Openers: I always thought my father took a long chance, but somebody had to take it and certainly I was the one least likely to be suspected. It was a wild country. There were no banks. We had to pay for the cattle, and somebody had to carry the money. My father and my uncle were always being watched. My father was right, I think.
"Abner," he said, "I'm going to send Martin. No one would ever suspect that we would trust this money to a child."
My uncle drummed on the table and rapped his heels on the floor. He was a bachelor, stern and silent. But he could talk...and when he did, he began at the beginning and you heard him through; and what he said -- well, he stood behind it.
"To stop Martin," my father went on, "would be only to lose the money; but to stop you would be to get somebody killed.
I knew what my father meant. H meant that no one would undertake to rob Abner until after he had shot him to death.
-- Melville Davisson Post, "The Angel of the Lord"
Uncle Abner is a core character in the history of the mystery short story. The twenty-two short stories written about the character brought to life Western Virginia before the Civil War and gave readers a unique detective: a tall, strong, deeply religious man who saw himself as the tool of God's justice. "Abner belonged to the church militant and his God was a war lord...the god of the Tishbite, who numbered his followers by the companies who drew the sword. The land had need of men like Abner."
Although strong in his austere belief, Abner is portrayed as a sympathetic and somewhat likeable character. His affection for his nephew Martin is evident. Behind his rough exterior lies an intelligence that can sort out the most difficult of puzzles. Post's stories about him are delightfully readable. Abner is a character who can stand toe to toe with such literary detectives as Sherlock Holmes, Chesterton's Father Brown, Sayer's Lord Peter Wimsey, And Christie's Poirot and Jane Marple; he's that good.
The author, Melville Davisson Post (1869-1930), trained as a lawyer but had to give up that profession because of ill health. He had begun writing stories while in law school and eventually turning to writing as a full-time occupation. Some of his earlier stories were about a lawyer named Mason who would explore legal loopholes to ensure that justice was done. Sound familiar? More than one person has suggested that Randolph Mason was a prototype for Erle Stanley Garner's Perry Mason. Post also used real-life crimes and incidents in many of his stories; "indeed, they brought about some changes in the law," according to editor Marie Smith.
Post married in 1903 and was devoted to his wife. After their only child, a son, died of typhoid at eighteen months, they they traveled extensively in Europe. Later they bought and managed a stable of polo ponies. His wife died of pneumonia in 1919, leaving him devastated and he spent the rest of his life in loneliness. Post had built a home in Western Virginia, where he became devoted to horses. He died from a fall from a horse in 1930. He was 61. His boyhood home "Templemoor," near Clarksburg in Harrison County, West Virginia, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
Following Post's death, his estate asked writer John Suter to continue the Uncle Abner Series. Suter wrote fifteen tales about the implacable Methodist.
"The Angel of the Lord" was the first Uncle Abner story, published in The Saturday Evening Post, June 3, 1911, under the title :The Broken Stirrup-Leather." It, and many other Uncle Abner stories can be read online.
- P . Curran, Stay Out of New Orleans: Strange Stories. A self-published collection of thirteen stories, "A crass tour of feral streetlife in the 1990s. A lucid walk through the shadows of North America's best and weirdest city, a place that bewitches some visitors and infects others. A Bohemia stretching back to the dawn f absinthe. A town of hidden doors and open secrets. Each day a fresh crime waiting to happen, transcendent, fertile. Death lurking in every bar. No one knew it was a Golden Age. See what the flood washed away." This was a pig in a poke purchase since I know nothing of the author or the book. Evidently the author's records were destroyed in 2005; he (she?) notes that some of the stories appeared in print magazines and cites examples from memory. One appeared in Tribe in January 1996, but the author was never paid. One story was sold to Grue, "but I think they suspended publication." And "Either "Time from Texas" or "Cadiz & Cadizn't" first appeared in Skin 'N Bones around 1999." Note that the book was published by Cadiz & Cadizn't. I'm not too sure what to expect from this book. Maybe disappointment
- Lyndsay Faye, Dust and Shadow. Sherlockian novel, "an account of the Ripper killings by Dr. John H. Watson." "As England's greatest specialist in criminal detection, Sherlock Holmes is unwavering in his quest to capture the killer responsible for terrifying ,London's East End. H jhires an 'unfortunate' known as Mary Ann Monk, the friend of a fellow streetwalker who was one of the Ripper's earliest victims; and he relies heavily on the steadfast and devoted Dr. Watson. When Holmes himself is wounded in Whitechapel during an attempt to catch the savage monster, the popular press launches an investigation of its own, questioning the great detective's role in the very crimes he is so fervently struggling to prevent. Stripped of his credibility, Holmes if left with no choice but to break every rule in his desperate race to find the madman known as 'the Knife' before it is too late." How many stories/books pit Sherlock against Jack the Ripper? Certainly not hundreds, but it sure feels like it.
- Joyce Carol Oates, Haunted: Tales of the Grotesque. A collection of sixteen stories from the ever prolific Oates. "Citation to Joyce Carol Oates upon receiving the Rea Award for the short story, given annually 'to honor a writer who has made a significant contribution to the short story as an art form': 'One of the magical, things about Joyce Carol Oates is her ability constantly to reinvent not only the psychological space she inhabits but herself as well, as part of her fiction. She can operate, as a writer, out of a combination of bewilderment and immediate, intuitive understanding -- turning to fiction whatever impinges on her life, wherever she chooses to live it.' "
- Joshua Viola, editor, Nightmares Unhinged: Twenty Tales of Terror. "Nightmares come in many forms. Some rend the veil of sleep with heart-stopping madness. Others defy sanity to leave a helpless corner of your mind twitching for release. Sometimes, hours after waking, a nightmare across your memory, tainting you day with wisps of discomfort. Nightmares Unhinged reveals horror in all its mutable forms -- object to absurd -- through twenty tales of terror." Authors include Steve Rasnic Tem, Stephen Graham Jones, Mario Acevedo, and Edward Bryant. Signed and inscribed by one of the story authors, Dean Wyant.
- Florida Man Branden Dion Pearson, 27, has been arrested after beating and stabbing a ,man begging for food outside a KFC restaurant in Broward County. The man approached Pearson and an argument started which soon escalated into punching and rock throwing, at which point Pearson stabbed the man in the head. Pearson then entered the restaurant, sat down, and waited for police. Bail has been set at $50,000.
- There's a reason why motorcycles do not have child safety seats, as Florida Man Dontrell Stanley found out when he ran a stop sign in Tampa, swerved to avoid an oncoming car, and crashed his motorcycle -- all while carrying a 17-month child on his lap. The child, a girl, was thrown from the bike and landed under the car, suffering serious injuries. Stanley, who was the child's stepfather, received minor injuries and an arrest for child neglect and operating a motorcycle without a license.
- Tough Florida Woman Tillie Tooter, of Pembroke Pines, was 83-years-old when she was run off the road on Interstate 595 back in April 2000. Her car went over the retaining wall and fell over 50 feet into mangroves and muck. and there she stayed for three days before being found, surviving only on rain water, a cough drop, and cussed determination. 22-year-old Scott Campbell was eventually arrested for rear-ending Tillie's car and pushing it over the retaining wall. Campbell was placed on five years probation and ordered to pay Tillie's medical bills in exchange for pleading guilty to leaving the scene of an accident; charges of filing a false police report and culpable negligence were evidently dropped with the plea deal. A witness seeing Tillie's car going over the wall reported the incident to the Florida Highway Patrol, which failed to send an officer to investigate. Another witness reported the incident to Fort Lauderdale Fire-Rescue. Campbell's lawyers claimed that the young man fell asleep at the wheel and thought he might have the concrete abutment; Campbell himself stated that he wanted to apologize directly to Tilly but that his lawyers prevented him from doing so. Tilly eventually forgave Campbell and said she hoped he would make a good life for himself. Being made of stern stuff, Tillie Tooter lived for another fifteen years, dying in 2015, aged 98.
- New brain cancer immunotherapy shows promise in clinical trails -- most patients show no tumor growth in three years https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/heidelburg-vaccine-malignant-brain-tumors-success/
- Nearly-retired couples adopts seven siblings who had just lost their parents https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/pam-willis-gary-adopt-7-children-california/
- Cancer-surviving girl scout sells 32,000 boxes of cookies, with the proceeds going to sick kids https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/lilly-bumpus-cancer-survivor-32k-girl-scout-cookies-sold/
- Dick Van Dyke hands out money to struggling people standing in line for jobs https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/dick-van-dyke-gives-money-job-seekers-malibu/
- Scientists find evidence that there may be "fifth force" in nature, something that would turn physics on its head. This force, if it exists, will be one of the most important scientific discoveries of our time. https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/scientists-in-illinois-find-evidence-for-a-fifth-force-of-nature/
- Boy hero saves sister from choking after watching John Cena https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/john-cena-video-jaxson-dempsey/
- Air pollution and attributable deaths drop significantly in California https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/air-pollution-and-attributable-deaths-drop-substantially-in-california/