It’s here…

The first coronavirus death in the continental U.S. death happened today in Washington, north of Seattle.

The first case in Oregon was found yesterday, an elementary school teacher working in Lake Oswego. The school is now closed and everyone associated with it is in the process of being tested. That school is 6 miles from our house.

Feeling a little uncomfortable here.

Posted in At Home in Portland | 11 Comments

Old Stories: Deep Waters, edited by Martin Edwards

Deep Waters – Mysteries on the Waves edited by Martin Edwards, British Library, 2019 paperback, British Library Crime Classics series

Another in the excellent British Library Crime Classics series, of which I am a great fan.

The anthology:

A most enjoyable anthology, with many older, good examples, some well-known, of the mystery fiction world. Martin Edwards’ Introduction provides a survey of the sub-genre, and his notes on the authors of each story are excellent, as always.

The Stories:

So, to start with the Doyle. The Adventure of the “Gloria Scott” by Arthur Conan Doyle (1893): Although this is Holmes’ first ‘case’, it is, while interesting, hardly a detective story. Nevertheless, as a Holmes fan I was glad to reread it.

“The Eight Mile Lock” by LT Meade and R Eustace (1897): I’d read this one before, too, and remembered it as a bit silly. I was right. It’s about the theft and recovery of a diamond bracelet.

“The Gift of the Emperor” by EW Hornung (1899 ):Raffles, Bunny, and the theft of a magnificent pearl. We learn a lot about the relationship of the felonious duo, which I knew already, but this time I found the whole thing a bit tiresome. There are better Raffles stories, if that’s what you’re seeking.

“Bullion” by W.H. Hodgson (1911): Hodson returns to a favorite theme, a whistling, or whispering, entity haunting a room or house. This one takes place on a ship, and involves the theft of gold. Pretty good one.

“The Echo of a Mutiny” by RA Freeman (1912): Inverted tale of a murder with its roots in past misdeeds. I can’t say I liked it much.

“The Pool of Secrets” by Gwyn Evans (1935): Features an odd, mysterious detective, Quentin Ellery Drex. Involves a robot and an innovative murder method, by a prolific and seldom read writer.

“Four Friends and Death” by C StJ Sprigg (1935): I liked this story about three men faced with a poisoning. They had most of the facts…

“The Turning of the Tide” by CS Forester (1936): Though it is atmospheric, this inverted story of a well-planned but poorly executed murder left me disappointed. I’m not sure why.

“The Swimming Pool” by HC Bailey (1936): Reggie Fortune investigates a disappearance and murders in a tale with twists. Described by a Goodreads reader as “long-winded and written in an irritating style”. That’s a bit strong, but it could have been shorter.

“A Question of Timing” by Phyllis Bentley (1946): This was a good one, and the narrator prevents a murder.

“The Thimble River Mystery” by Josephine Bell (1950): I’d read this one before, somewhere, so it was slightly familiar. It features the author’s series detective, Dr David Wintringham.

“Man Overboard” by Edmund Crispin (1954): Another one I’d read before, but enjoyed all over again. DI Humbleby tells Gervase Fen why the police like blackmailers.

“Queer Fish” by Ken Bennett (1955): Predictable, story by a forgotten writer.

“The Man who Was Drowned by James Pattinson (1958): Investigation of a “man overboard’ on the high seas leads to complications and murder.

“Seasprite” by Andrew Garve (1963): Not much to my taste, but then he is not an author I like much. Some readers will like it for the irony.

“Death by Water” by Michael Innes (1975): A suspicious drowning, accident, suicide or murder?

I’d recommend it, but some of the stories are a little creaky.

Note on cover: the one you see here is the UK cover; the British Library edition. The U.S. title (Murder on the Waves) and cover by Poisoned Pen Press are different, showing a stream in woods.

Posted in Books & Reading, Friday Forgotten Books, Mystery, Short Stories | 9 Comments

Short Story February (4)

Continuing with short story reading for February, there are less because of the novel I read and also I’ve been otherwise busy. Next time will be the wrap-up.

I finished the Raffles story in Deep Waters, Mysteries on the Waves, edited by Martin Edwards, British Library Crime Classics and then set it aside for a bit while I read other things. I’ll get back to it later.

From Lost Lore: A Fantasy Anthology edited by Mark Lawrence. New (2017) original stories. Terrible Ten Press, Kindle Edition. I read just two more,
“Into the Woods” © 2017 by Timandra Whitecastle
“Paternus: Deluge” © 2017 by Dyrk Ashton
At which point I quit the anthology because I had read three stories in a row which I didn’t like, one that I really didn’t like, and I didn’t feel like continuing in hopes of another good one. I know that happens sometimes in anthologies like this, but there are too many good stories out there to bother with this. There is a second anthology by the same editor, which I will likely skip. So I can’t recommend this one.

The Thinking Machine: Fifty Novelettes and Short Stories by Jacques Futrelle, Neo Books, 2018
” Kidnapped Baby Blake, Millionaire”
Just the one, but I’ll get back to these, I like them.

From The Great Merlini: The Complete Stories of the Magician Detective by Clayton Rawson. I bought this ebook on the recommendation of Jeff Meyerson and I’m enjoying the stories a lot.
” The Clue of the Tatooed Man”
“The Clue of the Broken Legs”
“The Clue of the Missing Motive”
” From Another World”
“Off the Face of the Earth”
“Merlini and the Lie Detector”
“Merlini and the Vanished Diamonds”
“Merlini and the Sound Effects Murder”
“Nothing is Impossible”

I’ll be reading the last four of these in the next week.

From Michael J. Sullivan:
“Pile of Bones, A Legends story” This was a freebie with the Kickstarter for the final book in the series.

Next week will be the wrap-up for Short Story February. How is your short story reading for the month coming along?

Posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Fantasy, Mystery, Short Stories | 11 Comments

The Age of Death by Michael J. Sullivan

The Age of Death by Michael J. Sullivan, 2020 hardcover, fantasy. Book 5 of six in the Legends of the First Empire series.

I first learned of these books while reading the Black Gate blog. At that time it was projected to be a trilogy, and since it was mostly complete, I got the first two books, read them, and really enjoyed them. Then, before the third book came out it was announced that in order to do justice to the story, the series would stretch to six books.

In for a penny, in for a pound, as the saying goes, so I’ve kept reading, and enjoying. Make that really, really enjoying. Now we’re coming to the end of the story, with just the last book coming in May.

So, this book:

The Story:
Winter blankets the land, and more than just hope has died. Prevented from invading the Fhrey homeland by the tower of Avempartha, the western army seeks a way across the Nidwalden River before the fane obtains the secret of dragons. As time runs out for both humanity and the mystic Suri, the only chance for the living rests with the dead. Having made their fateful choice, can a handful of misfits do the impossible, or are they forever lost to an inescapable grave? Do gods truly exist? Is it possible to know the future? And what lies beyond the veil of death?

That intrepid group has been told there is a way, with a special key, to pass through the underworlds and emerge alive and well and emerge in the capitol of the Fhrey (elves) to bring about the end of the wars between Men, Elves, Giants, and Dwarves.

My Take:
This is all the lead-up to the series Sullivan wrote several years ago, a giant prequel, if you will, which I haven’t read. I’m enjoying these books enough, more than enough, to go on with that series after I finish the last one here. This is very good fantasy, well written, with strong characters, good plot, very good world building. If you like fantasy, this is for you.

As an additional note, the first three books were on my favorite books of the year list for 2018.

Posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Fantasy, Friday Forgotten Books | 10 Comments

Short Story February (3)

Continuing with short story reading for February. There is a break when a preordered fantasy novel, The Age of Death by Michael J. Sullivan arrived and I immediately started reading it. Back to stories next week. So far…

From Deep Waters, Mysteries on the Waves, edited by Martin Edwards, British Library Crime Classics:

The Echo of A Mutiny- RA Freeman (1912): Inverted tale of a murder with its roots in past misdeeds.
Rather dull.

The Pool of Secrets- Gwyn Evans (1935): Fun story, with a robot and an innovative murder method, by a prolific and bohemian writer, featuring the mysterious detective, Quentin Ellery Drex.

Four Friends and Death- C StJ Sprigg (1935): Amusing and clever take on classic detection by three amateurs faced with a poisoning.

The Turning of the Tide- CS Forester (1936): Atmospheric inverted story of a well-planned murder…

The Swimming Pool- HC Bailey (1936): Reggie Fortune investigates a disappearance and murders in a tale with twist which was longer than necessary.

From Lost Lore: A Fantasy Anthology edited by Mark Lawrence. New (2017) original stories. Terrible Ten Press, Kindle Edition.

The Thinking Machine: Fifty Novelettes and Short Stories by Jacques Futrelle, Neo Books, 2018
” Kidnapped Baby Blake, Millionaire”

How is your short story reading for the month coming along?

Posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Fantasy, Mystery, Short Stories | 14 Comments

Short Story February (2)

Continuing with short story reading for February.

This second week, I finished up The Best Max Carrados Detective Stories by Ernest Bramah, 1972 (Dover Mystery Classics, Kindle Edition):

“The Tragedy at Brookbend Cottage”
“The Last Exploit of Harry the Actor”
“The Ingenious Mr. Spinola”
plus Note on Sources

From Deep Waters, Mysteries on the Waves, edited by Martin Edwards, British Library Crime Classics. Some are familiar to me, most not.

The Adventure of the “Gloria Scott”-A Conan Doyle (1893): Although this is Holmes’ first ‘case’, it is, while interesting, hardly a detective story. The explanation of the mystery comes in a letter and not from any great feat of deduction.

The Eight Mile Lock-LT Meade and R Eustace (1897):Intriguing story about the scientific investigator, John Bell, looking into the theft of a diamond bracelet.

The Gift of the Emperor- EW Hornung (1899 ):Raffles, Bunny, and the theft of a magnificent pearl. We learn a lot about the relationship of the felonious duo.

From Lost Lore: A Fantasy Anthology edited by Mark Lawrence. New (2017) original stories. Terrible Ten Press, Kindle Edition. An interesting anthology.

“No Fairytale” © 2017 by Ben Galley
“And They Were Never Heard from Again” © 2017 by Benedict Patrick
“A Tree Called Sightless” © 2017 by Steven Kelliher
“Barrowlands” © 2017 by Mike Shel
“Into the Woods” © 2017 by Timandra Whitecastle
“Paternus: Deluge” © 2017 by Dyrk Ashton
“I, Kane” © 2017 by Laura M. Hughes

From The Thinking Machine: Fifty Novelettes and Short Stories by Jacques Futrelle. I’m enjoying these quite a bit.

“The Thinking Machine” – introductory story to the character
“The First Problem” – an actress disappears, as usual, things are simple, once explained
“The Problem of Cell 13” – a well-known story about a prison escape, which has been anthologized many times.
“My First Experience With The Great Logician” – a heart attack turns out to be poison…

How is your short story reading for the month coming along?

Posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Fantasy, Mystery, Short Stories | 13 Comments

Old Stories Max Carrados by Ernest Bramah

The Best Max Carrados Detective Stories by Ernest Bramah, 1972 (Dover Mystery Classics, Kindle Edition)

Both the author and character here are new to me, and I was glad to make their acquaintance. The  thing that makes this detective distinct is his blindness. It seems impossible that a blind detective / investigator could solve crimes, but a combination of his other senses having heightened reception and his familiarity with the ways of the world allow him to “see” through situations that confound other investigators. A lot of fun.

Contents:
“The Coin of Dionysius”
“The Knight’s Cross Signal Problem”
“The Mystery of the Vanished Petition Crown”
“The Holloway Flat Tragedy”
“The Disappearance of Marie Severe”
“The Mystery of the Poisoned Dish of Mushrooms”
“The Tragedy at Brookbend Cottage”
“The Last Exploit of Harry the Actor”
“The Ingenious Mr. Spinola”
plus Note on Sources

Posted in Books & Reading, Mystery, Short Stories | 15 Comments

a travesty of justice

The Good Old Boys Don’t Give a Damn Party

The Republican members of the United States Senate have made a mockery, of the impeachment process, of the intent of the Founding Fathers, of right and wrong.

They have put the President of the United States above the Law.

I am beyond disgusted.

Posted in At Home in Portland

Short Story February – 1

In the past (though I skipped it last year), I have devoted the shortest month to short stories, and I’ll be doing that this year. I have many short story collections and anthologies on hand, so this would be a good time to do some reading in them.

My reading posts will be largely reporting on the stories I read, newish and oldish.

Won’t you join me in reading short stories for Short Story February this year? Read some stories and comment over the month on them.

So far, from The Best Max Carrados Detective Stories by Ernest Bramah, 1972 (Dover Mystery Classics, Kindle Edition):
“The Coin of Dionysius”
“The Knight’s Cross Signal Problem”
“The Mystery of the Vanished Petition Crown”
“The Holloway Flat Tragedy”
“The Disappearance of Marie Severe”
“The Mystery of the Poisoned Dish of Mushrooms”

Have you read any short stories this month?

Posted in Books & Reading, current reading, Short Stories | 31 Comments

The Complete Hank Mobley Blue Note Sessions 1963-70

I like jazz a lot, specifically from the late 1940s to the mid 1970s. That includes a lot of great music! I’m particularly fond of Bop and Hard Bop, and among my favorite artists is Hank Mobley. I have the excellent 1998 Mosiac Records set of his work, The Complete Blue Note Hank Mobley Fifties Sessions on six CDs.

I’ve listened to those CDs a lot, and enjoyed them every time. So when in February 2019 I got word that Mosaic was considering a second set covering his 1963-1970 work, I immediately sent in my pre-order. It’s taken a while, but it has finally come into my eager hands.

The Complete Hank Mobley Blue Note Sessions 1963-70
Mosaic Records Presents “The Complete Hank Mobley Blue Note Sessions 1963-70” – 8 CDs with 74 tracks from the second great phase of Hank Mobley’s career, in state-of-the-art sound. With all the developments in recent years with analogue to digital converters and hi-res transfers that bring the CD to almost the same quality as analogue LPs, we have returned to the original analogue tapes of these Mobley master tapes in order to make them available like never before. – Limited Edition: 3,000 Copies. The complete set lists are at the link.

This one will stay on my CD turntable for a while!

Here’s a taste, the first cut on Disc I: Up A Step (8:35) (opens in a new player window)

Sooooo nice!

 

Posted in Books & Reading, Music | 4 Comments