Friday, August 31, 2018

Friday Night Music

Friday's Forgotten Books, August 31, 2018

 Bill Crider (from archives)

Forgotten Books: EPITAPH FOR A TRAMP -- David Markson (

I first read this book a few decades ago, and I have copies of both the Dell and Berkley editions. But for some reason I picked up another copy the other day. I guess I couldn't resist. Markson wrote a sequel, Epitaph for a Dead Beat, that I also read, but he didn't write crime novels much longer. He moved on to become the highly regarded author of such postmodern novels as Wittengenstein's Mistress, a book much praised by the likes of David Foster Wallace.

For all that, the two books about Harry Fannin are more or less conventional private-eye novels, with maybe a few more literary allusions than most. In this one, Fannin finds himself in a classic situation. His ex-wife dies at his doorstep, and there's a lot of missing money that other people are looking for. Fannin and his cop buddy investigate, and the first solution isn't the right one. I remembered the second solution from my first reading, but it was probably obvious even then.

I liked the voice of the book quite a bit, and I liked the writing. I was bothered a little by the gay-bashing, which I probably didn't even notice forty years ago. I remember thinking that Markson must have read Ross Macdonald, though that didn't seem so obvious this time. Macdonald handles some gay issues in The Drowning Pool, and he does so more circumspectly than Markson. But Markson's book was published in 1959, some years after Macdonald's. Some of the dialogue might seem dated to modern ears, but to mine it was still amusing. I'd certainly recommend this novel, and if you run across a copy, give it a try.

Mark Baker. LOST LEGACY, Annette Dashofy
Yvette Banek, MURDER MAKES MISTAKES, George Bellairs
Les Blatt, AND DANGEROUS TO KNOW, Elizabeth Daily
CrossExaminingCrime, TILL DEATH DO US PART, John Dickson Carr
Martin Edwards, THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER, Minette Marrin
Curt Evans, THE MAN WITH TWO WIVES, Patrick Quentin
Richard Horton, THE FOUR FEATHERS, A. E. W. Mason
Jerry House, ELECTION DAY 2084, ed. Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg
Margot Kinberg, FACES OF THE GONE, Brad Parks
Rob Kitchin, THE SHINING GIRLS, Lauren Beukes
Kate Laity, SWITZERLAND, Joanna Murray-Smith
Evan Lewis, WATERFRONT FISTS, Robert E. Howard
Steve Lewis, SEEING IS BELIEVING, Carter Dickson
Matt Paust, LAST BUS TO WOODSTOCK, Colin Dexter
James Reasoner, THE WATER BEND FEUD, William MacLeod Raine
Richard Robinson, A FALL OF MOONDUST, Arthur C. Clarke
Kevin Tipple, BAD LITTLE FALLS, Paul Doiron
Tomcat, FLASHPOINT, John Russell Fearn
TracyK, DARK PASSAGE, David Goodis

Monday, August 27, 2018

A little more about the father thing

My brother has pretty much confirmed that Jack William Yarnall (top photo) is my biological father. And Ralph Edward Nase (below) is not. He traced it through two different sites. It is possible that Jack was a one-night stand although knowing my mother, I doubt it. But  I am doubtful it was much more than that because he was only 19 on the night in question. My mother was 24. There are so many strange things about all of this but this is one of them.

In many of the stories I have written there is a girl looking for her father. SHOT IN DETROIT and HOME INVASION in particular) I never had any way of knowing this was my circumstance when I wrote those stories. Actually the idea of a missing father came from my best friend at age 12-14, a girl who haunted library phone directory rooms trying to find her Dad. So the thing that haunted my friend was also my situation. Did I know this on some level? I doubt it.

Do we all have a mystery? One we may not even ever know.


We are having a Roy Scheider festival, having watched THE FRENCH CONNECTION and JAWS this week. Both were terrific. JAWS has defined summer since it debuted--for good and bad. Next up ALL THE JAZZ or THE SEvEN-UPS.

Very much enjoyed the movie PUZZLE, about a woman who finds herself when she discovers her facility for jigsaw puzzles. Beautifully acted.

Still reading EDUCATED, which is depressing and yet worth it. The best intentions of a crazy person can be the worst thing of all. She is far too easy on her father's culpability in a lot of bad incidents.

I have run out of steam with cooking so I am grateful for Trader Joe's frozen food section. There is only so much time in a day.

How about you? 

Friday, August 24, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, August 24, 2018

(from the archives)
Steve Weddle graduated with an MFA in poetry from Louisiana State University.
Weddle, a former English professor, now works for a newspaper group in
Virginia and writes fiction.

ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein

How’s this for a great story? A Yale grad and Navy lieutenant tries to get a reporter’s job at the Washingt
on Post, but only gets a two-week tryout. His boss doesn’t like him enough to hire him, but gives him a job at a weekly paper in the suburbs. In 1971, he moves to the Post.
One night five guys were arrested for a break-in. This metro/crime reporter covers it along with someone who was never mistaken for a Navy lieutenant, the child of communists who’d begun work at the Washington Star as a copy boy when he was a teenager.
Together, these two young reporters -- one a Yale-graduated, Navy lieutenant with little journalistic experience and the other a disheveled reporter with plenty of experience but no comb -- solved a political mystery that would unseat the US President.
All The President’s Men was published in 1974 and is every bit as procedural a mystery as anything you will ever read.
Bob Woodward, with a degree from Yale and hardly any writing experience, works a contact from his Navy days to keep pointed in the right direction.
Carl Bernstein travels to Florida to dig through files and check stubs, finally finding a link to a Presidential slush fund.
Together the two of them sneak around the suburbs of Washington, DC, talking to secretaries and acco
untants, all of whom fear for their safety.
The prose is straightforward and gripping, with enough suspense to make you forget about Dan Brown.
All The President’s Men is a fantastic mystery, a timeless exploration of power, greed, and corruption, with clearly defined villains and heroes who continue to find themselves well out of their depths.
Political thriller, mystery, procedural, all thrown together with an incredible narrative, this book should be read by every mystery lover out there because it truly contains a gripping story that you can’t put down.

Mark Baker, LOST LUGGAGE, Wendell Thomas
Yvette Banek, RIVER OF NO RETURN, Bee Ridgway
Les Blatt, LONELY HEART 4122, Colin Watson
Martin Edwards, THE HANGED MAN OF SAINT- PHOLIEN, Georges Simenon
Richard Horton, THE FLAXBOROUGH CRAB, Colin Watson
Jerry House, LANDS OF THE EARTHQUAKE, Henry Kuttner
George Kelley, THE REMINISCENCES OF SOLAR PONS, August Derleth
Margot Kinberg, BRUNO, CHIEF OF POLICE, Martin Walker
Rob Kitchin, KOLYMSKY HEIGHTS, Lionel Davidson
B.V. Lawson, THE MYSTERY OF THE BOULE CABINET, Burton Stephenson
Steve Lewis/Barry Gardner, THE LAKE EFFECT, Les Roberts
Todd Mason,  THE WAR BOOK edited by James Sallis; A SHOCKING THING edited by Damon Knight
J.F. Norris, MYSTERY AT OLYMPIA, John Rhode 
Juri Numellin, FURY, Jason Pinter
Matt Paust, GENTLY DOES IT, Alan Hunter 
James Reasoner, THE SALAMANDERS, Maxwell Grant 
Richard Robinson, THE CARETAKER'S CAT, Erle Stanley Gardner
Gerard Saylor, SHARPE'S TIGER  Bernard Cornwell
Kevin Tipple, TRESPASSER, Paul Doiron
TracyK, THE BIG OVER EASY, Jasper Fforde

Monday, August 20, 2018

Things That Are Making Me Happy

Phil is making a great recovery from his surgery. He is eating better, less tired and more engaged in life. They sent him home a day and a half after the surgery, which seemed too soon but he was getting no rest there. I am grateful for a good recovery so far.

I am happy to get some needed rain. The garden is lovely.

Thanks again to the friends that got me out to lunch and dinner, got me to the hospital, sent notes, cards, flowers and books. Thanks to my son for being the kind of person it is easy to spend time with. He is easy to talk to and easy to be quiet with.

I am happy that Megan continues to send me info about her pilot shooting in Toronto. It is so much fun watching it come together.

I am happy to have Todd Mason in my life. He always steps in when I need a hand.

I will try to do FFB and this each week but maybe not much else. 

What about you?