Friday, August 07, 2020

A Talking in Code Weekly Link Round-Up

Another week of Not-Much-Going-On. I've finished most of my smaller projects and have begun knitting yet another afghan. I have vague ideas about what I'm going to do with them all, but nothing concrete. Yet.

Denis, the non-multi-tasker, has taken another crack at cleaning out his side of the office closet. By the time he's done getting rid of outdated computer do-dads, his side might be empty. He just this second told me that hoarding is a hard habit to break. I agree, but I've had to do something he hasn't: go through the worldly goods of hoarders after they've died. Having had to do that makes me more aware of the job the loved ones I leave behind  will have to face.

On that cheerful note, here's a photo of a t-shirt that's been doing an excellent job of keeping me smiling--

Our niece Daisy has been teaching herself how to knit, and I sent this to her, asking her how her knitting was coming along. She replied that the t-shirt contained several things that she'd have to check out on YouTube. The t-shirt does make knitting lingo look like some sort of code, doesn't it? Wish YouTube had been around when I was learning to knit, but I can't really complain. I've got it now when I need to decipher a bit of code!

Enjoy this week's links!

►Books & Other Interesting Tidbits◄

►Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones◄

►Channeling My Inner Elly Mae Clampett◄
  • Scientists have cracked the mathematical mystery of stingless bees' spiral honeycombs.
  • New evidence suggests that ancient crocodiles swam from Africa to America.
  • How do dogs find their way home? They might sense the Earth's magnetic field.
  • I loved seeing this huge black bear that was spotted relaxing a a pool.
  • The incredible condor can soar for one hundred miles without flapping its wings.
  • Protections for grizzlies in the Greater Yellowstone area were upheld in court.
  • A pigeon that can't fly and a special needs Chihuahua have formed a fast friendship at a New York rescue.
  • Birds sing to their eggs, and this song might help their babies survive climate change.

►Fascinating Folk◄

►The Happy Wanderer◄

►I ♥ Lists◄

That's all for this week! Don't forget to stop by next Friday when I'll be sharing a freshly selected batch of links for your surfing pleasure.

Stay safe! Stay healthy! Don't forget to curl up with a good book!

Thursday, August 06, 2020

Dead Man's Lane by Kate Ellis

First Line: Linda Payne knew how to die convincingly.

Strangefields Farm is being turned into a luxury holiday village, and developers are hoping that everyone forgets that a notorious serial killer named Jackson Temples used the farm as his base to lure young girls there. The developers' hopes are dashed when a skull is found in the old house. Then a florist is found murdered in an echo of Temples' crimes. Detective Inspector Wesley Peterson fears that a copycat killer is on the loose-- especially when a second murder in a nearby village appears to be linked.

When Peterson's friend, archaeologist Dr. Neil Watson, begins uncovering the secrets of Strangefields' grisly past, it seems that an ancient tale of the dead returning to torment the living might not be as fantastical as it seems. Wesley is going to have to work fast to discover who's behind the recent murders before more people lose their lives.

Dead Man's Lane is yet another deeply satisfying mystery from the talented Kate Ellis. Her Wesley Peterson police procedural series always features dual timelines: one in the present and one in the past, both of which involve the same location. I always learn something new when I read a book in this series. This time as the sinister past of Strangefields Farm was revealed, I learned about deviant burials.

I do admit that I had to smile when I learned that developers were turning the former home of a serial killer with an address on Dead Man's Lane into luxury holiday homes. I mean, what could possibly go wrong? And as usual, I had to deduce how the historical timeline of Strangefields tied in with what was going on in the present. I love how Ellis ties everything together. Do the present-day murders tie into what Jackson Temples did? Did Temples actually kill those girls? Did one of the developers actually see a man reported to be dead? Who's robbing local elderly residents? What, exactly, does the history of that farm have to do with what's happening? In Dead Man's Lane, identity is key. Do we really know who all these people are? The journey to enlightenment is an enjoyable one, as it normally is with a Wesley Peterson mystery.

If you're in the mood for a character-, history-, and mystery-rich read, Dead Man's Lane is it. If you're in the mood for a long-running, high quality mystery series in which the cast of characters become friends and family, start at the beginning with The Merchant's House. I will never intentionally miss reading a book in this series. In fact, I've already started reading the next one!

Dead Man's Lane
eISBN: 9780349418278
Piatkus Books © 2019
eBook, 352 pages

Police Procedural, #23 Wesley Peterson mystery
Rating: A
Source: Purchased from Amazon.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

The Hatpin Menace by Kerry Segrave

First Line: Before there were wars over hatpins there were skirmishes over big hats.

The fashions of bygone eras have always piqued my interest, so when I came across The Hatpin Menace, I had to know more. 1887-1920 was the era of Big Hair and Big Hats, and the only way to fasten these wagon wheel-sized monsters of the milliner's art to a woman's head was through the use of hatpins. The bigger the hat, the more hair extensions, and the longer the hatpin.

It wasn't long before men began complaining that, if they went to the theater or opera and sat behind a woman wearing one of these huge hats, they had no chance of being able to see the stage. (I can't say as I blame them; I'd have a bit of a hissy fit myself.) When hatpins that were well over a foot long came into use, some of them extended over six inches past the crown of the hat on either side. Get on a crowded streetcar or other conveyance and be next to a woman wearing this headgear and fasteners, and you could easily get jostled and have your eye put out. A lot of men began insisting that something must be done.

This small book (the last quarter of which is footnotes and bibliography) is divided into chapters headed Big Hats, Hatpin Fashion, The Hatpin as an Offensive Weapon, As a Defensive Weapon, Group Use, Accidental Use, The Hatpin Abroad, and The Agitation, Hysteria, Crusades, and Legislation Against the Hatpin. As you can see, it's "All Hatpins All the Time" even though the entire controversy ended up being a storm in a teacup.

I did find some of the information interesting, but when all was said and done, it all added up to overkill. Each chapter was basically an exhaustive list of newspaper articles that fit the chapter heading. After a while, it became repetitive and boring, and my eyes began to cross. However, I certainly know a lot about hatpins now!

The Hatpin Menace: American Women Armed and Fashionable, 1887-1920 by Kerry Segrave
eISBN: 9781476622170
McFarland & Company, Inc. © 2016
eBook, 220 pages

Non-Fiction, Standalone
Rating: C
Source: Purchased from Amazon.

On My Radar: Anthony Horowitz's Moonflower Murders!

I am a fan of Anthony Horowitz. He's been the mind behind such wonderful television series as Foyle's War, Poirot, and Midsomer Murders, and he's written some excellent books such as The Word Is Murder, The House of Silk, and Magpie Murders. You have to know that I was very happy when I discovered that he's written a follow-up to Magpie Murders which stars London book editor Susan Ryeland and the murder mysteries by Alan Conway featuring Atticus Pünd, a half Greek, half German private detective in the 1950s.

Available in the UK on August 20, the US edition of Moonflower Murders will be released on November 10, 2020. Let's find out more about it!


"Retired publisher Susan Ryeland is living the good life. She is running a small hotel on a Greek island with her long-term boyfriend Andreas. It should be everything she's always wanted. But is it? She's exhausted with the responsibilities of making everything work on an island where nothing ever does, and truth be told she's beginning to miss London.

And then the Trehearnes come to stay. The strange and mysterious story they tell, about an unfortunate murder that took place on the same day and in the same hotel in which their daughter was married—a picturesque inn on the Suffolk coast named Farlingaye Hall—fascinates Susan and piques her editor’s instincts. 

One of her former writers, the late Alan Conway, author of the fictional Magpie Murders, knew the murder victim—an advertising executive named Frank Parris—and once visited Farlingaye Hall. Conway based the third book in his detective series, Atticus Pund Takes the Cake, on that very crime. 

The Trehearne’s, daughter, Cecily, read Conway’s mystery and believed the book proves that the man convicted of Parris’s murder—a Romanian immigrant who was the hotel’s handyman—is innocent. When the Trehearnes reveal that Cecily is now missing, Susan knows that she must return to England and find out what really happened.

Brilliantly clever, relentlessly suspenseful, full of twists that will keep readers guessing with each revelation and clue, Moonflower Murders is a deviously dark take on vintage English crime fiction from one of its greatest masterminds, Anthony Horowitz."

I don't know about you, but Moonflower Murders is firmly planted on my radar, and I'm really looking forward to getting my hands on a copy!

Monday, August 03, 2020

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke

First Line: Geneva Sweet ran an orange extension cord past Mayva Greenwood, Beloved Wife and Mother, May She Rest with Her Heavenly Father.

Like most other folks who live there, Darren Mathews is well aware that East Texas plays by its own rules when it comes to law and order. That's why he moved as far away as he could... until duty called him home. Now he's a Black Texas Ranger on suspension when his allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy.

Mathews travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark where the murders of a Black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman have stirred up plenty of trouble. Mathews needs to solve the crimes before Lark's racial fault lines shatter. If he can do this, he can also save himself in the process.

I'm glad I waited to read Bluebird, Bluebird until now. Until the actions of #BlackLivesMatter have begun to spark this nation to change. Attica Locke takes those of us who have lived basically sheltered lives and shows us what it's really like for Blacks in the South, and it's not pretty. If you're Black, you have to navigate an entirely different roadmap from the rest of us. How did I feel as I read this book? As if I were suddenly thrown onto a different planet. As Darren Mathews walked into a bar that's home to the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas to local blind-eye law enforcement to Geneva Sweet's restaurant, I was with him, and I was on edge. You see, my way of thinking is that, if Blacks are treated like third-class citizens here in Lark, who's to say that someone who's not from these parts (even though she's white) will be treated any differently? I didn't feel any safer than Darren did, and that's a good bit of storytelling on Locke's part.

Mathews is an interesting character who certainly doesn't always do the sensible thing-- even when he knows how "the system" works in this area. Raised by his uncles, he's got a strong sense of justice, and he doesn't know when to quit. He can also see both sides of a situation: when things get tough for a white character, he can see that the man is being treated the exact same way the Black suspects were-- and that's not right.

Bluebird, Bluebird is a fast-paced intricate mystery that hooked me almost immediately, but be forewarned. If you don't like cliffhangers, this book ends on a doozy. Personally, I don't mind taking another trip up Highway 59. I have got to find out how Attica Locke continues Mathews' story in Heaven, My Home.

Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
eISBN: 9780316363266
Little, Brown and Company © 2017
eBook, 318 pages

Police Procedural, #1 Highway 59 mystery
Rating: A+
Source: Purchased from Amazon.

Sunday, August 02, 2020

July 2020 Additions to my eBook Stockpile

Evidently, I must be hardwired to add somewhere in the neighborhood of a dozen new eBooks to my Kindle each month. Between the publishers and Amazon, I don't have a prayer. What do you think? Do you think there will be any month in the future when I will have no additions to report? See. I told you! At least most of the time I'm getting them at excellent prices.

I've grouped together the new additions to my digital security blanket by genre/subgenre, and if you want to know more about any of the titles, just click on them and you will be taken to Amazon US for more information. (I'm just a Kindle owner. I am not affiliated with Amazon.)

Let's see if I chose anything that tickles your fancy, shall we?


The Golden Cage by Camilla Läckberg. Set in Sweden. My review.
Red Christmas by Reginald Hill. Set in England.

~~~Historical Fiction~~~

The Vineyards of Champagne by Juliet Blackwell. Set in France.

~~~Science Fiction/Paranormal~~~

Planet Pluto by B.C. Chase. Set in outer space.
 A Fugue in Time by Rumer Godden. Set in England.


~~~Historical Mystery~~~

Ghost Swifts, Blue Poppies and the Red Star by Nathan Dylan Goodwin. Set in Belgium.

~~~Private Investigator~~~

Hunting the VA Slayer by C.M. Wendelboe. Set in Wyoming.

~~~Police Procedural~~~

Desperate Creed by Alex Kava. Set in Alabama and Illinois.
The Creak on the Stairs by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir. Set in Iceland.
The Boy With the Narwhal Tooth by Christoffer Petersen. Set in Greenland. My review.

Well, how did I do? Did any of these make it to your own lists? Which ones? Inquiring minds would love to know!

The Winner of The Distant Dead Giveaway!

Thank you, everyone, for filling my inbox with entries for my latest giveaway, but it is now time to announce the winner.

Congratulations to Marilynne from Oregon! An autographed copy of The Distant Dead will be on its way to you shortly.

Friday, July 31, 2020

The Slow Boat Weekly Link Round-Up

Not much going on around here. I've stopped knitting afghans for the moment to concentrate on some smaller projects. Last Saturday, the COVID-19 positive count at the company where Denis works was at twenty-one (up from twelve in just five days). They're critically short of drivers. Denis drives and doesn't make a move to help anyone with their golf clubs or luggage-- especially since almost all of the passengers remove their masks the second they're on the bus. He and I are both in agreement that they should shut the airport down, but the airport has proven time and again that profits are more important than people.

On Sunday, I received something I'd forgotten all about. Back at the end of April (?) I ordered a copy of William Shaw's Grave's End from the UK. Amazon UK told me it would take some time to get it to me. I was in no hurry-- good thing!-- so I went on about my business.

Amazon UK now seems to be using DHL for their overseas shipments, something they've never done before, but as long as it works, who cares? All I can say is that I was shocked and happy to finally receive the book.

If any of you look this book up on Amazon, you'll notice something strange. The cover is correct, but in the description, the title is listed as "Low Places." I wonder what that's all about?

While I'm wondering, I'll mosey on out to the link corral. Maybe one of them has the answer. Head 'em up! Moooove 'em out!

►Books & Other Interesting Tidbits◄

►Channeling My Inner Indiana Jones◄

►Channeling My Inner Elly Mae Clampett◄

►The Happy Wanderer◄

►Fascinating Folk◄

►I ♥ Lists◄

That's it for this week! Don't forget to stop by next Friday when I'll be sharing a freshly selected batch of links for your surfing pleasure.

Stay safe. Stay healthy...and don't forget to curl up with a good book!