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We Only Carry Mysteries .... But We Can Order Almost Anything!

 

This Just In!

Walter Mosley - Rose Gold

Signed Copies Available Now!

In this new mystery set in the Patty Hearst era of radical black nationalism and political abductions, a black ex-boxer self-named Uhuru Nolica, the leader of a revolutionary cell called Scorched Earth, has kidnapped Rosemary Goldsmith, the daughter of a weapons manufacturer, from her dorm at UC Santa Barbara. If they don't receive the money, weapons, and apology they demand, "Rose Gold" will die—horribly and publicly. So the FBI, the State Department, and the LAPD turn to Easy Rawlins, the one man who can cross the necessary borders to resolve this dangerous standoff. With twelve previous adventures since 1990, Easy Rawlins is one of the small handful of private eyes in contemporary crime fiction who can be called immortal.

New Author Signings

Tuesday January 6th at Noon - Jayne Ann Krentz signs Trust No One

For Grace Elland, finding a vodka bottle next to the lifeless body of her boss, motivational speaker Sprague Witherspoon, is a deliberately terrifying reminder of the horrors of her past. It’s no coincidence, either. Retreating to her hometown, she tries to put everything she’s learned about positive thinking to use, a plan that’s tested by the world’s worst blind date with venture-capitalist Julius Arkwright. She shares nothing with this man who lives to make money, but the intense ex-Marine does have some useful skills—and he’s ideal help when it becomes clear trouble has followed her home.

Friday October 10th at Noon - Hank Phillippi Ryan signs Truth Be Told

Truth Be Told is part of the bestselling Jane Ryland and Jake Brogan series.

It begins with tragedy: a middle-class family evicted from their suburban home. In digging up the facts on this heartbreaking story—and on other foreclosures— reporter Ryland soon learns the truth behind a big-bucks scheme and the surprising players who will stop at nothing, including murder, to keep their goal a secret. Turns out, there’s more than one way to rob a bank. Boston police detective Jake Brogan has a liar on his hands. A man has just confessed to the famous twenty-year-old Lilac Sunday killing, and while Jake’s colleagues take him at his word, Jake is not so sure. But he has personal reasons for hoping they’ve finally solved the cold case.

Signed From The Publisher! Reserve Yours Today...

Preston & Child - Blue Labyrinth

A long-buried family secret resurfaces when one of Aloysius Pendergast's most implacable enemies shows up on his doorstep as a murdered corpse. The mystery has all the hallmarks of the perfect murder, save for an enigmatic clue: a piece of turquoise lodged in the stomach of the deceased. The gem leads Pendergast to an abandoned mine on the shore of California's desolate Salton Sea, which in turn propels him on a journey of discovery deep into his family's sinister past. But Pendergast learns there is more at work than a ghastly episode of family history: he is soon stalked by a subtle killer bent on vengeance over an ancient transgression. In short order, Pendergast is caught in a wickedly clever plot, which will leave him stricken in mind and body...and may well end with his death.

Patricia Cornwell - Flesh And Blood

It's Dr. Kay Scarpetta's birthday, and she's about to head to Miami for a vacation with Benton Wesley, her FBI profiler husband, when she notices seven pennies on a wall behind their Cambridge house. Is this a kids' game? If so, why are all of the coins dated 1981 and so shiny they could be newly minted? Her cellphone rings, and Detective Pete Marino tells her there's been a homicide five minutes away. A high school music teacher has been shot with uncanny precision as he unloaded groceries from his car. No one has heard or seen a thing.In this 22nd Scarpetta novel, the master forensic sleuth finds herself in the unsettling pursuit of a serial sniper who leaves no incriminating evidence except fragments of copper. The shots seem impossible, yet they are so perfect they cause instant death. The victims appear to have had nothing in common, and there is no pattern to indicate where the killer will strike next. First New Jersey, then Massachusetts, and then the murky depths off the coast of South Florida, where Scarpetta investigates a shipwreck, looking for answers that only she can discover and analyze. And it is there that she comes face to face with shocking evidence that implicates her techo genius niece, Lucy, Scarpetta's own flesh and blood.

What We've Been Reading

Peter May - The Lewis Man

A Few Signed Copies Still Available

Fran Recommends:

Peter May is the first author I’d ever met who came to a signing in a kilt. He’s a tall Scotsman, but his first series was set in China and his second was set in France. I nagged him (as did other folks) to write about Scotland, and he has. When he drops by I’ll be able to thank him.

The first in the “Lewis” trilogy is The Blackhouse, where we meet Fin Macleod, a detective inspector sent to his home island of Lewis in the outer Hebrides to investigate a murder that seems suspiciously like one that has happened in Edinburgh, where he’s living now. Still reeling from the death of his son, Fin isn’t sure he’s up to the task, especially since his memories of his time in Crobost. But it gets him out of the house and away from his wife, so he goes. The man who has been murdered was a bully back when Fin was in school, and he’s not entirely surprised Angel’s come to a bad end, but the more he investigates, the stranger things appear.

The second in the trilogy is The Lewis Man. Fin is now living on the island, rebuilding his parents’ home, when a body is discovered in the peat. At first it’s believed to be an ancient mummy, but closer examination reveals a tattoo of Elvis on the arm, so obviously the body’s been in there a much shorter time than originally believed. Fin becomes drawn into the investigation when it turns out that the dead body is related to his old flame’s father.

The third one in the series, The Chess Men, won’t be out until at least next year and I am wildly curious to see what happens there. This is a beautifully dark series, and the people are shaped by their culture and the unrelenting weather. I’m not exaggerating when I say that the wind itself is a character in the books, and Peter May’s writing makes me want to visit these harsh and unforgiving islands in the worst way. Despite the bleakness of the countryside and the resigned acceptance of so many people making what they can of their lives, there’s a fierce independence and resolute strength that just shines through, and I fiind that I truly care what happens to Fin and Marsaili and George and young Fionnlagh.

It’s interesting to note that, in The Blackhouse, the book is written in third person for modern events, but when seeing what happened in the past, we’re viewing it through young Fin’s eyes in the first person. In The Lewis Man, the same is true except our portal into the past is from Marsaili’s father’s point of view. It shouldn’t work, it should be choppy and disruptive, but Peter May is such a skilled storyteller that it flows beautifully and smoothly. And even when things are darkest – and they are, frequently – there’s that thread of strength and hope and determination, regardless of the time frame, that makes these books incredibly powerful.

I can’t wait to read The Chess Men. And I can’t help wondering if Peter will show up in a kilt. Probably not, because it is only a stock signing (so you will reserve your books, right?), but hey, I gotta have dreams, right?

Agatha Christie - Appointment With Death

Amber’s project for 2014: My 52 Weeks of Agatha Christie. Here’s her explanation.

Series: Poirot

Summary: Once again Poirot is trying to take a vacation, this time to Jordan, when a body crops up. In this case the murder victim, Mrs. Boynton, was a villain in her own right, but Poirot never backs away from the truth and sets out to find the solution. The tiny wrinkle here? He has twenty-four hours to get his man before the suspects scatter in the wind.

Review: Pot roast, definitely pot roast level for this installment. Very good but not my favorite, I had a problem with a singular detail in the big reveal (No, I can’t tell you. Spoilers. But if you send me a message, I will tell you). As I read the forums and such, I seem to be alone in my issue but that’s okay; no book is ever read and interpreted the same way twice. In any case, this was a nice solid outing which showed Poirot’s resolve to find justice  for every victim (even for those who many feel don’t deserve it), “The victim may be one of the good God’s saints - or, on the contrary - a monster of infamy. It moves me not. The fact is the same. A life-taken!” (pg. 125). 

From the first page, the location of the murder - Petra, Jordan - completely distracted me! Well, at least until I focused on the mystery.... Why you ask? Having grown up during the 80’s, I watched Harrison Ford play Indiana Jones in a bunch of movies. Now if you possess certain deductive powers, read this blog regularly and have knowledge of movie trivia then you might guess why Petra would be distracting! 

Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade was one of the first movies I went and saw by myself that wasn’t G rated (Hey no laughing, the bump to PG-13 was exciting! I got carded! A lot! Now I enjoy being carded for a much different reason...). A portion of The Last Crusade was filmed on location at The Rose City, aka Petra. From those few first glimpses the city caught my imagination (my day dreams were really good that year, foreign lands and being an archeologist was my goal until age 14 when I wanted to be a writer) and I still think it is one of the most beautiful man-made creations I have ever seen - and I have only seen pictures! Can you imagine it’s beauty in real life?

Splice the location together with the snake on the cover of the edition I was reading and for the first few chapters all I could think about was The Last Crusade. Rather distracting, but that really isn’t Christie’s fault. I had hoped a snake would be featured in the narrative, but alas I was doomed to disappointment. Digitalis, not snake venom, was used to do in our victim. Curiously enough, snake venom is used only once in the Christie cannon, in Death In The Air where Boomslang venom was administered to an unsuspecting victim. So I couldn’t use the quote, “Snakes, why’d it have to be snakes?” in my blog this week but there’s still hope I suppose (hehehe!). 

Western archeologists, real and fictional, have flocked to Petra over the last two hundred years, including Christie’s husband Max Mallowan. Christie herself accompanied her husband on his digs throughout this region, thus setting a mystery in Petra was rather natural (Christie is said to have stayed in the caves she described in the mystery - if you travel there now you must stay in a hotel loosely adjacent to the site, *sigh*). Interestingly enough, Petra was built around the 6th century BC, but remained virtually unknown to the west until 1812. Since then, the Rose City provides scientists and historians with excellent examples of ancient water engineering and management, mines, tombs (ordinary and royal), churches, temples, and the sheer artistic beauty of the rock-cut city. By a crazy random happenstance the legendary Dr. Jones (father and son) travelled to Petra in 1938 in search of the Holy Grail, the very same year Appointment was first published as a full length novel! (but I suppose crazy links can be found almost anywhere and that’s the reason why we have the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, btw I am at 3)

So whether you are a fictional archeologist, mystery novelist or a tourist it seems Petra holds a bit of something for everyone!

Favorite Quote: 

“...Americans are disposed to be a friendly race. They have not the uneasy suspicion of the traveling Briton.” (pg. 29)

“That old woman ought to be murdered! Arsenic in her early morning tea would be my prescription.” (pg. 43)

Interesting Facts: Sadism and Agatha Christie, not two things you would normally put together, but in Appointment With Death that changes. Our murder victim, Mrs. Boynton, enjoyed inflicting pain on those around her and the investigators labeled her as a sadist. Mrs. Boynton controlled her family through subtle threats, emotional manipulation, and money. (I am not giving anything away here, you read this and figure out she isn’t very nice pretty early on). She was a former prison warden, a position she relished and never really gave up, even when it meant treating her family like prisoners. She seems to have a bit of the "Mommy Dearest" quality to her....

Haven’t heard of Mommy Dearest? Well depending on who we believe - Joan Crawford (a legend of the silver screens during Hollywood’s golden age) bears a striking resemblance to Mrs. Boynton. Joan Crawford’s need for control and her alcoholism fueled her explosive sadistic behavior which focused on her two eldest children. After Joan’s death, Christina exposed the horrors of her childhood in the book Mommie Dearest, where Christina alleges Joan tried to kill her, beat her and had one very odd encounter with a wire hanger. While her younger brother supports the claims made by Christina in her book, her two youngest siblings categorically deny the events in the book took place (it seems family tensions were strained even before Joan’s death as she cut Christina and her brother out of her Will). Famous friends and former employees fall on both sides of the fence in this particular controversy. The book has gone in and out of print over the years and was turned into a so-bad-its-good movie starring Faye Dunaway; seriously, it is awful.

The legacy of Mommie Dearest the first celebrity-child-tell-all, was that there were several similar books published harpooning the memory of a celebrity/parent. Children of Bette Davis and Bing Crosby penned similar tales to Mommie Dearest alleging abuse at the hand of their famous parent. Bing Crosby’s eldest son’s book seems to have created the most ripples, accusing Bing of being physically and mentally abusive. Two of Bing’s sons quietly supported his claims while the youngest vehemently denied the claims. 

Christie is fortunately clear of basing her character Mrs. Boynton on either star as the tell-alls were written years after this installment (unlike using an event in Gene Tierney’s life as a basis for The Mirror Crack’d). She does a great job of showing the insidiousness of the sadistic behavior of Mrs. Boynton while not being gratuitous about it. While Mommie Dearest was well after this installment Christie’s writing is comprehensive enough we can recognize the sadistic qualities in a completely unrelated novel - and that is nothing to sneeze at!

And for those of you who were worried I couldn't work a Star Trek reference into this week's post - did you know Denise Crosby who played "Tasha Yar" on Star Trek: The Next Generation is the grand-daughter of Bing Crosby? Tasha Yar was chief of security, friends with Data and died in the line of duty - and she is said to have provided bedrock for the character of Kara Thrace or Starbuck on the new version of Battlestar Galactica.

Cheating: Did you know Appointment was first published in a serialized format in 1937? The same year The Hobbit was published by Tolkien! So with this knowledge, here is my answer on if I cheated this week or not, the translation into the script created by Tolkien is provided by Online Tengwar Transcriber.

Elvish

AmberMiner©2014

New Release Paperbacks!

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Collectible Corner

Jasper Fforde - The Eyre Affair

Book Condition - Fine / Dust Jacket - Fine

London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2001. First UK edition. Hardcover.

1st UK HC- One of only 2,200 copies printed. One tiny dent to bottom of three pages, and one tiny dent to the top of one page. Signed “JASPER.” in all caps and underlined on the title page. Dust jacket in protective mylar cover.

Also Included:

- B&W postcard “ChronoGuard Billboard” #78 of 100. Code: TEA 021 photo by Jasper Fforde.

- B&W postcard “Home Cloning Kit” #53 of 200. Code: TEA 017 photo by Jasper Fforde.

- Color postcard “Thursday with car” hand-numbered #122 of 500. Code: TEA 027 photo by Jasper Fforde.

- Label “Goliath Grand Piano” hand-numbered #71 of 100. Code: TNU 004, printed on self adhesive paper by a color inkjet printer.

- Label “Goliath Orange Jam” hand-numbered #76 of 100. Code: TNU 001, printed on self adhesive paper by a color inkjet printer.

- One promotional book mark laid in for the US release of The Eyre Affair on one side and Lost in a Good Book on the other.

The Eyre Affair: UK trade paperback reissue, 1st print, VG (the front cover is faintly scuffed but the silver gilt on the dodo is still very shiny, the silver gilt around the dodo on the spine is fine, one small chip to the lower left corner of the spine, the left tail edge of the cover is slightly jammed, one tiny dent to top of three pages slight shelf wear to edged of the cover). Embossed letters on front cover, advert sticker present. Signed, underlined and dated “JASPER 7.9.’85” on the title page.

-- Sold Only As Set

YA Mysteries!

Ronald Dahl - Fantastic Mr. Fox

Nobody outfoxes Fantastic Mr. Fox! Someone's been stealing from the three meanest farmers around, and they know the identity of the thief—it's Fantastic Mr. Fox! Working alone they could never catch him; but now fat Boggis, squat Bunce, and skinny Bean have joined forces, and they have Mr. Fox and his family surrounded. What they don't know is that they're not dealing with just any fox—Mr. Fox would rather die than surrender. Only the most fantastic plan can save him now.

Ronald Dahl - The Witches

This is not a fairy tale. This is about real witches. Grandmamma loves to tell about witches. Real witches are the most dangerous of all living creatures on earth. There's nothing they hate so much as children, and they work all kinds of terrifying spells to get rid of them. Her grandson listens closely to Grandmamma's stories—but nothing can prepare him for the day he comes face-to-face with The Grand High Witch herself!

Mysteries Coming This Fall!

Christopher Fowler - Nyctophobia

Newly-married architect Callie and her wealthy husband Mateo move to Hyperion House, a grand old home in southern Spain. It's an eccentric place built in front of a cliff: serene and beautiful, but eerily symmetrical, and cunningly styled so that half the house is flooded with light, and half – locked up and neglected – is shrouded in darkness. Unemployed and feeling isolated in a foreign country, Callie determines to research the history of the curious building.

But the past is sometimes best left alone. Uncovering the folklore of the house's strange history, Callie is drawn into darkness and delusion. As a teenager Callie was afraid of the dark, and now with her adolescent nyctophobia returning she becomes convinced there's someone in the darkened rooms. Somewhere in the darkness lies the truth about Hyperion House. But some doors should never be opened.

Jonathan Howard - The Brothers Cabal

Horst Cabal has risen from the dead. Again. Horst, the most affable vampire one is ever likely to meet, is resurrected by an occult conspiracy that wants him as a general in a monstrous army. Their plan: to create a country of horrors, a supernatural homeland. As Horst sees the lengths to which they are prepared to go and the evil they cultivate, he realizes that he cannot fight them alone. What he really needs on his side is a sarcastic, amoral, heavily armed necromancer. As luck would have it, this exactly describes his brother.

 

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More Mysteries Coming This Fall!

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We Can Order All Most Anything! For Example:

Kim Harrison - A Witch With No Name

Rachel Morgan's come a long way from the klutzy runner fleeing a bad job. She's faced vampires and werewolves, banshees, witches, and soul-eating demons. She's crossed worlds, channeled gods, and accepted her place as a day-walking demon. She's lost friends and lovers and family, and an old enemy has become something much more.

But power demands responsibility, and world-changers must always pay a price. That time is now. To save her best friend Ivy's soul and the rest of the living vampires, to keep the demonic ever-after and our own world from utter destruction at the hands of fanatics, Rachel Morgan will risk everything.