MARCH 2022

TAULT, an agency for Ukrainian writing, is calling on translators to help them.

Ukrainian Film Academy Calls for Boycott of Russian Cinema After Invasion

Anonymous: the hacker collective that has declared cyberwar on Russia

Pat Robertson Insists Putin ‘Compelled by God’ to Invade Ukraine and Kick Off ‘End Times’ [no – that’s not an early April Fool…]

Words of the Month

curse (n.) Late Old English curs “a prayer that evil or harm befall one; consignment of a person to an evil fate,” of uncertain origin. No similar word exists in Germanic, Romance, or Celtic. Middle English Compendium says probably from Latin cursus “course” (see course (n.)) in the Christian sense “set of daily liturgical prayers” extended to “set of imprecations” as in the sentence of the great curse, “the formula read in churches four times a year, setting forth the various offenses which entailed automatic excommunication of the offender; also, the excommunication so imposed.”  Connection with cross is unlikely. Another suggested source is Old French curuz “anger.”

Meaning “the evil which has been invoked upon one, that which causes severe trouble” is from early 14th C. Curses as a histrionic exclamation (“curses upon him/her/it”) is by 1680s. The curse in 19th C. was the sentence imposed upon Adam and Eve in Genesis iii.16-19. The slang sense “menstruation” is from 1930. Curse of Scotland, the 9 of diamonds in cards, is attested from 1791, but the signification is obscure.

curse (v.) Middle English cursen, from Old English cursian, “to wish evil to; to excommunicate,” from the source of curse (n.). Intransitive meaning “swear profanely, use blasphemous or profane language” is from early 13th C. (compare swear (v.)). The sense of “blight with malignant evils” is from 1590s. Related: Cursed; cursing. (etymonline)

Mystery artist’s sculptures from classic Scottish books raise £50,000

Books overboard! Supply chain headaches leave publishing all at sea

Serious Stuff

Longtime ‘Reading Rainbow’ host LeVar Burton urges kids to read banned books: ‘That’s where the good stuff is’

CEO of Penguin Random House donates $500,000 to fight book bans

I’m offended my book isn’t considered offensive enough to be banned too

Comic book store owner to ship ‘Maus’ free to anyone who asks in Tenn. district where it’s banned

A professor has offered to teach Maus to all students affected by its ban.

Book Bans Are Targeting the History of Oppression

QAnon Pastor Holds Book Burning at His Church

Neo-Nazis just marched on a community library in Providence.

This great wave of American book-banning is not slowing down

Most Americans don’t agree with book bans.

Wentzville School Board reverses its decision on banned book

Cancel culture is real but it’s not the ‘woke mob’ you should worry about

ACLU sues Missouri School District for Permanent Removal of Eight Books

Erik Prince Helped Raise Money for Conservative Spy VentureNew details reveal the ambitions of an operation intended to infiltrate opponents of Donald Trump, including moderate Republicans as well as progressives and Democrats.

Now We Know Their Names

The Crypto Backlash Is Booming

DOJ arrests couple in connection with $4.5 billion cryptocurrency hack

They Were Convicted of Scamming $18 Million in Covid Relief Loans. Now, the FBI Can’t Find Them

A Hacker Group Has Been Framing People for Crimes They Didn’t Commit

Gaslight: How a harrowing Ingrid Bergman film inspired the psychology buzzword

The Fascinating—and Harrowing—Tale of the First Japanese American to Publish a Book of Fiction

Credit Suisse leak unmasks criminals, fraudsters and corrupt politicians

Mellon Foundation Awards $1.5M Grant to Document Indigenous Enslavement

Three men plead guilty to planning U.S. power grid attack, driven by white supremacy

Thieves in the Night: A Vast Burglary Ring From Chile Has Been Targeting Wealthy U.S. Households

Local Stuff

Left Behind: Some Portland teachers embrace proven approach to teaching reading, but most stick with methods that haven’t worked

Seattle Woman’s Worry over Mom’s Missing Wordle Update Leads to Police Finding Her Held Hostage

FBI ups reward to $20000 in 2002 Washington state killing

Seattle’s newest bookstore is the culmination of a mother’s dream and daughter’s passion

Odd Stuff

Decoding Dickens’s Secret Notes to Himself, One Symbol at a Time

On the 1863 novel that predicted the Internet, cars, skyscrapers, and electronic dance music.

Vintage Vinyl LP of ‘Girl From Ipanema’ Leads Police to a ‘Most Wanted’ Fugitive

Various People Are Fighting Over John McAfee’s Body, Which Is Stuck in a Spanish Morgue

A Las Vegas bartender was robbed at gunpoint. His bosses made him pay back the stolen money, a lawsuit says.

How G. Gordon Liddy Bungled Watergate With an Office-Supply Request

An Amelia Earhart Mystery Solved (Not That Mystery)

Detecting Jane: A Possible Cause of Jane Austen’s Early Death

Stormy Daniels Sues Ex-Literary Agent Over Money Avenatti Stole

Love note to Jacobite rebel embroidered in human hair to go on show

A woman in danger contacted the wrong police force — over 3,000 miles away. Luckily, they still helped her

Record Store Day is harming, not helping, independent music shops like mine

Man Finds 170 Bottles of Luxury Japanese Whiskey Stolen, Replaced With Fizzy Water

Scientists reveal how Venus fly trap plants snap shut

How a Few Salty Brits Pioneered the Art of the Weaponized Index

Morbid coin-operated mortuary automaton circa 1900

Nonsense, Puns, and Dirty Limericks: A Serious Look at Poetic Wordplay

“Dental Plumper” Jaw Prosthetic Worn by Marlon Brando in ‘The Godfather’ (1972)

Words of the Month

jynx (n.)”wryneck,” 1640s, from Modern Latin jynx (plural jynges), from Latin iynx (see jinx – see below!). As “a charm or spell,” 1690s. (etymonline)

SPECTRE

Jeff Bezos’ superyacht will see historic bridge dismantled

Thousands of Dutch vow to pelt Jeff Bezos’ superyacht with rotten eggs

After backlash, Jeff Bezos suggests naming library auditorium for Toni Morrison

A group of bipartisan lawmakers is grilling Amazon for its continued sale of a chemical compound used in suicides

U.S. Lawmakers Question Amazon Over Sale of Chemical Compound Used in Suicide

Black Lives Matter Kicked Off Amazon Charity Platform

New Amazon headquarters sparks feud among Indigenous South Africans

Words of the Month

jinx (n.) From 1911, American English, originally baseball slang; perhaps ultimately from jyng “a charm, a spell” (17th C.), originally “wryneck” (also jynx), a bird used in witchcraft and divination, from Latin iynx “wryneck,” from Greek iynx. Jynx was used in English as “a charm or spell” from 1690s.

“Most mysterious of all is the psychics of baseball is the “jinx”, that peculiar “hoodoo” which affects, at times, a man, at other times a whole team. Let a man begin to think that there is a “jinx” about and he is done for the time being.” Technical World Magazine, 1911

The verb is 1912 in American English, from the noun. Related: Jinxed; jinxing. (etymonline)

Awards

MWA Confers First Neely Grants

Long Island University Announces 73rd Annual George Polk Awards In Journalism

Bard Graduate Center Welcomes Submissions for Horowitz Book Prize

WORLD BOOK DAY ~ MARCH 3, 2022

Book Stuff

Major collection of James Joyce documents and books donated to university

You Can Now Explore Marcel Duchamp’s Personal Papers Online

Rediscovering a Lost Dystopia and Its Prescient Author

Some Fundamental Principles for Writing Great Sex

‘A certain pleasant darkness’: what makes a good fictional sex scene?

In ‘Anonymous Sex,’ No Strings — and No Bylines

What Pornographic Literature Shows Us About Human Nature

Sara Gran Considers The Art of Suspense

How much lost medieval literature is there? A wildlife-tracking method may have the answer.

Louise Welsh: ‘It was like driving with the lights off’

Time To Curl Up with a “Quozy” – A Queer Cozy Mystery

Leonard Cohen’s Unpublished Fiction Will Be Collected in New Book ‘A Ballet of Lepers’

American Literature is a History of the Nation’s Libraries

The Bleak, Propulsive Noir of Simenon’s Romans Durs

How a Book is Made ~ Ink, Paper, and a 200,00-Pound Printer

David Lagercrantz on His New International Thriller Inspired by Sherlock Holmes

Lisa Gardner, the Thriller Writer Who Loves Historical Romance

Why Berlin Is the Mecca of Espionage Fiction: A Conversation with Joseph Kanon and Paul Vidich

‘A symbol of new beginning’: Mosul’s university library reopens

Other Forms of Entertainment

Your literary guide to the 2022 Oscar nominations.

With ‘Death on the Nile,’ Kenneth Branagh humanizes Hercule Poirot

On the Coen Brothers’ Bitter, Brokenhearted Noir, Miller’s Crossing

Trevanian: An Appreciation for the Godfather of the Mountain Thriller

How did Mission: Impossible 7 become one of the most expensive films ever?

B-More or B-Less: Meditations on The Wire and Baltimore

The Ordinary, the Sublime, and The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

The Outfit review – Mark Rylance’s mob tailor makes the cut

Can The Thin Man Serve as a Gateway to Cozy Mysteries?

The Real Story Behind David Fincher’s ‘Zodiac’

The Irresistible Rebellious Irreverence at the Heart of Noir

Hey, Kenneth Branagh, Leave Miss Marple Alone!

The Ipcress File: The rebel spy who is the anti-James Bond

The lit mag of the moment, founded by two women in their 20s, isn’t afraid to say what’s on its mind

Nothing Can Stay Hidden Forever: The True Crime Legacy of Lost Highway

‘The Crown’’s jewels stolen in Yorkshire raid on TV show’s vehicles

Steven Spielberg Developing Film Based on Steve McQueen’s Frank Bullitt (HUH?!?!?)

Is Adaptation a Feminine Act? On the Women Writers Who Worked on Alfred Hitchcock Presents

March 15th is the 50th Anniversary of The Godfather’s premiere

Francis Ford Coppola’s Favorite Godfather Scene Is One You Can’t Refuse

Restoring ‘The Godfather’ to Its Original (Still Dark) Glory

Museum Shows

Three mystery exhibitions, Toronto Public Library

“Cowboys, Detectives, and Daredevils” pulp exhibition in New Britain, CT

Words of the Month

hex (v.) From 1830, American English, from Pennsylvania German hexe “to practice witchcraft,” from German hexen “to hex,” related to Hexe “witch,” from Middle High German hecse, hexse, from Old High German hagazussa (see hag). Noun meaning “magic spell” is first recorded 1909; earlier it meant “a witch” (1856). Compare Middle English hexte “the devil” (mid-13th C.), perhaps originally “sorcerer,” probably from Old English haehtis. (etymonline)

RIP

Feb. 4: Jason Epstein, Editor and Publishing Innovator, Is Dead at 93

Feb. 4: Judd Bernard, Producer on the Neo-Noir Classic ‘Point Blank,’ Dies at 94

Feb. 13: Ivan Reitman, ‘Animal House’ Producer and ‘Ghostbusters’ Director, Dies at 75

Feb. 15: Peter Earnest, CIA veteran who helped launch International Spy Museum, dies at 88

Feb. 16: P.J. O’Rourke, satirist and conservative commentator, dies at 74

Feb. 24: Monique Hanotte, Belgian resistance member who rescued 135 downed Allied airmen in World War II, dies at 101

Feb. 24: Sally Kellerman, Hot Lips Houlihan in ‘M*A*S*H,’ Dies at 84

Feb. 28: David Boggs, Co-Inventor of Ethernet, Dies at 71

Links of Interest

Feb. 1: Scam the bereaved, defraud the dead: the shocking crimes of America’s greatest psychic conman

Feb. 1: Hanslope Park: The True Home of Britain’s Spy Gadgets

Feb. 2: The Knife Twist – The Sheridan brothers have been waiting years for a clue to their parents’ brutal deaths. Last week, they got one.

Feb. 2: Australian Grave Robbers are Stealing Human Remains

Feb. 4: Scandal on a Wealthy Island: A Priest, a Murder and a Mystery

Feb. 5: ‘Darkness Enveloped My Soul’: The Final Confessions of the Torso Killer

Feb. 8: Kurt Schwitters’ unknown portrait sitter identified as wartime German spy

Feb. 10: Man Says QAnon Told Him His Wife Was a CIA Sex Trafficker. He Killed Her.

Feb 10: A Brief History of Strychnine, the Poison of Choice for Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Scores More—But Why?

Feb. 13: Mexican Cartel ‘Cannibal Schools’ Force Recruits to Eat Human Flesh

Feb 13: A ‘Sopranos’ Expert Analyzes Chevy’s Meadow and AJ Super Bowl Commercial

Feb. 14: Inside a Massive Human Smuggling Ring Led by US Marines

Feb. 15: Hollywood actor who bilked investors in $650 million scheme gets 20 years in prison

Feb. 16: Florida Woman Accused of Using $15K of Pandemic Loan to Hire Hitman

Feb. 16: Florida Police Distributed a Link to Pay Traffic Fines That Was Actually a Link to a MAGA Store

Feb 19: Who Is Behind QAnon? Linguistic Detectives Find Fingerprints

Feb. 20: Convicted fraudster Bernie Madoff’s sister, husband found dead

Feb. 20: Hacker Uses Phishing Attack to Steal $1.7 Million in NFTs From OpenSea Users

Feb. 21: ‘Frasier’-Inspired Killer Covered up Milkshake Murder of Her Rich Boyfriend with Fake Suicide

Feb. 22: Getting By in Prison With Nothing But Books

Feb. 25: Cops Crack a 40-Year-Old Murder—but Who Killed the Killer?

Feb. 27: Wine crime is soaring but a new generation of tech savvy detectives is on the case

Feb. 27: How Criminal Profiling Foiled a Serial-Killing Boy Scout

Feb. 28: Edgar Allan Poe’s pocket watch among donations to museum

Feb. 28: Unsolved Murder Could Shed New Light on Gardner Museum Art Heist

Feb. 28: A ticket stub from Jackie Robinson’s majors debut sells for a record-breaking $480K

Words of the Month

whammy (n.) Often double whammy, “hex, evil eye,” 1932, of unknown origin, popularized 1941 in Al Capp’s comic strip “Li’l Abner,” where it was the specialty of Evil-Eye Fleegle. (etymonline)

What We’ve Been Up To

Amber

Vivien Chien – Hot And Sour Suspects

In this installment of A Noodle Shop Mystery finds Lana Lee trying speed dating….to bring new customers to her family’s noodle house. It also brings in a familiar face Rina Su, a fellow Asia Village shop owner. Sick of being single, Rina attends and finds a match. But of course, when potential love is involved – drama soon follows – and before the next day dawns, Rina’s date is discovered dead, and she’s the prime suspect!

Lana, not one to watch her friend twist, immediately leaps into action….the only thing is Rina makes it perfectly clear she doesn’t want Lana’s help. Undeterred, Lana presses on, and the only problem is – every piece of evidence she finds makes Rina look guiltier.

Again I need to reiterate how much I enjoy this series! 

One of the things I love reading the most is how Lana navigates the relationships in her life. Her aplomb when dealing with the people around her is amazing, and while Lana doesn’t always get it right, she tries, and with the crazy cast around her – that’s all you can ask for!

Another feature of this series I think Chien cleverly uses is the Ho-Lee Noodle House. The family-owned restaurant Lana manages is a wonderful backdrop for this series. I will also reiterate that Chien does a great job of keeping Noodle House a device that keeps the story moving without completely taking over. So while this book does have a food theme, it doesn’t feel like it as Chien does a beautiful job making sure the mystery and characters shine first and foremost.

In any case, if you like lighter mysteries, I highly recommend the Noodle Shop Mysteries. And while you could start with Hot And Sour Suspects – I highly suggest you start with the first in the series Death By Dumpling so that you can get a better handle on the relationships at play in this series.

JB

See my review of the BRILLIANT new thriller from Mike Lawson

Watergate’s Central Mystery: Why Did Nixon’s Team Order the Break-In in the First Place? [I’m reading this book now and it is fabulous. If Putin would stop taking the world to hell, I’d get more of it read…]

BUY SMALL ~ SUPPORT SMALL

October’s Newzine

october

We’d like to note that, as this is posted on October 1st, yesterday was the second anniversary of the end of business at the Seattle Mystery Bookshop. We locked the door at the end of regular business hours on September 30, 2017. Hard to believe it’s been that long while at the same time it feels as if it was yesterday. So it goes…

      Words of the Month

impeach (v.): formerly also empeach, late 14th C., empechen, “to impede, hinder, prevent;” early 15th C., “cause to be stuck, run (a ship) aground,” also “prevent (from doing something),” from Anglo-French empecher, Old French empeechier “to hinder, stop, impede; capture, trap, ensnare” (12th C., Modern French empêcher), from Late Latin impedicare “to fetter, catch, entangle,” from assimilated form of in- “into, in” (from PIE root *en “in”) + Latin pedica “a shackle, fetter,” from pes (genitive pedis) “foot” (from PIE root *ped- “foot”).In law, at first in a broad sense, “to accuse, bring charges against” from late 14th C.; more specifically, of the king or the House of Commons, “to bring formal accusation of treason or other high crime against (someone)” from mid-15th C.  The sense of “accuse a public officer of misconduct” had emerged from this by 1560s. The sense shift is perhaps via Medieval Latin confusion of impedicare with Latin impetere “attack, accuse” (see impetus), which is from the Latin verb petere “aim for, rush at” (from PIE root *pet “to rush, to fly”).The Middle English verb apechen, probably from an Anglo-French variant of the source of impeach, was used from early 14th C. in the sense “to accuse (someone), to charge (someone with an offense).” Related: Impeached; impeaching.thanks to etymonline.com

      Serious Stuff

How Hollywood star Jean Seberg was destroyed by the FBI

Any consequences? Amazon Critics Angry Over Accidental Early Release Of Margaret Atwood Novel 

Modern Life Has Made It Easier for Serial Killers to Thrive 

The Lattimer Massacre Happened More Than a Century Ago. The Sheriff’s Account of the Killing Could Have Been Written Yesterday. 

Canada: arrest of ex-head of intelligence shocks experts and alarms allies

Viewpoint: Was CIA ‘too white’ to spot 9/11 clues? [see Words of the Month]

The Last Manson Mystery: Fifty years ago, Bobby Beausoleil murdered Gary Hinman. Did he set in motion the Manson killings and the myth of Helter Skelter? 

Revealed: how the FBI targeted environmental activists in domestic terror investigations 

US soldier discussed bombing media and targeting Beto O’Rourke, FBI alleges

The Long Read: On 15 September 1981, 10-year-old Ursula Herrmann headed home by bike from her cousin’s house. She never arrived. So began one of Germany’s most notorious postwar criminal cases, which remains contentious to this day.

      Words of the Month

homophily: “This is a common phenomenon in recruiting… people tend to hire people who think (and often look) like themselves.”

      Odd’s N Ends

Trump’s Tweets are Lamented by Many Who Believe Words Matter 

There’s a Thriving Online Market for DIY Gun Silencers

      Book World

Excerpt: The Novelist and the World War II Spy Brothel ~ How Graham Greene got into the espionage business  

Exclusive: John le Carré’s new novel set amid ‘lunatic’ Brexit intrigue 

The Second Sleep by Robert Harris review – a ‘genre-bending thriller’: The future Britain looks medieval in Robert Harris’s dystopian tale. But who ruined everything? 

The Loser-Spy Novelist for Our Times:Mick Herron writes about the broken spies sworn to protect today’s broken England.

Book clinic: who are the best alternatives to Agatha Christie?

Why Angry Librarians Are Going to War With Publishers Over E-Books 

When Milton met Shakespeare: poet’s notes on Bard appear to have been found 

Attica Locke’s Latest, ‘Heaven, My Home,’ Explores Race And Forgiveness 

“If Reacher Were Real, He’d Probably Be Unbearable!” Philosopher Andy Martin on the making and meaning of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher.

The Cult of Books That Lost Their Cool

Mistakes are Embarrassing the Publishing Industry

A fairy tale in Edmonds: The Neverending Bookshop is a crafty destination for fantasy lovers

      Other Means of Entertainment

Criminal on Netflix: The restrictions of film and TV confined to one location

Remake The Princess Bride? Inconceivable!

Next 007 should be a woman says Bond star Pierce Brosnan

Jeff Daniels Will Star As a Not-So-Trusty Police Chief in Showtime’s Rust 

David Strathairn Joins Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley (JB says if you’ve never seen the original, with Tyrone Power, you should. It’s a great film noir, even though it isn’t really a mystery!)

      Author Events

William Kent Krueger, Oct. 4, 7pm, Powell’s

Dylan Meconis, Oct. 11, 7pm, Third Place/Ravenna ~ “cartoonist, writer, and illustrator who created the graphic novels Family Man, Bite Me!, and Outfoxed, which was nominated for a Will Eisner Comic Industry Award”, AND she’s the daughter of Charlie Meconis, one of our long-time customers, friend of the shop, Tigers’ fan, and all-around hip fellow!

Clyde Ford, Oct. 15, 7pm, Elliot Bay Books

Curt Colbert, Oct. 20, 3pm, Elliot Bay Books

Benjamin Percy, Oct. 28, 7pm. Elliot Bay Books

Martin Limón, Oct. 30, 7pm, Third Place/LFP

      Words of the Month

misleared (adj.): Scottish, from 1560, ill-mannered, Ill-bred. (thanks to Says You!)

      Links of Interest

August 31: Author Sherrilyn Kenyon Drops Lawsuit Alleging Her Ex Was Poisoning Her

September 3: Banksy artwork stolen from central Paris

September 3: BBC’s secret World War Two activities revealed

September 5: These Sherlock Holmes films have gone missing. UCLA and Robert Downey Jr. are on the case

September 5: How a Hitler bust was found under French Senate

September 5: Loch Ness Monster may be a giant eel, say scientists

September 8: Lt. Joe Kenda of “Homicide Hunter”: “I never pulled the trigger because I never had to”. Legendary homicide detective on the end of his hit show and how he solved all those crimes without killing anyone

September 9: Walter Mosley Says He Quit ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ After Being Reported for Using the N-Word

September 11: Message in bottle saves family stranded on waterfall

September 12: The Distinctly American Ethos of the Grifter

September 12: Michelle Dockery interview: ‘I wouldn’t say no to playing James Bond’

September 13: A portrait was hung in the Legion of Honor for ‘Vertigo.’ No one’s seen it since.

September 14: CIA unveils Cold War spy-pigeon missions

September 16: Librarian Finds Returned Book with Entire Soft Taco Used as Bookmark

September 16: A rediscovered mysterious 18th Century document appears to give clues to a lost ancient township somewhere in a Brazilian National Park.

September 17: ‘I got the guy!’ My 17-year manhunt for a $50m art criminal

September 19: Why Some People Become Lifelong Readers

September 19: Black panther found prowling roofs in French town

September 20: Area 51: Storming of secretive Nevada base to ‘see aliens’ fails to materialize

September 22: Batman fans celebrate 80th birthday of DC Comics superhero

September 23: How the ‘Blonde Rattlesnake’ Stirred Public Fascination With Female Accomplices

September 23: Scotland’s secret WW2 fuel depot

September 23: Dexter: 8 Things In The Show That Only Make Sense If You Read The Books

September 23: The Mysterious Origins of the Uncrackable Video Game

September 24: Cimabue: Long-lost €6m artwork found in elderly woman’s kitchen

September 24: 8 HELPFUL READATHON HACKS

September 24: An art student trained her pet rat to make paintings with his feet — and it’s delightful

September 24: This Is the Full Story Behind That Explosive Confession In Steven Avery’s Case

September 24: The monster of all US conspiracy theories

September 26: A Texas Ranger got a prolific serial killer to talk. This is how

September 28: Blue Diamond Affair: The mystery of the stolen Saudi jewels

September 30: Ida Lupino, the Mother of American Independent Film, Finally Gets Her Due

      Words of the Month

Coulrophobia: abnormal fear of clowns

A New Word added to Merriam-Webster Dictionary in September 2019! Their comment: “Although Hollywood releases and dictionary updates are not coordinated, even for publicity purposes, this entry hits your screens within weeks of the premieres of both It Chapter Two and Joker.”

      R.I.P.

September 1: Leslie H. Gelb, Who Oversaw the Pentagon Papers, Dies at Age 82

September 6: Marita Lorenz, the spy who loved Fidel Castro died

September 14: Robert McClelland, surgeon who tried to save JFK and believed there was a second shooter, dies at 89

September 20: Retired NYPD Chief of Detectives John Keenan, who led the team that found and arrested ‘Son of Sam’ serial killer, dies at 99

September 20: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ actor Aron Eisenberg dies at age 50

September 23: A great personality and competitor! Amber will miss watching him cook very much. Chefs Remember Carl Ruiz

September 24: J. Michael Mendel, ‘Simpsons’ and ‘Rick and Morty’ producer, dead at 54

      What We’ve Been Up To

   AmberFern22

Last Week on Finder Of Lost Things….We found out the details of Tiffany Grindle’s disappearance and subsequent discovery by The Grumpiest Park Ranger.

Next Week…We find out if the police (and the paper’s police blotter) have figured out who Phoebe and Dourwood were two of the four pirates running around Nevermore…

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Vendetta In Death – J.D. Robb

“NO MATTER YOUR RACE, CREED, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, OR POLITICAL AFFILIATION, WE PROTECT AND SERVE, BECAUSE YOU COULD GET DEAD.” The sign in Lieutenant Eve Dallas’s bullpen should also include a phrase, ” …OR CHARACTER, WE PROTECT…” Because once again Dallas, Roarke, Peabody, Feeney, and McNabb must stand for victims that are far from innocent.

Vendetta In Death takes the Me Too movement and deftly combines it with an unstable personality which ends up creating a vigilante. A serial killer bent on cleansing New York of the men who perpetrate crimes against women. Rather than making sure they face actual justice our vigilante, calling herself Lady Justice, bestows her own in a very public fashion. Now it’s up to Dallas and her team to find the killer before she strikes again.

This is a fast fun read. Perhaps not as dense as some of the installments in the In Death Series, it is still satisfying. Even better, it furthers the storylines of a couple of the regular cast members, which is always fun to read.

(Robb also dispenses with the boilerplate introductions of her characters in this book! Which I must say moved the book along better and for us, long-time readers it was a fantastic improvement to the story!)

IMG_6471

Wonton Terror – Vivien Chien

Have I told you how much I enjoy reading this series?

Seriously.

Chien’s culinary-themed mystery should be the way every mystery of this genera should be written. I’m not joking. Chien works her food theme into the mystery flawlessly where it is both ever-present but NEVER detracts from the mystery itself.

That is some serious skill.

Our heroine Lana Lee is flawed, fearless, and fun. She’s also slowly learning what it means to be an amateur detective: stepping on toes, accidentally offending people, getting repeatedly told to stay out of things, donning a disguise, and deducing. All while managing her family’s noddle shop and balancing the twin insanity of her new hostess and her family!

In Wonton of Terror Lana runs into some old family friends who, as it turns out, have some serious problems. When their food truck blows up, killing one of the owners, Lana finds she isn’t short on suspects or motives!

I would suggest this book/series to anyone who enjoys a good cozy read every now and again. Don’t let the foodie cover fool you this book is all about the mystery!

   Fran

We all know how damaging lies can be, right?

So, what if telling a lie was illegal? Any lie? Think about it for a moment.

9780316505413That’s the premise of Ben H. Winters’ latest bit of speculative fiction, Golden State (Mulholland), and it makes for some fascinating and disturbing reading, which is only made more relatable due to Mr. Winters’ incredible talent.

Something has happened outside the Golden State, and whatever it is was Unknown and Unknowable, but the fine folks of the Golden State have sealed themselves off from everyone else. Within their society, everything rumbles along as usual. If you steal the petty cash and it’s discovered, the cops will come haul you away where you’ll stand trial, and the punishments are pretty much what you’d expect.

But if you lie about it, in public much less in a court of law, well then things become exponentially worse for you. Your petty crime has just been superseded by the felony you just committed. Because telling a lie is the absolute worst thing you can do.

Ah, but how will anyone know if you lie? How does anyone really know? In this fairly dystopian setting, the Unknown and Unknowable Event has left some people with the ability to see lies. To hear them. To notice a shiver in the air, a bending of the atmosphere, and they know. These people are trained to be members of the Speculative Service, an elite force that takes very seriously their charge to determine if an untruth has deliberately been uttered.

Not that you could get away with it anyway, since everything is being recorded at all times. And I do mean everything. If you have nothing to hide, you don’t need privacy. All the logs will simply go into storage, where they’ll be kept forever. Right?

Lazlo Ratesic is a veteran agent for the Speculative Service. He’s been guardian of the Objectively So for decades now, and he’s used to doing it alone so when he’s saddled with a rookie, he’s understandably grumpy. But she’s smart and has a greater talent for discerning the truth than he does, and if that isn’t annoying enough, she’s intense and thorough. He can’t wait to shove her off onto someone else.

Golden State is classic noir with a speculative twist. It’s compelling, it’s thought-provoking, and it’s very, very human. Lazlo Ratesic has faint echoes of Ben Winters’ other protagonist whom I adore, Hank Palace, but he’s completely his own person. Imagine an odd but powerful mash-up of The Maltese Falcon and Fahrenheit 451, if you can.

It’s hard to believe that the man who wrote Golden State also wrote fabulous children’s books, but there you go. Didn’t I say Ben H. Winters is talented?

   JB

It’s April in Absaroka County. Walt’s been back a month and his wounds have not yet healed. Not only are his physical wounds bothering him, his psychological ones worry him and everyone around him. He’s chagrined to find out he has “minders”.

9780525522508“It is difficult to confront madness, because insanity is a stranger to reason and any reasonable response would be insane.” Henry’s approach to the world is sometimes difficult for Walt – and us – to follow. But the questions of reason are real in Land of Wolves because Walt has been surrounded by wolves for so long. Some have been circling him. Some, like one in his book, appear to be watching him. And then there is Walt’s unease that he himself has become a predator. He tells Vic he feels “disconnected”. I think he’s always feared that he would, or had, become a wolf. “‘So, what is it I’m so damned terrified of, Doc?’ ‘Why Walter, I would’ve thought it was obvious.’ He smiled his sad, worldly smile. ‘Yourself.'”

By the end of the book, he’s come to understand that he’s a shepherd, one who guards against the wolves. He needn’t have worried.

Entwined in this search for a human wolf, Craig Johnson plays with his cast to lift the dark questions Walt keeps under his hat. They worry about Walt but also gig him about his condition. And due to Walt’s lackadaisical approach to signing what Ruby puts on his desk, he now has a computer on that desk. It’s a source of great amusement. “An entirely new screen appeared, and I could see an abbreviated version of my email response boxed in the left-hand corner. I shouted to the outer office. ‘It worked!’ Ruby’s voice came back in response. ‘We’re all so proud of you, Walter.'”

In tone, the book reminded me of Another Man’s Moccasins. While the over-all story is a search for a killer, it’s the under-story that captures your attention.

And pay attention to Craig’s acknowledgements. That’s the true beginning of this tale of wolves.

One last thought ~ as if I needed another reason to stop by the Red Pony for a Ranier, it ends up that Henry has “A Night in Tunisia” by the Jazz Messengers on the jukebox. ‘Nuff said!

And while we’re on the subject of predators, 9780062319791I finally got to a book I’d picked up months ago. I’d heard the sad story of Michelle McNamara, how she’d spent so long investigating the wolf she tagged the Golden State Killer, started writing I’ll Be Gone in the Dark but died before she finished the book and, even more frustrating, before he killer was arrested.

McNamara was a wonderful writer. She was able to make analogies that give the book color and convey a sense of the dread felt by people of the time and places. One of the most effective was writing about a scene from The Creature from the Black Lagoon where the woman swims while the creature moves along below her, unseen until the end of one claw brushes against her foot. That captures the evil that roamed California in the form of the GKS and the many other names hung on this fiend during his different phases, leaving people uneasy knowing that this evil was out there, just below their calm, suburban surface.  And his disturbing ability to move through houses and neighborhoods – and, seemingly, time – brought echoes of the Manson family creepy-crawling homes while people slept.

I have to admit that the structure of the book was bothersome. It hops around in time and that makes it difficult to follow the monster’s path. But the book fit in well with my current immersion in true crime. I inhaled it. 




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