JB would like to say how delightful it was to have Elaine W. wander into where he works. She was a long-time customer at SMB, really more of a family member. She’d been with us so long it is impossible to say how long. It was wonderful to see her!
The 2019 Shamus Awards were announced at the beginning of November at the annual Blouchercon, this year held in Dallas. Here are the lists of those nominated in four categories, with the winners in bright, bloody red. Congratulations to all!
Likewise, here are the 2019 Anthony Awards, nominees and winners, also announced at Bouchercon.
Part 1: ‘Men without faces’ led teen girls down ‘primrose path to hell’ in 1950s Portland prostitution scandal, Part 2: Revenge of Portland’s ‘blonde babe’: Teen prostitute told all about reform-school lesbians during 1959 vice scandal
Words of the Month
miser (n): From the 1540s, “miserable person, wretch,” from Latin miser (adj.) “unhappy, wretched, pitiable, in distress,” a word for which “no acceptable Proto-Indo-Eeuropean pedigree has been found” [de Vaan]. The oldest English sense now is obsolete; the main modern meaning of “money-hoarding person” (“one who in wealth conducts himself as one afflicted with poverty” – Century Dictionary) is recorded by 1560s, from the presumed unhappiness of such people. The older sense is preserved in miserable, misery, etc. Besides general wretchedness, the Latin word connoted also “intense erotic love” (compare slang got it bad “deeply infatuated”) and hence was a favorite word of Catullus. In Greek a miser was kyminopristes, literally “a cumin seed splitter.” In Modern Greek, he might be called hekentabelones, literally “one who has sixty needles.” The German word, filz, literally “felt,” preserves the image of the felt slippers which the miser often wore in caricatures. Lettish mantrausis “miser” is literally “money-raker.”
Books, Writing and Publishing
In 2018, Otto Penzler (owner of The Mysterious Bookshop in NYC, publisher of the late, lamented Mysterious Press, and publisher of various presses still working) put his personal collection up for auction. See the photo below, and commence drooling.
He now has a memoir about his years of collecting, Mysterious Obsession: Memoirs of a Compulsive Collector. At this link, you can read more about Otto and the collection. At the far end of the lower floor, you can see a desk. On it, at the far corner by the window, you can see a Maltese Falcon statuette. ON the floor, leaning against the desk is what we assume to be the original art for the dust jacket of James Ellroy’s The Black Dahlia – published by Mysterious Press.
Oh to have had an afternoon to wander the shelves, look at the spines, and to possibly hold some of these books, the finest copies of legendary crime and mystery novels.
The Rise of E-Books:The Last Decade Has Been Tumultuous For The Publishing Industry
Other Forms of Fun
December 4: Warren C. Easley, Third Place/LFP, 7pm
December 7: Tamara Berry in conversation with M.J. Beaufrand, University Books, 3pm
Words of the Month
polysemous (adj) 1884, from Medieval Latin polysemus, from Greek polysemos “of many sides” etymonline
polysemy (n) a condition in which a single word, phrase, or concept has more than one meaning or connotation. dictionary.com
Links of Interest
November 4: The World’s Oldest Recipes Decoded
November 9: Leonardo da Vinci’s Virgin of the Rocks
November 10: Sesame Street at 50: Five defining moments
November 14: Rembrandt theft foiled at Dulwich Picture Gallery
November 15: ‘One in a million’ three-antler deer spotted in US
November 18: Police break up archeological crime gang in Italy
November 18: The Secret Life of Plants as Murder Weapons
November 23: Egypt animal mummies showcased at Saqqara near Cairo
From what we remember, the story on Chatham’s Clark City Press was such that if he chose to publish an author, they got to pick which of Chatham’s paintings that would grace the cover of the trade paperback. And then they got that painting as a gift. The one we remember was the only novel by noted PNW poet Richard Hugo (he memorialized in the name The Hugo House) which was the outstanding mystery, Death and the Good Life. The current edition of the book has a different cover but I remember when we had this one in the shop. It was lovely. ~ JB
November 15: Inventor of the famed ‘Sourtoe Cocktail’ dies
November 22: Gahan Wilson, Vividly Macabre Cartoonist, Dies at 89
November 22: Jane Galloway Heitz dies aged 78
Words of the Month
What We’ve Been Up To
Last week on Finder of Lost Things…Marshmallows and music distract Phoebe from realizing something important is happening in Nevermore….
Gail Carriger – Reticence
Weddings and funerals.
The two events which bring together friends, family, and tangentially attached relations together in one place then ply them with alcohol. What could go wrong? Add in werewolves, vampires, were-lioness, intelligencers, and inventors you’ve got the makings of a smashing party or a brawl.
However, Reticence actually starts with a job interview and the hiring of a new doctor for the Spotted Custard. Then we segue seamlessly into a wedding.
It makes sense when you read it.
For one to fully understand and appreciate Reticence, you need to have read the other three Custard Protocol books – plus the Parasol Protectorate & Finishing School series. As many, many of the main players from each of these other series pop up in this installment.
It’s what happens at weddings, everyone turns up to wine, dine, and dance to the happy couple.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Perhaps it felt a hair rushed at the end – however – Carriger does a beautiful job of winding up the series in an elegant and humorous way. Leaving herself just enough wiggle room, should the whim seize her, she could continue to write of Rue and her crew’s adventures. Or start an entirely new series set in the same universe.
Either way, Reticence won’t leave you disappointed. I know I wasn’t.
(And if you haven’t started reading Ms. Carriger’s books, you should! They are lovely, full of whimsy, tea cakes, supernatural creatures, the occasionally soulless, complicated inventors, steampunk, politics, and hats.)
November was kinda sucky for me. Let’s just say that I need two new knees, and our beloved but aged cat died.
I tend to read David Eddings when I’m down, but I found a “Death on Demand” book by Carolyn Hart I hadn’t read: Walking on my Grave (Berkley). It was the perfect read.
Okay, so I figured out who did it early on, and the big twist wasn’t really a surprise. But you know how it is when you visit old friends; sometimes you just need time in their company, listening to the old stories. Walking on my Grave reminded me of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, in the very best ways.
Granted, I still didn’t get the paintings at the end right, and I love that she always surprises me there. I’ll be Amber would have gotten them, though.
Oh, and be sure to read the chap-books at the end!
Shop dream: the shop was small, cramped, and we were running around looking for the Xmas books. Oddly, none of the usual ones were on the shelves. Authors’ books were missing those titles. Behind a bunch of movable displays, I saw that there was an alcove with a bunch of tables. The books on those tables badly needed to be returned. They were old and had dust on the jackets (so they were doing their jobs!). Again, Amber was in the dream but not Fran. I really don’t understand why Fran isn’t in the dreams but the last couple have had the need to do returns, which probably goes back to trying to keep the place afloat.
Fran here – Yeah, why is that? I could help return books (after I snag the ones I want to keep, that is!)
Fran and I have had an on-going discussion about the cosmology in John Connolly‘s Charlie Parker series. Certainly, there’s a great deal of spirituality. There are figures of good and figures of great evil. There are actual spirits or should they be called ghosts? There are beings that are more – or worse – than human, whose lives are longer than those of normal humans. The figures of evil lay out their schemes and keep track of Parker. It is pretty clear that by now they’re afraid of him. Is it because he’s dangerous, or because he’s a figure of “good” who seems indestructible? There are “bad” gods, something unseen but referred to as The Buried God. Does that mean there’s a corollary Good God? I’m not a fan or a believer in organized religion but there’s a battle going on in these books between the destroyers and those who are out to stop them. I’m not ready to say that Parker, as well as Louis and Angel, are avenging angels in the classic, halo-wearing sense, but they certainly scare the shit out of the bad guys. And that is a great thing.
A Book of Bones is the 17th novel in the series. Fran and I would urge you to read them if you like lyrical prose and characters who are not all black or white. There’s lots of blood, sure, but gentle humor between friends as well as ribald laughs springing from the oddities of the human race. These are not books for the squeamish, but for readers who appreciate a challenge. If you do start the series, read them in order. That’s the best way to see the story lines unfold. If you do, you’re lucky, for you have a long line of books to consume. For us who have been following the series all these years, we have to endure the wait for next year’s book and pray it is a Parker book, not something else. Lord have mercy if we have to wait two years. Especially now, as this latest book’s very last sentence is a twist you can’t see coming. It’s a game changer. Can’t wait to see where John takes us next!
Movie Review: The Irishman
I admit that I had high hopes for the new Scorsese movie. The cast would be stellar, the story interesting and, after all, it’d be a Scorsese mobster movie. The cast was great – Pacino as Hoffa was outstanding, Joe Pesci as Russell Bufalino had a stunning stillness, Harvey Keitel appeared in a few scenes with a quiet menace, and De Niro was, well, DeNiro (I’ve always been a fan but just seems to be doing the same thing film after film – his expressions never change). But I must say it was a let down. It fizzled to it’s end and all you could say was “huh”. It is no Goodfellas.
Don’t judge a book by its cover. This cover is wrong. Don’t recall any trees in the entire story. This cover says “spooky”, even haunted”. Maybe so. But the spook is a good guy.
“Evidently unsettled, too, by Reacher’s gaze, which was steady, and calm, and slightly amused, but also undeniably predatory, and even a little unhinged.”
Things are the usual with this book. Even normal. Except when they’re not. Reacher gets off a bus. He helps an old guy. He’s drawn into trouble. He gives better than he gets. Bad guys go down. There are some differences.
First, this reads like an homage to Red Harvest. Two rival gangs rule a town. They’re set against one another. Second, Reacher gathers a little team with whom he does his damage. Third, he talks about knowing someday he won’t win. Says he knows he’s old but not that old. Lastly, he asks the woman to leave town with him.
Blue Moon – the title is as nonsensical as the cover art – but ignore it. This is one of the best Reachers in years. Good, hard, mean fun. It even touches on current issues. An easy triple. Maybe even an in-the-park homer.
But you should look up the meaning of “gamine”.
Shop dream: it was near the end of the month and I suddenly realized that the newsletter hadn’t been proofed, it wasn’t in the format for the printer and there was little time to get it done before it had to be mailed out… Did it have to do with needing to finish up this edition of the newzine as we near the end of November? WHO KNOWS!