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Barb's Books & Chat (III)

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Initial post: Dec 7, 2012, 3:01:25 PM PST
Barbara Lane says:
Welcome to Barb's Books & Chat (II)


All participants should be here as book readers and discussers--we'd like to get to know everyone as a reader, although authors
are welcome, of course and we have several authors chat on this thread.

Mysteries are our main discussion topic, but any book talk in the
following genres is welcome:

Mystery, Thriller, Suspense and Crime

Police Procedural, Private Eye and Forensics

Classic literature, Historical Fiction, Fantasy,

Humor, Biography and Romance

Tell us what you are reading, what you have enjoyed, or what
you put down and won't pick up again!

Off Topic conversation is definitely Welcome but we don't want
it taking over the thread. So let's shoot for a 50/50 mix of books
and Off Topic. That doesn't mean you have to mention a book
in every post. Some posts will be all book and others all chat.
We're looking for BALANCE where a full page on the thread
will be half books and half chat. Some of us read a book a day
or a week, some have less time to read. But we all have
something to say and want to join the conversation!!!
We are friends with families, pets, complicated lives and
everyday hassles. Sometimes we just need to vent and need a
friend to listen...this is the place!!!

Rules are few, but we would appreciate compliance:

*Please ALL CAPS to show book titles
*No discussions or comments on politics or religion
*No private blog pushing or other Amazon thread promoting.

******* Treat others with respect and courtesy. *******
**** We can disagree without arguing or getting ugly****

Authors Please REMOVE your book title from your signature.
We have seen authors posting 5 times a day with their book
title under their profile name as a way of advertising. If you
are an interesting poster other members will look up your
profile and then see that you are an author.

Barbara Lane
Moderator of Barb's Books & chat

Posted on Dec 8, 2012, 9:44:45 AM PST
Amanda Peck says:
Wow, there's now a III

I've been off line or for a good long time. Computer broke, and I loathe and detest the replacement. I could go online at home but it's a bit of a hassle, especially with the new computer (basically tablet sized). And a series of vehicle problems--ended up with one newer one.

Dogs are being dogs--for some reason the last few days they have been very nice about yanking me around--well, less, anyway. The sprained wrist and sore shoulder are healing. I love my dogs.

And I'm reading--there's sometime Kindle access at the house. At least across the road where I can pet the neighbor's horses as things load.

There may be hydrofracking in the county soon. I'm dubious about the way we "need" a resevoir in the fairly sparsely northern part. So I'm reading a (free or inexpensive) polemic against same by Abrahm Lustgarten.

Fracking? it's a way to get oil out of not very drillable shale. We've got surface shale up in the next county that you can pick up a piece off the ground and smell the petroleum.


Been going slowly through Elmore Leonard's THE MYSTERIOUS WRITERS, a series of interviews and little statements by the writers themselves. It's quite long.

A handful of books, but they are pages back on the Kindle, if not already in archives--I'll post a list--later.

Posted on Dec 9, 2012, 1:45:22 PM PST
Barbara Lane says:
to all

re PILLARS OF THE EARTH by ken follett.
read years ago and raved about it. It has been made into a four part mini series So watched the first part on TV last night. Of course even after all those years I can remember bits they left out in the making of the mini series. Really worth watching.
top cast.

Going home in two days. I am still having clients ringing me for a chat which has been lovely.
um had her girls day at her home yesterday. It hadn,t hsppened for two years due to old age and illness. heynwent to school together from kindergarten. Met for lunch once a month all through from being young mums onwards now 84.
mum hardly taked but happily sat there nodding and listening. i had to prompt her into the table setting etc then getting savouries ready etc but we got there. There next meeting will be in two ,oths. Mum has a restricted licensenshich of course she forgets about and happily says she will drive herself. I had to remind her infront of everyone that she is not allowed that far and she will have to take a taxi. they were all taking earlier about taxi costs mum is allergic to spending the money so will be interesting when the time comes what she will do. I stressed to them all without mum hearing about her early alheimzers they all quietly said that they had seen a huge difference and they do understand. i said they may have to in future only include mum when its at her house. (mum I heard did set everything up one week early on the wrong date for the get together.)

Posted on Dec 9, 2012, 2:30:40 PM PST
Hi all!
Mr B was the last to post to BBC II. Does he get a prize?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012, 3:02:35 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 9, 2012, 3:04:47 PM PST
M. Bernstein says:

I'm not shy - send that prize over.

Came through my male, "plumbing" clean-out w/flags a-flutter. Went in on Wed., came out Thur. Hung around Phoenix until yesterday and we drove back, stopping overnight in Glitzy Palm Desert, arriving home today. Able to resume normal activity in two weeks. So far I've taken an anti-biotic with a dairy restriction. That ended this a.m. (sorry, nothing like Mike's, pee-em) On[e] perscription has hydrocordone. Took one yesterday whilst driving. I can see why addicts love the stuff.

Wife stayed with me in my hospital room over night. The Mayo is terrific. I'd have a wedding their if I were so inclined. Out in the desert, they've got lots and lots of room.

Great doc, great nursing staff, blah, blah, etc.

Follow up visit Jan . 11.

I CAN understand why the geezer crowd has moved down there. However, much as the ruling class denies it, a day of reckoning will come. The growth is just unsustainable.

Good to be back.

Posted on Dec 9, 2012, 5:03:08 PM PST
Hi, everyone,

Mr. B, so glad that your procedure seems to be going well.

Barb, glad you've had this time with your mother. I'm sure it' been good for you both. Just don't want you to return to the Two Acre Wood and overdo, trying to get everything unpacked and put away all at once.

A COLD CHRISTMAS by Charlene Weir is the fifth in her mystery series featuring Susan Wren, Chief of Police in Hampstead, Kansas. It is bitterly cold in Hampstead; the town is plagued by a series of burglaries, and much of its population, including the police department, is laid low by a flu outbreak. Susan unexpectedly receives a job offer from her old boss in San Francisco, to head a new cold case squad. She's seriously considering the move, but she can't leave Hampstead in the lurch, promising to give him a decision by December 26.

The plot in A COLD CHRISTMAS centers around Cayle James, divorced mother of three, working two part-time jobs to support her three children, ill with the flu but unable to take time off from her organist job if she wants the kids to eat. Ex-husband Mat, who works in the Hampstead Bank, pays no child support; Caley suspects that he's up to something. After two service calls, Tim Holiday finally gets Caley's ancient furnace working, but he's soon found dead in her basement, face and hands stuck into the furnace. Cayle had been home but in fevered, exhausted sleep with the flu. As Susan and her decimated squad investigate, they discover Holiday's been seen outside Cayle's house, that he's been asking questions about her, and that he has money, false identifty documents, and off-shore bank accounts of $3,000,000. Who is he, and what on earth's going on? Suffice it to say, there are wheels within wheels in the relationships of many people in Hampstead, including who Tim Holiday was and why he's there.

Susan Weir is an attractive protagonist, a strong, sensible woman accustomed to working in a man's world, widowed, carrying enough emotional baggage to be realistic. Other characters are less well-developed but believable, though it's not absolutely necessary to have each morsel on information come from a different or new character. Shifts in point of view between characters help to individualize them. Foreshadowing is adequately laid out for several strands of action that fit together to produce a satisfactory conclusion, leaving only Susan's decision about returning to the SFPD unresolved. Little is made of the setting, except for the frequent references to the cold of Kansas. A good, solid mystery. 4/5 stars (B)

Next up, Valerie Wolzien, 'TIS THE SEASON TO BE MURDERED.

Linda S.

Posted on Dec 9, 2012, 8:28:29 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 9, 2012, 9:11:20 PM PST
M. Bernstein says:
Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President is the next read for my Long Beach book group.Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President.

I guess this is the season for reading true murder stories. I just finished, MIDNIGHT ASSASSIN Midnight Assassin: A Murder in America's Heartland by Thomas Wolf.

The murder took place outside of Medora, Iowa Warren County, on Dec 1, 1900. The man, husband of Margaret Hassock, John, was killed by two blows by an ax to the head. He lingered for several hours before he died.

Suspicions immediately fixed on Margaret, and on the day of the funeral she was arrested and bound over for murder. The trial was in the county seat, Indianola. With 9 children, the oldest being born just before their marriage, she was well supported.

She was convicted and sentenced to life in Anamosa State Prison, than being relatively new. About a year after her conviction, it was overturned on appeal, and a new trial, with a change of venue was called, and she was tried I think in Winterset, IA. in Madison, County.

As it happened, there was a vote of nine jurors for a guilty decision, but 3 others held out hanging the jury. She was set free, neither innocent nor guilty. However, the state/county did not want the expense of a retrial, so that was the end of the murder of (the first decade) of the century.

The authors gleaned their info from various discussions in legal reviews and were highly dependent and (I WAS moved) by the reporting of Susan Glaspell who was a reporter with the Des Moines, IA, Register (?) or Record (?). She noted the overwhelming presence of women in the courtroom (none of the jurors, however - men only).
The story was poignant as it tells of women removed from kith and kin (in this case, in Illinois) and taken out onto the prarie never to seen their nuclear family again. Separated from their family, their nearest neighbor could be miles away they were at the mercy of their husbands.

So the Hassock's marriage was rocky, and having no legal recourse, she would the males of one neighbor or another. The men talked to John, but did little else.

Now John Hassock is dead, his wife in the grey area of the law which affords her neither guilt or innocence.

The authors move to Susan Glaspell. She left the paper, and eventually married a man more her free spirit type. Now in her 30's, the move to Cape Cod, ProvinceTown and start a play house called the ProvinceTown Players. Among their earliest discoveries was Eugene O'Neill.

The first season, her husband reminds her she's to write a play. Well, she demures, never having written a play he insists and suggests she go into the playhouse and sit in front of the stage.

Sitting there, she begins to see a kitchen, dark, dingy with dirty pots around. Eventually men enter the kitchen, mill about, go upstairs as their women stay in the kitchen. The men have no motive for the murder of the husband, but the women looking about the kitchen see a dead songbird, its neck wrung.

The women place the bird in a box, and one hides the box in her pocket. The men still have no clue, but the women know why the husband was killed.

The play is TRIFLES by Susan Glaspell Trifles and was a hit.

Boy, do I recommend this book. Apparently there's a movie out, JURY OF HER PEERS, tho I can't find it on Netflix.

Posted on Dec 9, 2012, 8:41:20 PM PST
Mr B,
I think your prize is a pat on the back and the warm glow of victory.
Glad to hear you're doing so well, too!

Posted on Dec 9, 2012, 9:04:44 PM PST
L. M. Keefer says:
Mr. B and all:

That is some story re: the murder of the husband and the song bird. Glad you're feeling better. My dad lives in Scottsdale AZ and my mom in Palm Desert area so you were in familiar area.

The book you are going to read next on the assassination of Garfield I recommended to our non-fiction book group--not sure if they voted on it. We read the author's previous book about Teddy Roosevelt The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey which won an award I think. She is an excellent writer.

Our next book for that group is on James Madison.

Just walked 30 minutes on the treadmill and watched Dangerous by Moonlight...will do an hour tomorrow.

Posted on Dec 9, 2012, 9:14:37 PM PST
Mr. B,

Thanks for the review of MIDNIGHT ASSASSIN. I've ordered it. Interesting, the connection with TRIFLES, which is a wonderful play.

I'm just getting started on 'TIS THE SEASON TO BE MURDERED, so I don't have an opinion yet. Upper middle class suburban family at Christmas season, when the caterer for protagonist's New Year's Eve party gets murdered, if I've read the synopsis right. More anon.

Linda S.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012, 9:18:15 PM PST
M. Bernstein says:

Thanks. Glad to hear you are walking 30. Don't know how much time you spent at that duration, but If you're moving up, I suggest you do so in smaller increments, like, oh try 35-40 min and hold that plateau for a week. Increase your duration about 10%.

Didn't see much of Scottsdale, as it was a straight run in from Mesa. We got to see Palm Desert last night looking for a Calif. Pizza Kitchen.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 9, 2012, 9:19:26 PM PST
M. Bernstein says:
Linda S.

A captivating story.

Posted on Dec 9, 2012, 9:25:04 PM PST
L. M. Keefer says:
Mr. B and Linda S:

I've been to that California Pizza kitchen in Palm Desert a number of times. I used to like their Southwest Salad with greens, bbq chicken, corn and black beans I think.

Did you find the California Pizza kitchen? If so, what did you order?

I got married in a modern church on Rte 111 out there--it's between Palm Desert and on the way up the hills to San Diego.

I usually try to walk an hour, but do it in 20 minute increments. Spread throughout the evening.

Linda S, did your team play today?

Posted on Dec 9, 2012, 10:17:01 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 9, 2012, 10:18:21 PM PST

My team played yesterday. Kentucky beat Portland by 28 points, playing at home in Rupp Arena. They didn't look good at all. The maturity level to do well in the SEC just isn't there yet. It's not surprising when so many of the Kentucky players are freshmen, but they have got to grow up fast and learn to play as a team if they are to win against the level of competition they'll be facing. Most of the players are used to being the superstar of their high school team, having the ball fed to them to take the shots, so they're not used to looking for the open man, passing off, or making the best shot selection. They should beat Lipscomb this Saturday coming and Marshall the following Saturday, but 12/29 they play Louisville. I'm afraid that one is going to be awfully ugly unless Kentucky gets its act together in a hurry. The Louisville game is the most important regular season game that Kentucky plays.

I don't follow pro football at all. It's probably un-American to admit that the only reason I watch the Super Bowl is to see the new commercials.

I'm getting into 'TIS THE SEASON TO BE MURDERED, and it's looking pretty good. More anon.

Linda S.

Posted on Dec 10, 2012, 8:49:38 AM PST
M. Bernstein says:
Mike, et al

A tribute to Brubeck:

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012, 9:24:41 AM PST
I've copied that....thanks. I heard Brubeck say once that he found the 5/4 rhythm of Take Five on horseback. He lived on a ranch when he was a kid, and said that was the rhythm of a horse's gait. I read some time ago that when his mother told him she wanted him to be a musician, he said, "Ma, you've already got two musicians in the family. I want to be a cattleman."

Posted on Dec 10, 2012, 9:24:50 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2012, 9:26:30 AM PST
Finally finished Michael Connelly's THE FIFTH WITNESS, another Lincoln Lawyer novel. A good read, but with a few problems. Not as good as THE LINCOLN LAWYER. I give it 4 stars.

Michael Connelly hits another big one with this latest Lincoln Lawyer novel.

Well written, well plotted and the story moves along. The trial scenes are especially good as the author takes you blow by blow through a murder trial with the prosecution and defense tactics.

A good read although the ending was a bit predictable. I figured it out halfway through the book. A neat twist at the end with Mickey Haller's new direction in life. Are his days as a defense attorney numbered? At 400+ pages, the novel was a bit long and sluggish in places. Could have used some tightening and better editing. But overall a highly satisfactory read. I still love Michael Connelly' work, but I think the Harry Bosch novels are better.

Posted on Dec 10, 2012, 10:47:29 AM PST
L. M. Keefer says:
Brubeck lovers:

Brubeck's grandson was enrolled in our preschool at the school where I was principal. I'd see Dave in our halls sometimes and at school performances. He always had a smile on his face and seemed a very pleasant person. He did benefits in the area for organizations to raise money. He was a very supportive and generous community member from what I could tell. His son seemed equally nice. I read that they always got along and connected through music. How great to be able to share that with a parent.

He seemed to take a keen interest in his grandson, too.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012, 10:49:27 AM PST
Thanks for that information about Brubeck. He was one of those people you 'hoped' would be nice. Good to hear it said.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012, 12:21:21 PM PST
Amanda Peck says:
Nice piece by EJ Dionne on Brubeck.

Even though Brubeck was a whole lot more than Take Five, I was still surprised to find that I could whistle the melody line in 5/4 time the other day, even if I hadn't heard it in a couple of dozen years.

It might be fun to get some classic Jazz--including Kind of Blue. Back in the sixties, a boyfriend was a good, if musically still without his own voice--tenor (or tenor and soprano together, like Roland Kirk). But I haven't heard much since.

Posted on Dec 10, 2012, 12:23:08 PM PST
Now reading Nelson DeMille's THE GOLD COAST. Seems a very different kind of book than he usually writes. Anyone read it? THE GATE KEEPER is the sequel which I also have on my TBR list.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 10, 2012, 12:32:06 PM PST
M. Bernstein says:
Mike, Keefer,

Years ago, while still teaching on a down day I had a student who was playing guitar.. I happened to have Jim Hall/Paul Desmond Concierto. Well I played that track for him and he was mesmerized. (So am I - didn't think I could spell Mes. . . ). I thought Paul was under-rated and perhaps Brubeck didn't give him enough credit. Was there some dispute over who wrote, Take Five?

By the way, started, SONGBIRD UNDER A GERMAN MOON. Starry eyed show-girl from the sticks of Santa Monica goes to Germany, 1945. A voice like an angel and looks to shame one.

Well, Had to put it down. Interior monoloque denoted with italics - annoying. Man/girl both express desire for ea other in terms of heart, as for example, "Is she/he my heart-for longing" or some such.

The final blow was Songbird wanting to take her bible out into a field and read it. Others might have persisted, but this was getting to religious for me.

Started AN AMERICAN TRAGEDYAn American Tragedy By Theodore Dreiser.

We listened to WINTER IN THE WORLDWinter of the World BY Ken Follet. Nancy was driving and at the beginning of the drive home yesterday she quickly became engrossed and damn near rear ended a car on the I-10.

The story on the US side is the BATTLE OF MIDWAY. The German's were defeated around Moscow by the introduction of division from Siberia, and Carla and her friends managed to get the murder of, "defective" humans stopped in Germany.

Not great literature, but still, a great story retold.

Posted on Dec 10, 2012, 4:05:26 PM PST
Barbara Lane says:
two more days until i go back to my new home.
what else can go wrong. watching TV with mum last night but i ws so tired and just wanted to sleep. So put two large pillows on the floor in front of the TV with a small lounge pillow for my head. her carpet is so cream and clean but the underslay is thin as paper with wear but noone would notice unless trying to sit on the carpet. so i laid down. Fter a while felt uncomfortable and laid on one side. Ten the other. after 30 min got up to go to bathroom. Wow. There was a rash on my both cheeks. I never get rashes. Raised and lumpy. went back to mum and said it must the be the little orange pillows. Its ancient hae no idea what was used for filler back them. so its out in the rubbish bin. 1 hr later rash reducing. today. only slight marks left. I have nEVER had a rash anywhere before. It must have been pretty potent what ever was inside it.
can,t remember did I tell you we found the cheque after three days. Yippee. phew.

barb down under

Posted on Dec 10, 2012, 4:07:03 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 10, 2012, 4:14:30 PM PST
L. M. Keefer says:
Amanda, Mr. B., Mike, James:

Amanda~can't even whistle, much less in 5/4 time. I didn't even know there was 5/4 time and I took piano--although it was a long time ago and I don't remember much-- my mother was a piano teacher who can play RHAPSODY IN BLUE. Was just reading how so few kids play piano any more. Never had a boyfriend who could sing--am jealous :).

Mr. B~I don't know that I've ever listened to a tape of Brubecks so can't identify his music although I think I've heard music of his on the radio.

Regarding to listening to tapes while driving, I was listening to a french tape on the way to Boston once and it had a trumpet blare in it. I swerved my car, thinking it was a car near me and I was going to crash. Listening to tapes while driving can be distracting. Theodore Dreiser--wow! You do read erudite stuff.

James~haven't read any De Mille although my dad loves him. It does seem Connelly usually employs a twist at the end which are usually surprising. If you read a lot of his work, you know to expect it.

Mike~was reading a bit about Brubeck's life--sounded like he had a lot of fun. You musicians know how to have a good time.

Posted on Dec 10, 2012, 6:21:55 PM PST
Hey, everyone, shows some goodies today:

Johanna Lindsay, 19 historical romances @$1.99, if that's your cup of tea

Robert Crais, L. A. REQUIEM, $1.99

I'm about two-thirds through with "TIS THE SEASON TO BE MURDERED, and it's beginning to get tedious. More anon.

Linda S.
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