August 2020 Newzine

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WOW – August already, huh…. ok, here we go!

On the Endless Symbolism of Jaws, Which Owes Its Dark Soul to Moby Dick

    Serious Stuff

Rulers vs. writers: The pre-Trump prehistory of author suppression


How Police Secretly Took Over a Global Phone Network for Organized Crime

Dutch police discover secret torture site in shipping containers


Activists’ books are disappearing from Hong Kong’s public libraries 

Women speak out about Warren Ellis: ‘Full and informed consent was impossible’ 

A Heist on Time and a Half: Inside The Most Corrupt Police Squad In The Nation [For more on Baltimore, don’t forget this terrific podcast about Agnew, and then there’s the Netflix series “The Keepers”…]

The Prophecies of Q

From Italy: An Entire Police Station Has Been Arrested for Dealing Drugs and Torturing Suspects 

9 Essential Books To Learn About Our Badly Broken American Political System

Does ‘Character’ Still Count in American Politics?

SFF authors are protesting Saudi Arabia’s cynical bid to host the 2022 WorldCon.

Amid a virus surge and government repression, Hong Kong’s oldest bookstore is closing.

    Local Stuff

‘I’ve been a lucky man’: Michael Coy, a mainstay in Seattle’s book scene, is retiring after 48 years in the business [Michael was one or JB’s teachers when Bill sent him to the American Bookseller’s Association’s Bookseller School. He’s a great guy and has always been very helpful with advice about bookselling. We wish him the best as he pushes back from selling to simply reading!]

Prosecutor admits grand jury gaffe with Thomas Wales witness but says perjury indictment should stand

Talking character, inspiration with Sujata Massey, author of Moira’s Book Club pick ‘The Widows of Malabar Hill’

    From the Dossier of SPECTRE

Jeff Bezos hated ads — now Amazon is America’s top advertiser

America’s Largest Unions Are Calling on the FTC to Stop Amazon 

The Amazon Critic Who Saw its Power from the Inside

MacKenzie Scott begins giving away most of her Amazon wealth. Here’s why, and where nearly $1.7 billion is going.

    Words of the Month

sibylline (adj.): From the 1570s, from Latin sibyllinus, from sibylla (see sibyl: “woman supposed to possess powers of prophecy, female soothsayer,” c. 1200, from Old French sibile, from Latin Sibylla, from Greek Sibylla, name for any of several prophetesses consulted by ancient Greeks and Romans, of uncertain origin. Said to be from Doric Siobolla, from Attic Theoboule “divine wish.”) thanks to etymonline

    Awards

Duende District, The Word, Launch BIPOC Bookseller Award

Colson Whitehead is the youngest writer to win the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction.

Hilary Mantel, Kiley Reid, Anne Tyler in Running for Booker Prize

    Book Stuff

 The Postman Always Rings Twice: 1934 New York Times review of James M. Cain’s sexually-charged, hard-boiled crime novel

Every Great Writer is a Great Deceiver: Vladimir Nabokov’s Best Writing Advice 

P. D. James: A Crime Reader’s Guide to the Classics 

Look inside Oslo’s stunning new public library, now open to the public.

My Writing Will Never Be as Good as Charles Willeford’s 

Visiting Europe’s Great Libraries from Rick Steves 

With Stores Closed, Barnes & Noble Does Some Redecorating

In Publishing, ‘Everything Is Up for Change’ 

My First Thriller: Steve Berry 

The Exhilarating, Dangerous World of Helen Eustis

6 book recommendations from crime writer Camilla Läckberg

The Celebrity Bookshelf Detective is Back

Cats and Cozy Mysteries, The Purr-fect Combination

María Elvira Bermúdez, the Agatha Christie of Mexican literature 

The Power—and the Responsibility—of True Crime Writing

    Author Events

maybe someday…..though we have heard that some places, some publishers, are doing on-line events, that still means no signatures

    Other Forms of Entertainment

“I Don’t Let Regret In” Pierce Brosnan on Love, Loss, and his Life After Bond  

My streaming gem: why you should watch Detour

Idris Elba says a Luther movie is ‘close’ to happening 

Candy: Elisabeth Moss to star in true-crime story of notorious Texas axe killer 

Fascinating Cases That ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ Viewers Helped Solve

On Netflix ~ Fear City: New York vs The Mafia & World’s Most Wanted

How They Shot the Wrong-Way Car Chase in ‘To Live and Die in L.A.’ 

Comfort Viewing: 3 Reasons I Love ‘Columbo’

How a 10-year-old created a lockdown print hit for punk fans

Loren Estleman:How Film Noir will Forever Change Your Worldview

Otto Penzler’s Greatest Crime Films of All Times Continues

The 50 Most Iconic Heist Movies, Ranked from Worst to Best

    Podcasts

“Las Vegas was better off when it was run by the mob.” Mobbed Up: The Fight for Las Vegas, an 11-part true-crime podcast series produced by the Las Vegas Review-Journal in partnership with The Mob Museum, chronicles the mob’s rise and fall in Las Vegas through the eyes of those who lived it: ex-mobsters, law enforcement officials, politicians and journalists. [JB recommends]

7 International True Crime Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

Son of a Hitman: the story of Charles Harrelson [JB recommends]

Could the CIA Have Planted Hair-Metal Propaganda During the Cold War?In the new podcast ‘Wind of Change,’ host Patrick Radden Keefe explores how the CIA used music to change hearts and minds [it is well documented that they did this with the abstract expressionists in the 50s, so why not?? – JB]

    Words of the Month

12 Common Words And Phrases With Racist Origins Or Connotations

    RIP

July 1: Rudolfo Anaya, towering figure of Chicano literature, mystery writer, dies at 82

July 6: Ennio Morricone, The Sound Of The American West, Dies At 91

July 6: Charlie Daniels: Country and southern rock legend dies at age 83

July 14: Grant Imahara: Mythbusters TV host dies suddenly at 49

July 15:  Louis Colavecchio, Master Counterfeiter, Is Dead at 78

July 25: John Saxon, ‘Enter the Dragon’, ‘Joe Kidd’, and ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’, dies at 83

July 26: Olivia de Havilland, Golden Age of Hollywood star, dies at 104

    Links of Interest

July 2: The Golden Dragon massacre ~ A bloody rampage in the heart of 1970s San Francisco

July 3: The Magic of Reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s Letters

July 6: Juanita ‘The Duchess’ Spinelli: The first woman legally executed in Calif. ran an SF crime school

July 7: The Rival Casinos That Built Hot Springs, Arkansas into an Unlikely Capital of Vice

July 8: Found – A Letter From Frederick Douglass, About the Need for Better Monuments

July 8: The Cold War and the Mysterious Death of Dag Hammarskjöld

July 9: Don’t Stay In These Famous Literary Haunted Houses!


Two versions of the same story, with different photos of the items on auction:

July 1: For Sale: Proof That Legendary Scientists Were Real People, Too

July 10: Tesla’s Patents, Einstein’s Letters and an Enigma Machine Are Up for Auction


July 10: The Secret Service Tried to Catch a Hacker With a Malware Booby-Trap. (“The attempt failed, but so-called “network investigative techniques” are not limited to the FBI, according to newly unsealed court records.”)

July 10: D-R-A-M-A ~ Big Scrabble’s decision to eliminate offensive words has infuriated players like never before.

July 13: Playing Cards Around the World and Through the Ages

July 14: Iron Age Murder Victim’s Skeleton Found in England

July 15: How Not to Deal With Murder in Space – A bizarre 1970 Arctic killing over a jug of raisin wine shows that we need to think about crime outside our atmosphere now.

July 15: The Deadly High-Speed Chase That Launched Miami into the 1980s

July 15: Don McLean’s handwritten lyrics to “Vincent” up for auction

July 16: James Patterson Reviving 30s-Era Crimefighter ‘The Shadow’ For New Novels, Films

July 16: Homicide at Rough Point: In the fall of 1966, billionaire Doris Duke killed a close confidant in tony Newport, Rhode Island. Local police ruled the incident “an unfortunate accident.” Half a century later, compelling evidence suggests that the mercurial, vindictive tobacco heiress got away with murder.

July 17: Beetle-mounted camera streams insect adventures

July 20: A ‘Fletch’ Reboot Starring Jon Hamm Is Officially In The Works

July 20: Missing Kansas dog makes 50-mile trip to old home in Missouri

July 22: The mystery of a stolen rare cello has a surprise ending

July 22: Man who forged his own death certificate to avoid jail is given away by a typo, DA says

July 23: Germany’s Ritter Sport wins square chocolate battle

July 24: Walter Mosley on What the Pandemic May Set Us Up For in the Future

July 24: Manuscript shows how Truman Capote renamed his heroine Holly Golightly

July 24: Charles Manson Wasn’t a Criminal Mastermind

July 24: Viewer spots Florida reporter Victoria Price’s cancer growth

July 24: US lottery jackpot shared after 1992 handshake

July 24: All in a Day’s Work ~ Why Do the Parker Novels Still Resonate So Powerfully?

July 27: What It’s Like To Spend A Decade Hunting A Serial Killer On The Internet

July 27: The Supreme Court Takes on a JFK Case

July 28: Banksy auctions refugee painting to aid Bethlehem hospital

July 28: It’s Pretty Easy To Level Up Your Coffee Game — Here’s How

July 28: Remington Gun-Maker Files For Bankruptcy Protection For 2nd Time Since 2018

July 29: How the U.S.-China consulate closures could impact espionage

July 29: Don Black ~ ‘the Pele of lyricists’ on Bond themes, Broadway and ‘Born Free

    What We’ve Been Up To

     Amber

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Finder of Lost Things is back!  With more posts and more photos!

Click here to read about the fallout from the Woman in White, what the Black-andBlue-Becker-Betting-Pool is all about and why Phoebe is sneaking out in the rain!

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Grady Hendrix – My Best Friend’s Exorcism

Need a good summertime read that will take you back to all the awkward moments of childhood? No? How about a book that takes you back to some of your best memories as a kid?

Sounds better right?

Remembering all those good times you had with your best friend at skating parties, talking on the phone for hours about nothing, summer vacations, or that one time you needed to exorcise a demon from your best friend’s soul? Yeah…not something everyone can relate to…but that’s precisely what Abby needs to do to save her best friend…

This book is an intensely fun read.

While it’s occasionally awkward and cringe-worthy (but in the best possible way), this uncomfortableness generated by the author adds a whole other layer to the horror/mystery/friendship story unfolding on the page. Seriously, I don’t know how Grady Hendrix did it – but episodes (minus the exorcism, demon, and animal sacrifice) feel as if he pulled them from my own experience – both the terrific and the embarrassing.

If you’re looking for a book to read under the covers with a flashlight, in the middle of the night – that will on occasion make the familiar nightly squeaks, creaks, and groans of your home sound new and strange… My Best Friend’s Exorcism is the book you’re looking for!

(P.S. Did I forget to mention it’s set in the eighties? In all, it’s spectacular Madonna influenced glory…)

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Do you like getting mail? Do you relish writing letters? Do you enjoy mysteries? Have you ever dreamed of being an armchair detective? Now’s your chance! With a mail-based mystery series called Dear Holmes.

I’ll let Mr. Holmes explain your new employment (as he’s more succinct than I):

“12/5/1901

Dear Detective,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to Dear Holmes, and your new career as a consulting detective. 

For the next few months, I will be handing some of my most challenging cases to you. My associates from around the world will write you each month with a challenging new mystery in need of solving.

Every week you will receive another letter with new details on the present mystery, bringing you closer and closer to the solution. I or Dr. Watson will receive the same letters, and reach out to the client to ask probing questions on your behalf.

Since we tend to receive some more peculiar cases, I will also make the knowledge of my network of experts available to you at times, to help shed light on some of the more perplexing details of the cases we encounter.

Your challenge is to solve the mystery before I do. Once I solve the case (at the end of the month), I will write you to share how I solved it. I sincerely hope you beat me to the task. 

Are you ready to put your deductive skills to the test?

The game is afoot!”

Now you can email the solution to Mr. Holmes for his perusal – but in the monthly Featured Detective contest – people who post their solutions thru the mail are given extra points! (Plus it gives you an excuse to purchase some top drawer stationary!)

Woot!

This is a fun and creative game that tests not only your deductive powers but your critical reading skills and the knowledge, you as a reader, have acquired of the era from which Holmes & Watson sprung.

I’ve only been a consulting detective for a month and I’m already hooked!

 

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

April 2020

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      Some Things

Our hearts go out ~

~ to Mary Daheim who lost a daughter. Mary sent this notice out: “…Barbara Daheim Resnick, who passed away Sunday at the age of 53. I also want to thank everyone who has contributed to the Go Fund Me site that Barb’s brother-in-law Paul Webber set up for her children, Flynn and Clara.”

~ to the family of Diana Mayabb, a staunch supporter of SMB for decades. She and her husband Jim were major collectors – though Jim collected mostly science fiction, we didn’t hold it against him and happily ordered those new releases for him – good friends and wonderful, kind and cheerful people. We miss them both terribly, and our thoughts are with Jim now. Dear Diana died early in March

~ to the world of mysteries, who lost Kate  Mattes, of Kate’s Mysteries in Cambridge, MA. Like so many of us, she was forced to close her shop years ago and had been living in Vermont. Her health had not been good and she was taken away by her heart on March 25th.

~ to past colleague Karen who suffered a catastrophic lost due to a flooded basement. Music, art, and her mystery collection, including – prepare yourself – a first edition Nero Wolfe. AAAAAAAAARRRRGGGGG!

And while it shouldn’t come as a surprise, it is still shocking when the virus creeps into your family. We hope everyone in your world is safe and not too bored being housebound. We hope this all might take your mind away from your worries.

It’s a long one, so settle back!

      Local Stories

From local writer J. Kingston Pierce: Seattle: Primed and Ready for Crime Fiction Fame ~Exploring the city’s history and character, through crime novels

      And some great news after a month of horror stories:

Powell’s Books rehires over 100 employees after surge of online orders

Love and labor rights in the time of COVID-19: The Book Workers Union forms at Capitol Hill’s Elliott Bay Book Company 

      Serious Stuff

Nazi name lists in Argentina may reveal loot in Swiss bank

Birmingham’s “Fifth Girl” survived a notorious hate crime. Now she wants resitution.

      Words of the Month

virus (n). late 14th C., “poisonous substance,” from Latin virus “poison, sap of plants, slimy liquid, a potent juice,” from Proto-Italic *weis-o-(s-) “poison,” which is probably from a Proto-Info-Eutoprsm root *ueis-, perhaps originally meaning “to melt away, to flow,” used of foul or malodorous fluids, but with specialization in some languages to “poisonous fluid” (source also of Sanskrit visam “venom, poison,” visah “poisonous;” Avestan vish “poison;” Latin viscum “sticky substance, birdlime;” Greek ios “poison,” ixos “mistletoe, birdlime;” Old Church Slavonic višnja “cherry;” Old Irish fi “poison;” Welsh gwy “poison”). The meaning “agent that causes infectious disease” is recorded by 1728 (in reference to venereal disease); the modern scientific use dates to the 1880s. The computer sense is from 1972. [thanks to etymonine]


JB admits he sometimes scans headlines too rapidly, and perhaps this was tinted by the times in which we live, but he thought “In case you’re stockpiling books this month, here are some gems you may have missed from February. | Lit Hub” said “some germs you may have missed…”


      Awards, etc.

Here are the finalists for this year’s PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

      Book Stuff

David Goodis’ Bleak, Beautiful Vision of Humanity 

‘Freshly cut grass – or bile-infused Exorcist vomit?’: how crime books embraced lurid green

Simon & Schuster is for sale because it is not videos.

In 1899, Arthur Conan Doyle Took Dictation for His Dying Friend’s Mystery Novel

From ‘Wuhan-400’, the deadly virus invented by Dean Koontz in 1981, to the plague unleashed in Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, novelists have long been fascinated by pandemics


The new documentary “The Booksellers” looks at the esoteric world of the antiquarian trade, and the passionate, eclectic and endangered characters who make it hum. 

Breathing New Life into Old Books


Woody Allen got a book deal. Staff at his new publisher have walked out in protest. 

Sixteen of the Most Perfect Murders in Crime Fiction 

The Fraught and Risky Business of Spotting a Historical Fake

Carolyn Wells, in the Library, with a Revolver: How a prolific mystery author with a penchant for collecting rare books helped to create the ‘biblio-mystery’ genre

8 Great Novels Where Things Disappear 

Stockholm, Are You Listening?Why Don DeLillo deserves the Nobel

The Complicated Literature of Daughters and Mothers

How Bookshops Are Helping With Isolation 

Dolly Parton is going to read us all bedtime stories.

       Other Forms of Fun

March 1: Star Trek: Picard borrows an unexpected concept from Sherlock Holmes

March 2: A new site for headline-inspired fiction launches today with stories by Carmen Maria Machado, Colum McCann, and more.

March 2: New HBO Doc Centers on the Atlanta Child Murders, Reopening of Case

March 3: Christopher and Bobby From ‘The Sopranos’ Are Starting a Podcast About the Show

March 4: Bond movie ‘No Time to Die’ pushed back to November

March 6: Robert B. Parker’s (and Ace Atkins’) Spenser returns to TV in a Netflix movie starring Mark Wahlberg


March 6: Zodiac – The Most Dangerous Animal of All

March 6: The Zodiac Killer has been a mystery for 50 years – but one man thinks he’s solved it


March 10: ‘Briarpatch’ May Just Be the Coolest Show on TV

March 17: How Pretty Woman Erased Sex From Its Story

March 19: Coronavirus: Hallmark Channel plans feelgood Christmas movie marathon

March 25: The Artist Who Captured America’s Most Dramatic Courtroom Moments—And Was Hounded by the FBI

March 26: Remember Annie’s anti-book-banning speech in Field of Dreams?

March 27: Read a Deleted Scene From ‘Get Out’

March 27: The Crime Cinema Renaissance of 1990

March 31: Houseparty offers $1m reward for proof of sabotage

      Words of the Month

quarantine (n): 1660s, “period a ship suspected of carrying disease is kept in isolation,” from Italian quarantina giorni, literally “space of forty days,” from quaranta “forty,” from Latin quadraginta “forty,” which is related to quattuor “four” (from Proto-Indo-European root *kwetwer “four”). So called from the Venetian policy (first enforced in 1377) of keeping ships from plague-stricken countries waiting off its port for 40 days to assure that no latent cases were aboard. Also see lazaretto. The extended sense of “any period of forced isolation” is from 1670s. Earlier in English the word meant “period of 40 days in which a widow has the right to remain in her dead husband’s house” (1520s), and, as quarentyne (15th C.), “desert in which Christ fasted for 40 days,” from Latin quadraginta “forty.” [thanks to etymonine]

      Links of Interest

February 20: The Hollywood Con Queen -She tormented studio executives, actors, makeup artists, security guys, photographers, screenwriters, athletes, even bobsledders and scuba divers for years—until corporate investigator Nicoletta Kotsianas was put on the case.

February 28: Ireland has a secret tree carved with famous literary autographs.

March 2: Man Fined for Engineering Without a License Was Right All Along

March 2: Stolen hearse with body inside leads police on wild chase

March 3: Double Indemnity Isn’t About Bad People – It’s About Redemption

March 4: How J. Edgar Hoover Used the Power of Libraries for Evil

March 4: Online Sleuths, Cold Cases, and The Early Days of a Very Particular Hobby

March 4: WeeGee: Photos of a seedy Underworld

March 6: The Art of Letting Your Heroes Get Beat Up Now and Again

March 8: Can you really hire a hit man on the dark web?

March 11: The Poison Pen Letter: The Early 20th Century’s Strangest Crime Wave

March 11: Dr. Lise Meitner: The Mystery of the Disappearing Physicist

March 11: Making a killing: what can novels teach us about getting away with murder?

March 12: The playboy Serbian spy who inspired James Bond

March 13: Saviour of the dead: Burying the bodies India forgets

March 16: ‘GoldenEye’: Why Timothy Dalton Didn’t Return For James Bond 17

March 17: U.S. Museum of the Bible’s Dead Sea Scroll Fragments Turn Out to Be Elaborate Fakes

March 17: In the Emergency Room, Doctors Need Detective Skills—And Empathy

March 18: Linda Fairstein Is Suing Netflix and Ava Duvernay For How She Was Depicted in ‘When They See Us’

March 18: Oldest bird fossil discovered, nicknamed ‘wonderchicken’

March 18: Your pictures on the theme of ‘reading’

March 19: ‘Roughing It’ on Seattle’s waterfront with Mark Twain

March 19: Harlan Coben Believes ‘PLANET OF THE APES’ is the Best Twist Ending in History

March 20: How Bad Times Bring Out the Best in People

March 20: Celebrating the 80th Anniversary of Batman’s Sidekick, Robin

March 21: Victor Olaiya: Nigeria’s ‘evil genius’ trumpeter who influenced Fela Kuti

March 22: Cigarette leads police to Florida cold case murder suspect

March 23: Book retrieval effort gives grad student welcome relief

March 24: ‘The Laughing Killer’: The Bay Area serial killer who wasn’t

March 26: The Evolution—and the Future—of the Private Eye

March 27 (an old article but one we don’t remember): The Mobster Who Bought His Son a Hockey Team ~ A tale of goons, no-show jobs, and a legendary minor-league franchise that helped land its owner in prison

March 27: The Long Tradition of Writers Needing Ritual

March 29: Serial Killer Lonnie Franklin, Known As The Grim Sleeper, Has Died In Prison

March 30: Van Gogh painting ‘Spring Garden’ stolen from Dutch museum

March 31: Alpine ice sheds light on medieval murder

March 31: Bob Dylan’s New JFK Assassination Epic Couldn’t Be More Prescient

      Words of the Month

brigand (n): c. 1400, also brigaunt, “lightly armed irregular foot-soldier,” from Old French brigand (14th C.), from Italian brigante “trooper, skirmisher, foot soldier,” from brigare “to brawl, fight” (see brigade). Sense of “robber, freebooter, one who lives by pillaging” is earlier in English (late 14th C.), reflecting the lack of distinction between professional mercenary armies and armed, organized criminals.

brigandage (n): “highway robbery by organized gangs,” c. 1600, from French brigandage, from brigand. [hypothetically, as an example, oh let’s say Senators who dumped stock after a briefing on a pandemic before the public had the same info – you know, insider trading! – us] thanks to etymonline

      R.I.P.

March 1: Laura Cauldwell, attorney, activist, and novelist

March 2: James Lipton, writer, actor, host of the wonderful “Inside the Actor’s Studio”, dead at 93

March 7: BarbaraNeely died after a short illness at 79

March 9: Max Von Sydow: The Exorcist and The Seventh Seal actor dies aged 90

March 13: Andreas Brown, Longtime Owner of Gotham Book Mart, Dies at 86

March 17: Stuart Whitman, prolific film and TV actor, dies at 92

      What We’ve Been Up To

    Amber

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Finder Of Lost Things

I AM NEARLY DONE WRITING SEASON 2! HUZZA!!!

I’ve got two scenes to go – then I start editing, uploading and photographing for the posts! (But the writing takes far more time than these three steps.) So Season 2 will be on its way shortly? Well, sooner rather than later…then it’s on to writing Season 3!

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The Greek Coffin Mystery – Ellery Queen

The Greek Coffin Mystery is the fourth novel in the overall series of Ellery Queen. Still a fledgling in the art of detection, this novel features a critical episode which informs all of Ellery’s later investigations, according to the man himself, which I won’t spoil by elucidating here!

This, I must admit, is one of the more unique classic mysteries I have ever read, from Ellery’s numerous brilliant yet incorrect solutions to his challenge at the end of chapter thirty.

What’s the challenge you ask? Well, Ellery, as the author of the mystery as well as being the detective within, breaks the fourth wall and addresses his readers directly;

“…ungentle reader, you now have in your possession all the facts pertinent to the only correct solution of the trinitarian problem…”

Now, Agatha Christie came a hairsbreadth away from breaking the fourth wall on occasion with Ariadne Oliver. Who’s memorable tirade on the frustration of inadvertently tying her writing career to her Finnish detective, Sven Hjerson – when she knew nothing or had any interest in Finland. But she never actually laid down an out and out, rather cheeky, challenge the way our author Ellery Queen does.

However, this feature, along with the clever mystery, and our intrepid sleuth combine together to create a page-turning and exciting book – I would recommend to anyone looking for an excellent classic mystery.

Though one note when reading if like me, you identify as female. The men in here are written as they were at the time of its original publication – 1932. Nothing inappropriate happens. But the way in which a few, but by no means, all, refer to or speak to women did have me doing a double-take. But it is such a small percentage of words within the book, other than rankling; it didn’t detract from the deductions taking place on the page.

    Fran

I had a dream about being a bookseller again. However, this time the shop was owned by Stephen King – yes, THAT Stephen King – and no one would let me ring them up. Only Mr. King could make the sale. I was allowed to put things in  bags. But the store was packed, so there’s that.

Meanwhile, Amber was stuffing books into somebody’s hands, JB was explaining to another person how the book they were describing wasn’t the book they were thinking of but another book altogether, and Adele was at the door to let customers in and out, and keep the zombies outside because they stank up the place. And wouldn’t buy anything.


I had planned all along to write this review for this month. I love this trilogy and wanted to share it with you.

But it starts with a worldwide pandemic. Yeah. Not the flu, exactly, and certainly not COVID 19, but still, I wondered if I should.

And decided yes, because while terrible things happen in The Chronicles of the One by Nora Roberts, much good and hope happens too.9781250122971

Okay, hang on now, don’t be shaking your head like that. What, you think I can’t hear you? “Oh, Nora Roberts. I thought it might be something serious.” You’re assuming it’s three books about heaving and steamy and brainless, aren’t you? Boy, are you ever wrong!

There is, however, magick. Not prestidigitation but actual magick. People develop Uncanny talents and traits, and many of them are flat-out evil. You see, in Year One, on a New Year’s Eve in Scotland, a very nice man stumbles and bleeds into a strange little rock circle. It’s innocuous and no big deal, and he along with his very nice family have a very nice New Year’s Eve. Except he unwittingly releases a plague that decimates the Earth, and survivors are as often as not changed, physically changed into otherworldly creatures. Not everyone; there are plenty of ordinary humans left, but enough so that there’s a deep schism. Not between human and Uncanny, although that happens, but between Dark and Light.

The trilogy is called The Chronicles of The One, because there is one leading figure who can truly challenge the Darkness, and the books tell her story, so it’s about Fallon Swift and what she can accomplish.

9781250123008The second book, Of Blood and Bone, is her coming-of-age book, and it is at times painful reading, but absolutely perfect.

And if I thought the last book, The Rise of the Magicks, was a bit too rushed, perhaps it’s because I didn’t want to lose touch with these people I’ve come to love and admire.9781250123039

If anyone’s read the JD Robb books, you know that Nora Roberts can be absolutely vicious, bloody, and brutal to her characters, and that’s certainly true here. Very, very bad things happen, and the good guys don’t always win. The comparison to Stephen King’s The Stand are inevitable because the trope is the same one – good versus evil – but these authors are completely different, and so is their approach. Both are excellent, mind you. Just variations on a theme.

As always, it’s the people who captured me, and I still think about them. Relationships change, and under pressure, we find out who we really are.

And that’s why I decided to go ahead and review a pandemic series. Granted, none of us are sprouting wings or are able to create burning swords, which is kind of a shame, but we all have the resiliency that Nora Roberts brings to life, along with the need to help one another out, even when we’re afraid.

Besides, they’re seriously good stories!


Fran found out – her and JB’s delight – that John Connolly will be releasing a new Charlie Parker story in increments on his website. “But I did feel bad that publication of The Dirty South was postponed due to the current unpleasantness, and some editions in translation have also been affected. I also wanted to offer readers some small distraction over the coming weeks and months, because if you’re a writer, the only thing you can really do for those who enjoy your work is to write.” Starting April 2nd, “The Sisters Strange” will be posted daily as he writes it. “‘The Sisters Strange,’ by contrast, will involve letting readers see something like a work-in-progress as it’s being produced, and once I’ve committed to posting an extract, I won’t be able to rewrite it. In addition, you and I will be uncovering the nature of the story and the characters more or less at the same time.”

Thanks, John ~ we can’t wait!


      JB

Earlier in March I had a dream that was very rambling. I don’t remember much now but Bill and his wife BJo were both in it. I think we were all in a big shop, a bookshop? Not sure. But they looked like they did when the shop first opened, spry and happy, and it was a gas to see them again!

On the morning of the 23rd I dreamt that I’d been away from the shop for a long time. No reason from the dream that I remember. I got back and found that the place was jammed with used paperbacks that were not only not needed but jammed in the shelves in odd places and out of the authors’ places. I had to run out to do something and passed Bill on my way back in. He was dressed in his usual all-tan outfit and smiled a goodbye. Back in the shop, I went into the office and Tammy followed me in. In the way that dreams make no sense, the office was my grandparents’ library, but there was crap all over the place, piles of books, junk on the floor. Tammy was drinking coffee and I don’t recall how the dream ended.

If you never knew her, Tammy was hired by Bill back in ’92 while I was on paternity leave (yes, Bill was just that hip!). Tammy had been one of his earliest book reps but was then unemployed. The three of us ran the place and she was a key member of the staff. The weekly newzines were her idea, for instance. The photo of the crow on the outdoor sign was her shot. But she and her family went through some tough times and she got sick of Seattle and they left town about a decade ago. We’ve had zero contact since, so it is very odd that she’d turn up in a dream out of nowhere. But wait – –

On the morning of the 31st, I dreamt that I was in a bookshop with a cafe. Maybe like an Elliot Bay but it wasn’t clear. I took in a stack of paperbacks to trade and handed them to this blonde woman. While she was looking at them, I got into a conversation with a couple of other booksellers, a very tall, skinny man and a shorter woman, and we commiserated about how hard it was for booksellers these days. I could see that the woman with my books was ready to talk but then my phone rang. It was Tammy. She wanted her job back. Evidently, she hadn’t heard that SMB had closed and we then got into a long conversation about how bad things were, how high rents were, and how impossible that seemed for a bookshop to be able to make it. We hung up and I went to the counter to find the woman with my books. She handed me a crumpled up piece of paper with the notes about the books. As I was trying to smooth it out, the booksellers from before called to me to join them at their table by the window. Then the blond woman shrilly whistled to get my attention – and her whistle ended the dream…..

9780307957009James Ellroy’s This Storm is the second volume in his projected new quartet. It follows closely on the heels of Perfidia, 9780307946676which took place between the attack on Pearl Harbor and New Year’s Eve, 1941.

This Storm continues to follow that cast into uniform and into new schemes and cons during the first three months of 1942, while adding to the cast. Mendacity, violence, and lust are the order of the day while a few of the less-crooked characters actually try to solve a web of crimes instead of simply getting rich. At the center is a load of gold stolen from a train in 1931 and an LA fire in ’33. Overlording it all is Dudley Liam Smith, LAPD sergeant and now Army Major. We’re only halfway through this quartet and I already think I need to go back and re-read Clandestine and the first quartet, starting with The Black Dahlia. Considering how thick the books are, I would have all of my reading planned out for the decade. But considering that I first read the start of the quartet about 30 years ago, it’s hard to recall how this Dudley fits into that Dudley.

But think of the audacity! Clandestine unnamedis the first book in which Dudley appears, 1982. The Black Dahlia was published in ’87. He’s got to make what is happening in books written now fit into what he wrote 38 and 33 years ago. No small feat! And re-reading it all would be daunting. I mean – that’s seven and a half inches of Ellroy!

Needless to say, This Storm is brilliant and utterly scandalous. There’s not an iota of political correctness in the story. It’s violent. It’s abrupt. It’s sexy. It’s evil. It’s a drug-induced romp.

NOT TO BE MISSED

 

this storm, this savaging disaster”, attributed to W.H. Auden, surely a title for our times.




During this ongoing nightmare, it is even more crucial to support your neighbors and friends by shopping with small businesses. 

SUPPORT SMALL, SAVE SMALL

AUGUST’S NEWZINE

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There just isn’t pleasing some people. The trick is to stop trying.

~ Robert Mitchum

      Book Stuff

Buzz Aldrin carried a tiny book with him to the moon

Our congratulations to one of our favorite authors. Nicola Griffith has been nominated for the 2019 Washington State Book Award in the fiction category for So Lucky. Fran’s review was in our September 2018 newzine (scroll down towards the end).

Local writer Clyde Ford – he of the maritime private eye series set in Bellingham – has a new book out in September. Think Black is the story of his father being the first black software engineer hired by IBM. Another local mystery writer, Jon Talton, wrote about the father and son: At Big Blue, America’s First Black Software Engineer Blazed a Trail but Pail a Heavy Price

NEWS BULLETIN! No need to feel guilty about the pleasures of mystery books (aren’t you relieved???)

Here’s a site that one of us stumbled upon: Literary Hub. Got there by following a link to this story~ Interview with a Bookstore: Bluestockings. They’ve got many pages. This one’s devoted to Bookstores and Libraries!

The Amazon effect: How independent booksellers are fighting back 

From Douglas Preston: Online book-selling scams steal a living from writers

How Do You Read Ancient Scrolls to Brittle to Unfurl?

Crime writers react with fury to claim their books hinder rape trials: “Novelists have condemned the Staunch prize – for thrillers without violence against women – as a ‘gagging order’, after organisers said the genre could bias jurors.” [The gist seems to be that Dame Agatha could not have been nominated if any women were murdered in her books…]

From Uber driving to huge book deal: Adrian McKinty’s life-changing phone call: “Recent reports have highlighted just how hard it can be to make a living as a “midlist” author – one whose books are judged good enough to publish, but not good enough to support with any significant marketing budget. In the UK, writers’ earnings have fallen by 42% in real terms since 2005, according to the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, with median earnings now at under £10,500 a year – well below the minimum wage. The worldwide picture is similarly disheartening.”

Two bestselling series are going to be adapted for TV ~ Michael Connelly’s Lincoln Lawyer and (we detest promoting it) Lee Child’s Jack Reacher for SPECTRE

First edition Harry Potter book sells for £28,500 

Fragment of medieval ‘vagina monologue’ found at Austrian abbey

The Con Man Who Became a True-Crime Writer

Why Do Women Love True Crime? 

To Plot My Next Murder, I Went to the Body Farm ~ Lisa Gardner

We Asked 13 Novelists, From Lee Child to Ruth Ware, ‘What’s the Best Murder You Ever Wrote?’

Lastly, for Bill: The Weird, Wild, Inimitable Noir of Donald E. Westlake

      Words for the Month

Taradiddle

Definition: 1.Fib  2. Pretentious nonsense

The true origin of taradiddle is unknown, but that doesn’t mean you won’t encounter a lot of balderdash about its history. Some folks try to connect it to the verb diddle (meaning “to cheat”), but that hasn’t been proven and may turn out to be poppycock. You may hear some tommyrot about it coming from the Old English verb didrian, which meant “to deceive,” but that couldn’t be true unless didrian was somehow suddenly revived after eight or nine centuries of disuse. No one even knows when taradiddle was first used. It must have been long before it showed up in a 1796 dictionary of colloquial speech (where it was defined as a synonym of fib), but if we claimed we knew who said it first, we’d be dishing out pure applesauce.

(Thanks to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary)

       Podcasts!

Podcast Live Event! Criminal (a brilliant & addictive true crime podcast) is coming to Seattle in September! Buy tickets now they are going fast!

A Hit Podcast Finds ‘True Crime” in the Justice System

       For Your Viewing Pleasure

Anyone is a fan of “Killing Eve” needs to start watching “Jett” on Cinemax. It stars Carla Gugino as a professional thief just released from prison. Hoping to go straight, she’s quickly reminded that she still owes some favors to old colleagues. Great writing and unexpected zigs and swerves. ~ JB

This Autumn (which, really, is coming at us at a frightful rate), we’ll get to see The Irishman, Martin Scorsese’s new crime film staring Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Anna Paquin, and Harvey Keitel.

John Dillinger Exhumation to be Documented by History Channel

Mid-August gifts us with the second season of “Mindhunter”, the outstanding Netlix series about the establishment of the FBI’s study of killers. This season, the killers will include Richard Speck, David Berkowitz, Wayne Williams, and Charlie Manson (played by the same actor as in the new Tarantino film).

Speaking of the Tarantino – JB highly recommends Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood. It’s got a great sense of the era, great acting, and the usual lunatic touches we expect from a Tatantino film.

       This ‘n’ That

Inside the deadly world of India’s sand mining mafia

I ran across a surprise the other day. Tooling around on the internet looking for stories for this newzine, I found this headline: We’re already excited about Jessica Chastain’s spy thriller. That itself was interesting. Interesting as well was that she refers to the folks doing it as a “studio”. About time women in Hollywood formed their own studios to vie with the dumb ol’ white-man outfits that have run the movie biz since it’s inception. But the surprise for me was the next to last line: “Theresa Rebeck penned the script for the movie…” Theresa is an Edgar-winning writer of TV, movies, novels and plays, as well as a director. She’s brilliant, funny and, most importantly to me, married to one of my oldest friends. (She once let me pick up her Edgar, which she got for an episode of “NYPD Blue”). So cool, far out, groovy and neat-o all around! Can’t wait to see the movie!! ~ JB

Meet English baker ‘Annabel Lecter.’ These Made-to-Order Cakes Look Like Beautiful Nightmares  

As I discovered to my cost at Agatha Christie’s favourite hotel, there is a tide… 

‘Double Indemnity’ Is 75, But Anklets (And Film Noir) Are Forever


An Epidemic of Disbelief: What new research reveals about sexual predators, and why police fail to catch them

Author James Patterson on Jeffrey Epstein’s ‘Unbelievable’ Crimes 

How a Predator Operated in Plain Sight


      Words for the Month

Crumbs!

Definition: Used to express surprise or chagrin.

Who doesn’t love crumbs? Most people, actually. And when we ask the question ‘where does the interjection crumbs come from,’ we have a wide range of possibilities to choose from. Is it a shortened form of crumbs-in-the-bed? No. Is it an abbreviation of the 19th century Cornwall dialect word crum-a-grackle (defined by Joseph Wright in his English Dialect Dictionary as “a mess, difficulty, bother”)? Probably not, although this is a word we should all consider adopting in everyday use. Might it simply be a variant of the phrase “By crum!” in which crum was employed as a mild oath of uncertain provenance? That is the least satisfying answer, which of course means that it is the most likely to be true.

(Thanks to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary)

      Author Events

Aug 2: Heather Redmond, 6pm, UBooks/MC

Aug 15: Rhys Bowen, 7pm, Third Place/LFP

Aug 20: Steve Cavanaugh, 7pm, Third Place/LFP

Aug 29: Karin Slaughter, 7pm, Third Place/LFP

Aug 30: Louise Penny, 7pm, Village Books

      Links Of Interest

July 1: THE CARE AND FEEDING OF A MACGUFFIN

July2: Watch: the first trailer for Rian Johnson’s “Knives Out” tips its hat to Agatha Christie

July 2: DNA Begins to Unlock Secrets of the Ancient Philistines

July 3: The CIA and Jack Gregersen’s exploding hat ~ Agency classified a stranger’s suggestion that it invest in anti-personal headgear for over 40 years

July 3: Little Miss Marple! ‘Extremely rare’ photos reveal legendary crime writer Agatha Christie as a playful child at her Devon family home from 1895 to 1898

July 4: Mad Magazine to cease publication of new material

July 4: Sudan tomb diver reveals pharaoh’s secrets

July 4: Tutankhamun: Bust Egypt says was ‘stolen’ sells for £4.7m

July 5: This 33,000-Year-Old Man May Have Been Killed by a Left-Handed Murderer

July 5: How the Manson Killings Gripped Los Angeles

July 5: The God-Haunted Characters of James Lee Burke

July 5: The disabled artist and her dirty secret

July 6: In pictures: New Unesco World Heritage Sites

July 6: What to Expect When You’re Expecting Evil

July 7: How Norway turns criminals into good neighbours

July 8: ‘It sickens me’: Gillian Flynn slams Gone Girl theory in missing woman case

July 8: The only library to survive from the Graeco-Roman world

July 9: From Uber driving to huge book deal: Adrian McKinty’s life-changing phone call

July 9: The City That Launched The Publishing Industry

July 10: The Accidental Tour Guide ~Laura Lippman — novelist, reporter, and Baltimorean — on her city’s many lives and layered literary myths.

July 10: Found: 15 Wallets From the 1940s, Stolen and Stashed Behind a Bathroom Wall

July 10: Suzanne Eaton, US scientist, found dead in WW2 bunker on Crete

July 10: At The T-Rex Races: On Your Mark, Get Set, Rawwrr!

July 10: Inside One of the Most Spectacular and Dangerous Bank Heists in U.S. History ~ An excerpt from Peter Houlahan’s thrilling new book, “Norco ’80”

July 11: Scarecrow police officer slows speeding drivers

July 12:  Truck Heists, Dog Poisonings, and Murder: Inside the Brutal World of the Truffle Trade

July 12: My gonzo night at Hunter S Thompson’s cabin

July 13: How ‘Licence to Kill’ Put the James Bond Franchise on Ice

July 14: The Literary Battle of the Sexes, 1907-Style

July 14: To Plot My Next Murder, I Went to the Body Farm

July 14: Jo Nesbo, Master of Norway Noir, Returns With His Creepiest Yet

July 16: Mona Lisa is moving – what does it take to keep her safe?

July 16: How a ‘slick talker’ lobbyist boosted the false Seth Rich murder conspiracy — before getting shot himself

July 16: Dutch police are being infiltrated by criminal gangs, report says

July 16: Real life film noir: crime scenes from the LAPD – in pictures

July 16: A young couple was shot dead on a Jenner beach. 15 years later, the mystery is finally solved

July 16: The Doctor Who Helped Israeli Spies Catch Eichmann But Refused Recognition 

July 17: Wonka bar and Golden Ticket fetch £15,000 at auction

July 18: New Investigation Answers Pressing Question: Whatever Happened to All of Bob Ross’ Paintings?

July 18: This little-known inventor has probably saved your life

July 18: David Crosby Reflects On Music, Misdeeds And Making The Most Of What’s Left

July 19: Tennessee town dispels ‘meth-gator’ myth

July 19: The Quiet Cruelty of When Harry Met Sally

July 19: Richard Oland: A millionaire, a murder and a mystery killer

July 19: How A 10-Year-Old Boy Helped Apollo 11 Return To Earth

July 21: A Peculiarly Dutch Summer Rite: Children Abandoned in the Night Woods

July 21:What actually happens inside us when we read?

July 21: The Best Fantasy Novels Of All Time

July 21: Burglars Lift $2 Million Worth Of Body-Shaping ‘Faja’ Undergarments

July 22: French Minerve submarine is found after disappearing in 1968

July 22: Baseball card collecting world rocked by fraud scandal

July 22: 11 Books to Read if You’re an Adult Who Loves Veronica Mars

July 23: Body Found in Supermarket Identified as Employee Who Disappeared 10 Years Ago

July 23: The “Pulp Fiction” prequel never made: Tarantino details the amazing premise

July 23: 6 CLASSIC BOOKS TO READ IF YOU LOVE LOCKED ROOM MYSTERIES

July 27: Sanditon: Sex, nudity and slavery in Jane Austen TV drama

July 29: 50 States of True Crime ~ Every state has an infamous crime — and a book about it.

July 29: Missile launcher found in US man’s luggage at airport

July 30: THIS IS HOW PHOTOS IN “I SPY” BOOKS WERE CAPTURED

July 30: Rochester Cathedral’s crazy golf course 

      R.I.P.

July 8: Martin Charnin: Annie musical writer dies aged 84

July 9: Award-winning actor Rip Torn, known for ‘Larry Sanders Show,’ dies at 88

July 11: Denise Nickerson: Violet Beauregarde actress dies aged 62

July 11: Jim Bouton dies at 80 ~ All-Star MLB pitcher, former Seattle Pilot, author of Ball Four, and actor in Robert Altman’s film of Chandler’s The Long Goodbye. In the movie, he played Marlowe’s friend Terry Lennox, around whom the story orbits.

July 13: Andrew Graham-Yooll, the man who dared to report on Argentina’s missing

July 17: Andrea Camilleri, who has died aged 93, was almost 70 when he took up the genre, but his novels are as rich with serious thinking as with thrilling plots

July 18: David Hedison – star of the original The Fly, captain of the Seaview in “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea”, and Felix Leiter to  007’=’ twice – dead at 92

July 23: MHB Conant was a long-time customer. She was a huge fan of Thomas Perry as well as a number of other writers. She’d bounce in and get copies to give to friends. If we had more than one copy of Vanishing Act or The Butcher’s Boy, she’d take two. Early on she’d ask to have them individually gift wrapped which, to be honest, wasn’t always something we had the time to do – but that’s what you do for long-time customers. Yet though someone is a familiar face, you don’t necessarily know much about them, and that’s true with MHB. (We didn’t even know what the initial stood for!) She was a teacher, singer, and founder of a program to encourage reading around the world. She lead a remarkable life. She was 77 at the time of her death.

July 24: Rutger Hauer, ‘Blade Runner’ Co-Star, Dies at 75

July 24: Mystery author and geologist Sarah Andrews dies at 68 in a small plane crash with her husband and only son.

      Words for the Month

Apple Sauce

Definition: 1. a relish or dessert made of apples stewed to a pulp and sweetened  2. slang : BUNKUM, NONSENSE

English offers a smorgasbord of words for nonsense, some of which are better known as words for food. We have baloney, spinach, rhubarb, and toffee, not to mention full of beans. And if none of those offerings are to your taste, you can say that’s pure banana oil! Seemingly innocuous applesauce was first introduced to this menu back in the early 20th century. Back then, there may have been some bias against the real stuff. Poet Wallace Stevens’s turn-of-the-century description of a meal consisting of “some unnameable smathering of greasy fritters . . . and of course the inevictable applesauce” shows a lack of respect that must have been shared by others.

(Thanks to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary)

       What We’ve Been Up To

   Amber

Daisy            Finder Of Lost Things

Don’t forget to check out my other penny dreadful style blog! This Wee Phoebe and the crew are heading into Nevermore to help dissuade Little Ben from making a grave mistake…Oh, and Wood decide’s this is the perfect time to settle up on an old bet with Phoebe! (click on my pic above to go to the blog!)

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A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder – Dianne Freeman

Freeman’s follow-up to last year’s Agatha Award winning novel, A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder is an absolute gas to read!

Francis Wynn, or for those who aren’t on a first-name basis the Countess of Hareligh, is back and is finally feeling like she’s on firm ground. The only canker in her hedge? It’s summertime in London, and everyone’s fled to the country!

Well, all most everyone.

Only the diehards, those of more modest means or those unable to secure an invitation to a friend’s estate – remain in the city. Unfortunately, since Francis occupies the second of those three categories, her household’s stuck with a very open social schedule.

Their unfettered social diary does prove fortuitous for Francis’s little sister Lily. Despite Francis’s reservations on the subject and irregardless of the limited guest list, Lily and her shiny new fiance are determined to throw a huge bash to announce their engagement.

Francis’s dance card fills out further when she’s pulled into another murder investigation on behalf of her favorite bumbling cousin – a cousin who she both introduced to the victim and inadvertently cast suspicion on with the police.

The only upside? Francis no longer needs to worry about how to entertain her household during the month of August anymore. And, even better, she gets to spend some more quality time with her handsome neighbor Mr. George Hazelton…

Effervescent, lively, and light I loved reading every page mystery.

What I love about A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder is it reminds me vaguely of a Jane Austen novel (only set about eighty-ish years after Austen’s books). The vocabulary, manners, and (the mostly) meticulous observance of social conventions calls to mind that earlier era.

But… (There’s always a but.)

Freeman blends these classic features with a bold and slightly irreverent hand. Creating two books where our heroine not only knows her own mind but follows up her thoughts with decisive action. It doesn’t hurt that Francis Wynn has more latitude to act as a widow than married or single women do during this period. But still, living on her own – with her Aunt, daughter, sister, housekeeper, maid, kitchen boy and debutant – without a man in the house? It’s still slightly scandalous for the times. And heaven only knows what society would say if they knew about the private garden path linking her and Mr. Hazelton’s homes…And it’s that bit of ridiculousness which Freeman exploits, to great effect, in both her books.

Seriously if you’re looking for a fun historical beach book, I would highly recommend A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder.

Though I must caution you, I think you’d enjoy Gossip & Murder better if you read her award-winning Etiquette & Murder, first as there are several story threads which deftly bind the first and second books together.

Even better? Etiquette & Murder is in paperback!

   Fran

Okay, I’m gonna be honest here. I don’t have anything new to review, but here’s why.

I’m still traveling through life with Inspector Gamache. YES, I BLAME LOUISE PENNY! And I’m thrilled she’s going to be in town this month, as you saw above. You must not go. I want her all to myself. So there.

In fact, I’ve been loving her writing so much that I got Lillian hooked on the series, and now she’s not talking to me, but only because she’s off in Three Pines as well. We read non-spoiler snippets to each other.

Also in my defense, we got a dog.

Shadow in streaking sunlight.JPG

Her name is Shadow, and she’s a 2-year-old Lab mix. High energy and a goofball, but a delight. However, she does take up a great deal of time, what with cuddles and walks and playing.

So I’m a little slower getting through the Inspector Gamache series than I should be, but you know what? I’m okay with that. Not only is Shadow a fun dog, but that means I have to slow down in my reading, so I can savor them, enjoy them. And I’m glad there are so many, but I’m still reaching the end of what’s currently printed, and honestly, I don’t know how all you veteran Penny readers have been able to stand the wait between books. You must be saints!

    JB


Around the 4th, I had two bookshop dreams:

The first started with a former employee telling me about someone’s reaction to the newzine. Apparently, we were still mailing out the printed version. I was getting the latest one ready to mail and was informed that one of our best customers was mad because she hadn’t been getting her copies….

The second started with me working across and down Cherry from the shop. Something or someone reminded me that the 117 location would be closing and what was left would be moved to a different location. So I went to Bakeman’s to get chocolate chip cookies for Amber but she wasn’t there. As I walked in, she was heading out the side/back door with an armload of boxes. Fran wasn’t in this dream. I started loading my own books that  I hadn’t yet taken home into bags and started trying to get a hold of my wife to get her to come pick them up and to get me so I could get something to eat before coming back down to Pioneer Square to begin dismantling the shelves and counters and I remember thinking that the carport would once again be choked with wood. I was mad I couldn’t get ahold of her, mad about the work ahead, and mad – again – about the closure of SMB. Then I woke up.

On the 12th, I woke up after one where I was still trying to empty the space – though it wasn’t the actual SMB space (surely others have dreams where the places aren’t the right places or people aren’t the same people?). Most of the shelves were empty but there were still some things to pack. One shelf behind the empty counter was of thick black binders. When I took the one on the far right down it was filled with Bill’s financial records. There was even a section of the red rear receipts from credit card slips. But then I realized I didn’t have enough large boxes. John C. was here helping and offered to go get some but I said I’d go. For some reason, I was driving a battered early 60s Chevrolet, dirty grey or white, the kind with wings that my parents used to have. I got mired in a endless maze of alleys and one-way streets and finally made it out onto a street up by I-5 in order to head south to buy boxes – when I realized I was late to have dinner with friends. It was already early evening and I knew Gretchen would be mad when I called to say I wouldn’t be there for hours…. It went on from there and I never got back to the shop before I woke up EXHAUSTED...

Just before this was posted, I had another dream that is shop related. All I remember is that the lunch special at Bakeman’s was lasagna…


Journalist Tom O’Neill’s Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties is a wild, wild ride. As he relates, he began his journey as a job to right a story about the 20th Anniversary of the Tate-LaBianca murders and his investigation grew into a decades-long pursuit that consumed his life. And we’re enlightened for it.

He begins by relating some points in Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter that never quite made sense to him. From there comes a complete re-investigation of the crimes. From the end-notes, you can see that he talked to everyone who would talk about the era, LA at that time, the victims, the original investigation as well as members of Manson’s family. You get stories of the parties at Cielo Drive, parties at Beach Boy Dennis Wilson’s place, and how Charlie formed his family in the hay-day of Haight/Ashbury before relocating to the LA basin. How did he achieve such complete control over those in his clutches and get a bunch of peaceful hippies to slaughter on command?

What’s it all got to do with the CIA? Ever heard of MKULTRA, 9780316477550the CIA’s program to effect mind-control? Doctors in San Francisco were working on it. Ever heard of the FBI’s COINTELPRO, the program to infiltrate and undermine the leftist challenge to the status quo? Turns out CHAOS was the CIA’s program to do the same – even though the CIA’s own rules prohibit  them from working within the US.

What’s it got to do with the Manson Family? Read the book. How many did they really kill? Why aren’t more files being released? Why didn’t the cops investigating the Tate-LaBianca deaths believe the Helter Skelter story? Read the book.

“It’s when someone claims that I’ve ‘found the truth’ that I get anxious. I haven’t found the truth, much as I wish I could say I have. My goal isn’t to say what did happen – it’s to prove that the official story didn’t. I’ve learned to accept the ambiguity. I had to, I realized, if I ever wanted to finish this book. For every chapter here, there are a dozen I’ve left out. There’s more, there’s always more.”

The book includes photos of his house and the mass of binders and stacks of papers that went into the book. He presents a wealth of information that’s never been released before and rails against the refusal of official offices to release what he knows they have – recording, documents, files, and case notes. He relates showing documents to the original cops or the original prosecutors and they’re shocked at seeing these things for the first time. Let’s get it all out in the open. I sure hope someone agrees to fund his further research and investigation. I sincerely hope his wild ride continues!



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April Newzine

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      Odds ‘N’ Ends

This Week in True-Crime Podcasts: Going Deeper on Netflix’s The Keepers


JB stumbled on this site in early March. There are interesting articles going back months. This’ll be a site we’ll keep an eye on for future links. Under “Culture”, he found this:

March 1st: Fingerprinting: How Studying These Unique Patterns Forever Changed History ~A cousin of evolution theorist Charles Darwin created the first fingerprint classification system.

Next, under “Action”, then “Crime”, he found a long list of interesting pieces, from the Lufthansa Heist to the strange story of Sir Henry Whitecliffe. Lots to poke through!


Here’s a new one for us. We’ve all heard scathing reviews by critics of movies before they open. But have you ever heard a scathing review of a movie poster before the movie opens? Here’s your chance: NPR’s Ailsa Chang talks with film critic William Bibbiani about the role movie posters play today, following the release of the poster for Quentin Tarantino’s, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

      Words of the Month

fossick: From 1850–55; compare dial. fossick troublesome person, fussick to bustle about, apparently fuss + -ick, variant of -ock. As a verb (used without object): Mining , to undermine another’s digging; search for waste gold in relinquished workings, washing places, etc., to search for any object by which to make gain: to fossick for clients. As a verb (used with object), to hunt; seek; ferret out.(thanks to dictionary.com)

      Book Events

April 1: Dana Haynes, Powell’s, 7pm

April 2: Jeffrey Siger, Third Place Books/LFP 7pm

April 8: Harlan Coben, Third Place Books/LFP 7pm

April 9: J.A. Jance, Third Place Books/LFP 7pm

April 9: Jacqueline Winspear, Elliot Bay 7pm

April 11: Mary Daheim & Candace Robb, Third Place Books, 7pm (postponed from Feb due to SNOW)

April 13: J.A. Jance, Village Books, 7pm

April 17: J.A. Jance, University Books, 7pm

April 18: Alafair Burke, Powell’s 7:30

      Links of Interest

March 1: Hallie Rubenhold: ‘Jack the Ripper’s victims have just become corpses. Can’t we do better?’

March 2: How the N.Y. Public Library Fills Its Shelves (and Why Some Books Don’t Make the Cut)

March 5: Nobel prize in literature to be awarded twice this year

March 5: The Who’s Pete Townshend announces debut novel, The Age of Anxiety

March 5: Crusader skull stolen from Dublin church recovered

March 6: The boldness factor: Here’s how to distinguish a psychopath from a ‘shy-chopath’

March 7: By the Book: Donna Leon

March 7: World Book Day features Welsh-language titles in Braille

March 7: Meet the Real Estate Appraiser of the World’s Most Gruesome Murder Sites

March 7: Penn and Teller and Mischief Theatre to produce Magic Goes Wrong

March 8: 5 New International Series Visit 5 Far-Flung Crime Scenes

March 9: Mobster Carmine Persico dies after serving 33 of 139-year sentence

March 10: 3 Billboards In Baltimore: How One Woman Is Trying To Find Her Sister’s Killer

March 10: Great Escape hero’s journal of getaway plot uncovered

March 11: Will Seattle save WA’s only Black-Owned Bookstore?

March 12: Nurse from Cornwall told of own death in pension letter

March 12: Wild goats flock into town in bad weather

March 13: Chickens ‘gang up’ to kill intruder

March 14: Crime author: Life and death on Bradford’s ‘forgotten’ streets

March 14: Stolen masterpiece was switched with fake in police sting

March 14: Frank Cali, of New York’s Gambino family, is shot dead in New York

March 15: The Wild Story of the Real-Life Mobster Who Starred in ‘The Godfather’

March 16: Charles Manson, Rose Bird, Caryl Chessman and California’s wrenching death penalty debate

March 17: An app called Citizen promises “awareness” of nearby danger. What it provides is more complicated.

March 18: What Not to Do After Robbing a Bank: Put the Money Right Back

March 20: Edible Book Festivals Are for Pun and Food Lovers

March 21: The police sex scandal that ‘rocked’ 1929 Portland – and might be tied to a notorious unsolved murder

March 21: Mount Everest: Melting glaciers expose dead bodies

March 22: How a bookshop wolf handles awkward customers

March 25: The amateur sleuth who searched for a body – and found one

March 26: A Dutchman known as the “Indiana Jones of the art world” has found a Picasso painting that was stolen 20 years ago.

March 26: Vatican women editors resign from women’s magazine

March 26: Paul McCartney’s school book sold for £46k after bidding war

March 26: Sir Edward Elgar manuscript found in autograph book

March 27: Egyptian coffin art in ‘pop-up’ show in pub

March 27: Could A Novel Lead Someone To Kill? ‘Murder By The Book’ Explores The Notion

March 28: Garfield phones beach mystery finally solved after 35 years

March 28: ‘Fake’ Botticelli painting is from artist’s studio

March 28: Super-rare Harry Potter book with title misspelling sells at auction

      Words of the Month

claque (n.): A “band of subservient followers,” 1860, from French claque “band of claqueurs” (a set of men distributed through an audience and hired to applaud the performance or the actors), agent noun from claquer “to clap” (16c.), echoic (compare clap (v.)). Modern sense of “band of political followers” is transferred from that of “organized applause at theater.” Claqueur “audience member who gives pre-arranged responses in a theater performance” is in English from 1837.

This method of aiding the success of public performances is very ancient; but it first became a permanent system, openly organized and controlled by the claquers themselves, in Paris at the beginning of the nineteenth century. [Century Dictionary]

Thanks to Says You!, episode #134

      R.I.P.

February 10 – (but no one knew until March) Jan-Michael Vincent, star of Airwolf and The Winds of War, dies at 74

March 1: Charles McCarry, master of American espionage fiction, died at 88. “There is simply no other way to say it,” Otto Penzler, a leading expert on crime and espionage fiction, wrote in the New York Sun in 2004. “Just the straightforward, inarguable truth: Charles McCarry is the greatest espionage writer that America has ever produced.”

March 4: Luke Perry of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Riverdale dies at 52

      Words of the Month

toady (n.): A “servile parasite,” from 1826, apparently shortened from toad-eater “fawning flatterer” (1742), originally (1620s) “the assistant of a charlatan,” who ate a toad (believed to be poisonous) to enable his master to display his skill in expelling the poison. The verb is recorded from 1827. Related: Toadied; toadying.

      What We’ve Been Doing

    Amber

Don’t forget! Check out my mystery blog!  Finder Of Lost Things

This week we discover Beatrice has an arch nemesis…much to everyone’s amusement!

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Deanna Raybourn – A Dangerous Collaboration

Veronica Speedwell is back! Woot! After the last fantastic installment, A Treacherous Curse, Victoria was left with a bit of a conundrum, i.e., her feelings for Stoker.

So what does she do? The only sensible thing…run away!

When she finally returns, six months later, she barely has time to unpack her bags before Stoker’s brother Lorde Templeton-Vane whisks her off to a remote island in Cornwell. Where nothing is exactly as it seems…

I don’t know how Deanna Raybourn does it – but the Veronica Speedwell Mysteries get better and better with every installment! And I’m not the only one who thinks so, as she is in the current class of Edgar Award nominees – for Best Novel. Not Best Historical Mystery – but Best Novel – the bluest of blue ribbons of the Edgars.

Somehow in this book, she manages to take a traditional country house mystery and gently twist it into something far more interesting than the original cloth it’s cut from. From changing up the setting from a manor house to a creaky old castle (with its own poison garden) to altering the typical countryside setting to a windswept island (full of superstition) each of the traditional features were there – but so artfully arranged that it wasn’t until I finished the book that I realized the style Rayborn had chosen.

And I read a lot of country house mysteries.

However, what Raybourn deftly handles in this book are the tangled feelings Veronica holds for Stoker (and vice versa). Never once did I roll my eyes or skip ahead because the words written on the page we so syrupy sweet or maudlin that they pushed the bounds of credulity. Raybourn did a seriously good job layering them into the narrative in just the right amount!

While this particular style, is usually bloodless, Raybourn is able to add a tremendous sense of urgency & horror in the solution, never fear. Even better? She plays by The Rules! Everything the reader needs to solve the mystery along with Veronica & Stoker is laid out before you. However, in true author form, you aren’t quite sure you’re correct until the crucial moment, which is a wonderful feeling!

If you can’t tell, I loved this book! It was an exciting and fast-paced read which didn’t disappoint!

Now you don’t have to read the rest of the books to read this one – but I highly suggest you at least read A Treacherous Curse first – as there will be large swaths which won’t make as much sense without knowledge of Veronica, Stokers and Lord Templeton-Vane’s backstories. (But seriously all the books are great and well worth your time – and they’re in paperback now – so why not give one a go?)

If you enjoy historical mysteries, you will not find this book or series wanting!

    Fran

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I took a quick break in my Christine Feehan binge because the new Anne Bishop “Others” novel is out, and, well…Anne Bishop. The Others. They’re my Kryptonite. Okay, one of many, but still.

If you haven’t read them, you absolutely have to start with Written in Red. The world she’s created is only somewhat similar to ours, so you need your feet firmly under you before you tackle Wild Country (Ace). You most especially need to have the fifth in the “Lakeside Courtyard” series, Etched in Bone, firmly in your mind before you tackle this one.

Wild Country takes place not long after the Great Predation, when everything is still very much in flux between the Others and the humans. The formerly human controlled town of Bennett is beginning a mixed species experiment, to see if this time it can work if the Others are in charge instead of the humans.

Bennett is very much an Old West frontier-type town, a boom town as long as humans remember who surrounds them, not just in the wild country but their neighbors. Anyone with any power is Other. Humans can build their businesses, as long as the Others – in this case the Sanguinati – approve.

But, as with our Old West, where there’s boomtown, there’s trouble.

I re-read Lake Silence, the first of the Others novels that wasn’t a Lakeside Courtyard novel, just to remind myself of the world. Lake Silence is a much lighter-hearted book. Not that what happens to Vicki isn’t dark, but between the Sproingers and Yorick’s Vigorous Appendage, Lake Silence was a fun read.

Wild Country hearkens back to Written in Red in many ways. It’s very dark, bad things happen to good people with no one able to stop it, and honestly, I think it’s some of Anne Bishop’s finest writing. But you have to have your feet firmly entrenched in the events that happen in Etched in Bone, not only to understand the severity of what happens, but also because some of the Lakeside Courtyard folks are involved in this story.

I was up until 3:44 in the morning finishing this.  And I think I’ll have to go back and re-read it, because I was tearing through to find out what happened so quickly that I’m sure I missed bits.

What an amazing series. In fact, I may just go back and re-read the whole thing, but reverse the order of the last two books, so that I get that hard one-two punch, followed by life in Sproing, which is decidedly less dramatic, despite the eyeball in the wave-cooker.

Woof. I’m exhausted. But in a really good way. Thank you, Ms. Bishop!

    JB

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Magnificent, stunning, a massive and major work, an epic journey into our contemporary heart of darkness.

 

 

 

 

 

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I have to believe that this really is the end of the saga due to the way the story arcs across the three books. Winslow said that he was done after The Power of the Dog.

 

 

 

 

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Then he swore he was done after the sequel, The Cartel.

But The Border really must be it – or he continues with secondary characters… which he is capable of doing.

If you are at all interested in his new book, you must start with Power of the Dog. The Cartel begins soon afterward, as then does The Border. These are not really three books, these are three sections of one massive story.

 

Its a commitment, yes. It would be a marathon, yes. But if we’re in a time in which folks will binge hours upon hours of a TV series, it is nothing to commit to binging this set of books.

So do it.


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