Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, June 30, 2014


Noel Paul Stookey.


  • "Ralph Compton," Fatal Justice and Riders of Judgment.  Since western writer Ralph Compton's death his publisher has been issuing new novels with his name boldly emblazoned on the cover and spine of each book with a small print caveat that each was "A Ralph Compton Novel by..."  David Robbins wrote Fatal Justice while Ralph Cotton wrote Riders of Judgment.
  • Clive Cussler & Paul Kemprecos, White Death.  A Kurt Austin/NUMA Files thriller.  I mentioned last week that I buy Cussler novels only if they are written with Kemprecos.  Well, that has changed.  See the book listed next.
  • Clive Cussler & Thomas Perry, The Tombs.  A Fargo Adventure...written with Thomas Flipping Perry!  How could I resist?  This is evidently the fourth book in this particular series; the first three Cussler wrote with Grant Blackwood.
  • Terrance Dicks, Doctor Who -- The Space Pirates.  Television tie-in novel, listed as #147 in the Target Doctor Who Library.  This one was based on a script by Robert Holmes produced in the Patrick Troughton era.  Dicks was already firmly entrenched in the Doctor Who franchise, having written many of the early shows and serving for many years as script director.  Wasn't he also the one who created the Daleks?
  • Dunning, John, The Bookwoman's Last Fling.  A Cliff Janeway mystery.
  • Bill Fawcett, editor, The War Years #1:  The Far Star Wars, The War Years #2:  The Seige of Arista, and The War Years #3: The Jupiter War.  Themed SF anthologies with ten, eight, and nine stories, respectively.  Fawcett provided the interludes between the stories.  With each volume Fawcett asked a leading SF writer to "start a war" and then invited other writers to join in the fun.  Volume 1 was based on a story by David Drake, Volume 2 on a story provided by Christopher Stasheff, while Volume 3 was based on a story by Gregory Benford.
  • "Quinn Fawcett" (Chelsea Quinn Yarbro & Bill Fawcett), The Flying Scotsman.  A Mycroft Holmes mystery.
  • Robert L. Forward, The Flight of the Dragonfly.  SF.
  • Martin H. Greenberg, Jon L. Lellenberg, & Carol-Lynn Waugh, editors, More Holmes for the Holidays.  Sherlockian anthology with eleven stories.
  • Carolyn Hart, Dead Days of Summer.  A Death on Demand mystery.
  • Arnaldur Indridason, Silence of the Grave.  A Reykjavik murder mystery and winner of the CWA Gold Dagger.  Translated from the Icelandik by Bernard Scudder.
  • Hugh Lofting, Doctor Doolittle's Caravan.  Juvenile fantasy.
  • Val McDermid, The Mermaids Singing.  Mystery.  Another CWA Gold Dagger winner.
  • R. M. Meluch, Chicago Red.  SF.
  • Christopher Moore, Lamb:  The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal.  Just what the title says.
  • Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Cat Breaking Free, Cat Cross Their Graves, Cat in the Dark, and Cat Raise the Dead.  Joe Grey mysteries.  Joe, of course, is a cat.
  • Dan O'Brien, The Indian Agent.  Western.
  • Ann Radcliffe. The Mysteries of Udolpho.  The classic gothic novel first published in 1794.
  • "Clarissa Ross" (W. E. Dan Ross), China Shadow, Durrell Towers, Out of the Fog, and Terror at Dark Harbor.  Gothic romances.  Damsels in distress, posing in front of (or running from) dark houses, each with one window lit.
  • C. J. Ryan, The Fifth Quadrant.  SF novel, the third featuring 33rd Century heroine Gloria VanDeen.
  • Daniel Stashower, The Ectoplasmic Man.  A Harry Houdini/Sherlock Holmes mash-up.
  • Denise Vitola, Half-Life. SF.
  • Al Williamson, Flash Gordon -- The Ice Monster.  Comic book (?) strip (?) reprint.
  • Connie Willis, Uncharted Territory.  SF novella.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


Jim Kweskin & Geoff Muldaur.  (When we were first married, Kitty and I had a Siamese cat named Guabi.)


Big Mama Thornton.

Friday, June 27, 2014


Tom Leher.


Equal Time for Pogo by Walt Kelly (1968)

For the past few months I have been occasionally dipping into the swampy waters of the Okefenokee reading -- or, more often, rereading the adventures of everyone's favorite possum.

From almost the very beginning the unassuming marsupial has evinced little or no interest in politics, while those about him (his creator included) go overboard in trying to explain/confuse/satirize/or just plain misconstrue the human and/or animal condition.

Alas, poor Kelly, the 1968 election cycle proved to be almost to much for him.  Republican contenders were coming out of the woodwork, only to drop from the scene shortly after they had been satirized in the strip.  Mr. Romney (no, the one with the car elevator) left the scene shortly after being portrayed as a wind-up toy -- if he tries to talk, he puts his foot in mouth, either his or someone else's.  Wind-up toy Nixon is off and running at a drop of the hat.  Meantime, wind-up Rockefeller is singing about being "A lady-in-waiting, I'm anticipating."  Wind-up George McGovern charges forth on his white donkey, shield ablaze with the words "Wholly Grail or Bust." Ronald Reagan is an enthusiastic puppy acting as the head on a clown's body.  Huckster and showman P.T. Bridgeport stands on the rear platform of the SOP railroad line (the Same Old Party Line) ready to travel to New Hampshire only to have the rear platform fall off the train: "the platform har'ly ever goes with the old part line."

Our president at the time is portrayed as a longhorn Texas steer who tends to get stuck in inescapable places and whose eyesight is so bad that he's lost his vision.  (Ten days after that caricature appeared, a national paper finally noticed thee resemblance between the longhorn steer and the incumbent president and banned the strip, which show the press of nearly half a century ago to be as nearsighted as today.)

Beauregard and ends up the hound dog decides to run for president also himself as his vice-presidential candidate. leaving him to wonder who will take the top spot.  Because Pogo is trusting, dependable, and a perfect gentleman, Molester Mole decides that Pogo is the perfect dupe candidate -- someone that he could easily control, a true dark horse candidate.  And if you have a dark horse candidate, you should have a white horse candidate -- actually, a white-horse-power candidate.  Enter a strutting little martinet of a chicken, Prince Pompadoodle, who bears a strong resemblance to a certain Alabaman governor.

Things keep getting more confused, in real-life and on the Okefenokee, until Kelly pulls a fast one and convinces many of his main characters that it is December in June and that all the election folderol is over.  Reality can sometimes be just too much for a satirist.

One more thing.  In an introductory footnote (actually a footnote to a footnote), Kelly writes: "The cartooned figure of Senator Robert can be found here.  Normally the cartoonist drops the caricature of one who has departed.   but, in truth, it is hard to  comprehend that this friend is gone.  Besides, he believed in the fun we all have shared.  To this extent also, he lives on."

Today, there are many strips that skewer pomposity.  Back then, there was only one that did it right.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy, began as a fictional shill for Wheaties cereal.  His popularity grew fast so that in 1933 he had his own radio show -- one that lasted until 1951.  The same mind (Samuel Chester Gale) who created Jack also created another American household name:  Betty Crocker.

First portrayed by Jim Ameche (Don's younger brother), then by Michael Rye (radio's first Matt Dillon and one-time Cisco Kid announcer); Charles Flynn, Franklyn MacCormack, and two others also played the Wheaties-infused adolescent.   Jack attended Hudson High School with his friend Billy Fairfield and Billy's sister Betty.  Jack and his friends often traveled the world with Jack's Uncle Jim.  As a chaperon, Uncle Jim left  much to be desired because the trio kept bouncing from intrigue to adventure to danger and back again.  All this affected Jack's schoolwork because he did not graduate from high school until the final season when he became a government agent.  Not to worry -- Jack's slow scholastic progress was assuredly offset by his copious consumption of Wheaties.

Here's the ten episodes that comprised "The Adventures of the Sunken Reef."



He came on the scene almost half a century ago with his first acclaimed album, "A Harvest of Gentle Clang.".   From him I learned the world's most terrible shaggy dog story -- the one about Siberian Peach pie -- much to the dismay of many of my friends.  He wowed me then.  He wows me still.

Ladies and gentleman, here's a whole lot of gentle clang from Patrick Sky:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


The Terrytooners with Mitch Miller and Orchestra.


Q:  How many lawyers does it take to screw in a light bulb?

A:  How many can you afford?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Damita Jo.


Diagnosis: Unknown ran for nine episodes during the summer of 1960.  Starring Patrick O'Neal as  Dr. Daniel Coffee, the show was based on characters created by Lawrence G. Blochman.  Dr. Coffee was a crime solving medical examiner who appeared in short stories in the late 1940s and the 1950s.  He made his first television appearance on August 22, 1947 in an episode on The Lux Video Theater titled "Diagnosis -- Homicide."  Diagnosis:  Homicide was also the title of the first Dr. Coffee collection, which won a 1951 Edgar award in the short story category.

"The Case of the Radiant Wine" was the first episode in the summer replacement series and featured Cal Bellini as Coffee's assistant Dr. Motital Mookerji and Chester Morris as Detective Lieutenant Ritter.  Also in the cast were such talents as Patricia Barry, Tom Bosley, Larry Hagman, and Phyllis Newman.  Rounding out the cast were Millette Alexander, Martin Huston, and Murray Matheson.


Monday, June 23, 2014


Ladies and gentlemen, Bo Diddley is in the house.


A lot of fantasy this week.  Is there anyone out there who isn't writing multi-book series?
  • C.J. Cherryh, Fortress of Dragons.  Fantasy, the concluding book in the Fortress quartet.
  • Eoin Colfer, Artemis Fowl:  The Arctic Incident and Artemis Fowl:  The Eternity Code.  YA fantasies about a twelve-year-old criminal genius.
  • Glen Cook, Starfishers.  SF.  Volume 2 in the Starfishers trilogy.
  • Robert Crais, Chasing Darkness.  An Elvis Cole mystery.
  • Clive Cussler with Paul Kemprecos, Medusa.  A Kurt Austin adventure from the NUMA Files.   I've mentioned before that I'm a fan of Kemprecos, so I'm apt to pick up one of these books more than I am others Cussler wrote with different coauthors.
  • M. Coleman Easton, Masters of Glass.  Fantasy.  The author's first book, part of a duology.
  • Alan Dean Foster, The Deluge Drivers.  SF, the conclusion of the Iceriggers trilogy.
  • "Jack Higgins"  (Harry Patterson), Rough Justice.  Thriller.  Former IRA assassin turned British agent Sean Dillon is back.
  • Michael Jahn, The Frighteners.  Movie tie-in novel.  Long before tackling Tolkien, Peter Jackson directed this Michael J. Fox vehicle.
  • Terry C. Johnston, Sioux Dawn.  Western about the 1866 Fetterman Massacre, one of only three in our nation's history in which there were no survivors.  (You know what the other two were.)   This is Book One in Johnston's Plainsmen series.
  • William W. Johnstone with J. A. Johnstone, Assault of the Mountain Man.  A Smoke Jenson western.
  • Neil Jones & David Pringle, editors, Deathwing.  Gaming (Warhammer 40,000) tie-in anthology with ten stories.
  • Henning Mankill, The Return of the Dancing Master.  A non-Wallander mystery.  Translated by Laurie Thompson.
  • "Jack McKinney" (pseudonym used alternately by Brian Daley & James Luceno), Robotech #18:  The End of the Circle.  Gaming (Robotech) tie-in novel, supposedly the last of the series although Luceno went on to write three more.
  • Jody Lynn Nye, Medicine Show.  SF, the second in the Taylor's Ark series.
  • R. A. Salvatore, Gauntlgrym, gaming (Forgotten Realms) tie-in novel, Book 1 in the Neverwinter Saga, and The Witch's Daughter, Book Two in the fantasy series The Chronicles of Ynis Aielle.
  • Charles Sheffield, The Web Between the Worlds.  Hard SF about a space elevator.  This is the revised 2001 edition and has an introduction by Arthur C. Clarke, whose space elevator novel The Fountains of Paradise was published the same year as the first edition of this book.
  • Lawrence Watt-Evans, The Unwilling Warlord.  Fantasy, the second in a series.
  • Margaret Weis & David Baldwin, Dark Heart.  Fantasy, Book 1 of Dragon's Disciple.

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Last Monday, we celebrated the Kangaroo's 23rd month birthday by checking him into Children's National Medical Center in D.C.  Nothing to worry about.  He's fine.

A little bit of background.  Christina and Walt began fostering the Kangaroo when he was six weeks old, following a four-week drug detox at Children's National.  We have no idea of what happened during his first two weeks of life, except that he was evidently sent home with his mother.  The Kangaroo is the third of four children born to the mother from four different fathers, beginning when she was fifteen; the second child was also born drug-addicted.   We have no idea who his father was, although at least two men have been DNA-tested and found not to be the father.  His mother was living with her mother, her mother's boy friend, her sister, her kids, her sister's kids, and probably a few others.  I do not like to disparage anyone, but her entire family seems like a waste of protoplasm.  She, her mother, her sister and her mother's boyfriend all appear to be small-time abusers of the system with several drug-related charges files.  The Kangaroo's mother has been charged with theft, probation violations, and intent to sell.  Social Services has recommended that the mother's rights be terminated and that Christina and Walt be allowed to formally adopt the Kangaroo.

The Kangaroo is an amazing boy, super loving and very smart.  He charms everyone he meets.  But he does have problems, some of which stem from the drugs his mother put in his system.  He is developmentally delayed.  He crawled late (before he was able to sit up) and walked late.  He is hyperactive and is always on the go; his mind seems unable to process one thing before he is on to the next thing -- something that is common in drug babies.  His vocabulary is much less than a normal two-year-old's, although he has many more words than he is able to pronounce.  He is small and is at the bottom of the weight chart.  He cannot swallow solid food and drinks only Pediasure from a bottle.  He likes strong tastes and will hold a spicy Dorito corn chip in his mouth for ten or fifteen minutes without ever swallowing.  He does not seem to be able to control his tongue enough to be able to learn to swallow food.  He has not been able to gain as much weight as the doctors would like and they were afraid of more developmental problems down the road.  So the goal was to give him a feeding tube and thus we went to Children's National.

You have to understand that despite all of the above, the Kangaroo is one healthy kid.

There are two options for feeding tubes: an NG tube that is inserted into the nostril down to the stomach, and a gastric tube that is surgically attached.  If the Kangaroo pulls out an NG tube (something that he is apt to do), it can easily be reinserted; if he pulls out a gastric tube (also something that he is apt to do) it means a fast trip to the nearest emergency room (about 20 miles away from Christina's house).  We were told that the hospital stay would be two days, three at the most.  Christina, Kitty, and I would have to learn how to insert the tube.  (Kitty and I because we watch the Kangaroo while Christina's at work or at school.)  We were lucky to get out of there after just five days.

The people at Children's National are fabulous, kind, and concerned.  And determined.  They would not release the Kangaroo until they were sure that the feeding tube would help him gain weight.  There was a team of doctors -- I think I counted about thirteen -- and then there were the specialists (speech and feeding specialists and otherwise), the nurses, and the lab people.  There were blood tests, x-rays, chromosome tests, and others I have forgotten.   There were weight checks, blood pressure checks, temperature checks, and pulse ox tests every four hours.  People were in and out of that room as if it were a bus station.

Now the room was cool, much larger than we expected.  It had a very uncomfortable sofa and they brought in a very uncomfortable recliner and there was a cafeteria chair.  The three of us took turns trying to sleep.  On our last night there, the nurses brought in another recliner that had been in a room recently unoccupied.  We were on the seventh floor (out of seven -- the penthouse floor, if you will) and out window was just opposite the helicopter landing pad.  The Kangaroo liked that.  We got to see helicopters arriving and leaving at all hours of the day and night, which was cool except when you began to consider what condition the helicopter's young passengers might be in.  Oh, and helicopters just outside your window are noisy.

The Kangaroo was on a 12-hour feeding tube, from 8:00 pm to 8:00 am, in addition to his regular bottles.  While being fed through the tube, he was confined to his bed -- a crib-like affair with metal bars and a hard plastic top.  Hospitals being hospitals, where anything can happen anywhere, several times he did not begin his tube feed until 10:00 pm -- which meant that a very active boy had to be confined to the bed for several hours when he would normally be running around.  And we kept having to move the bed because the nurses would invariably kept it where the Kangaroo could (and would and did) reach out and unplug all sorts of equipment.

The hospital arranged for the medical equipment needed to maintain the tube (including a pump) to be delivered to Christina's house and for a nurse to come by and explain how everything worked.   Theoretically the tube can remain inserted for thirty days before needing to be replaced.  (In reality, the Kangaroo pulled out three tubes in the first twenty-four hours.)  On Friday morning we were told that the Kangaroo was to be discharge early in the afternoon.  Hospital being hospitals, and hospital time being hospital time, early afternoon passed into mid-afternoon, when Christina got a telephone call from the medical equipment company saying the nurse would be at her house soon to explain how to work the equipment.  Unfortunately, we're still at the hospital and haven't been discharged yet, Christina said.   Well. she'll see you as soon as you're discharged, they said.  But I live two hours away from the hospital, and that's with no traffic and there will be Friday afternoon weekend rush hour traffic, Christina said.  But the nurse only works until five o'clock, they said.  And I'm still at the hospital, Christina said.  But she only works until five o'clock, they said, as if it were a magic mantra that would allow Christina to bend time and space.  And so on and so on.  And, by the way, did you know that our equipment is incompatible with the tubing the hospital uses so that when you get home you will have to change the tube with one of ours?  (They threw that last little bit of information out there in a rather off-handed manner.)

The Kangaroo does NOT LIKE the tube being inserted and it takes a minimum of three adults to hold him down during the procedure.  He's strong and he's active and his favorite word is "nononononono!"   It does not hurt having the tube inserted but it is uncomfortable and if you are under two years old (or over two years old, for that matter) you don't want that thing anywhere near your face.

Anyway, we're home now and very much in love with our mattress.  Being able to stretch out and lie flat is something one should not take for granted.

Life goes on.  Mark and Erin are glad that Mommy and the Kangaroo are back where they belong.  The Kangaroo is on the path to gaining weight.  He still can't swallow food, but more testing and therapy is scheduled to address that problem.  Any other problems, current or potential, will be met and dealt with.  The Court system in Maryland moves slowly so we're not sure how long it will be before Christina and Walt can legally adopt the Kangaroo, but he's back where he is loved and cared for.

And all is right in our little world.


The Blind Boys of Alabama.

Monday, June 16, 2014


I'll be away from the computer for a short while.  Stay happy.


Tom Rush.


  • "M. C. Beaton" (Marion Chesney), Death of a Gossip, Death of a Scriptwriter, and Death of a Snob.  Three cases for Hamish Macbeth.
  • Jack L. Chalker, The Devil's Voyage.  Thriller based on the U. S. S. Indianapolis.
  • Jeanne M. Dams, The Corpse of St. James.  A Dorothy Martin cozy mystery.
  • Sharyn McCrumb, St. Dale.  A novel about a Dale Earnhart Memorial Pilgrimage.
  • George Pelecanos, The Turnaround.  Urban noir.

Sunday, June 15, 2014


Today is Father's Day, but we celebrated Kitty's father yesterday on Flag Day, his birthday.  Kitty's father was quite a guy.  He never finished high school.  Instead he and his cousin enlisted in the Navy at the beginning of World War II; to pass the physicals they each had to pretend they were each other for parts of the physicals.  Kitty's father ended up in the Pacific where his ship was bombed, tearing out most of its hull.  Deep in the belly of the ship, standing in deep water, Harold worked in near darkness and in danger of being electrocuted, restoring power to the ship so that it was able to limp to port and safety.  He received a Bronze Star for that.  After the War, married and with a baby, he took advantage of the G.I. and went to Georgia Tech to earn his degree in engineering.  He was almost kicked out when the university discovered that he had not finished high school; Harold pointed out that he never claimed to finish high school and pointed to his application, which bore him out.  He was allowed to stay, earn his degree, and begin his career, most of which was with government contractors working on the space program.  Harold came from a tough, long-lived Irish family.  I used to say that you couldn't kill them with a stick.  Harold almost brought truth to the saying.  He beat pancreatic cancer twice,  but the third time was the unlucky charm.  He passed away 14 years ago, just a few weeks before his grandson Mark was born.  And the circle of life continued.

Harold loved ice cream and often he would take the family out to Kimball's ice cream stand in Westford, Massachusetts, for an ice cream dinner.  (To this day, Kimball's serves fantastic ice cream in large portions.  If you are ever in the area, try one of their banana splits and see for yourself.  Who knows?  You might be able to finish one.)  So every year we celebrate Harold's birthday by going out and having ice cream for dinner.  Jessie and her daughter Amy are in Massachusetts so naturally they went to Kimball's and posted a picture of a gi-normous banana split on facebook.  Kitty and I went to Bert's 50s Diner in Mechanicsville, Maryland -- the best place for ice cream in Southern Maryland.  Joining us were Christina, Mark, Erin, and the Kangaroo (who incidently is going by the name Jack Harold.)  So, happy birthday, happy Flag Day, and happy Father's Day to a man who was very important to all of us -- some of us because we knew him and loved him, and others because they are part of his legacy.

While Harold was out in the Pacific, another Harold -- a man named Harold Speed -- gave his life on one of those small islands in the Pacific while fighting the Japanese.  He, for reasons I'm unsure of, was called "Jerry" and he was a good friend of my parents and is the reason I am named as I am.  My father was a few years older than Kitty's.  As with Kitty's father, mine left high school early, not for the service but to work on a farm.  The principal of his high school did not take kindly to this and fought for my father to go back and graduate.  A compromise was made and my father attended school for one day every two weeks and so, unlike Kitty's father, was able to finish high school.  Times were changing and farms were slowly vanishing and my father was ambitious.  Married an with three very young children, he began a part time construction business, building new homes.  Six years later, that became his full-time business.  My father was the most honest person have met.  In more than twenty-five years of business, he never had a contract with his customers.  Business was sealed with a handshake and his word was his bond.  Some people in this world are givers and others are takers; my father was a giver.  Throughout his life he had a positive impact on his neighbors, friends, family, and complete strangers.  Physically he was a strong man but much of his strength came from his character.  If I could only be half the man my father was my time on earth would have been well spent.

I suspect most of you have similar feelings about your fathers.  To be a father is a special privilege.  For some, fatherhood comes naturally.  For others, it may take a bit of work.  Most fathers honestly try their best and that means everything to their children.

Fathers.  Bless them all.


Dr. Phil Harmonic's Jug Band Orchestra.


Don McLean.

This one's for Kitty.

Saturday, June 14, 2014


Jimmy Cagney.


From May 1953, Mister Mystery presents four tales of mystery and suspense:
  • "Beauty and the Beast!"  An ugly fashion designer creates a beautiful robot, but beauty can be fickle...and dangerous.  Comics legend Basil Wolverton worked on this one.
  • "The Marriage of Life and Death!"  There's nothing like a young couple in love, except when the man has both a past and a curse hanging over him.  By the way, the couple are Nick and Dora (which reminds me of Nick and Nora -- without the fun repartee).
  • "Yakity-Yakity-Yak"  How to get away from a nagging wife?  Built a time machine and escape into the past -- the far distance past, but hooking up with a cave girl has its own problems.
  • "The Little Monster"  Young Gloria has a deadly pet, one that hates her aunt as much as shee does.
Also, a short text story, "First Come, First Served," about a husband hiring a hit man to kill his wife.

All in all, a pretty neat issue.

Friday, June 13, 2014


Brian Hyland.

And, en francais, pas Richard Anthony.


The Golden Summer by Daniel Nathan (1953)

"Daniel Nathan" is, of course, Frederic Dannay -- the half of Ellery Queen usually credited with plotting the mysteries.  Frederic Dannay was born in New York City but his family moved to Elmira,  New York, shortly thereafter and Dannay was raised there until he was eleven.  (His best friend in Elmira was a boy named Ellery.)  The Golden Summer is an autobiographical novel about a few magical months in Danny Nathan's childhood.

It's a remarkably evocative novel.  The outside world and its problems are outside the ken of small boy.  The warm sun, the green grass, a new Tarzan novel, a best friend...these are what are usually in the forefront of Danny's mind.  But there are also the myriad fears and anxieties that many of us gloss over when we remember our childhood.   The sun and the grass and Tarzan and a friend usually win out at the end of the day.

This is a wonderful Bradbury-esque book.  The reason it is a Forgotten Book is that it bombed.  There was, I believe, only one printing and no paperback edition.  In an effort to spur sales, Dannay reprinted three episodes from the book in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, each with a glowing introduction from a well-known author, but few readers bought the book, which was marketed with no indication that "Daniel Nathan" was a pseudonym.  A shame.

There are just three copies available on Abebooks, ranging from $65 to $150.  You're best bet would be to get the book through an Interlibrary Loan.  It's worth it.


This week's Forgotten Books are being curated by Evan Lewis at Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and the Wild West.  Check it out.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Ewan McColl.


Two kids were brought into the police station.  One was found drinking battery acid while the other was eating firecrackers.  The police charged one and let the other one off.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Gogi Grant.


Tough guy George Raft plays NYPD Lt. George Kirby in this short-lived syndicated series from 1953.  This episode is titled "The Cowboy and the Blind Man" and features Rochelle Hudson as sharpshooter Cynthia Chase (I went to high school with a girl named Cynthia Chase -- not the same person, obviously), Gordon Jones as Sandy McNeil, and Percy Helton as the blind man, Dick Murphy.

From February 20, 1953:

Monday, June 9, 2014


Fat City (Bill Danoff & Taffy Nivert).


A lot of anthologies this time out.
  • Rex Alexander, Night Calls.  Thriller.
  • Patrick Andrews, Track #12:  Drug Runner.  Men's action adventure.  Does anyone know if Andrews is a house name?
  • [Anonymous editor], Angel: The Longest Night, Vol. 1.  Television tie-in anthology with twelve stories, all taking place in a single night.  Also, Great Murder Mysteries, an instant remainder anthology with 66 mystery stories.
  • Mike Ashley, editor, The Mammoth Book of Dickensian Whodunnits, The Mammoth Book of Roaring Twenties Whodunnits, and The Mammoth Book of Roman Whodunnits.  Three anthologies of historical mysteries with 22, 23, and 20 stories, respectively.
  • Kage Baker, Sky Coyote.  SF novel, second in the Company series.
  • Iain M. Banks, Transition. SF.
  • Greg Bear, The Collected Stories of Greg Bear.  SF collection with 24 stories and three introductions,  Two of the stories had previously been published separately:  Sleepside Story and Heads.  Signed.
  • Gary Braunbeck, Mr. Hands.  Horror.
  • Herbert Breen, Hardly a Man Is Now Alive.  A Rex Frame/Constance Wilder mystery.
  • Steve Brewer, Witchy Woman.  A Bubba Mabry mystery.
  • John Burke, The Devil's Footsteps.  Horror novel featuring supernatural detective Dr. Alexander Caspian.
  • Jeff Conner, editor, Zombies vs. Robots:  This Is War!  Comic book tie-in anthology with eleven stories.
  • M. C. Carey, The Mystery of the Flaming Footprints.  A Three Investigators juvenile mystery.
  • Humphrey Carpenter, Secret gardens:  The Golden Age of Children's Literature.  Non-fiction.
  • Terry Carr, editor, Universe 13.  SF anthology with seven stories.
  • Leslie Charteris, Count on the Saint.  Two novellas in the long-running series; original  outlines by Donne Averill and "developed" by Graham Weaver.
  • William L. Chester, Kioga of the Wilderness.  A classic lost-world adventure.
  • Richard Dalby, editor, The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories.  Horror anthology with 52 stories.
  • Jack Dann & Gardner Dozois, editors, Little People!  Fantasy anthology with 11stories.
  • Ellen  Datlow & Terri Windling, editors, Black Swan, White Raven.  Fantasy anthology with 21 new takes on fairy tales.
  • Roger Elwood, editor, Frontiers 2:  The New Mind.  SF anthology with nine stories.
  • Gillian Flynn, Dark Places.  Mystery. 
  • J. F. Gonzalez, Shapeshifter.  Horror.
  • Paula Guran, editor,  Season of Wonder (18 SF Christmas Stories) and Vampires:  The Recent Undead (25 neck-biter stories).
  • Peter Haining, The Irish Leprechaun's Kingdom.  Non-fiction about the various creatures of Irish legend and folklore.
  • "Cyril Hare" (A. A. Gordon Clark), The Wind Blows Death.  A Francis Pettigrew mystery.
  • Herbert Harris, editor, John Creasey's Crime Collection 1982.  Annual Crime Writers' Association anthology (their 21st collection) with 17 stories.
  • Simon Hawke, Psychodrome 2:  The Shapeshifter Scenario.  SF.
  • "Jack Hawkins" (probably Nicholas Cain, who wrote most -- if not all -- of this series), Chopper 1 #10:  Monsoon Massacre.  Men's action-adventure.
  • Elizabeth Anne Hull, editor, Gateways.  SF anthology in honor of Frederik Pohl (Hull's husband) with 18 stories and eight appreciations.
  • Maxim Jakabowski, editor, The Mammoth Book of Vintage Whodunnits and New Crimes 3.  Mystery anthologies with 27 and 16 stories, respectively.
  • Stephen Jones, editor, The Monster Book of Zombies.  Horror anthology with 26 stories.
  • Philip Kerr, The Second Angel.  Dystopian thriller.
  • Hugh Lamb, editor, Return from the Grave. Horror anthology with 20 stories.
  • "Murray Leinster (Will F. Jenkins), Land of the Giants.  Television tie-in novels.  The TV show was really bad.  And the book?  Let's hope not.
  • Edgar Lustgarten, Verdict in Dispute.  Non-fiction examining six famous murder trials.
  • The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.  January 1978 and April 1981 issues.
  • Mack Maloney, Wingman, Wingman #2:  The Circle War, and Wingman #3:  The Lucifer Crusade.  The first three volumes in the men's action adventure series.  "Mad Max with wings."
  • Cynthia Manson, editor, Blood Threat & Fears.  Suspense anthology with 33 stories from AHMM and EQMM.  Note the lack of commas in the title.
  • Cynthia Manson & Kathleen Halligan editors, Murder to Music. Mystery anthology with 15 stories from AHMM and EQMM
  • Robert McCammon, The Five.  Rock and Roll novel with a McCammon twist.
  • "Barbara Michaels" (Barbara Mertz), The Master of Blacktower.  Romantic suspense, aka "Gothic."
  • Margaret Millar, Ask for Me Tomorrow. A Tom Aragon mystery.
  • William Morris, On the Lines of William Morris.  Omnibus of the novels The Wood Beyond the World and The Well at World's End, two fantasies that inspired Tolkien.
  • Helen Neilson, Sing Me a Murder.  Mystery.
  • David Pirie, The Patient's Eyes.  Mystery with Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Joseph Bell.
  • Anne Rice, The Vampire Chronicles Collection.  Horror omnibus containing Interview with a Vampire, The Vampire Lestat, and The Queen of the Damned.
  • Peter Robinson, Cold Is the Grave.  An Alan Banks mystery.
  • Budd Schulberg, Writers in America.  Non-fiction.  Reminiscences of six famous authors.
  • "Luke Short" (Frederick Glidden), The Whip.  Western.
  • Marie R. Reno, Final Proof.  Mystery.
  • Mike Resnick, editor, Down These Dark Spaceways.  Anthology with six SF/mystery novellas.
  • James Reynolds, More Ghosts in Irish Houses.  Occult?  Folklore?  Twaddle?  I love reading this sort of thing.
  • John Scalzi, editor, Metatropolis.  SF shared world anthology with five novelettes.
  • Don Smith, Secret Mission #1:  Istanbul, #9: Haitian Vendetta, #13: Peking, #16:  The Libyan Contract, and #19:  The Dalmatian Tapes.  Men's action adventure.
  • Wendy Corsi Staub, In the Blink of an Eye.  Suspense.
  • John Richard Stephens, editor, Vampires, Wine & Roses.  Horror anthology with 34 stories, poems, and excerpts.
  • Eleanor Sullivan, editor, Ellery Queen's Lost Men.  Mystery anthology with 21 stories from EQMM.
  • "Paul Tabori" (Paul Tabor), Harry Price Ghost-Hunter.  Biography by the writer who was also Price's literary executor.
  • Tales of Magic and Mystery, February 1928.  Facsimile reprint of the pulp magazine.
  • Sherri S. Tepper, The Family Tree.  SF.
  • Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Murder.  Mystery.
  • David Wallechinsky, Amy Wallace, & Irving Wallace, editors, The Book of Predictions.  Lists, lists, and more lists.  Fun.
  • David Weber, The Apocalypse Troll.  SF.
  • Colin Wilson, Poltergeist: A Study in Destructive Haunting.  Speculative non-fiction?  Wilson was evidently a strong believer in the occult, to judge by the number of books he wrote on the subject.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


Mystery Hill is located in Salem, New Hamphire.  Supposedly an ancient Viking site (although other origins have been suggested), the place gives one a fascinating walk through maybes and couldbes.  I visited the place several times in my youth, speaking through the secret chamber and laying on the sacrificial rock, all of which convinced me that much of the legend about Mystery Hill is hype.  Minus the hype, however, it is still a worthwhile jaunt.

Oh.  And Lovecraft evidently visited there and was impressed.


Sandy Patty.

Friday, June 6, 2014


The Memphis Jug Band.


Rebels:  City of Indra:  The Story of Lex and Livia by Kendall and Kylie Jenner (2014)

OK.  So it's not a Forgotten Book, but I predict it soon will be.

And, yeah, I haven't read it and probably never will.

And I've never seen their television show.

But I know they're part of the Kardashian clan and I've seen their names on the tabloids at the supermarket checkout lane.  And their dad is Bruce Jenner and he's been looking really weird lately.

Somebody in that group had a sex tape, but I don't think it was either of them, although one of them did show up topless somewhere recently.

And that's all I know about the Jenner girls and their book.

But that's not going to stop me from reviewing a book I have never seen.   Because I'm pretty sure I can guess the contents.

In no particular order:
  • Make-up
  • Clothes
  • Angst
  • More clothes
  • More angst
  • Some kind of made-up city
  • Friendship
  • Misunderstandings
  • Clothes
  • Romance (probably not too steamy because one of the "authors" is only 16)
  • Did I mention make-up?
  • Guys falling for girls
  • Girls being cool
  • Lots of adjectives and adverbs
  • Lots of words used to substitute the word "said"
  • Clothes
So there you have it.  A great beach read for those who do not read.

For the rest of you:  forget it.

After all, it's a Forgotten Book.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


The Everly Brothers.


The Blue Beetle was a costumed hero first appearing in Mystery Men Comics #1 (August 1939).  Dan Garret (just one "t" to begin with) was a rookie policeman whose father had been killed by a criminal.  Over the years, the Blue Beetle underwent a number of changes and eventually the name went to Taxes teenager Jaime Reyes who became the crime fighter via a magic scarab.  Evidently the Blue Beetle is still going strong.

The radio show, however, was not strong enough to survive its short run from May to September, 1940.  Taking the lead as the original Blue Beetle for the first thirteen shows was Frank Lovejoy, after which he was replaced by an unknown actor.

Here's the first episode, Opium Gang:

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


The Byrds.


1937's The Outer Gate features Ben Alexander (Dragnet, Felony Squad) as Bob Terry, a young man railroaded to jail for the theft of bonds from his employer John Bordon, played by Ralph Morgan (Mother Carey's Chickens, The Creeper).  Years later the true thief is revealed and Bob is released from prison, wanting revenge on Bordon (who also happens to be the father of Lois, the woman he loves, played by Kay Linaker (Drums Along the Mohawk, Kitty Foyle).   Bonds are stolen again and Bob is involved.  Bob's former cellmate, Todd (Eddie Acuff, The Petrified Forest, Blondie's Big Deal -- and BTW, today is Acuff's 101st birthday) manages to steal the bonds back and helps Bob redeem himself.

Based on an Octavus Roy Cohen novel and scripted by A. (Anne) Laurie Brazee, this by-the-numbers movie was directed by Raymond Cannon for Monogram Pictures.  Cohen, of course, was a very popular novelist and magazine writer in the first half of the last century, racking up 57 books and uncounted short stories.  The Outer Gate was Brazee's second (and last) screenplay, the first being fora Columbia Pictures romcom done the year before.  Cannon directed a dozen other pictures, including 1931's Swanee River featuring Thelma Todd.  He also acted in 14 silents and had twenty writing credits from 1924 to 1945.


Monday, June 2, 2014


Kitty's brother passed away last night of congestive heart failure.  He had been ill for some time and, as he put it, he knew his expiration date had been stamped.  Still, it's always a shock when someone you know and love dies.  He was 61.

Stephen was the fun-loving brother.  He had a great sense of humor, was a fantastic story teller, and was whip-crack smart.  For years he lived by the Potomac in Mount Vernon, on land once owned by George Washington.  And for years we would shipped our girls with her parents to  D.C. for Thanksgiving weekend with him.  When Christina was 16 and had her driver's license, she spent the summer as nanny to Stephen's two kids, ages three and five; that was the year when Christina learned patience.  Stephen was the one who taught her to drive a stick shift.  Both my daughters went to school in the D.C. area and Stephen's became their home away from dorm.  Weekends, Stephen would sail his boat up to Washington and take Christina and her college friends on a cruise to Mount Vernon.  After graduating, while looking for her first real job Christina lived at Stephen's.

When Stephen's job relocated to the Patuxent River Naval Air Base, he moved his boat to Southern Maryland, living on the boat during the week and commuting to Virginia on the weekends.  Yep, the man loved his boats and loved to sail.  Later, after his job went belly-up after 25 years, Stephen took early retirement and he and his boat moved to Beaufort, South Carolina -- a place that seemed to call to him.

(It was while visiting Stephen in Southern Maryland that eventually convinced us to move here.  We wouldn't go to Beaufort, though -- too darned hot.)

He had a number of health problems the last few years and the burden of those affected him.  He was not as carefree as he had been early.  There was a pall over him and I wish that it were not so.  The Stephen I had known since I was 19 had understandably changed; but the last time I saw him there still vivid flashes of the man I knew, the man of warmth and humor and courage.

He should not have gotten sick.  He should have lived a longer and more fulfilled life and, if grandchildren ever came along, he should have been able to enjoy them, teach them to sail, and tell them all sort of stories.

He's gone, dammit, and Kitty and I loved him.


Giselle MacKenzie.


  • Ted Dekker, Black, Red, and White, the complete fantasy trilogy, also Obsessed and Saint, thrillers.
  • Luis Alfredo Garcia-Roza, Southwesterly Wind.  An Inspector Espinosa mystery.
  • [Joe Guenther], Don Pendleton's The Executioner #267:  Invisible Invader and Don Pendleton's The Executioner #288:  Arctic Blast.  Men's action-adventure.
  • Carla Jablonski, The Books of Magic 2:  Bindings.  YA comic book tie-in novel.
  • Barbara Lee, Dead Man's Fingers.  A Chesapeake Bay mystery.
  • [Gerald Montgomery], Don Pendleton's The Executioner #264:  Iron Fist and Don Pendleton's The Executioner #266:  Ultimate Price.  Men's action-adventure.
  • Warren Murphy, The Destroyer #53:  Time Trial.  Men's action-adventure.
  • Anne Perry, Bethleham Road and Callander Square. Charlotte and Thomas Pitt mysteries.
  • Shapard Rifkin, The Murderer Vine.  PI novel.
  • Donald Rumbelow, The Complete Jack the Ripper.  Non-fiction.
  • "Dell Shannon" (Elizabeth Linington), The Motive on Record.  A Luis Mendoza mystery.
  • Allen Steele, Orbital Decay.  SF novel in the author's Near-Space series.
  • [Jerry VanCook], Don Pendleton's The Executioner #265:  Freedom Force.  Men's action-adventure.
  • Randy Wayne White, Dark Light.  A Doc Ford mystery.