Monday, March 27, 2017

Mystery Monday

Garden of Lamentations (Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James #16) by Deborah Crombie (HarperCollins hardcover, 7 February 2017).

It's been a while since I was so enthralled by a book that I just had to share it.  It's not very surprising that it's part of one of my favorite series of all time:  Deborah Crombie's Duncan Kincaid and Gemma Jones.  

This installment opens with the body of a young woman, found posed under a tree.  Cornwall Gardens is a private garden shared by the houses surrounding it (a handy map of the area is provided as a frontispiece).  

The young woman, Reagan Keating was the nanny for a family who lived in one of those homes, and never made it home after a Friday night out with friends.  Although the incident doesn't occur in Gemma's bailiwick, one of her close friends knew Reagan, and manages to have Gemma co-opted to assist with the investigation.

Meanwhile, Duncan receives a cryptic message from his old boss, Denis Childs, asking him to meet in a quiet pub. Duncan is still somewhat resentful towards Childs for suddenly transferring him without explanation the previous year.  When Kincaid asks for one, he's told that Childs has taken an extended personal leave.  

Duncan keeps the appointment, mostly in hopes of perhaps getting his long-delayed explanation. What he does learn is astounding:  he was transferred in an attempt to distance him from Childs himself, who had uncovered some deep-reaching corruption in the department.  

Duncan takes from this that he may still be in danger.  This is confirmed the next day when he learns that Childs was attacked shortly after leaving the pub.

Gemma and Duncan's cases are both complex, but completely unrelated.  The real story here is the effect of their work on their relationship.  Duncan takes Childs' warnings to heart, and keeps the information about corruption to himself.  Gemma knows that Duncan is hiding something, but they are both so busy with their respective jobs that communication is almost physically impossible. 

Deborah Crombie has again created an excellent close-up of the life of a family with two working parents.  Yes, their jobs are unusual, but the little dramas that happen to every member of such a family are universal.  Only the details are different.

FTC Full Disclosure:  I borrowed this book from my local library.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Funny Friday

Bizarro                                       by Dan Piraro

Friday, March 17, 2017

Funny Friday - St. Patrick's Day edition

      Dustin                                                                                 by Steve Kelly & Jeff Parker

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

March 15th

FoxTrot                                          by Bill Amend

Friday, March 10, 2017

I'm still here...

I realize that I've been neglecting this blog lately, but ever since the election last November, I've been finding it hard to work on anything that requires more than the smallest amount of concentration.

My reading has become limited to light romantic mysteries and fantasies, and I find myself watching reruns of old favorite sitcoms.

I'm one of the many people whose anxiety levels have increased dramatically because of the new government.  I've always been a good worrier (just ask my husband!), but over the past 5 months I'm doing it so well that I could do it professionally.

Overreacting, you say?

Well, just one of the things I'm concerned about is the crackdown on people crossing the country's borders.  

Yes, I'm an American citizen, with a valid passport.  But I'm of East Indian descent, and my complexion is what cosmetics companies like to call "deep beige".  I am not Muslim, 
in fact, my father is a Lutheran pastor.

My family lives in Canada, and though we don't visit them every year, my husband and I do enjoy travelling outside the US.

It has not been unusual recently for people of color to be prevented from re-entering the US because some border agent is having a bad day.  Even though the "travel ban" has been rewritten, it still allows for discrimination on the basis of religion, which to many is directly related to skin color.

Much is being made of the fact that travel ban version 2.0  respects those who already have a lawful right to entry, but I'm pretty sure that there was nothing in  version 1.0 to indicate that people traveling with visas or green cards should be prevented from re-entry into this country.  

Yet it has happened, and on more than one occasion.  Even lawful citizens like Muhammad Ali, Jr. have been detained for no other reason than their appearance, or the sound of their names.

Yes, I'm still worried.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

When Librarians Gather

A guest post by Miranda James.

Librarians, like other professional groups, have professional associations – associations that serve general or specialized needs. The catch-all in the United States is the American Library Association, and its annual meeting, held in the summer, attracts the largest number of librarians, exhibitors, and library supporters. 

Then there are the specialized associations, like the Medical Library Association, the Public Library Association, the Special Library Association, the American Association of Law Libraries, and so on. Beyond these there are regional association meetings of various kinds. These days travel funds are restricted, so attendance is down across the board, but librarians still manage to meet.

When I was thinking about the plot of Twelve Angry Librarians, I wanted it to involve some kind of library association meeting. Since Charlie works at an academic library, I thought a regional academic library meeting was exactly what was needed. Thus the Southern Academic Library Association (SALA) was born.

Librarians attend these conferences for numerous reasons – networking with other librarians, sharing information on technology, trends, and workplace issues, giving presentations on various topics, and reconnecting with friends and former colleagues. There are always keynote speeches, given by notable, occasionally controversial, speakers. These are the elements that helped create the story in this book.

At the SALA meeting, hosted by the Athena College Library, Charlie has the chance to visit with two old friends from his library school days. He is also forced to deal with his nemesis from that same time in his life, the odious Gavin Fong. Charlie and Gavin have an unfriendly history between them, and hostilities reopen in the present. When Gavin, one of the keynote speakers, drops dead during his talk, Charlie could be on top of the suspect list. He fought in public with Gavin at the conference…

That was the genesis of the plot of Twelve Angry Librarians.

Miranda James is the pseudonym of Dean James, a seventh-generation Mississippian long transplanted to Texas. A mystery fan since the age of ten, he wrote his first novel at the ripe old age of twelve. The only copy of The Mystery of the Willow Key vanished years ago, but since it was highly derivative of the Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden mystery series, that’s probably a good thing. 

 Dean lives with two young cats, thousands of books, and thinks frequently about killing people – but only in the pages of fiction.