A little something different in this months Words of the Month
Hanlon’s Razor: Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. The sentiment has been attributed to many other minds. (thanks to Says You!, episode 2412)
The shop’s e-mail filter has snagged a number of messages as nefarious. They’re supposedly from US sources and the subject lines say something like “Only The U.S. Presidential Team Will Save United States from Doomsday Ahead” or “The Exceptional Benefits of The United States Presidential Team”. Makes me wonder if these are attempts by “outside actors” to influence the election. Usually, we just get sunglasses brags or Nigerian princes’ pleas in Spanish…
Was Tony Soprano’s Therapist Good at Her Job?
Improve your relationships – with advice from counter-terrorism experts
Complete your pandemic aesthetic with this bookcase that converts into a coffin.
Frans Hals painting ‘Two Laughing Boys’ stolen for a third time
The Art of Upsetting People
Was The Graduate Inspired by a Brontë Family Scandal?
Don’t feel bad: even Danielle Steel, author of 179 books, couldn’t write under lockdown.
Add a Tart Twist to Your Summer Reading List With These Cocktail Themed Mysteries
Is this the greatest TV commercial ever made for a public library?
How Dashiell Hammett’s Contintental Op Became a Depression-Era Icon
“The Easiest Eighty Thousand Words Ever Put Together”: The Story Behind the Story of David Dodge’s To Catch a Thief
A Bruce Lee Hong Kong sightseeing tour – visit where the martial arts icon lived, filmed, trained and went to school with this DIY guide
One Twitter Account’s Quest to Proofread The New York Times
Did you know that Truman Capote discovered Ray Bradbury? (Well, sort of.)
Words we think we know, but can’t pronounce: the curse of the avid reader
Poetry magazine will skip its September issue to address its “deep-seated white supremacy.”
Check out this gorgeous illustrated map of Black-owned bookshops across the country.
Agency: Nearly 87,000 bogus unemployment claims filed in Washington state
Murders of California Indigenous Women 7 times less likely to be solved, report finds
“The Con,” a new five-part docuseries, examines the 2007-08 global financial crisis and the greedy bankers and politicians who got away with (figurative) murder.
How a Russian Defector Became a Warning from Moscow to London
Alan Dershowitz claims a fictional lawyer defamed him. The implications for novelists are very real
Bookseller, writer, and publisher organizations want congress to go after Amazon.
Portland’s Powell’s Books says it ‘must take a stand’ and will stop selling books through Amazon
(Amazon owned)Whole Foods managers told to talk up donations while enforcing BLM ban
The Real Criminal Masterminds in America Aren’t Working the System—They Created It
3 of the World’s Deadliest Serial Killers Come From the Same Place: Why?
‘History Is Corrected’: An Interview with Civil Rights journalist Jerry Mitchell
Sex Offender Registries Often Fail Those They Are Designed To Protect
New York rejects 11th parole bid of John Lennon’s killer
Global Raid Targets Major TV and Movie Piracy Group
Writers Against Trump wants to mobilize the literary community in advance of the election.
Fact Checking Is the Core of Nonfiction Writing. Why Do So Many Publishers Refuse to Do It?
Independent bookstores struggle under national security law in Hong Kong
Half a century after 4 murders rocked a community and a courtroom, ‘Seattle’s Forgotten Serial Killer’ explores the case of Gary Gene Grant
Words of the Month
Benfor’s Law: The louder the voice, the weaker the argument. Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real information available. (thanks to Says You!, episode 2412)
Marieke Lucas Rijneveld wins International Booker for The Discomfort of Evening
J.K. Rowling Returns Kennedy Human Rights Award After RFK Daughter Calls Author “Transphobic”
In turbulent times, culling my book collection gave me the illusion of control. Then the dilemmas began multiplying.
Personal Space: Laura Lippman Dares to Focus on Herself
The 35 Most Iconic Caper Movies, Ranked
The Agony of Liam Neeson, Action Star
The Crime is Up: A hybrid podcast featuring original crime fiction and film noir appreciations.
The greatest femme fatale ever?
What I Learned About Myself While Tallying The Body Count of Ozark’s First Season
Watch the steamy first trailer for Kenneth Branagh’s Death on the Nile.
The Sherlock Holmes group The Baker Street Irregulars have a video podcast now, The Fortnightly Dispatch.
Otto Penzler finished his list of Greatest Crime Films of All Time
This One Line From Gone Baby Gone Plays on a Loop in My Head
August 1: James Silberman, Editor Who Nurtured Literary Careers, Dies at 93
August 2: Wilford Brimley, Star of “The China Syndrome” and “The Natural” Dies At 85
August 4: Pete Hamill, Quintessential New York Journalist, and Novelist, Dies at 85
August 4: Reni Santoni, Dirty Harry Actor and Seinfeld’s Poppie, Dead at 81
August 18: Ben Cross, British actor in Chariots of Fire and Sarek in Star Trek films, dead at 72
August 28: ‘Black Panther’ Star Chadwick Boseman Dies of Cancer at 43
Words of the Month
Gibson’s Law: “For every PhD there is an equal and opposite PhD.”
Links of Interest
July 30: Doubting Gauguin ~An amateur detective takes on the National Gallery, and the art world
August 2: He’s probably been in more movies than any actor in history (hint: he’s in “Chinatown”)
August 2: ‘Murder capital of the world’: The terrifying years when multiple serial killers stalked Santa Cruz
August 3: “I’m Going To Be Honest With You,” The Grandfather Told Police. “I Killed A Lot.”
August 4: This woman hunts for photos and other treasures left in used books — then returns them
August 5: Coups, lies, dirty tricks: The Police’s Stewart Copeland on his CIA agent father
August 5: Russia’s ‘Red Penguins’ Had Mobsters, Strippers, Beer-Chugging Bears—and Some Hockey
August 5: Whatever Happened to Eliot Ness After Prohibition?
August 5: The unusual new species of stingray found in a jar
August 6: My Life in True Crime ~ Kim Powers’ life has been spent writing about crime. But the suspicions about his own mother’s death were kept secret
August 6: The Spy Messages No Computer Can Decode
August 6: Medieval ‘wine windows’ are reopening, reviving Italian plague tradition
August 7: Tennis star, fashion designer, integration advocate . . . spy?
August 7: Cheeky boar leaves nudist grunting in laptop chase
August 9: Cavorting in Hot Springs, Ark., During Its Sin-Soaked Heyday
August 9: Gandhi’s glasses left in Bristol auctioneer’s letterbox
August 10: Thirty-year-old corpse discovered in cellar of €35m Paris mansion
August 17: Two men charged with 2002 murder of Run-DMC DJ Jam Master Jay
August 18: How a Fake CIA Spy Fooled Everyone and Swindled Millions
August 18: The Last Seduction: The greatest femme fatale ever?
August 19: The Bloody Benders: America’s First Family of Serial Killers
August 20: Jack Reacher and The Grand Unified Theory of Thrillers
August 23: Frank Sinatra Slept Here, and So Can You ~ In New York and across the country, the former homes of famous writers, musicians and film stars are available as short-term rentals
August 23: Assassins in stockings and stilettos: is it time movies killed off hitwoman cliches?
August 23: Tel Aviv covers over Peeping Toms beach mural
August 24: Kuwaiti writers welcome change to book censorship laws
August 24: Israeli youths unearth 1,100-year-old gold coins from Abbasid era
August 25: Discovery of scholar’s notes shine light on race to decipher Rosetta Stone
August 25: How Do Celebrity Conspiracy Theorists Become Who They Are?
August 25: What the Mythology of El Chapo Guzmán Tells Us About the Reality of Drug Trafficking in the Americas
August 25: Kevin Costner on ‘Dangerous’ Trump, a ‘Bodyguard’ Sequel With Princess Diana, and American ‘Amnesia’
August 27: Memories of a Coroner’s Daughter
August 28: My Top Five Female Detectives, Real and Imagined
August 28: Driven to Abstraction: the inside story of a $60m art forgery hoax
August 28: Forensics on Trial: America’s First Blood Test Expert
August 29: Denise Mina: ‘I couldn’t read until I was about nine’
Words of the Month
Doctorow’s Law: “Anytime someone puts a lock on something you own, against your wishes, and doesn’t give you the key, they’re not doing it for your benefit.”
What We’ve Been Up To
Don’t forget to check out one of my other blogs – Finder of Lost Things! A serial mystery set in and around Nevermore Cemetery!
Now due to the slowness of the mail recently all my new books were delayed in arriving, so I’ve not had a chance to read them yet. So instead, here’s a review of a Lego build I finished of a….
This is probably one of the most fun (only surpassed by the detective’s agency) and detailed builds I’ve finished so far in Lego’s mains street builds. With trees, flowers, a backyard garden and books – what more can you ask for?
Lego categorizes this as an Creator Expert build – so unless you have a kid with large builds under their belt or can follow instructions well – I’d work up to this set.
However, it is totally worth practicing for!
Speaking of Lego – Here’s a funny story: Lego hand comes out of boy’s nose after two years
I put this article here, rather in the Book Stuff section, ’cause Dave and Clete are two of my favorite people – no matter that they’re fiction: The Evolution of Dave Robicheaux and the Incredible Career of James Lee Burke
And then this appeared the next day: James Lee Burke on Art, Fascism, and the Hijacking of American Christianity
Charles Leerhsen‘s new biography, Butch Cassidy, was great fun. It’s full of interesting details – Etta’s first name was really Ethel but a typo in the Pinkerton’s file has forever changed that, and Sundance played the guitar well – who knew? I had not heard that Sundance’s mother’s maiden name was Place and that’s likely where Etta/Ethel got it. In fact, it may be we really don’t know her birth name.
I had not heard of the collapse of beef prices during the blizzard called the The Big Die-Up of 1886-87 (a 15-inch snowflake still holds the world record for size from that storm) and that massive affect on the Old West. I had not realized the size of hauls the Wild Bunch got from banks and trains, and, as staggering as those numbers are, it is astonishing how they were always out of money. “You could go broke in the Wild West being a bandit.” And I had not realized just how far and how often they’d travel, whether by horseback or, one assumes, train.
What Leerhsen does best it draw portraits of the outlaws and juxtaposes those against what we all expect from the famed movie. Indeed, while haunted and hunted by the law, they still did quite a bit of straight work – cowboying on ranches all along the eastern Rockies. He does a similar job relating their years in South America. Again, I had not understood how long they were there. Hollywood, again. But Leerhsen points all of that out, even to the degree which screenwriter William Goldman purposefully didn’t research Cassidy and Sundance and still he got their personalities and era right.
With a light and amusing style, he sets down things that you know about in a new way. About the massive explosion in the train heist in Wilcox, WY – so well destroyed a second time in the movie, the author tells us: “When Woodcock came to, he was pleased to realize that the crimson splotches all over his clothes came from a shipment of raspberries that the blast had turned into flying jam. The red stuff now coated everything in sight – and would later make the stolen bank notes and coins easier to identify”. Later, one of the gang would be arrested after spending one of the stained notes.
There are many, many amusing passages in the book. Wish I’d kept better track of them!
But there are a few flaws to the book. For one, it’d’ve been a great help to have a map of their locations in the Eastern Rockies and in South America. Much more useful than the usual photos that are not new. They road hundreds of miles, worked at this ranch or that ranch, circled back to this one – where was that one again? He also remarks often about how Butch’s fame as an outlaw grew but he doesn’t match that but noting how many bank or train robberies there were. From what he includes, Butch seems to be an occasional outlaw, not a desperado with a national reputation.
But that leads to one glaring fault of the book. Maybe he didn’t feel the need to present anything comprehensive due to the large number of books about Butch. Indeed, time and again he mentions the authoritative or exhausting book that Richard Patterson or Kerry Ross Boren, or the work of Daniel Buck and Anne Meadows. Maybe the helpful maps are in one of those books…
At any rate, I highly recommend this book. There’s lots about the time period and what their Old Wild West was really like and, best of all, as Leerhsen seems to agree, there are no intrusive, annnoying Burt Bacharach songs.
BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL