This ‘n’ That
Not a murder in the story – so far as they know – but a fascinating one from National Geographic: DNA Study Deepens Mystery of Lake Full of Skeletons
Nineteen years ago, Tom Wales was shot dead as he worked at his computer in the lower floor of his Queen Anne house. This is notable for two reasons – first, he was and is the only Assistant United States Attorney to be murdered in office and, second, until Aug. 21 there had been no indictments. There’s a podcast which covers the case: somebody somewhere. The entire first season 12 episodes, covers the case.
The ‘Breaking Bad’ Movie is Coming To Netflix In October and The Trailer Is Here
Words of the Month
jabber (v.)”talk rapidly and indistinctly,” 1650s, spelling variant of Middle English jablen (c. 1400), also javeren, jaberen, chaveren, jawin; probably ultimately echoic. Related: Jabbered; jabbering. The noun, “rapid, unintelligible talk” is 1727, from the verb. Related: Jabberment (Milton). [thanks to etymonline]
Does Someone Miss Us? – Seattle Times: Introducing The Plot Thickens, a new column on crime books
Who needs bookshops anyway? Libraries Are Telling People How Much Money They Save by Not Buying Books
10 Great Books that Defy All Genres (thanks to Kat Richardson for this post)
Parnassus Books Cares About Us. Does Amazon? [Thanks to Steve for passing this to us!]
Manson: The 50th Anniversary
The Second Season of “Manhunter”
Words of the Month
gibberish (N) “rapid and inarticulate speech; talk in no known language,” 1550s, imitative of the sound of chatter, probably influenced by jabber. Used early 17th C. of the language of rogues and gypsies. (thanks to etymonline)
Sept 17 ~ Candace Robb (& Owen Archer!), 7pm, Third Place/LFP
September 17 ~ April Henry, 7pm, Powell’s/Cedar Hills
September 20 ~ Craig Johnson, 7pm, Powell’s/Cedar Hills
Sept 23 ~ J.A. Jance, 7pm, Third Place/LFP
September 23 ~ Amy Stewart, 7:30pm, Powell’s
September 27 ~ J.A. Jance, 7pm, UBooks/Mill Creek
September 28 ~ J.A. Jance, 4pm, Village Books
Links of Interest
August 10: How death cafes are de-stigmatizing death
August 11: Interview with Martin Freeman ~ ‘The Detective’s Moral Dilemma Drew Me In’
August 12: The Subversive Messages in the Wizard of Oz
August 13: The Women Who Tasted Hitler’s Food
August 13: Is the bystander effect a myth?
August 16: THE ANATOMY OF THE BOOK
August 19: ‘Murder She Wrote’ & Me
August 20: The mystery photos of a 1957 gay wedding
August 21: The Cold War spy technology which we all use
August 22: GREAT BOOKS ABOUT TRUE CRIMES
August 20: We learned this day of the death of a long-time customer, Alison Moore.
Fran Here: I spoke with Alison on the phone frequently, and while it took a little learning to translate her Liverpudlian accent to American, she was an absolute delight. Because she was wheelchair-bound, and later bedridden, we shipped to her all the time.
But Alison wasn’t just an avid reader. She’d have us send books to friends of hers all across the US! Not necessarily mysteries – as you know, we would order anything in print – but always for birthdays and Christmas. It was interesting getting to know her friends. And they, in turn, would call to order gift certificates for her to use when she called to order for herself. If was one of those sad souls who let us know she’d passed.
There were times after the shop closed when Alison would call me at home, just to see how I was holding up. And then we’d talk about how things were going with her. She never really recovered after her husband died, but she was feisty all the way. Home Health tried to insist she keep her husband’s hospital bed, but he was almost 6′ tall, and she barely hit 5′. She said she kept slipping off it. She won, of course.
We at the shop are sorry to hear of her passing, and it’s a personal loss to me. I’ll miss hearing the, “Hey, Fran, how’re ya doin’?” followed by “What’cha been readin’?” Wherever you are now, Alison, I hope there’s a HUGE library!
Words of the Month
polysemy (n) A condition in which a single word, phrase, or concept has more than one meaning or connotation. dictionary.com
polysemous (adj) 1884, from Medieval Latin polysemus, from Greek polysemos “of many sides” etymonline
What We’ve Been Up To
Last Friday In Finder of Lost Things the Resident’s come to Phoebe’s aid since her crew took their pirate costumes entirely to much to heart – and imbibed in too much spiced rum!
This coming Friday Phoebe, Wood, Beatrice and Laney run for their freedom across the last stretch of Nevermore – trying to stay ahead of Little Ben and security!
Rhys Bowen – Love and Death Among the Cheetahs
Georgie is off on a surprise honeymoon safari Darcy has arranged for them… Which they can only afford because Darcy accepted an assignment from his mysterious employers. Of course, Darcy attempts to keep Georgie in the dark about the arrangement, but his new wife has solved her fair share of mysteries. So his secret isn’t a secret for very long.
Plus Georgi has her little task to complete for the Queen.
One thing I love about the Royal Spyness series is how Bowen creates a subtle sort of anxiety within the pages of her book. By sticking relatively close to historical events, Bowen establishes a sense of tension within her series – a worry which grows in each installment as we creep inevitably closer to WWII.
This worry is in no small part due to Darcy’s secret overseas work, which in the coming conflict will place him directly in harm’s way. And by extension Georgie, who is keen to prove her deductive prowess to her new husband (who wasn’t always privy to all her previous investigations).
In Love And Death Among The Cheetahs amongst the exotic animals and even wilder Happy Valley set Georgie proved her worth right away. By helping both solve a murder and uncovering a spy within their midsts!
However, it’s not Hitler whom I theorize will affect Georgie’s immediate future. But her cousin David, that dreadful American woman (as she’s known) and the King’s declining health. What will happen upon the King’s death? How will the chaos, created by David’s unwillingness to give up his American divorcee and his political leanings, effect Georgie, her family, and England?
And when he abdicates will that be the last we hear of David?
Or his disapproving mother and sending Georgie to the continent to extract her errant son from trouble? Or will the new King look to her for help?
Only time will tell.
But until the next book, I will fret over the safety and well being of Georgie’s grandfather, Queenie, Zou Zou, her erratic mother, Binky, Fig, and everyone else. Because of the aforementioned cleverness of Bowen’s storytelling, I know what’s coming. Even if Georgie and Darcy only see the hints of Hitler’s plans right now.
However, I am still very excited to see where Bowen takes her Royal Spyness series next!
Especially since Georgie finally feels secure enough to reveal the steely spine she inherited from her Great-Grandmother Queen Victoria. Showing not only Fig she’s done with her backhanded compliments, but allowed her to deftly deal with an old bully, a determined letch, and a belligerent detective. All in one book!
I would recommend Love and Death Among the Cheetahs if you are looking for a country house style mystery. Well, country house adjacent. As Love And Death Among The Cheetahs is set in Kenya, not the United Kingdom. And rather than the fox hunting, horse-loving aristocratic set routinely featured in the style of book. We meet the wanton, dissolute and libertine set of Happy Valley expats. Who enjoy sex, drugs, and safaris instead.
(BTW – Georgie is utterly shocked at their antics!)
In point of fact, I would highly recommend this entire series to anyone looking for a lighter, historically mystery series. If you don’t want to start all the way back at the beginning, never fear! So long as you’re aware you aren’t starting with the first in series, you will do just fine!
One Last Note!
My other blog My 52 Weeks With Christie – in which I kept posting my original photos to and re-blogging other Agatha Christie enthusiast pictures, TV clips and other ephemera on – reached a milestone!
I’ve posted a total of 8,000 items and counting! Which I’m told is quite something – since it was originally only suppose to have a total of 52 posts!
You know my fondness for Joshilyn Jackson. It’s no secret, and hasn’t been since gods in Alabama. She’s always remarkable, taking on some really tough topics in that genteel Southern way she has.
With her latest one, Never Have I Ever (Wm. Morrow), she takes off the gloves. Always a Southern lady, mind you, but in this new book, Joshilyn Jackson comes out swinging! It’s a much, much darker books than any of her others, and yes, I’m including Between, Georgia in that. For those of you who haven’t read it, partway through I was muttering, “Trust Joshilyn, trust Joshilyn, she’ll make it right!”
Never Have I Ever is much darker than a body dumped in kudzu or an airport gypsy explaining that murder is the best solution. Amy Whey’s life starts unraveling in the first chapter. Are you familiar with the game “Never Have I Ever”? It’s kind of a middle school game, like Three Truths and a Lie, that can be adapted to an adult game quite easily. Someone says, “Never have I ever (fill in the blank with something you’ve never done)” and anyone who HAS done it has to drink. Kind of embarrassing but fun, right?
“It’s a blast. You should play. It’s like Never Have I Ever, but for grown-ups. We skip the coy denials and go right to confession. You start by telling everyone the worst thing you did today.”
When Roux crashes the monthly book club meeting, takes over, plies most of the women with alcohol and gets them to tell their secrets, Amy knows she could have stopped her, but she didn’t. Like watching a car crash, she just let it happen.
“Sure, I’ll play,” I said quietly, to Roux alone. “The worst thing I did today was let you get this pack of harpies drunk in my house.”
However, Amy has a serious secret. One her neighbors, her friends, even her husband have no idea about. Things are about to go badly for everyone.
Make no mistake, this is still the Joshilyn Jackson we know and love, and her trademark humor is still present. There were times when I snorfled so loudly I startled the dog. But this is, at its heart, a much darker novel than we’ve seen before.
And it’s about time. Joshilyn Jackson is becoming one of the great literary voices of our time; she’s a storyteller of exceptional depth and quality. You’re going to love Never Have I Ever, even when you’re not entirely sure you can like Amy, and that juxtaposition is what will keep you eagerly turning pages.
Never Have I Ever lied to you about reading Joshilyn Jackson. You won’t be disappointed.
Aug 8th gave me another shop dream. I’d been away for some weeks for some reason and the “shop” was small, narrow place with shelves around the walls and the new release paperback table taking up most of the floor space. The table was a mess. Titles that should’ve been removed weeks ago were not only still on but had been re-ordered. Some single paperbacks were spine up between stacks of others. Duplicate copies were stacked randomly on a shelf near the door and Amber and Fran were desperately trying to get it squared away. I started trying to work out what should be removed AND returned AND sorted by publisher, but people were in the way and where was I going to be able to do all of this… It was a dream of chaos.
I’ve been weaving back and forth from this book to another for several months. Still
haven’t finished the Mueller Report, or 9th Street Women, or the second-to-last Philip Kerr. Guess I’ve been a restless reader. Something new crops up – such as the O’Neil book on the 60s – and it is easy to set down what I’m in to go to something else. But there are other reasons, too. Most of what I’ve been reading for the last few months have been thick and heavy hardcovers. For the trip to San Francisco, I wanted smaller and lighter. So I picked up a couple of mass market books I’d meant to read for, well, decades, and they were as great as I expected. Both were used paperbacks I’d brought home when the shop closed.
One was Donald Westlake’s Lemons Never Lie, one of his Grofield books published in 1971 as by Richard Stark. Grofield first appeared in one of Stark’s Parker books. I’ve read all of them and loved them but somehow never got to these. Mistake. This one is the last of the four separate books and now I’ll have to track the other three down. As with the Parker books, this one was a finely-crafted story of a professional thief with a highly developed sense of how his world should work. Unfortunately, Grofield violates his own rules a number of times and pays for his errors. But gets his justice at the end. It seems odd to talk about “honor” and “justice” with a crime novel about a thief…but that’s the world we’ve picked for our entertainment.
The other was Timothy Hallinan’s final Simeon Grist novel, The Bone Polisher. Early shop colleague Tammy had gotten me into these back in the mid-90s. I immediately loved them. Grist is an LA private eye who never got a college degree though he’s studied many different fields – this allows Hallinan to have him be erudite and literate and amusing without him coming off as pedantic. This last one I’d salted away because I’d never wanted the series “to end”. But it was time and it was a thrill.
And as to that trip to that Big Bay to the south, there are two posts about it, #1 and #2. Check them out should you be curious – – – – – – —