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:
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
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 7: By the Book: Donna Leon
March 13: Chickens ‘gang up’ to kill intruder
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
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.”
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
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!
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!
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!
Magnificent, stunning, a massive and major work, an epic journey into our contemporary heart of darkness.
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.
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.