Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Monday, October 29, 2018

New Yorkers:

Wish I could be there to read my story. In case, you are in the hood here it is.


Duane and Meredith Swiercynski's fifteen year old daughter, Evie, has a form of leukemia and has been in the hospital for many weeks. The medical costs are astronomical. Various ways of helping them are at work in the crime fiction community. If you want to contribute, even a small amount, go to the link. I dare you to look at the photo and not chip in a few bucks. Heart-breaking. Perhaps you have read some of Duane's books or comic books?
As someone with someone with cancer, I can't tell you what a strain it is. And I can't imagine having it be a child and not having medicare to pay the bills. 

Things That Are Making Me Happy

Not much good this week. Phil has to undergo another round of chemo. A nodule on his lung is probably that darn colon cancer moving around. No matter where it turns up it is still considered colon cancer, something I didn't know before. And the damage done by the immunotherapy continues to dog us.

I know you are all sorry and feel bad for me so give me the positives in your life and that will buoy me.

THE OLD MAN AND THE GUN was so-so. A bit too lethargic for a movie about a man who craved adventure. But well-meaning and good to see some faces I don't see enough. THE HATE U GIVE was terrific if you can bear to be reminded of how racist we are in this world. The events of this week sicken me. And we have officially become inured to it, I think. No talk about gun control.

Good friends who got us out to lunch and dinner a few times this week. If we didn't have friends....

Bought a new Christmas Tree, which looks alarmingly big.  The place got it here in two days when I expected two weeks at least. The box sits in my living room waiting to be unloaded.

And I am truly grateful for the ability to do so much shopping online. Sometimes I make a mistake (slippers that were too small) but on the whole, it works out well. And most places are so good about returns now. Our brave new world.

Cannot settle into a book. But I keep buying or borrowing them.

What about you?

Friday, October 26, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, October 26, 2018

Prose That Catches My Eye

“…I think we are well-advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind’s door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.” ― Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem

 Les Blatt, LADY IN THE LAKE, Raymond Chandler


Crossexaminingcrime. N OR M, Agatha Christie

Martin Edwards, THE MURDER OF MARTIN FOTHERIL Edward C. Lester

Curt Evans, Felicity Worthington Shaw: Her Life in Crime

Richard Horton,  Master of Life and Death, by Robert Silverberg/The Secret Visitors, by James White

George Kelley, THE FUTURE IS FEMALE, Lisa Yaszek

Margot Kinberg, TESS, Kirsten McDougall 

Rob Kitchin, THE FALCON AND THE SNOWMAN, Robert Lindsey

B.V. Lawson, SHE SHALL  HAVE MURDER, Delano Ames

Evan Lewis, THIRD ON A SEESAW, Neil MacNeil

Steve Lewis, SQUEEZE PLAY, Paul Benjamin 

Todd Mason,  YESTERDAY'S TOMORROWS edited by Frederik Pohl; EDITORS edited by Saul Bellow and Keith Botsford


Only Detect, A PUZZLE FOR FOOLS, Patrick Quentin

Matt Paust, WHEN TIME RUNS OUT, Elina Hirnoven 

James Reasoner, THE MANTOU, Graham Masterson 

Richard Robinson, THE HAPPY BIRTHDAY MURDER, Lee Harris

Gerard Saylor, DEAD BEFORE DYING, Deon Myer

Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, WHISTLE UP THE DEVIL, Derek Smith

TomCat, APPLEBY'S OTHE STORY, Michael Innes

TracyK, HIS BURIAL TOO, Catherine Aird

Monday, October 22, 2018

Things That Are Making Me Happy

Liked NOVEMBER ROAD a lot. Maybe not as much as THE LONG AND FARAWAY GONE though.
We got into THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE finally and it does have a lot of ideas to chew on. Continue to admire THE GOOD PLACE. It has more ideas in 20 minutes that most series have in a season.
Some nice fall days if only winter wasn't coming fast.
Celebrated Phil's birthday with our family, which was nice.
Went to friends' 60th. They eloped at nineteen. Their whole family flew in for the big day. Such a nice one at that.
The Lions beat the Dolphins in Miami!
What about you? 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, October 19, 2018

"The siren on the top of the Dalton, North Dakota, fire station howls, as it does five days a week at this hour. Its wail frightens into flight the starlings that roost on the station roof every day yet never learn how fixed and foreseeable are human lives. The siren tells the town's working citizens and students what they already know. It's twelve o'clock, time for you to fly too. Put down your hammer, your pencil; close your books, cover your typewriter. Go home. Your wives and mothers are opening cans of soup and slicing bread and last night's roast beef for sandwiches. Come back in an hour, ready to put your shoulder to it, to add the figures, parse the sentences, calm the patients, please the customer."

Larry Watson LET HIM GO

If anyone cares to email me a piece of writing they admire in future weeks, that would be great.

FOOL'S GOLD chosen twice. I believe that has only happened once or twice.  

Mark Baker, CITY OF BONES, Michael Connelly
Les Blatt, MAIGRET TRAVELS, Georges Simenon
Elgin Bleecker, THE GLASS KEY, Dashiell Hammett
Brian Busby, TARGET 2067, CANADA'S SECOND CENTURY, Leonard Berlin
Martin Edwards, THE GETAWAY, Jim Thompson
Curt Evans, A TASTE OF POWER, W. J. Burley
Elizabeth Foxwell, THE HIDDEN WRATH, Stella Phillips
Richard Horton, ICE, Anna Kavan
George Kelley, THE GREAT SF STORIES 2 OF 1940, Asimov and Greenberg
Margot Kinberg, A KILLER HARVEST, Paul Cleaves
Rob Kitchin, UNDER THE FRANGIPANI, Mia Couto
B.V. Lawson, FOOL'S GOLD, Ted Wood
Evan Lewis, CONAN, THE MAGNIFICENT, Robert Jordan
Steve Lewis/David Vineyard, A VERY BIG BANG, Philip McCutcheon
Todd Mason,  MYSTERY SCENE, November 1986, edited by Ed Gorman and Bob Randisi; SCIENCE FICTION EYE, March 1988, edited by Steve Brown and Dan Steffan; NEW ORLEANS STORIES, Winter 1993, edited by O’Neil De Noux
Matt Paust, IN THE BALANCE, Patricia Wentworth
James Reasoner, SLAVES FOR THE RENEGADE SULTAN, John Peter Drummond
Richard Robinson, STARSHIP TROOPERS, Robert A, Heinlein
Kevin Tipple, FOOL'S GOLD, Ted Wood

TracyK, BOOK OF THE DEAD, Elizabeth Daly

Monday, October 15, 2018


Planted  a hundred tulip bulbs all by myself, which entailed pulling the annuals out, raking the dirt, adding new dirt, planting the bulb, adding more dirt. And chasing squirrels away. We have more squirrels than people here. I have learned to do a lot of things in the last year-some I should have known how to do like how to pay bills with various codes, dates, etc. How to get things fixed, sometimes by finding a video on you tube and sometimes by figuring out who to call.
 I still am not driving and I doubt I will lick that one, but I have public transportation, uber and friends so it doesn't worry me as much as it did. And Phil can drive most of the time.

Enjoyed the movie, COLETTE.

Enjoyed my first DR. WHO although Phil not so much. He has even less interest in science fiction than me. Our loss, I know.

Started the new Lou Berney book THE NOVEMBER ROAD.

Had periodontal surgery this week and that was not fun, but it's over. 

What about you? 

Friday, October 12, 2018

Friday's Forgotten Books, October 12, 2018

These is some of the crime fiction I was reading between 1989-92. This was during a period when I was trying to wean myself from reading so much of this genre. What were you reading?

Sleep and His Brother-Peter Dickinson
Well-Schooled in Murder-Elizabeth George
Burden of Proof-Scott Turow
Nemesis-Rosamond Smith
Going Wrong, The Crocodile Bird, Anna's Book-Ruth Rendell
Icy Clutches, Old Scores-Aaron Elkins
The Wench is Dead-Colin Dexter
H is for Homicide, I is for Innocent--Sue Grafton
Dancehall of the Dead, Coyote Waits--Tony Hillerman
A Ticket to the Boneyard, A Dance in the Slaughter House-Lawrence Block
Body in the Vestibule-Katherine Page
Shadow Play, Not That Kind of Place, Deep Sleep-Frances. Fyfield
A Simple Plan, Scott Smith
A Literary Murder-Batya Gur
Sculptress-Minette Walters
Past Reason Hated-Peter Robinson
Devil in a Blue Dress-Walter Mosley
Brian Busby, I FOUND CLEOPATRA, Thomas P. Kelly
Crossexaminingcrime, THE FIRST TIME HE DIED, Ethel Lina White
Martin Edwards, CUTTER AND BONE, Newton Thornberg
Richard Horton, Hierarchies, by John T. Phillifent/Mister Justice, by Doris Piserchia 
Nick Jones, Ringworld
George Kelley, THE COUNT OF 9, Erle Stanley Gardner
Margot Kinberg, THE HIDDEN ROOM, Stella Duffy
Evan Lewis, THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN ARM, Ian Fleming
Todd Mason, THE HUGO WINNERS, Vol 3. annotated by, Isaac Asimov
Only Detect, DEATH IN A BOWL, Raoul Whitfield
Matthew Paust, THE DEAD SHALL BE RAISED, George Bellairs
James Reasoner, PIN A STAR ON A GIRL, Johnny Nelson
Richard Robinson, FANUILH, Daniel Hood
Gerard Saylor, THE BIG KEEP, Melissa F Olson
Kevin Tipple,  SINS FOR FATHER KNOX,  Josef Skvorecky (Reviewed by Barry Ergang)
TomCat, THE SLEEPING ISLAND, Frances Vivian
TracyK Book Sale Part 1 Forgotten Books
Erica Wright/THE RAPSHEET. A DRAM OF POISON, Charlotte Armstrong

Monday, October 08, 2018

Thanks for a new review

Hard to thank Damien Seaman enough for putting such an effort into reading my stories and having such great things to say about them. Also it's the start of his brand new blog. Even if you've heard enough about me for a lifetime, give his blog a look.


Very happy to have Megan here for two days. We got out to some restaurants, a movie, and Kevin's hockey game She and Kevin get along so well. Nice for both of them to have such an admirer.And nice for his parents to share the good time.
Julie and Josh
Megan and Kevin
Enjoying NEWS OF THE WORLD (Paulette Jiles) although I am reading it in two-minute chunks because the news of the world is so incredibly disheartening.
None of us enjoyed A STAR IS BORN much. Disliked the generic music that dominated it. Loved Sam Elliott though but disliked Cooper stealing his voice. We were in the minority in the theater where we saw it. Maybe the news of that day stole a good time from us. Have to see it again when we're feeling better about life.
Happy to have THE GOOD PLACE back on. Moderately enjoying SECRETS AND LIES although I found the POV less than ideal.
Fun to see how much Megan has learned about making a film. If DARE ME goes to series I can't see how she will be able to write a novel. It seems all-consuming.
Good friends are having their 60th anniversary in two weeks. They eloped from University of Wisconsin to Asheville NC 60 years ago. He drove from Dartmouth to Madison, WI and they took off. How romantic. 
What about you? 

Friday, October 05, 2018

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

First Wednesday Book Review Club

A drought exposes the remains of a village from fifty years earlier, and Inspector Banks is called in to try to discover how the skeleton of a woman buried there was murdered and by whom. This novel is done in the voice of a woman who lived in the village at that time (WW2) and in the voice of Banks. Sometimes this grows tedious in a story, but it never did here because both stories were equally interesting and, of course, connected. Banks is exploring the idea of beginning a relationship with Annie in this novel, trying to come to terms with his son's quitting school and starting a musical career, and ongoing trouble with his superior and ex-wife. So there is plenty of angst as well as a murder to solve. Robinson is so skilled at presenting a story that does not lean on twists, turns and violence. Thoroughly enjoyed this.

For more reviews, see Barrie Summy's blog. 

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Shopworn Angel

This is a movie that teetered on the brink of boring us. The production values were pretty low rent, the sentimentality overwhelming at times but the acting chops of Stewart and Sullavan (and Walter Pigeon) saved it in the end. The story is a Broadway star is sucked into entertaining a solider on the night before he ships out. Her ennui is palpable but his sincerity and innocence wins her over. Hattie McDaniels plays her maid. (Did she ever play anything else?) Stolid and not solid direction didn't help this. But there was an earlier version so I guess familiarity breeds content and not contempt sometimes. Rumor has it that Stewart and Sullivan had something going at the time and that may have helped light up the screen.

Monday, October 01, 2018

Things That Are Making Me Happy

The last weekend in September our local upscale grocery store sells lobsters for under ten bucks. We always cook them with our friends, Charlie and Rita. This year they were really big (almost 2 pounds) and the corn and coleslaw, strawberries and chocolate were great too.I didn't realize how pink things were till I saw this. Even the rose wine. (Phil is in the pink sweater).

Really enjoyed IN A DRY SEASON by Peter Robinson, if it was a big too long.

Glad THE GOOD PLACE is back. One of the few nertwork shows I watch. Also a great episode of BETTER CALL SAUL.

My screen porch floor is almost in. The next to the last box was the wrong color deck tiles. It will be great when it's all in. Although I guess we won't use it much until next year.

Megan flies in on Thursday for two days. We are looking forward to that.

Happy my son and his family went to Chicago to see HAMILTON and also the Michigan-Northwestern nail-biter. 

What about you?