Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Filler Post

I had intended to bore you with my own version of "photos from my summer vacation" here on the blog, but as so often happens reality has intruded.  Since I got home, I've been wrapped up in Mom's plans to move from her apartment to an assisted living facility.  I'm scaling a mountain of paperwork at the moment.  I'll get something interesting up here soon.  In the meantime, I can at least tell you that a company has purchased the rights to publish India in Germany.  Must get my hands on one of those editions.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Lotus House

My first short story will be published electronically by Berkley Prime Crime on December 31st.  You've got lots of time to decide whether you want to find out how India acquired the means to set up her brothel, but if you're chomping at the bit you can pre-order NOW at Amazon.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Malignant Heart

THE MALIGNANT HEART – Celestine Sibley (1958)

I love a good title and this is one is a cracker, especially when you know that the phrase comes from the Georgia Criminal Code’s statute regarding murder:  “Malice shall be implied…where all the circumstances show an abandoned and malignant heart.”  They don’t write legislation like that anymore.

No one likes Paula Reynolds, editor of women’s news at the Atlanta Searchlight, one of the south’s leading newspapers.  When she is found dead at the desk of her assistant, Katie Kincaid, suspicion immediately falls upon Katie.  She has reason to dislike Paula as she had insisted that Katie leave the pool of reporters (where Katie wrote about crime and murders) and help her in the women’s department, which focuses on recipes, gardening and social events.  Katie is not happy being relegated to this journalistic backwater, but is that reason enough to kill Paula?  Well, of course not.  Katie is the heroine, after all, and she’s narrating the action.  When a second murder occurs Katie vows to find the killer.

It’s surely a coincidence that during this challenge I’ve found myself reading a half-dozen mysteries in which the detecting is inadequate but the setting, the characters, and the writing still make the book worth reading.  Armstrong was a reporter for the Atlanta Constitution and so it’s no surprise that her depiction of life in the press room is full of the details which make it come alive for the reader.  I also enjoyed Armstrong’s insights into life in a sleepy southern city and the preoccupation of its inhabitants with social functions; it’s Opera Week in Atlanta and everyone is dressing up, having brunch at the country club and and reveling in cultural excess.  Finally, the book offers a peek at what constituted acceptable topics of interest to women:  fashion, gossip, flowers and creative uses of cake mixes.  No well-bred woman would exhibit the slightest interest in politics, business or sports.  I’d recommend this book and plan to read Armstrong’s others.

I read Sibley's book as part of Bev's Vintage Mystery Challenge, as an entry in the Golden Age Girls category.  I love this picture of Sibley in reporter mode:

Monday, May 21, 2012

French's Boxer

I didn't mean to disappear from the web for ten days, but that's what happens if you forget to take along your password and security questions for your blog account on your vacation.  We had a terrific time in London and I'll post up some of the highlights, including my Downtown Abbey moment and lunch with Elaine, just as soon as I get organized.  In the meantime, here's a post I did before I left and intended to post from London.

It just struck me that India and French both use guns named after dog breeds: the Bulldog and the Boxer.  I always refer to India's revolver as the Bulldog but the proper name given the gun by Webley, its manufacturer, is the British Bulldog.  No doubt the name was chosen deliberately as the bulldog is frequently invoked as a symbol of England and the English character.  There's a picture of a Bulldog revolver on my sidebar.

The Boxer dog did not become an established breed until the beginning of the 20th century and I doubt that Webley associated its Boxer revolver with the breed.  More likely, the choice of "Boxer" was meant to evoke the notion of pugilism.  French carries a .577 Boxer Revolver, which might have looked something like this:

It's difficult to find accurate pictures of this gun as Webley apparently manufactured very few of them.  I do love the look of this revolver.  It has a pugnacious attitude that justifies the name "Boxer."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Up, Up and Away

We're off.

British Immigration Services employees have announced they will be striking on the day we arrive.  I may spend the entire vacation in a queue at Heathrow.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Skull Cap

I always scroll through my spam emails because just occasionally a contact submission from my website ends up there.  At least, that used to be my excuse.  Now I find that I derive a certain amount of hilarity from spammers.  Today I had a message from Skull Cap:  "Looking for a skull cap?  We have the style for you."  I was really tempted to open that one.

Friday, May 4, 2012


I don't know how things go around your house when you're getting ready to travel, but here's the routine at ours:

Two Weeks Before the Trip:

One of us:  "Got everything you need for the trip?"
The other:   "Yep.  How 'bout you?"
The one:  "Yep.  Ready to go."

Two days Before the Trip:
One of us (okay, me):  Why did I ever think I'd get in these jeans?  I'm off to the mall.
The other:   "%^&*!  I need _____!"  Fill in the blank with toothpaste, a haircut, new socks, Q-tips, snacks for the plane, a prescription filled , etc.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

R.I.P. Bacchus

Requiescat in Pace

Binks vom Germelhaus
September 23, 1999 - May 1, 2012

Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferocity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices

"Epitaph to a Dog"