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Word of the Month
infra dig: “beneath one’s dignity, unbecoming to one’s position in society,” 1824, colloquial abbreviation of Latin infra dignitatem “beneath the dignity of.” See infra- + dignity. (thanks to etymonline.com)
Opening this month is Widows, a heist movie. It’s got a stellar cast (Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Daniel Kaluuya, Carrie Coon, Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, and Robert Duvall to name a few). It’s directed by Steve McQueen and it is based on a 1985 Lynda LaPlante TV series (“Prime Suspect” was 1991) of the same name. Besides all of this, we mention it because of the co-writer of the screen play with Steve McQueen – Gillian Flynn. Gonna have to see it now!
Links of Interest
October 2nd: Disney ‘graffiti drone’ tags walls
October 2nd: Bottle of whisky sold for world record
October 2nd: Thieves steal entire vineyard
October 2nd: Like Noir? Like Horror? Have You Met Sandman Slim? (this is an author that Fran and Amber both adore!)
October 4th: George Pelecanos and the Prison Librarian
October 4th: The Last Big Bookstore
October 4th: Fitbit data used to charge US man with murder
October 5th: Girl, 8, pulls a 1,500-year-old sword from a lake
October 6th: The Reykjavik Confessions
October 7th: Library hours across England slashed by austerity
October 7th: Jogger in Netherlands finds lion cub
October 10th: Tour de France trophy stolen
October 12th: 5,000 Rare bird eggs found in hoarder’s house
October 13th: The Wild History of Poison Rings
October 15th: Was Gary Hart Set Up? (the Nixon crew termed it “ratfucking”…)
October 15th: 12 Authors Write about the Libraries They Love
October 18th: The One Writing Skill You Must Master
October 22nd: Inside the bookshops and libraries of Scotland
October 23rd: Dutchman’s ‘pure shock’ after winning Cardigan bookshop
October 24th: What’s fact and fiction about working as a British spy?
October 31st: Edward Gorey was Eerily Precient
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November 7th: Suzanne M. Wolfe, 7pm, Third Place Books/Ravenna
November 14th: Warren C. Easley, 7pm, Third Place Books/ LFP
November 16th: Martin Limón, 6pm, Third Place Books/ LFP
November 19th: Joe Ide, 7:30pm, Powells
November 30th: Jonathan Lethem, 1pm, Third Place Books/Ravenna
Word of the Month – Continued
dignity (n.): Circa 1200, “state of being worthy,” from Old French dignite “dignity, privilege, honor,” from Latin dignitatem (nominative dignitas) “worthiness,” from dignus “worth (n.), worthy, proper, fitting,” from Proto-Indo-European *dek-no-, suffixed form of root *dek- “to take, accept.”
From circa 1300 as “an elevated office, civil or ecclesiastical,” also “honorable place or elevated rank.” From late 14th C. as “gravity of countenance.”
(thanks, again, to etymonline.com)
October 30th: James “Whitey” Bolger, who hated to be called “Whitey” and was a proven ghoul, was murdered in prison. Whitey was the Irish crime lord of Boston and had, in return for ratting out other criminals, Whitey suborned FBI agents into telling him who his enemies were. If you’re interested in the whole, lurid story, JB recommends T.J. English’s Where the Bodies Were Buried. And, of course, there was Johnny Depp’s portrayal of Whitey in Black Mass, supported by a stellar cast.
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If you were a fan of the Netflix series, “The Keepers”, the story is being continued in a podcast called “Out of the Shadows”. On of the main women “investigators” of the TV series is part of the duo doing the podcast. There are seven episodes so far and there’s much new info, and it is still all heartbreaking and infuriating. JB recommends.
Word of the Month – Lastly
imprecation (n.): Mid-15c., “a curse, cursing,” from Latin imprecationem (nominative imprecatio) “an invoking of evil,” noun of action from past participle stem of imprecari “invoke, pray, call down upon,” from assimilated form of in- “into, in, within” (from Proto-Indo-European root *en “in”) + precari “to pray, ask, beg, request” (from PIE root *prek- “to ask, entreat”). “Current limited sense is characteristic of human nature” [Weekley]. (thanks to etymonline.com)
What We’ve Been Doing
Don’t forget to check out my original mystery! Finder Of Lost Things
Francis Duncan – In At The Death
Chief Inspector Jonathan Boyce of Scotland Yard has given Mordecai Tremaine his heart’s desire – Mordecai will shadow his friend on his next murder investigation (with the strict understanding that Mordecai is to stay under the radar). While Mordecai may be an amateur, our favorite retired tobacconist has proven his skill to the Inspector and his boss.
So when the phone rings summoning Inspector Boyce to Bridgton, to discover who murdered a local doctor, he makes sure his murder bag is packed, and Mordecai is seated next to him.
Thrilled that he’s no longer an outsider in the investigation, Mordecai throws his not inconsiderable knowledge of human nature into discovering the secrets of the Doctor’s life which lead to his death. Starting with why the good doctor was carrying a gun in his Gladstone bag the night of his death…
Do you enjoy reading classic mysteries? Do you enjoy reading from an amateur detectives point of view? Did you enjoy reading Miss Marple?
Then I think you’d enjoy reading the Mordecai Tremaine mysteries (in many ways he’s Miss Marple’s male counterpart)!
He is a man of a certain age, retired from running his shop, who’s now able to focus on his not so secret passion, murder and the solving of it (Mordecai’s actual secret passion, which isn’t as secret as he’d like, is his weakness for “the heart-stirring fiction” supplied by the magazine Romantic Stories). Something else which I also find endearing about Mordecai is the fact, that while he finds a certain amount of zest from tracking a murder to ground, he never loses sight of the heinous act they’ve committed.
With that said I must encourage you to read this series, starting with A Murder For Christmas (which is set during the Yuletide season, with the trimmings of the season but isn’t a cloyingly saccharine holiday affair, I assure you) thru to this latest installment. Though it isn’t strictly necessary to read them in order, I think in this case you get more out of the books if you do! There’s one last book releasing in January, and I can’t wait! Seriously I finished In At The Death the same day I bought it – much to the amusement of my husband – who suggested I not to inhale it in one sitting. Silly husband.
Barbara Cleverly – Fall of Angels
Detective Inspector John Redfyre is a rare creature – he’s the fourth (and therefore penniless) son of an aristocratic family, with a good university education and a clear sense of service. What makes him rare jewel in the eyes of his superiors? He’s a Detective Inspector who can rub shoulders with the Cambridge’s elite or pub thugs with equal ease.
This ability to skate between worlds comes in handy when Redfyre literally has front row seats to an attempted murder on the University campus! A female musician is pushed down the stairs following her performance (which was very controversial since it’s 1923 and she’s playing the trumpet – an instrument deemed only fit for male musicians) and lands pretty much in his lap (Redfyre’s Aunt had given him tickets to the performance). This piece of skullduggery is quickly followed by an actual murder which unexpectedly dovetails with the previous evening’s sabotage, much to Redfyre’s surprise.
With no shortage of suspects, it’s up to Detective Inspector Redfyre to suss out the motive behind these callous crimes before the murderer strikes again!
So, on the whole, I really enjoyed this book, I’d give it four out of five stars. The murder mystery, the Detective Inspector and the characters were all lovely and well constructed. In fact, the last two-thirds of the book was an excellent read…The problem with this book is the central red herring, which is a hair overcomplicated (or overexplained – I can’t decide – because Cleverly gave voice to simply everyone’s views at some point), which muddies up the narrative until the Detective Inspector unravels it.
That being said this mystery is well worth your time (because while the first bit might have been overly done – I never once entertained the thought of putting it down!). The mystery itself is well thought out, well executed and has a climatic conclusion.
FYI – don’t let the cover fool you, the crimes happen to occur during Christmas time, but this book is not a holiday-themed mystery. There is no syrupy sweetness to be found anywhere between the covers, I promise!
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical mysteries sprinkled with strong (opinionated) characters!
“You find that kernel of madness at an early age, and if you’re lucky you start building up a callus around it, a tough layer of humanity that holds it at bay, because it’s just too dangerous to allow to escape. Your family can’t ever see it, your friends can’t ever see it, no one must ever see it – but it’s there, waiting to burn the protective covering away that has taken a lifetime to build and burst open like a volcanic canker of maniacal emotion.”
JB wrote up Craig Johnson’s latest Longmire novel, Depth of Winter, last month but of course I have to add my two cents. Depth of Winter may go down as one of Craig Johnson’s best.
It wasn’t an easy read for me, but it was brilliant. Oh sure, it had the trademark Walt observations and humor, and it’s a page-turner extraordinaire, but it’s also bleak and grim and violent and sad. You see, Cady’s been kidnapped by Bidarte and has been taken into the wilds of Mexico. It’s a trap – you know it, we know it, Walt knows it, hell, the federal government knows it – but that doesn’t matter. Cady’s down there, so Walt is going after her.
Part of what’s unsettling about Depth of Winter is that we don’t have our usual complement of characters backing Walt up. No Vic, no Lucian, no Henry. It’s weird and feels wrong somehow. And yet…if they were there, we might not meet the fantastic people Walt gets to know: the Seer, Alonzo, Bianca, Buck Guzman, Isidro. I’ve gotta say, I smiled at the idea of Henry and Isidro teaming up. They’d be damned near unstoppable.
But Depth of Winter is a defining book for Walt Longmire, and I can’t see how things are going to play out once he’s back home. It’ll be interesting and of course I can’t wait, but something changed with the telling of this tale, and I’m not sure how the pieces will come back together again, what picture will emerge.
And I can’t wait!
Okay, this is straight-up fantasy, nothing urban about it. It has nothing Earth-based except concepts, but those very concepts are what made me write this. They’re oh so relevant today, even though she wrote the series back at the turn of the century (and let me tell you, typing that was fun!).
I don’t want to get into too much detail, mainly because there’s SO MUCH in it, but the basic gist is that the human world is linked to Tir Alainn, the Fae world, but those links are vanishing, and no one knows what happens to the Fae when the links are broken. But the links seem to be tied in some way to witches, who tend to keep low profiles because they’re often misunderstood. And it’s just their way.
And there’s the Witch’s Hammer, a man who devoutly believes all witches must die, although he does consider himself to be a humane man, and leaves time for repentance.
The characters are myriad and well defined, obviously, because that’s one of my major criterion, as you know, and because Anne Bishop is incredibly talented. But the sense of impending doom, the incredible time crunch, and the beautiful interactions make this trilogy fantastic. I do think the ending was a bit rushed, and I think she still could expand on this world, but even if she never does, this is a series well worth reading!
New Reacher: Past Tense
Author: Lee Child
Plot: Reacher hitchhikes into town. Something hinky is going on. Everyone underestimates Reacher. Bad guys want Reacher to go away. He Doesn’t. Reacher defeats bad guys.
Great fun. Can’t stop reading. Gotta get to the end. Please leave me alone. Do I have to go to work?
Reacher leaves town.