well, anybody

But there’s something else going on, and because of Alex’s unorthodox teaching methods, she is soon privy to information she didn’t want to have. With strong-willed students going their own ways, Alex is caught up in a really ugly situation, and getting out of it could be incredibly difficult. And dangerous

The Swallows is Lisa Lutz at her best. It’s dark, true, but her trademark humor is liberally sprinkled throughout the novel, and her pacing is breathtaking Told from several points of view, not just Alex’s, you get a good look at what goes on at Stonebridge Academy, and it’s a testament to Lisa’s talent that each voice is unique. There’s never any doubt as to who is talking.

If I have a complaint, it’s that there are so many people – not narrators, but characters in general – that there were times when, having put the book down because stupid life dragged me away, that I had to figure out who was whom again. But then, I’m getting older. These things happen.

The mere fact that The Swallows is a Lisa Lutz novel should be enough to recommend it to you, if you’ve read her other work. If you haven’t, then by all means, grab it and dive in. Oh, you’re in for quite a ride, even if you’re back in school during summer vacation!

JB

Around the time the shop was closing, the second novel by Andy Weir was set to be published. I’d loved both the book and the movie The Martian, and had high hopes for this new one Artemis. Over three years later I picked up a copy and have to say it was a disappointment. The science that underlies the fiction, as with The Martian, gives it the foundation of believablility. But the voice of the central character is annoying. The story would’ve been better, sleeker, had it been written in third person. But there you go. If you want a crime story set in the first settlement on the moon, and what the science and physics of it would be, give it a try.

MONDAY, JUNE 28, 2021, 4:35PM IN JB’S YARD

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

Amber Here!

A Resolution At Midnight – Shelley Noble

People around the world have different traditions concerning New Year’s. 

Creating New Year’s resolutions, banging pots & pans outside at midnight (hopefully your neighbors do the same), kissing your sweetheart, or jumping off a chair at the very second the hands strike twelve – are all popular.

One particular interesting tradition that features a bit of divination, favored by Germans around the turn of the century, was placing walnut shells in a punchbowl and watching them zip around to figure out how the following 365 days will go. 

However, one of the most recognized and well-known traditions is the NYC ball drop in Times Square. Which, if you didn’t already know, first started its duties by marking the end of 1907 and the beginning of 1908. And this is when A Resolution At Midnight comes to a thrilling conclusion (it’s in the title, after all). 

(Fun Fact: The ball’s only failed to mark the occasion twice – in 1942 & 1943 – when the threat of air raids kept it, and the rest of New York, dark.)

Now you know where A Resolution At Midnight ends, lets got back to the beginning – ten days before Christmas, when Lady Dunbridge arrives home from gift hunting and finds a short note from Mr. X requesting a meeting at a nickelodeon…in just over thirty minutes! Even in 1907, New York traffic is still thick. So Phil, much to her annoyance, arrives late to her meeting…whereupon she discovers a man with his throat slit! 

Here’s what I love about this series: Shelley Noble never loses sight of the fact she’s writing a mystery. Yes, she incorporates the very first NYC ball drop, the NY Times, the seedy underbelly of NY politics, and the slow slide of the NYPD back into its bad ways after Roosevelt moved on…but Noble never succumbs to the temptation of historical pontification. Rather, Noble seamlessly weaves just enough detail of these fascinating facts to flesh out her mystery without Without ever detracting, derailing, or slowing the pace of her storyline. Yet, she manages to give her audience enough detail to do a bit of historical sleuthing on their own – if they so choose.

A Resolution At Midnight is no exception. 

Honestly, I loved every second of this book. Noble festoons her mystery with just enough of both winter holidays to give the reader a taste of the season and – not unlike Christie – counterbalances it with a nice bloody murder. Which happily sops up all the saccharine that often saturates stories set during this time of the year. 

Seriously, I would recommend A Resolution At Midnight to anyone who likes strong female leads and historical mysteries. 

You’re going to get tired of hearing this.

Fran Here!

I know, I know, but Louise Penny is great!

At least half of you are skipping this, aren’t you? Either you’ve already read it or you’re not a convert yet. Ha!

If you’ve never read Louise Penny, starting with her latest, ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE, actually isn’t a bad place to begin. Granted, you won’t have the emotional ties that come with being in love with the series, but don’t worry. Once you’re hooked (and you will be), you’ll go back and start with STILL LIVES, and you’ll catch up.

ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE takes place in Paris rather than Three Pines, which is part of what makes it okay to begin here. Also, you get a lot of family history, which will help you understand some of the cloudiness about Gamache’s relationship with his son, Daniel.

There is a lot going on in this book. Armand’s relationship with Daniel, Armand’s relationship with his godfather, Daniel’s relationship with Jean-Guy. And we spend a lot more time with Reine-Marie, which is lovely.

Oh, and there’s murder. And attempted murder, and theft and burglary and corporate shenanigans. Everything you expect from Louise Penny.

Now, let me be frank. This is not my favorite of her books. I think the ending was rushed, and I’m not entirely sure her new editor gets Louise’s vibe. At times it felt a little clunky.

That being said, I still skipped all my chores to race to the ending, which quite literally haunted my dreams. I woke up from a nightmare about being in the middle of the final conflict. She’s that good. So when I say it felt clunky, understand that it’s still much, much better than many other authors’ work! It just felt rushed.

So there you go, yet another endorsement for Louise Penny, and yes, you absolutely should read ALL THE DEVILS ARE HERE. And don’t worry, you’ll still be in touch with the Three Pines crew. I think you’re gonna love the ending, by the way. *wink*

Now I want a Parisian pastry.

Amber Here!

So I’ve got two great historical mysteries for you: Dianne Freeman’s A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder & Rhys Bowen’s The Last Mrs. Summers!

ALGT: Mischief and Murder first!

The Countess of Harleigh is back in a new mystery! (Woot!) And life, after her last murder inquiry, is going splendidly. There’s only one small hiccup, her sister Lily and her fiancee jumped the gun a bit…and they’re now expecting! 

Now, this isn’t the first or last time such an event has occurred, but that doesn’t make it any less distressing. Especially since it means Frances will need to find a new venue, plan a country wedding, and tell her mother of the change of plans. 

It’s that last bit which both Frances and Lily are dreading.

Even worse? When they do find and arrive at the new venue, a series of accidents start befalling both staff and guests alike! 

The Last Mrs. Summers next.

Georgie is at loose ends – Darcy’s off on a secret jaunt, her Granddad is busy, and her mother’s rushed off to Germany. Happily, thanks to the unexpected appearance of her bestie Belinda Warburton-Stoke, Georgie is able to set aside the loneliness threatening to overwhelm her.

Even better? Belinda has good news! Which leads them on an adventure down the Cornish coast – where Belinda finds herself accused of murder! And of course, Georgie can’t just leave her friend in a pickle, especially since the police aren’t willing to look beyond Belinda for another suspect…

ALGT: Mischief and Murder is a witty murder mystery – with a relatable backdrop of family and relationship hiccups. Plus, reading about an American, who’s been plunked down in English high society, is an exciting twist on the usual norm for this style of historical novel. 

In The Last Mrs. Summers, Bowen does a beautiful job of melding a gothic atmosphere within her mystery and pacing it in such a way you want to keep turning the pages. While also subtly furthering the overall story arch of the oncoming specter of WWII looming at the series’s edge. 

Perhaps The Last Mrs. Summers is a bit understated in its wit and humor, and ALGT: Mischief and Murder is bubblier – but both are excellent historical mysteries (set during different eras). And I would heartily recommend both books to anyone looking for a historical mystery with a strong female lead that treads on the lighter side of murder. I know I relished each and every minute I was ensconced within their respective worlds!

(And BTW – what’s with all the blue covers this season?)