Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, October 17, 2011


It's been a mighty slow week here at Lake Woebegone/Mt. Idy/Southern Maryland.  Between what we think are spider bites that became seriously infected and a recalcitrant computer and various mandatory soccer games (my grandaughter Erin, age 9, is becoming a whiz -- he said proudly), I only bought six books.  On the bright side, those six are pretty darned good ones.

  • Eleanor Taylor Bland, See No Evil.  The sixth case for police detective Marti MacAllister.  I was lucky enough to meet Eleanor three times.  She was a beautiful, talented, and gracious person.  She will be missed.
  • Dorothy Salisbury Davis, The Habit of Fear.  Mystery novel by an MWA Grandmaster.  (She got the award in 1985, preceded by John le Carre and followed by Ed McBain.)  It's a pity that much of her work isn't readily available.
  • Lois Duncan, editor, Night Terrors:  Stories of Shadow and Substance.  YA mystery/supernatural anthology with eleven stories, each by a master of the field.
  • Tim Powers, Declare.  The World Fantasy Award winning novel.
  • A. Hyatt Verrall, In the Wake of Buccaneers.  Nonfiction, first published in 1923.  Verrill (1871-1954) was an archeologist and explorer who wrote a number of popular books on archeology, past civilizations, buried treasure, exploration, natural history, and (of course) pirates.  From 1926 to 1935 Verrill wrote quite a few science fiction stories for the early pulps.
  • Kate Wilhelm, Seven Kinds of Death.  The fifth Charlie Meiklejohn and Constance Leidl mystery.  Another author who never fails to deliver.

     Looking over this short list, I realize (sadly) that two of the authors had to deal with violent tragedies in their own lives.  Eleanor Taylor Bland's nephew died mysteriously while in police custody --  I don't believe a satisfactory answer was ever given.  Lois Duncan's 18-year-old daughter was shot to death in 1989; I believe the case remains unsolved.  Both deaths affected me very much.  That two promising, nice kids never had a chance to reach their potential is something that should lessen each of us.  The senseless death of young people has always sickened me -- whether it be by violent crime, accident, acts of war, starvation, or disease.  I hope it always will.

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