Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review: "The Dead Will Tell: A Kate Burkholder Novel" by Linda Castillo

The past is never truly buried. As any mystery reader knows, the past often comes back with a vengeance leaving a trail of bodies and carnage in its wake. Such is the case here in The Dead Will Tell: A Kate Burkholder Novel by Linda Castillo. The author once again takes readers to the Amish country she has made familiar in another tale where the past is almost as big a character as the actual characters themselves.

The latest in this very good series begins in early March 1979 with a home invasion/robbery. Things go very wrong almost from the start and the night ends with a massacre and a family tragedy. Billy Hochstetler, a fourteen year old boy, was the sole survivor of a night of terror that took the lives of everyone else in his family. A horrific crime that remains unsolved today 35 years later.

But, somebody knows what happened that night and has begun sending notes to those involved. The notes are ominous reminders of their crimes and the promise that justice is coming for them all. Whether it is justice or not, one by one people are definitely being murdered in the Painter’s  Mill area of Ohio. Who is doing the killing is just one of the many questions Police Chief Kate Burkholder will have to solve in this intense read.

With The Dead Will Tell author Linda Castillo may have penned the best book in the series that started with Sworn To Silence. Not that any of the succeeding books have been slouches by any means, but this one ratchets up the intensity from start to finish. Not just in the professional storyline of Kate Burkholder and her department trying to stop a determined killer, but in the ongoing storyline regarding the relationship between her and John Tomasetti.

The Dead Will Tell: A Kate Burkholder Novel by Linda Castillio is an intense and exceptionally good read. Like many complicated series that are so much better when read in order, you should begin with Sworn To Silence and work your way forward. It will be well worth it as The Dead Will Tell is an incredible book and very strongly recommended.


The Dead Will Tell: A Kate Burkholder Novel
Linda Castillo
July 2014
ISBN# 978-1-250-02957-7
Hardback (also available as an e-book)
320 Pages
$25.99


ARC by way of the wonderful Lesa Holstine who sent her copy so that I did not have to wait months on my library hold list. Lesa also reviewed the book here.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

Monday, July 28, 2014

Via Denise Weeks, Mystery Author: REMINDER: Book Event August 9 11-1 at Lucky Dog B...

 Jenny Milchman and the crew are doing this again this year to help raise funds for Sandi's cancer treatemnt.  When you have cancer, insurance does not cover lots of things. We are in debt to thousands of dollars and on payment plans to everyone but the dog catcher. We are very grateful for everyone's efforts to help us. If Sandi is physically strong enough she plans to attend .....


Denise Weeks, Mystery Author: REMINDER: Book Event August 9 11-1 at Lucky Dog B...: REMINDER to all DFW denizens! The Jenny Milchman World Book Tour stops in Dallas on August 9th from 11 AM to 1 PM at Lucky Dog Books, Lochwood...

Crime Review Update-- New issue of Crime Review

As posted elsewhere earlier....

In our new edition of Crime Review (www.crimereview.co.uk) this week we
have sixteen reviews, together with Brian McGilloway in the Countdown
interview hot seat:

Crime Review can be followed on Twitter: @CrimeReviewUK

Linda Wilson can be followed on Twitter: @CrimeReviewer

Sharon Wheeler can be followed on Twitter: @lartonmedia


This week’s reviews are:

DARKNESS, DARKNESS by John Harvey, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler.

Charlie Resnick comes out of virtual retirement to help investigate the
murder of a woman during the miners’ strike 30 years ago.

THE TRUTH ABOUT THE HARRY QUEBERT AFFAIR by Joel Dicker, reviewed by John
Cleal.

Best-selling young author Marcus Goldman turns to his former professor to
overcome a bad case of writer’s block only to discover that his mentor has
been hiding an affair with a 15-year-old girl for more than 30 years. When
the girl’s remains are found, Goldman, with the help of a determined
detective, sets out to investigate.

CHILDREN OF WAR by Martin Walker, reviewed by Linda Wilson.

Inspector Bruno Courrèges has to juggle an investigation into the brutal
death of an undercover French cop with the clandestine return to France of
Sami, a young Muslim man who appears to have been involved in terrorist
activities in Afghanistan.

A FEW DROPS OF BLOOD by Jan Merete Weiss, reviewed by Chris Roberts.

Captain Natalia Monte is assigned the case of two men found murdered and
posed in a private garden. Several people have a motive but the trail is
cold.

A DARK AND TWISTED TIDE by Sharon Bolton, reviewed by Linda Wilson.

Lacey Flint has had enough of being a detective. A transfer to the Marine
Unit suits her very nicely, but trouble seems to follow Lacey around no
matter where she goes, and when bodies start to turn up in her beloved
river, she can’t just sit on the sidelines.

SPEEDY DEATH by Gladys Mitchell, reviewed by Sylvia Maughan.

A member of a house party does not appear for dinner. A search of the house
uncovers a body in the bath. Mrs Bradley is intrigued and begins to
investigate.

HOLLOW MOUNTAIN by Thomas Mogford, reviewed by Chris Roberts.

When his legal partner is injured in a hit-and-run, Spike Sanguinetti takes
over a marine salvage case where the principals are playing for very high
stakes.

REVENGER by Tom Cain, reviewed by John Cleal.

When ex-marine Samuel Carver finds himself in the middle of a riot in South
London he has to fall back on his instincts and years of training as the
riot turns into a battleground

THE COUNTERFEIT AGENT by Alex Berenson, reviewed by Arnold Taylor.

The CIA deputy head of the Istanbul Station receives information from a
mysterious man who claims to belong to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard that
two Israeli embassies are to be attacked. When the attack is followed by a
prediction that a station chief is to be assassinated it has to be taken
very seriously.

THE ABOMINATION by Jonathan Holt, reviewed by Sylvia Wilson.

A murdered woman in priest’s robes is washed up on the steps of a Venetian
church. As Capitano Katerina Tapo investigates, she is drawn into a world
of international conspiracy with shocking consequences.

THEFT OF LIFE by Imogen Robertson, reviewed by John Cleal.

A former West Indies slaver is found dead in the grounds of St Paul’s
Cathedral. Gabriel Crowther and Harriet Westerman find themselves
investigating wealthy and influential traders in human misery who will do
anything to protect their trade and their profits.

NO REGRETS, COYOTE by John Dufresne, reviewed by Chris Roberts.

Wylie ‘Coyote’ Melville is called in as a consultant to the scene of an
apparent double death, but his doubts lead him into trouble with the local
police.

DEAD OF WINTER by Elizabeth Corley, reviewed by Sharon Wheeler.

A schoolgirl disappears from a private school, and police seem one step
behind as freezing weather closes in.

HARD KILL by JB Turner, reviewed by Linda Wilson.

When an American diplomat goes missing, ex-Special Forces soldier Jon
Reznick is asked to join the team charged with finding him.

THE CURSE OF BABYLON by Richard Blake, reviewed by John Cleal.

Amid the plotting, revolts and wild hedonism of the remains of the Roman
empire at the beginning of the seventh century, English adventurer Aelric
faces his hardest challenge as he tries to stop a Persian invasion – and
deal with a determined and dangerous woman.

TIDE by Daniela Sacerdoti, reviewed by Linda Wilson.

Sarah Midnight is a demon hunter, caught up in a deadly war and not knowing
who to trust: Sean, who’s already lied to her, or the mysterious Nicholas
who she knows almost nothing about. If she makes the wrong choice, she
could die.
Best wishes

Sharon

Via The Passing Tramp: Some Wicked and Wounded Women: The Lethal Sex (195...

The Passing Tramp: Some Wicked and Wounded Women: The Lethal Sex (195...: ....As you read each [story], keep in mind that a woman wrote it, and try to imagine what special qualities inhabit the mind and heart an...

Via Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: A Visit With Wayne D. Dundee

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: A Visit With Wayne D. Dundee: A Visit With Wayne D. Dundee

Via Monday Markets for Writers: No Fees, Paying Gigs

Monday Markets for Writers: No Fees, Paying Gigs

Review: "Crochet: The Complete Step-By-Step Guide: by DK Editors

Billed as a resource book for crocheters at all levels, Crochet: The Complete Step-By-Step Guide features the basics and over 80 patterns at all skill levels. Visually stunning thanks to the well done photographs, the book showcases quite a number of possibilities for gifts, home use, and more.

After a section on the basics of tools, various types of yarn, stitches, and more the book goes on to projects. Some are simple such as “Beaded Necklace” (pages 28-29) or “Cell Phone Covers” (pages 36-37) to the far more complex “Baby Blanket” (pages 148-149) and “Flower Pin Cushion” (pages 184-185) and others. Each of the more than eighty projects has detailed instructions, a recommended skill level, pictures of the finished project, and often a tip to make the item more useful or easier to make.

A two page glossary, an eight page index, and a one page acknowledgment/ author bio bring this over 300 page book to a close.

While a comprehensive and interesting book Crochet: The Complete Step-By-Step Guidet suffers from organization issues. Many of the projects seem to have little rhyme or reason as to why they are placed here or there and the table of contents is a bit scattered. The result is a good book that is made more difficult to use than it should be.


Crochet: The Complete Step-By-Step Guide
DK Editors
DK Publishing
February 2014
ISBN# 978-1-4654-1591-2
Hardback
320 Pages
$40.00


Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System. The annual book sale is scheduled this year for August 8-10. More details are at the Friends of the Plano Public Library website.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2014

Sunday, July 27, 2014

EuroCrime Update-- New Reviews on Euro Crime: Fossum, Goddard, Hall, Kerr, Magson. Oswald, Ridpath, Smith, Stiastny

As posted elsewhere earlier today....

Here are nine reviews which have been added to the Euro Crime website today, two have appeared on the blog over the last week and seven are completely new.

NB. You can keep up to date with 'Euro Crime' by following the blog and/or liking the Euro Crime Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/eurocrimewebsite).

New Reviews:

Laura Root reviews Karin Fossum's 'The Murder of Harriet Krohn' tr. James Anderson, the seventh in the Inspector Sejer series and which completes the set of one to ten in English; however it appears, pleasingly, that there are a couple more, newer, Sejers to be translated;

Geoff Jones reviews Robert Goddard's 'The Corners of the Globe', which is now the middle part of a trilogy;

Michelle Peckham reviews 'The Burning' by M R Hall, the latest in the Jenny Cooper, Coroner series;

Terry Halligan reviews a standalone by Philip Kerr - 'Research';

Lynn Harvey reviews Adrian Magson's 'Death at the Clos du Lac', the fourth in the Inspector Lucas Rocco series set in 1960s France;

'Dead Men's Bones' is the fourth in James Oswald's Inspector McLean series set in Edinburgh, reviewed here by Terry;

Lynn also reviews 'Meltwater' by Michael Ridpath, the third in his Icelandic series;

Amanda Gillies reviews Anna Smith's 'Betrayed', the fourth in the Glasgow reporter Rosie Gilmour series

and Susan reviews Terry Stiastny's debut 'Acts of Omission'.

Previous reviews can be found in the review archive.

Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here along with releases by year.

http://www.eurocrime.co.uk/review_list.html or via the blog: http://eurocrime.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/new-reviews-fossum-goddard-hall-kerr.html.

Forthcoming titles can be found by author or date or by category, here (http://eurocrime.co.uk/future_releases.html) along with releases by year.

best wishes,
Karen M
@eurocrime

Meeting: Dallas MWASW -- Reminder: Chief Frank on Saturday, August 2nd

As posted elsehwere:

Saturday, August 2, 2014 - Chief Frank

Frank G. McElligott is the Police Chief of the Hutchins Police Department, Hutchins, Texas. Chief McElligott has a diverse law enforcement background with over thirty years of Law Enforcement experience. Chief McElligott started his career as a police officer with the Greece Police Department in upstate New York. He also served over twenty eight years with the Plano Police Department where he held a variety of assignments.

As those of you who have heard Chief Frank speak in the past know, the phrase, "variety of assignments" opens the door to all the fun. Want to know how he tested police officers who asked to get into undercover narcotics? Come ask him. How to get money launderers to give up all their partners? He will tell you. In fact, in his previous visits, there's only been one question he didn't answer, and that's because it was an ongoing case that made headlines a few months ago. So let's ask him about that case on Saturday, August 2.

Location:

The Dallas MWASW group meets the first Saturday of each month at Texas Land & Cattle, 812 South Central Expressway, Richardson, TX 75080. Meeting time is 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. There is a $5.00 door fee, cash only (correct change greatly appreciated). All who attend are invited to remain for lunch. Contact info: james@gaskin.com
James

--
James E. Gaskin
http://www.gaskin.com
Writer / Consultant / Speaker
Latest book: Email From a Dead Friend (Kindle)

Via Not The Baseball Pitcher-- Technically, Males Are Dummies and Other Stories – Robert J. Sullivan

Technically, Males Are Dummies and Other Stories – Robert J. Sullivan

Via Jacqueline Seewald: Valuable Resources for Writers by Jacqueline Seewa...

Jacqueline Seewald: Valuable Resources for Writers by Jacqueline Seewa...: The internet offers loads of writer's publications and newsletters, many of which are free. Surf the internet for writer's web si...

Review: "The Texas Food Bible: From Legendary Dishes To New Classics" by Dean Fearing with Judith Choate and Eric Dreyer

The latest in a long line of cook books from Dean Fearing is another that expresses love for the Lone Star state. The Texas Food Bible: From Legendary Dishes To New Classics is designed to be a one stop resource for the cook. This cookbook co-written with Judith Choate and Eric Dreyer works well if you have the skills, the hours of cooking time, and are feeding folks with no dietary restrictions.

After an introduction that explains Dean Fearing's history if you are unaware of it, it is on to “Fearing's Texas Pantry.” This section runs 33 pages and takes readers through beans, herbs, dried spices, rubs, gravies and sauces, dressings and vinaigrettes, and more. These are the recipes that provide the cornerstone of his dishes.

The meals start with Chapter One “Breakfast and Brunch” and lead off with “Eggs Ranchero” on pages 48-49. Also in this section is “Breakfast Burritos with Charred Tomato Salsa and Smoky Black Beans “(page 53) and “Jaxson and Campbell-Style Pancakes” (page 59) among others. Each recipe has detailed instructions, a serving suggestion or how many of the item it will make, and sometimes a picture of the finished dish. There is no dietary information of any kind so those who have to deal with dietary restrictions of any type are ignored. This same format continues throughout the book.

“Starters and Soups” come next with recipes for “Modern Buffalo Tacos with Blue Cheese Dressing and Smoked Chile Aioli” (pages 66-67), “Smoked Chicken Nachos” (pages 72-73) and “Fourth-of-July Deviled Eggs” (page 83) among others. The deviled eggs have a kick to them as they include as much as you want of Tabasco Chipotle sauce before being topped off  with  “Fearing’s Barbecue Spice Blend” (page 39) as garnish.

Chapter Three is on “Salads” and begins on page 92. Here is where you find his “Red Chile Caesar Salad with Grilled Radicchio and Romaine Hearts” (pages 96-97), “Firecracker Slaw” (page 101) or “Lucian's Crab Salad” (page 107) among others.

“Main Courses” is next and at the heart of the book. Along with various pork and chicken recipes there are ones for “Barbecue Spiced Beef Tenderloin” (page 121) and “Tex-Mex Baked potato Enchiladas with Ranchero Sauce” (page 153). Variety is very present in this section and the entire cookbook, but it is a little surprising there isn't one steak recipe in the section.

“Texas-Style Chili” on page 158 leads off chapter 5 titled “Chillies, Braises, and Stews.” Also included here is “East Texas Seafood Jambalaya” (page 162-163), “Panhandle Vegetable Stew” (page 169) among others.

Chapter Six “Working the Smoker and the Grill” begins with a general explanation of smoking technique and an ode to the legendary Sonny Bryan's on Inwood on Dallas. Here is where you find “Robert Del Grande's Grilled Rib Eye Steaks with Backyard Steak Sauce” on page 186-187 and a few other recipes for outdoor cooking. This is also a very short section of the book.

“Sides” comes next with various recipes for beans, corn, dressings, grits, and other things. Along with “Campfire Barbecue Beans” on page 193 there is his recipe for “Crispy Sweet Onion Rings” (page 201), “Avocado Fries” (page 203) and “Fried Green Tomatoes” (page 208).

“Breads and Rolls” are the subject of Chapter Eight and begin on page 212 with “Bacon-Jalapeno Biscuits.” Also here are recipes for “Spicy Cheese Crackers” (page 216) and “Navajo Fry Bread” (page 220) among others in this very short chapter.

“Desserts” come next and feature “Brown Sugar Peaches with Pistachio Ice Cream” (page 228), “Chocolate Shiner Bock Cake” (page 235) and “Texas Chess Pie” (page 237) among others.

The book closes with a sources page, an acknowledgment page, a ten page index and two pages of author bios.

The Texas Food Bible: From Legendary Dishes To New Classics is an interesting cookbook. Totally absent in terms of nutritional or dietary information, the book has numerous recipes for various situations in terms of daily meals as well as when guests come over. Heavily geared towards those with extensive culinary skills it may not work as well for the average cook at home.


The Texas Food Bible: From Legendary Dishes To New Classics
Dean Fearing with Judith Choate and Eric Dreyer
Photographs by Dave Carlin
Grand Central Life & Style (Hachette Book Group)
April 2014
ISBN# 978-1-4555-7430-8
Hardback
$30.00
260 Pages


Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System. The annual book sale is scheduled for August 8-10. More details are at the Friends of the Plano Public Library website.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2014
Shop Amazon - Hot New Releases in Kitchen & Dining

Saturday, July 26, 2014

KRL Update This Week-- Mystery short story by Ben Solomon and much more in KRL this week

As seen elsewhere earlier today....

Up this morning in Kings River Life Magazine reviews & giveaways of 5 mysteries from Penguin authors: "Ill-Gotten Panes" by Jennifer McAndrews, "Silence of the Lambs Wool" by Betty Hechtman, "Tailing a Tabby" by Laurie Cass, "Grace Against the Clock" By Julie Hyzy, and "Some Enchanted Éclair" by Bailey Cates http://kingsriverlife.com/07/26/a-batch-of-july-mysteries-from-penguin/

Also up, an interesting article by Terry Ambrose about mystery series that have been carried on by other writers http://kingsriverlife.com/07/26/mystery-series-taken-over-by-other-writers/

We also have an interesting interview with mystery author Marcia Muller http://kingsriverlife.com/07/26/interview-with-mystery-author-marcia-muller/


You can also enjoy the latest mystery Coming Attractions column by Sunny Frazier, featuring authors like Kelli Stanley, LJ Sellers, and William Krueger http://kingsriverlife.com/07/26/coming-attractions-end-of-summer-edition/

Lastly, for those who enjoy some fantasy with their mystery, a review & giveaway of "Magic City: Recent Spells," an anthology that has short stories by writers like Jim Butcher and Patricia Briggs http://kingsriverlife.com/07/26/magic-city-recent-spells-an-urban-fantasy-anthology/


 As always, you can also find all of these by going to our home page and scrolling down http://KingsRiverLife.com

Happy reading,
Lorie


--
KRL is now selling advertising & we have special discounts for
mystery authors & bookstores! Ask me about it!
Mystery section in Kings River Life http://KingsRiverLife.com
Check out my own blog at http://mysteryratscloset.blogspot.com/

Via MAKE MINE MYSTERY: Guest: Jan Christensen with TRICKS OF THE TRADE

MAKE MINE MYSTERY: Guest: Jan Christensen with TRICKS OF THE TRADE: I'm delighted to host my old friend, Jan Christensen today! She not OLD, we've just known each other in cyberspace for quite a fe...

Via SleuthSayers: Stranded Again

The Strand Magazine is one of those top tier markets I have tried to get into in the past without success. For me to take another crack at them I have to get writing again. Meanwhile John M. Floyd pulled it off again.....

SleuthSayers: Stranded Again: by John M. Floyd As I was trying to decide what to write for today, it dawned on me that some of the columns I have enjoyed the most ...

Morons On Parade

A couple of folks have been drinking some HATERAID this morning and commenting here at Amazon on my review from six years ago of THE LAST QUARRY. Probably one sad pathetic person hiding behind two faked names since the comments came in within minutes of each other.




Meeting: Sisters In Crime North Dallas Chapter Sunday, July 27, 2014 2-4 PM

The next meeting of the Sisters In Crime North Dallas Chapter will be held at the Frisco Public Library in Frisco, Texas from 2 to 4 pm Sunday. Larry Enmon, retired Secret Service Agent and Thriller Writer is the scheduled speaker. More details are available on the Sister In Crime North Dallas Chapter website.



Friday, July 25, 2014

Via Sweet Freedom Blog: Friday's "Forgotten" Books: the links

Friday's "Forgotten" Books: the links

Via FDA Recalls--Texas Firm Recalls Ready-to-eat Products For Possible Listeria Contamination

Texas Firm Recalls Ready-to-eat Products For Possible Listeria Contamination

Becuase Its Funny

Sent by my good friend Lisa.....

In a dark and hazy room, peering into a crystal ball, the fortune teller delivered grave news:



"There's no easy way to tell you this, so I'll just be blunt. Prepare yourself to be a widow. Your husband will die a violent and horrible death this year.” 
Visibly shaken, the young woman stared back at the old woman's lined face, then at the single flickering candle, then down at her shaking hands. She took a few deep breaths to compose herself. Her mind raced. 
A question forced its way out... she simply had to know. 
She met the Fortune Teller’s gaze, tried to steady her voice and asked, "Will I be acquitted?"

Back Home

Back home and the news was pretty much the usual--some things went up a little and others went down a little. Because Sandi's blood sugars are way to high and she seems to be breathing okay, they have decided that it is time to try again to cut back her steroids a bit. I'm very worried about this as each time it has been done it has massively backfired and she has been forced to go back on steroids to an even higher dose.

Having played this cutback game four or five times now the idea of trying again very much worries me. At the same time, the steroids have massive consequences long term and the blood sugars deal is just one small part of that. We do know the early warning signs of worsening breathing issues from the pneumonitis so if  that starts happening again we will be talking to them asap.

Assuming everything remains stable her next appointment down at Texas Oncology will be in a month and will be for another blood work/ doc/ IVIG infusion.

FFB Review: "The Death of Laurence Vining" by Alan Thomas

Patrick Ohl is back this week for Friday's Forgotten Books. Patti is taking the next two weeks off so Todd Mason is filling in for her and collecting the links. This also works nicely as a reminder that you should be reading his Sweet Freedom blog. Make sure you check out the list of suggested reads later today. 
 

Laurence Vining was not a particularly pleasant man. He was a genius, of course, and the police appreciated his help on the odd occasion where they found themselves out of their depth. In fact, just recently, Vining helped to put a murderer behind bars when the police were quite stumped, solving the mystery of the “Shop Murder”. He solves these cases with the help of his very own Watson, Dr. Benjamin Willing.

But despite Vining’s ingenuity, he’s a callous, cold-hearted man who manages to surround himself with enemies. Yet it’s something of a shock when Vining is murdered in a tube station under seemingly impossible circumstances! He gets into a lift by himself, and the operator sends him down— but at the lower level, when the doors are opened, Laurence Vining tumbles out of the lift dead— a knife plunged into his back. (The knife is a curious Oriental dagger, as a matter of course.)

The police detective in charge of the case is Inspector Widgeon, a competent, no-nonsense sort who will use unorthodox and somewhat unpleasant methods to get results at times. Dr. Willing is eager to help solve his friend’s murder and thus the investigation is launched. Things are complicated when Vining’s Malayan servant disappears, as does his ne’er-do-well nephew. His secretary begins to act fishy. The extremely racist housekeeper also has something up her sleeve. And then there’s one Colonel Robinson…

The Death of Laurence Vining has a reputation as a minor masterpiece of the impossible crime subgenre, and I have to say it does deliver on that front! I tumbled to about half the solution, which is extremely ingenious and well-clued. (I do admit, however, that at one point I got very worried when the author began tossing around potential solutions that defied the laws of probability, physics, and reason all at once.) But author Alan Thomas manages to pull the caper off, and delivers an even better performance explaining the contingency plans. He isn’t satisfied with giving you just the solution; he gives you all the possible things that could have gone wrong with the plan. The murderer (let’s just call the killer Didit and assume he’s male) makes meticulous plans for all these possible scenarios. I think that that is arguably the most fascinating bit of the book, as we get to see excerpts from Didit’s journals chronicling the entire crime.

You might assume based on the description I’ve given that this book is a parody. Well, although it does poke fun at some of the genre’s conventions, especially at the beginning, it isn’t a parody— the crime and its investigation is deathly serious. I think this is the only thing that the book could really have improved on. While the characters aren’t terrible, they aren’t particularly revolutionary or memorable, and a layer of parody could have helped this problem. The book has excellent comic potential—a Philo-Vance-like amateur sleuth is killed, his “Watson” has to try solving it himself, etc. I was thinking along the lines of Philo Vance being murdered by the publisher for being so bloomin’ pedantic! But instead, we focus a lot more on the investigation that on what an annoying fellow the victim could be. The Watson character fades into the background after the opening, popping up intermittently to submit an outlandish solution We’ve seen the ne’er-do-well nephew and his romantic interest before under many names. The only remotely interesting characters are the police inspector and the Malayan servant, Suleiman. (The housekeeper’s unapologetic racism is also interesting—while she’s a nice person in general, her racism is extremely repellent and I can’t help but feel that was the author’s intent.) So although the book’s plot is fine, it tends to sag in the second act when we go through routine with same-old-same-old characters—and while there is some satire, it’s largely confined to the beginning of the book and isn’t the laugh-out-loud type of parody.

But all things considered, despite the somewhat static second act, The Death of Laurence Vining certainly lives up to its reputation as a minor masterpiece. The impossible crime is a genuine delight and even better than the crime itself are the plans Didit makes in case anything goes wrong. Was it worth seeking out? Undoubtedly! I enjoyed myself and if you go for these kinds of books, I think you’ll enjoy it as well. The only problem? It’s not an easy book to find!

Patrick Ohl ©2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Update

Tomorrow is another very long day at Medical City Dallas Hospital as Sandi has an IVIG infusion that will take the majority of the day even if things go smoothly. She is doing okay.  her blood sugars are still too high and I suspect that the endocrinologist will be increasing her insulin doses even more when she is back in about two weeks. In the meantime, they will do the usual blood work deal tomorrow, meet with the doc, and then do the infusion thing.

If you have been around this blog a bit you may have noticed that there have not been very many posts and no reviews at all. I don't like talking about me, but the plain truth is I am having a very hard time of it. I took one of my tumbles Sunday morning and banged myself up pretty good. The Texas heat certainly does not help me. But, overall I am getting worse and that is not good for so many reasons.

It is all so frustrating. I simply would not wish any of this on my worst enemy.


Via Digital Book World-- How Kindle Unlimited Is Changing the Amazon Kindle Best-Seller List

How Kindle Unlimited Is Changing the Amazon Kindle Best-Seller List

Via WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: The Strain

My man Glenn Walker offers some thoughts on a series I absolutely knew we would not be watching halfway through the first advertisement for it....

WELCOME TO HELL ~ by Glenn Walker: The Strain: Currently airing on FX, "The Strain" is based on three novels by horror and fantasy writer/director Guillermo del Toro and crim...

Gila Monsters

Growing up I watched a lot of those old science fiction movies and learned that really big creatures were often very dangerous. One of those was the Gila Monster. I recently got to write about Gila Monsters for the Tapir and Friends Animal Store.

Via CrimeFictionWriter: Convention appearance

CrimeFictionWriter: Convention appearance: I’ll be at ArmadilloCon in Austin, Texas, this weekend (July 25-27), participating in three panels about writing: Sa1000E Watch Out for th...