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

 

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Tuesday April 22nd at Noon - Amanda Quick signs Otherwised Engaged

One does not expect to be kidnapped on a London street in broad daylight. But Amity Doncaster barely escapes with her life after she is trapped in a carriage with a blade-wielding man in a black silk mask who whispers the most vile taunts and threats into her ear. Her quick thinking, and her secret weapon, save her . . . for now.

But the monster known in the press as the Bridegroom, who has left a trail of female victims in his wake, has survived the wounds she inflicts and will soon be on his feet again. He is unwholesomely obsessed by her scandalous connection to Benedict Stanbridge—gossip about their hours alone in a ship’s stateroom seems to have crossed the Atlantic faster than any sailing vessel could. Benedict refuses to let this resourceful, daring woman suffer for her romantic link to him—as tenuous as it may be.

For a man and woman so skilled at disappearing, so at home in the exotic reaches of the globe, escape is always an option. But each intends to end the Bridegroom’s reign of terror in London, and will join forces to do so. And as they prepare to confront an unbalanced criminal in the heart of the city they love, they must also face feelings that neither of them can run away from. . . 

Also Included: All reservations will include her signature and commemorative fan! AN SMB Exclusive - A fan stamp next to her signature!

New Author Signings

Sunday April 20th - The Shop Is Closed

As it is Easter Sunday we are closing the shop so Amber can run around and find chocolate eggs!

Thursday July 3rd at Noon - Mike Lawson signs House Reckoning

In his 9th story, Joe DeMarco is taken back into the world of his father. 20 years after his father was murdered, and Joe learned that he’s been a mob hitman, one of Gino’s old associates, himself near death, reaches out to Joe, wanting to unburden himself about the murder. A great story to take with you for the Long Holiday Weekend!

Saturday June 28th at 3:00 p.m. - Burt Weissbourd signs In Velvet

The northwest corner of Yellowstone has been closed, supposedly for “bear management”. But Rachel Stanley, a wildlife biologist at the park, has noticed a number of odd things: not only are the animals behaving strangely, she’s seeing deformities where there used to be virtually none. She begins to suspect the closure is being used to cover up something terrible.

Signed From The Publisher! Reserve Yours Today...

Daniel Silva - The Heist

Sometimes the best way to find a stolen masterpiece is to steal another one . . .

Following the success of his smash hit The English Girl, Daniel Silva returns with another powerhouse of a novel that showcases his outstanding skill and brilliant imagination, and is sure to be a must read for both his multitudes of fans and growing legions of converts.

What We've Been Reading

R.C. Lewis - Stitching Snow

Amber Recommends:

Seven loyal drones who work in the mines and a hard earned reputation as the best cage fighter in the Station has afforded Essie solitude. For seven years she has worked hard, and has slowly etched out her own small patch on Thanda.

But like all good things….

One night while walking home Essie watches a shuttle streaking from the sky and crash in the flats. An illegal visitor… Essie decides to help get him on his way, lessening the chance government officials will notice him and come sniffing around the Station.

Essie wasn’t just looking for solitude on Thanda; she was hiding, and now someone has found her.

I could not put this book down. Funnily enough it is one of the most original books I have read so far this year. I say funnily, because it is based (very loosely) on the fairy tale “Snow White”. Lewis has re-imagined all the characters, politics and setting, creating a whole new concept for the story while keeping the essentials of the original fairy tale. Interestingly, knowing this book is based on “Snow White”, I could pick out the familiar elements of the story. However if you didn’t know this fact, it would read like a great suspense/action adventure novel which could stand on its own.

This book captured my attention from the start and would not let me go. I would recommend this book for any girl (or open minded boy as there is a strong male lead in it as well) twelve or older. I cannot stress how much I enjoyed reading this book!

Seriously Snow White in outer space with robots sounds like the punch line to a joke, I know, but it really works!

Ben MacIntyre - A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal

JB Recommends:

There’s something particularly attractive to me about the murky world of the background/underground of political maneuverings and espionage and intelligence    work in the 20th C. From the 1930s through WWII, and into the Cold War, was perhaps the only period in American history to come close to what we think the Wild West was like. Trenchcoats and fedoras replaced dusters and 10-gallon hats, and the type of handguns differed, but that sensibility of an unruly frontier is very similar. At least it is to me.

I’ve read a number of Ben MacIntyre’s earlier books on WWII spies and enjoyed them immensely and I can unreservedly recommend his next book, A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal. 

While Philby and the other Cambridge Spies have been buried under thousands of pages of histories, analysis, and psychological autopsy, MacIntyre takes a different aim. He rightly notes that the world doesn’t need yet another biography of the creep. Rather, he comes at this period of time through the lens of the friendships of the people involved, the relationships, and what was hidden from whom and what that meant, and how those friendships affected how it all played out. It is a fascinating book.

And what is most fascinating of all is that we may never really know who was doing what. Here we are, six or seven decades away from the betrayals at the center of the story, and the facts are obscured through governmental policies of secrecy and personal embarrassments. And we just have to live with that. In the meantime, we have MacIntyre’s brilliantly drawn image of the people and the places involved without any numbing recitation of political philosophies. The game is afoot and those playing are masters of their craft. What is most astonishing is not that few suspected Philby of treachery, or that so many could not conceive of it due to his being ‘one of them’, it is that none of them died of alcohol poisoning before they were 30!

All of the Usual Suspects are present: James Jesus Angleton, Donald MacLean, Guy Burgess, Ian Fleming, J. Edgar Hoover, and Anthony Blunt, as well as some you may not know about - Klop Ustinov (father of Peter), and Miles Copeland, Jr., a jazz trumpeter from the Deep South who played in the Glen Miller Orchestra, was a war-time spy, ex-CIA agent and ‘espionage fixer’, and whose son Stewart would become a rock drummer (with The Police).

The thread that weaves throughout the book is how everyone liked Philby, how everyone - men and women of all nationalities - loved being in his company and thought of him as a great friend, and MacIntyre, without ever saying it, leaves us to wonder if we, too, could be taken in by this traitor, or if we believe we’d never be fooled like these poor people were. And I think MacIntyre makes it clear that we would have been, without a doubt.

Great book. Vastly entertaining. And very, very sad for all concerned and all touched by this man.

Agatha Christie - Towards Zero

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

First Published: Serialized in May 1944 in Collier's Weekly (A US magazine). 

I Read: Towards Zero. William Morrow, New York, 2011. 

Series: Superintendent Battle

Summary: "...with all the causes and events that bring certain people to a certain place at a certain time on a certain day....All converging towards a given spot...And then, when the time comes -- over the top! Zero Hour. Yes, all of them converging towards zero...." (pg. 4) This is the story in a nutshell; one killer, two wives, three detectives and a house full of guests all hurtling towards the solution to four separate murders.

Review:This is the last book to feature Superintendent Battle as the lead detective, and I think it is a pity he did not find his way into more stories. His solid good sense, plus his sly ability to hide behind the reader's expectations (the expectation being that the police detectives are all bumbling) was fantastic. Unlike Chimneys or Seven Dials, this book is not an over-the-top exercise in suspense. No secret societies, jewel thieves or political machinations to be found anywhere. Instead it begins with a series of small snippets of the main characters' lives and the decisions which lead to their appearance in Gull's Point. This method of story leads naturally to the creation of tension through the whole, for example you are left wondering through almost the entire mystery as to the significance of Angus MacWhirter's suicide attempt or why Mr. Treeves tells an odd story to the group about an unidentified child. The book is a great read and is listed as one Christie's personal favorites. However I think Battle did just a bit better being paired off with the outrageousness of his prior two books - the solid clever straight man to all the crazy events going on around him. But that is just my opinion. 

Now onto a tangent provided by a quote from our book of the week: "I suppose like most young people nowadays, boredom is what you dread most in the world...." (pg. 97). How many dumb thing have happened, do you suppose, because someone was bored and then had a "brain storm"? Some thing to engage their mind in an activity, any activity will do to stop the gnawing existential crisis of nothingness (The Nothing, I learned about that from The Never Ending Story; probably not the take-away they were looking for). Not that I would know anything about this phenomenon at all.....Definitely not the impetus behind an absurd incident featuring whiskey, Neapolitan ice cream and old sci-fi movies. *wink* Perhaps boredom situational, not existential this time (situational boredom - when you're stuck in a boring situation andyou are unable to leave because your parents are stuck there too) might have fueled an outrageous lie told to your second or third cousins (you never see) - confessing that you are really a Martian (shut up, I was seven).

Fortunately with age comes a slightly less ridiculous response to boredom; surprisingly enough not playing computer games or randomly surfing the internet ; they don't have any measurable output and therefore don't relieve the symptoms - cleaning or walking (usually cleaning) does the trick. Which unerringly slingshots me into inspiration for a new quilt or craft project, thus the boredom fades away like smoke and I forget it was ever there. Until the next times that is......

Christie is often credited for saying, "The best time for planning books is while you are doing the dishes.", not the most stimulating of tasks. Perhaps planning a murder over a sink full of suds - the completion of a monotonous/boring task helped Christie's creativity in the long run. Maybe a bit of boredom isn't bad if you know how to deal with it in a constructive way (YouTube is filled with unfortunate examples of what not to do). So while long bouts of boredom are to be dreaded, perhaps a little isn't so bad after all?

Favorite Quote:  

"A little malice...adds a certain savour to life." (pg. 81)

Interesting Note:  Battle's moustache was considered impressive even to Poirot.....

Did you know the word "boredom" was coined by Charles Dickens in his book Bleak House? Or the Monty Python skit Vocational Guidance Councilor is credited with creating the lasting stereo-type that all accountants are boring? Well now you know, and perhaps it will help you win a round in a bar trivia game....

Cheating: Slightly tempted to cheat, but managed to keep my fingers from flipping pages and destroying my chances of getting to the UK!

New Releases Paperbacks!

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Collectible Corner

Jasper Fforde - Lost In A Good Book

Book Condition - Fine / Dust Jacket Condition - Fine

London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2002. First UK edition. Hardcover.
One of only 4,500 copies printed. Light shelf wear to page edges. Signed on title page “Jasper”. Dj in mylar cover. Also Included: - Color postcard “Views of Swindon”, #135 of 500. Code: LGB 036. - Color postcard signed “Jasper“ on the back left edge, “Femole Thursday Next Edition”. Code: TNU 056 one of the one thousand given away in the US in April 2003. - One promotional bookmark laid in for the US release of The Eyre Affair on one side and Lost in a Good Book on the other. Dust jacket in protective mylar cover.
Erle Stanley Gardner - The Case Of The Long - Legged Models
Book Condition - Very Good / Dust Jacket Condition - Very Good
New York: Morrow, 1955. First edition. Hardcover.
55th Perry Mason. Shelf wear to edges, spine rolled and cocked a bit. Dj has rubbing in spots, spine has faded a bit, some wear to edges of spine, a closed tear to top edge of back panel. Great photo of author's wriring studio on back panel.DJ in a mylar cover.

YA Mysteries!


Colleen Gleason - The Spiritglass Charade

After the Affair of the Clockwork Scarab, Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes are eager to help Princess Alix with a new case. Seventeen-year-old Willa Aston is obsessed with spiritual mediums, convinced she is speaking with her mother from beyond the grave. What seems like a case of spiritualist fraud quickly devolves into something far more menacing: someone is trying to make Willa "appear lunatic," using an innocent-looking spiritglass to control her. The list of clues piles up: an unexpected murder, a gang of pickpockets, and the return of vampires to London. But are these events connected? As Uncle Sherlock would say, "there are no coincidences." It will take all of Mina's wit and Evaline's muscle to keep London's sinister underground at bay.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes - Killer Instinct

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother's murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean's incarcerated father-a man he'd do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer's psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer's brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?

NW Coming Soon! Reserve Yours Today!

William Dietrich - The Three Emperors

Signing Friday May 9th  at Noon

Adventurer Ethan Gage travels through the darkest and most superstitious realms of eighteenth century Europe, to the castles and caves of Bohemia to rescue his family and uncover a mysterious medieval device rumored to foretell the future.

Having quick-wittedly survived the battle of Trafalgar, Ethan is rushing to rescue "Egyptian priestess" Astiza and son Harry from imprisonment by a ruthless mystic who seeks revenge for disfigurement, and an evil dwarf alchemist who experiments with the occult on Prague's Golden Lane.

Using death as his ruse, and a pair of unlikely allies--a Jewish Napoleonic soldier and his sutler father--Ethan must decipher clues from Durendal, the sword of Roland. Astiza uses her own research to concoct an explosive escape and find a lost tomb, their tormentors in relentless pursuit.

William Dietrich skillfully weaves intrigue and magic, romance and danger in a historical thriller that sprints from the fury of Napoleonic war to the mystic puzzles of Central Europe. What enigmas will the fabled Brazen Head finally reveal?

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We Can Order Almost Anything! For Example....

Anne Bishop - Murder Of Crows

After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.
 
The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murder of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside’s shape-shifting leader—wonders if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat.
 
As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now, the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.