~For the record, we miss doing our annual April Fool’s message ~
Words for the Month
pseudepigrapha (n.) “books or writings of false authorship,” 1620s (implied in pseudepigraphical), especially of spurious writing professing to be Biblical in character and inspired in authorship, from Modern Latin use of Greek neuter plural of pseudepigraphos “with false title,” from pseudos “a lie” (see pseudo-) + epigraphē “a writing” (see epigraph).
How Defamatory Is “Goblin Mode” to Real Goblins?
She found lost love letters in her attic. Then the hunt began for their owner.
Did you know Bram Stoker wrote Walt Whitman a very intense, 2,000-word fan letter?
The More Personal the Joke, the Bigger the Laugh (and More Lessons from a Career in Cartoons)
Sex Traps Might Finally Help Us Eradicate Murder Hornets [this is why the world of espionage calls them Honey Traps]
Super-valued: Special copy of Marvel Comics #1 fetches $2.4M
Anais Nin’s Los Angeles Hideaway in photos
The 12 Most Unforgettable Descriptions of Food in Literature
Sherlock Holmes, Hercules Poirot, Jorge Luis Borges and the Mathematical Art of the Great Detective Novel
Looking Back on 50 Years of Making Beautiful Books
Seven Colorful Cover Themes from Crime Fiction’s Past
These unread books have a long shelf life — as décor
A Rare ‘Star Wars’ Poster Is Being Auctioned Off to Benefit Ukraine
This is why Bill Farley named it the Seattle Mystery Bookshop: Why Good Bookstores Might Not Actually Be “Stores”
Words for the Month
fable (n.) c. 1300, “falsehood, fictitious narrative; a lie, pretense,” from Old French fable “story, fable, tale; drama, play, fiction; lie, falsehood” (12th C.), from Latin fabula “story, story with a lesson, tale, narrative, account; the common talk, news,” literally “that which is told,” from fari “speak, tell,” from PIE root *bha- (2) “to speak, tell, say.”
Restricted sense of “animal story” (early 14th C.) comes from the popularity of Aesop’s tales. In modern folklore terms, defined as “a short, comic tale making a moral point about human nature, usually through animal characters behaving in human ways” [“Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore”]. (etymonline)
*Conti Ransomware Gang Sees Thousands of Internal Chats Leaked After Posting Pro-Russia Message
*A ransomware gang’s internal drama leaked after it backed Russia
*Russia Looks at Legalizing Software Piracy to Offset Sanctions
*Ukrainian libraries, serving as bomb shelters, continue to prove that libraries are our best hope.
*Inside the ‘Bookkeeper Army’ Secretly Working to Track Down Vladimir Putin’s Hidden Money
*Ukraine intelligence publishes names of 620 alleged Russian agents
*Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper, whose editor was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year, announced on Monday that it will temporarily cease all its operations until the end of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
>Zoë Kravitz wanted to audition for a 2012 Batman film. She was told she was too ‘urban,’ she says.
>Her Comics were Everything Jim Crow America Never Wanted Black Women to Be
>Biden signs into law first anti-lynching bill in U.S. history
>Emmett Till’s relatives push for renewed probe into 1955 lynching
>A Century later, The Death of an Indiana Man is Ruled a Lynching Instead of a Suicide
Justice Department reports more than $8 billion in alleged fraud tied to federal coronavirus aid programs
His reporting on the Kennedy assassination made him a legend. Then a press group looked into his past.
The Canadian Spy Novelist Ordered To Reveal His Sources
Secret Service Says More Needs to Be Done to Stop ‘Incel’ Attacks
Gretchen Whitmer: FBI agent ‘bomb-maker’ in kidnap plot
Mexico armed forces knew fate of 43 disappeared students from day one
Sandy Hook Families Reject ‘Desperate’ Settlement Offer from Alex Jones
After Kansas City sues, ATF issues notice revoking gun manufacturer’s license
Hackers pretending to be cops tricked Apple and Meta into handing over user data
The Censorship Battle
Brad Meltzer on how a community fought a school book ban in Pennsylvania and won.
The smallest library in Maine is stocking its shelves with banned books.
An educator was fired for reading I Need A New Butt! aloud. Now PEN America’s involved.
Schools nationwide are quietly removing books from their libraries
Progressives are resisting rightwing book banning campaigns – and are winning
‘It’s a culture war that’s totally out of control’: the authors whose books are being banned in US schools
Artist Shubigi Rao’s Pulp III Explores the Book as a Vehicle for Resistance and Redemption
An Oklahoma lawmaker just compared librarians to cockroaches. It’s as bad as it sounds.
Author Lauren Hough Loses Lambda Prize Nomination After Suggesting People Read a Forthcoming Book Before They Condemn It
Ted Cruz’s ‘Antiracist Baby’ Smear Campaign Backfires and Boosts Sales
Tyrants and Propaganda, Or The Totalitarian Need for Total Information Control
Words of the Month
pseudo-: Often before vowels pseud-, word-forming element meaning “false; feigned; erroneous; in appearance only; resembling,” from Greek pseudo-, combining form of pseudēs “false, lying; falsely; deceived,” or pseudos “falsehood, untruth, a lie,” both from pseudein “to tell a lie; be wrong, break (an oath),” also, in Attic, “to deceive, cheat, be false,” but often regardless of intention, a word of uncertain origin. Words in Slavic and Armenian have been compared; by some scholars the Greek word is connected with *psu- “wind” (= “nonsense, idle talk”); Beekes suggests Pre-Greek origin.
Productive in compound formation in ancient Greek (such as pseudodidaskalos “false teacher,” pseudokyon “a sham cynic,” pseudologia “a false speech,” pseudoparthenos “pretended virgin”), it began to be used with native words in later Middle English with a sense of “false, hypocritical” (pseudoclerk “deceitful clerk;” pseudocrist “false apostle;” pseudoprest “heretical priest;” pseudoprophete; pseudofrere) and has been productive since then; the list of words in it in the OED print edition runs to 13 pages. In science, indicating something deceptive in appearance or function. (etymonline)
Portland thieves steal 70 signed guitars worth $130K; instruments used by Oregon Music Hall of Fame to fund music education, scholarships
Amazon Closes a Seattle Office Over Deadly Shooting Surge
FBI looking into claims that Spokane Public Schools staff members have failed to report violence, crimes to police
Revised suit alleges Portland church, former pastor and lawyer engaged in racketeering, unemployment fraud
Feds pursue dozens of suspected Oregon fraud cases tied to pandemic business aid
Jailbird Harvey Weinstein Caught Red-Handed With Illegal Milk Duds
James Bond Gets His Grossest Gadget Ever in Mark Millar’s 007 Pastiche
Exploring the Enduring Mystery of Crete’s Phaistos Disc
‘The Batman’ Star Paul Dano Says Saran Wrap Doesn’t Want to Be Associated With Riddler’s Costume
Georgia Man Gets 3 Years Prison for Using COVID Funds to Buy a Pokémon Card
Scotland Apologizes for History of Witchcraft Persecution
The Unique Pleasures of a Mystery Novel with a High Death Count
For the Love of Murderous Women
This artist creates sculptures of mundane objects using the pages of vintage books.
$1.7M in NFTs Stolen From Crypto VC by Hackers
At 73, He Adds New Jersey Hit Man to His Criminal Résumé
How Does Language During Sex Translate Across Cultures?
New Orleans rescinds little-known century-old ban on jazz in schools
A pickleball player, 71, drew marks on a public court. He faces a felony.
Buddhist Monks Keep Getting Arrested for Corruption, Murder and Drug Trafficking
Hackers Who Stole $50 Million in Crypto Say They Will Refund Some Victims
American released after being held in Russia for similarity to James Bond
Words of the Month
fib (n.) “a lie,” especially a little one, “a white lie,” 1610s, of uncertain origin, perhaps from fibble-fable “nonsense” (1580s), a reduplication of fable (n.).
fib (v.) “tell trifling lies,” 1680s, from fib (n.). Seldom, if ever, transitive. Related: Fibbed; fibbing; fibbery. (etymonline)
Amazon closing its bookstores, 4-Star shops
Red Rocks Abandons Amazon Palm-Scanning Tech After Artist-Led Protest
House panel flags Amazon and senior executives to Justice Department over potentially criminal conduct
Seattle Pride cuts Amazon as a sponsor
Mandatory meetings reveal Amazon’s approach to resisting unions
Here are the finalists for this year’s $50,000 Joyce Carol Oates Prize.
Lambda Literary Award Finalists
2022 National Book Critics Award winners
Meet the six designers shortlisted (including the winner) for the Oxford Bookstore Book Cover Prize
A winner of this year’s Windham-Campbell Prizes dropped out of the literary scene for 40 years.
Words of the Month
warlock (n.) Old English wærloga “traitor, liar, enemy, devil,” from wær “faith, fidelity; a compact, agreement, covenant,” from Proto-Germanic *wera- (source also of Old High German wara “truth,” Old Norse varar “solemn promise, vow”), from PIE root *were-o- “true, trustworthy.” Second element is an agent noun related to leogan “to lie” (see lie (v.1); and compare Old English wordloga “deceiver, liar”).
Original primary sense seems to have been “oath-breaker;” given special application to the devil (c. 1000), but also used of giants and cannibals. Meaning “one in league with the devil” is recorded from c. 1300. Ending in -ck (1680s) and meaning “male equivalent of a witch” (1560s) are from Scottish. (etymonline)
Philip K Dick: the writer who witnessed the future
Waterstones acquires Blackwell’s, the UK’s biggest independent bookseller
Houston Museum to Restore Rare Hebrew Prayer Book
Fantasy Author Raises $15.4 Million in 24 Hours to Self-Publish (Brandon Sanderson)
The Books Will Keep You Warm: A celebration of small-town libraries and retro mysteries
The Unique Power of Nuanced Spy Novels
* The Secret Life of Beatrix Potter
*In Pictures: See Beloved Author Beatrix Potter’s Magical Drawings From Nature as They Go on View in London
The Many Faces of Parker, Donald E. Westlake’s Most Enduring, Confounding Creation
My First Thriller: David Corbett
What’s the Greatest Newspaper Crime Movie Ever Made?
Qiu Xiaolong and the Return of the Venerable Judge Dee
How It Felt to Have My Novel Stolen
Rare 17th-century collection of lute music – valued at £214k – is put under export ban in bid to keep the anthology in the UK
John Dickson Carr: The Master of the Locked Room-Mystery
Vintage goes full bleed for its new literary heroines series
The Pleasures That Lurk in the Back of the Book
Viking will publish a book of John le Carré’s letters in November.
Gagosian Opens Its First London Boutique In The Burlington Arcade
Terese Marie Mailhot on What Book Royalties Can’t Buy
The Dutch publisher of a controversial new book on Anne Frank is dropping it.
Arrest finally made in 29-year-old Bay Area cold case involving murder of San Carlos store owner
Condé Nast workers form a companywide union.
A Bookstore Revival Channels Nostalgia for Big Box Chains [???]
April 30, 2022 – INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE DAY
Author Events [In Person]
April 6, 7pm: Phillip Margolin signs The Darkest Place, Powell’s/Cedar Hills
April 16, 2-4pm: Mike Lawson signs his new stand-alone thrill, Magnolia Books
April 27, 7pm: Nicola Griffith signs her sequel to Hild, Seattle Central Library
Bellingham’s Village Books is holding their annual Dirty Dan Murder Mystery Weekend, April 23 and 24
OK – we have to note two things about author our author events listing:
1 – it’s been so long since we last listed any that we don’t remember our format!
2 – it’s been so long since the shop closed that we might be missing some authors because we don’t recognize their names. we urge you to do your own searching to catch what we miss!
Words of the Month
latebrous (adj.) “full of hiding places,” 1650s, from Latin latebrosus, from latebra “a hiding place,” from latere “to lie hidden” (see latent). Hence latebricole “living or lurking in holes” (of spiders, etc.), from Latin latebricola “one who dwells in lurking places.” (etymonline)
Other Forms of Entertainment
*This thing of ours: why does The Godfather still ring true 50 years on?
*Al Pacino on ‘The Godfather’: ‘It’s Taken Me a Lifetime to Accept It and Move On’
*50 years ago ‘Godfather’ sold out a Kansas City theater. So why was it totally empty?
*John Cazale Was the Broken Heart of The Godfather
*It’s time to imagine The Godfather with Ernest Borgnine as Vito Corleone [it sounds odd but maybe it would have worked?]
*How Paramount Home Video gave The Godfather a restoration fans shouldn’t refuse
*Paramount Plus releases first teaser for The Offer, its series about the making of The Godfather
*For 50 Years ‘The Godfather’ Has Sold Us a Beautiful Lie
*A Guide to ‘The Godfather’ Filming Locations in New York City
‘The Batman’ Star Jeffrey Wright on Gordon Influences and His Farewell to Bond
14 Book-to-Movie Adaptations We Can’t Wait to See in 2022
The Most Anticipated Movies Based on True Stories of 2022
Overlooked No More: Barbara Shermund, Flapper-Era Cartoonist
The Story Behind a New Book Pushing the Conversation About The Wire Into New Territory
Samuel L. Jackson and Walter Mosley Team Up for a Sci-Fi Fable
14 ‘Bond Girls’ Who Overshadowed 007
The Couple Who Hung a Stolen de Kooning in Their Bedroom: New Documentary Explores One of Art History’s Stranger Heists
Network Got It Right: The Legacy of a Scorching Satire
HBO reportedly developing fourth season of ‘True Detective’ dubbed ‘Night Country’
*In “The Staircase”, Colin Firth and Toni Collette Find Life in Death
*The Real Story Behind ‘The Staircase’
Anatomy of a Shootout: ‘Heat’ vs. ‘The Matrix’
This Month in True-Crime Podcasts: Drug Kingpins, Amityville, and a Return to the Green River Killer
Chris Pine on How Directorial Debut ‘Poolman’ Came Together
Bruce Willis “Stepping Away” From Acting Career After Aphasia Diagnosis
Words of the Month
lie (v.1) “speak falsely, tell an untruth for the purpose of misleading,” late 12th C., from Old English legan, ligan, earlier leogan “deceive, belie, betray” (class II strong verb; past tense leag, past participle logen), from Proto-Germanic *leuganan (source also of Old Norse ljuga, Danish lyve, Old Frisian liaga, Old Saxon and Old High German liogan, German lügen, Gothic liugan), a word of uncertain etymology, with possible cognates in Old Church Slavonic lugati, Russian luigatĭ; not found in Latin, Greek, or Sanskrit. Emphatic lie through (one’s) teeth is from 1940s.
lie (n.1) “an untruth; conscious and intentional falsehood, false statement made with intent to deceive,” Old English lyge, lige “lie, falsehood,” from Proto-Germanic *lugiz (source also of Old Norse lygi, Danish løgn, Old Frisian leyne (fem.), Dutch leugen (fem.), Old High German lugi, German Lüge, Gothic liugn “a lie”), from the root of lie (v.1). To give the lie to “accuse directly of lying” is attested from 1590s. Lie-detector is recorded by 1909. ‘In mod. use, the word is normally a violent expression of moral reprobation, which in polite conversation tends to be avoided, the synonyms falsehood and untruth being often substituted as relatively euphemistic.‘ [OED] (etyomonline)
Mar. 2: Alan Ladd Jr., ‘Star Wars’ Savior and Oscar Winner for ‘Braveheart,’ Dies at 84
Mar. 4: Mitchell Ryan, Actor in ‘Lethal Weapon’ and ‘Grosse Pointe Blank,’ Dies at 88
Mar. 13: William Hurt obituary – Body Heat, Gorky Park actor was 71
Links of Interest
Mar. 1: Trumpy Impresario Who Boasted of His Self-Made Success Is Indicted for Crypto Scam
Mar. 4: Mom Who Vanished for Weeks in 2016 Made Up Entire Kidnapping Story, Says Prosecutor
Mar. 7: This Serial-Killing Family Terrorized the American Frontier [Scott Phillips wrote a book about this in 2004 – Cottonwood]
Mar. 7: Pro-Trump PAC Exec Rants About Hillary After Feds Charge Him for Ponzi Scheme
Mar. 9: The ‘timber detectives’ on the front lines of illegal wood trade
Mar. 10: Timbuktu manuscripts: Mali’s ancient documents captured online
Mar. 10: Sex and the City: The Spectacular Love Life of Mafia Boss Sonny Franzese
Mar. 11: Edgar Allan Poe Museum marks 100 years celebrating master of the macabre
Mar. 14: King of crowns: Wisconsin dentist convicted of breaking patients’ teeth to submit $4.2 million in bogus insurance claims
Mar. 14: Two convicted in first murder plot case involving EncroChat messaging system
Mar. 14: Woman banned from Bay Area steakhouse after stealing $4,000 Cognac bottle
Mar. 15: A Brief History of Fugitives In America
March 15: How Sleuths Blew the Lid on Accused Purple Heart Fraudster
March 16: ‘Little Miss Nobody’ Identified as 1960 Kidnap Victim
Mar. 16: Honey Traps, Child Porn and Violence: Feds Bust Chinese Plot to Destroy NY Candidate
Mar. 17: Can “Witching” Find Bodies? Police Training Alarms Experts.
Mar. 18: ‘Lupin’ Robbers Charged With Pulling Off Elaborate Heist of Show About Elaborate Heist Puller
Mar. 19: Ex-Apple Employee Robbed Company of $10M in Kickbacks: Feds
Mar. 21: Private investigator says drug kingpin targeted David Ortiz
Mar. 23: Disgraced Billionaire Michael Steinhardt Has Surrendered 39 Stolen Artifacts To Israel
Mar. 23: Meet Eric Turquin, the Art Historian-Detective Who Keeps Finding Multimillion-Dollar Old Masters Hiding in Plain Sight
Mar. 23: Marilyn Monroe’s Final Hours: Nuke Fears, Mob Spies, and a Secret Kennedy Visitor
Mar. 23: How Nellie Jackson went from sex worker to madam to highly connected civil rights advocate.
Mar. 24: Strangulation Victim Found in Georgia in 1988 Now Has a Name
Mar. 24: “I’ll Let the Chips Fall Where They May”: The Life and Confessions of Mob Chef David Ruggerio
Mar. 25: Billy the Kid’s Fictional Afterlife: From the Ridiculous to the Sublime
Mar. 25: Families want ‘Monster of Florence’ serial killer case reopened
Mar. 26: Monuments Men Group Bets on Playing Cards to Find Lost Art
Mar. 27: The Ghost Story Murder That Inspired ‘Twin Peaks’
Mar. 27: The True Crime-Obsessed Philanthropists Paying to Catch Killers
Mar. 28: The Vietnamese Secret Agent Who Spied for Three Different Countries
Mar. 28: The Supreme Court to Hear Lawsuit over Whether Warhol Committed Copyright Infringement
Mar. 29: Chowchilla School Bus Kidnapper Recommended for Parole by Panel
Mar. 29: Second Biggest Crypto Hack Ever: $600 Million In Ether Stolen From NFT Gaming Blockchain
Mar. 30: Teacher Stabbed to Death in Blasphemy Witch Hunt Started by a Child’s Dream
Mar. 30: How ‘The Russians’ Took Hold of Ireland’s Heroin Trade
Words of the Month
false (adj.): Late Old English, “intentionally untrue, lying,” of religion, “not of the true faith, not in accord with Christian doctrines,” from Old French fals, faus “false, fake; incorrect, mistaken; treacherous, deceitful” (12th C., Modern French faux), from Latin falsus “deceptive, feigned, deceitful, pretend,” also “deceived, erroneous, mistaken,” past participle of fallere “deceive, disappoint,” which is of uncertain origin (see fail (v.)).
Adopted into other Germanic languages (cognates: German falsch, Dutch valsch, Old Frisian falsk, Danish falsk), though English is the only one in which the active sense of “deceitful” (a secondary sense in Latin) has predominated. From c. 1200 as “deceitful, disloyal, treacherous; not genuine;” from early 14th C. as “contrary to fact or reason, erroneous, wrong.” False alarm recorded from 1570s. False step (1700) translates French faux pas. To bear false witness is attested from mid-13th C. False prophet “one who prophecies without divine commission or by evil spirits,” is attested from late 13th C. (etymonline)
What We’ve Been Up To
Mia P. Manansala – Arsenic and Adobo
By good fortune, I found a new Culinary Mystery series at my local bookstore – A Tita Rosie’s Kitchen Mystery.
Our heroine, Lila Macapagal, has moved back to her hometown of Shady Palms, Illinois, to lick her wounds after catching her fiance in bed with a couple of her neighbors. So instead of pursuing her dream of opening her own cafe in Chicago, she’s working on saving her Tita’s (Auntie’s) restaurant….an endeavor which becomes even more challenging when a notoriously finicky food critic and Lila’s ex-high school sweetheart drops dead face first in a bowl of ginataang bilo-bilo. Even worse? Someone poisoned the dead man’s food! And Lila’s No. 1 on the detective’s suspect list!
There are several reasons I love this book. Chief amongst them is the hook of Tita Rosie’s Kitchen series – the food. Now, I’m not very knowledgeable about Filipino cuisine. So reading a mystery, where it’s front and center, helps me learn something about it from Mia’s descriptions. Plus, the well-written recipes in the back of the book helped me cook some of the dishes myself. (Even more exciting, Lila’s a baker, and there’s an ube crinkle cookie recipe I’m dying to make!)
Another aspect of this book I enjoyed was Lila herself. She’s a complicated woman trying her best to balance her familial obligations with her own dreams and totally understands the chances of making her family happy while following said dreams are slim. Yet, this knowledge doesn’t make her bitter or the book dour – it adds layers.
Now I won’t say this is a flawless first book. However, it’s a very good one and well worth the reading time. If you need a further endorsement, directly after finishing the last page of Arsenic and Adobo, I not only ordered Mia’s second book (Homicide and Halo-Halo) – I pre-ordered her third (Blackmail and Bibingka)!
But seriously, if you enjoy culinary mysteries and want to read one set in a small family-owned restaurant filled with delectable scents and colorful characters, this is the series for you!
The Real Deal
Okay, I was absent last month, but in my defense, I was moving. Again.
“But Fran,” I hear your frowned concern as you ask, “didn’t you just move? From Washington to New Mexico? Like eighteen months ago?”
Yes, yes, I did. And now we’ve moved again. If I never see another moving box, it’ll be too soon. And I’ll go into detail with pictures later on. Right now I’m hiding from moving by talking books with you.
Specifically one book. It’s no secret I’m a fan of Glen Erik Hamilton. His debut, Past Crimes, swept award nominations and justifiably. If you ever want to get a solid feel for Seattle, Glen captures it there, and is protagonist, Van Shaw, is simply fabulous, flawed and funny and filled with resolve. I love him.
In Mercy River, Van leaves Seattle for a small town in Oregon where his buddy, Leo Pak, is arrested for murder. Van ends up in the small town of Mercy River just as a three-day event celebrating Army Rangers is beginning. With his background, Van fits in just fine, but because he’s there on Leo’s behalf, he rubs townfolk the wrong way right off the bat.
Of course Van doesn’t care. Why would he? But he is curious as to why Leo’s been accused, and something is decidedly off. With his typical resourcefulness and attention to detail, Van discovers there’s more going on than anyone really suspects.
As always, it’s the people who get to me. I fell for Van from the beginning, and wondered how he was going to change and grow as the series progressed. Let me tell you, Glen Erik Hamilton is stellar. Things in Van’s life change, and that affects him. The guy we met coming in on the bus at the beginning of Past Crimes is still the guy pulling into Mercy River, but now you can see the scars, and I don’t mean the ones on his face.
I also love the dynamics. Van’s relationship with Leo, with the General, with the townspeople, with Luce (remember her? She’s back), all change and grow. Not everything works out happily, because of course it doesn’t, and that’s as it should be.
If you haven’t read Past Crimes, you can pick up Mercy River and be just fine. But you won’t want to. Glen Erik Hamilton is a crazy good writer, and you’ll want to spend quality time in the world he’s created for Van. Trust me
“An irony of Watergate is that the once secret plot to subvert American democracy now stands as one of the most documented and covered stories in American history; anyone seeking to understand the story of Richard Nixon’s secrecy and subterfuge drowns in information.” So why need another one? Because new stuff is always coming out.
Garrett M. Graff’s Watergate: A New History was full of facts and figures – the facts often interesting and funny, some bizarre, and figures who almost never come off looking good.
~ The Watergate complex was built by an Italian outfit to be DC’s answer to NYC’s Lincoln Center; culturally active and a swanky place for the swells to live. Things didn’t work and the furnishings were, well – “Martha Mitchell lamented how ‘this place was built like low-income housing'”. It was supposed to be very safe with state-of-the-art security systems. Yet in 1969, while overseas with the presidential party, Rose Mary Woods “returned to find her condo burglarized and a suitcase of jewelry stolen.”
~ Tony Ulasewicz, the private eye tasked with making calls and delivering payoffs to the Watergate burglars, carried so much change for the pay phones that his pants’ pockets wore out. He got the kind of change maker that bus drivers used to use.
~ “Nixon spent nearly 200 days in San Clemente during his first term, another 150 in Key Biscayne – a full year away from the confines and structures of the White House.”
~ An early investigation of the various crimes was by the House Banking committee headed by Wright Patman. “Patman had come into Congress six months before the Crash of 1929: by the time the Watergate investigation rolled around, the seventy-nine-year-old has served in the US House of Representatives for a fifth of the entire history of his country.”
~ Unlike how it has normally been portrayed, Deep Throat’s true identity was accurately guessed early on, both in the press and in the Oval Office.
~ The Special Prosecutor’s office had so much paper in so many file cabinets that the flooring had to be re-enforced from the floor below.
~ Even Sam Ervin, who I had always revered from his helming of the Senate Watergate Committee, is noted for being a contradictory Dixi-crat: “A self-proclaimed ‘country lawyer,’ he held an intense interest in constitutional rights and civil liberties, as well as possessing a sharp legal intellect that he’d regularly deployed in the fifties and sixties to protect Jim Crow laws and segregation.”
It can be safely stated that few of the huge number of figures involved in the Watergate quagmire had anything good to say about one another. Case in point, J. Fred Buzhardt, brought in to be the White House legal counsel on Watergate issues. One former colleague remarked that “He’s the kind of guy who could steal your underwear without ever disturbing your pants.” Another claimed “If you need a job done with no traces< Fred Buzhardt is your man. He can bury a body six feet under without turning a shovelful of dirt.”
It is a fascinating story that Graff tells well. He’s a smooth writer and the story unfolds like the slow-motion catastrophe that we know it will become. It was not only a third-rate burglary, it was also a clown-car of crimes, often capturing the clowns without them being aware of what they were doing – and most were lawyers!
“As time would make clear, the actions around the Watergate scandal were certainly criminal, and there was without a doubt a conspiracy, but labeling it a ‘criminal conspiracy’ implies a level of forethought, planning, a precise execution that isn’t actually evident at any stage of the debacle. Instead, the key players slipped, fumbled, and stumbled their was from the White House to prison, often without ever seeming to make a conscious decision to join the cover-up.”
One odd thing about the book is Graff’s omission of the “Cuban Dossier”, the reported object of the Plumbers. The dossier detailed the CIA/Mob attempts to assassinate Castro, as well as other covert CIA activities in the Americas. Bear in mind that the burglaries were in 1972 and the world would not learn of the Agency’s “family jewels” for another three years with the revelations of the Church Committee. So Nixon, who was up to his jowls in the Cuban schemes and ties to the Mafia, desperately wanted any copies of the dossier found and destroyed and he believed the DNC’s office at the Watergate had one. Bear in mind that most of the burglars and those running the operation were CIA.
Still and all, I cruised through Graff’s book, shaking my head through most of it, laughing out loud at parts. It’s an important piece of American history and well worth your time.
Should you want to read more about Watergate, I highly recommend Lamar Waldron’s Watergate: The Hidden History. He exhaustively details Nixon’s mob ties, his involvement in the CIA/Mob schemes against Cuba, and how many figures from those plans were then involved in Watergate. It’s masterful.
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