Monthly Archives: November 2013

Peter & Peter … a great detective team

Peter Diamond is corpulent, balding, abrasive, clu

Peter Diamond is corpulent, balding, abrasive, clumsy, computer-hating. He embarrasses his young female associate with his coarse language. But he just happens to be a brilliant police detective.  Like Lovesey, Diamond is British; he is stationed in the city of Bath in the present day.

Traditionalists will be delighted to learn the Lovesey is said to bear the torch of the “Golden Age” of detective-mystery writing, as exemplified by Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy Sayers.

If this book strikes your fancy, there are a dozen more Peter Diamond novels waiting for you.  Plus plenty more Lovesey novels, including the Sergeant Cribb series, featuring a London police detective from the Victorian era.

(A version of this posted on FB, 17 May 2012)

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November 24, 2013 · 11:08 pm

Sometimes, being a writer can be lucrative

Just clicke on ye Photo to to to ye complete Article …


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November 21, 2013 · 12:57 am

The second sex

Howard Zinn, PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE U.S. In between other things, I’m wending my way thru this long but indispensable book. Now at the 1960’s, and he’s talking about the position of women:

“By 1969, women were 40 percent of the entire labor force of the United States, but a substantial number of these were secretaries, cleaning women, elementary school teachers, saleswomen, waitresses, and nurses. One out of every three working women had a husband earning less than $5,000 a year.

“What of the women who didn’t have jobs? They worked very hard, at home, hut this wasn’t looked on as work, because in a capitalist society (or perhaps in any modern society where things and people are bought and sold for money), if work is not paid for, not given a money value, it is considered valueless.”

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Filed under Ol' reliable MISC category

Just Wilde about Oscar

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”

— Oscar Wilde

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Filed under Ol' reliable MISC category

Wanted: Spoiler-Free E-book Searching

Wanted: Spoiler-Free Searching

Here’s a shot of  the Aldiko Reader search-results screen on my Android tablet. (Well, it’s a Nook Simple Touch  e-ink reader “rooted” to become an Android tablet, but that’s another story.)

Let’s say you’re reading a suspenseful novel … maybe a murder mystery. You are on page 50, and there’s a mention of the character Parsons. (I know there isn’t any “Parsons” on page 50 in the photo, but please humor me.)  If your memory is anything as porous as mine, you might want to check back to remind yourself who Parsons is. So you do a search on his name.

You get a number of hits on page 33 (see the photo), which will hopefully give you the information you sought. But there is too much of a good thing here, since you’ll also get information from pages 106 and 107 … pages you haven’t gotten to yet. If you have bad luck, your eye may flick to a most unwelcome “spoiler”, which will give away a vital part of the plot to come. (Oh, it looks like Parsons is the murderer.)

To me, even the NUMBER of hits for a name or phrase, downstream from my location, is telling me more than I care to know at that point. (OK, call me sensitive, but it is what it is.)

There is a simple fix for this dilemma. Just give the reader an option to search the text only up to the page that they are on, at the time. Has anyone seen an e-reading app which is considerate enough of the reader’s state of suspense, to allow this choice?

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November 7, 2013 · 2:18 am

The Making of Steve Carella

The Making of Steve Carella

Published in 1957, this is just the fourth in the grand line of 87th Precinct police procedurals by Ed McBain. Like many McBains, it is graphic to the point of queasiness. But like most McBains, you will be greatly rewarded by its sharp, funny writing & terrific dialogue.

I once lived in New Haven. I frequented the Paperback Trader, a store probably long defunct. I believe this is where I learned about McBain … from the person manning (actually woman-ing, I think) the store.  Nowadays, like most people, I mostly expand my literary (and musical) consciousness via the web.  But there was something about this kind of a link to a new book or music album, happening via a real person at a real place …

I read The Con Man in a new (2011) edition, where McBain explains in an Afterword:

… my original plan was to kill [Steve] Carella at the end of The Pusher [1956], which gleefully malignant intent was stifled by my misguided and greedy publishers who insisted that I could not kill a hero — who by the way, had only appeared in one and a half books by then. Some hero!

Of course, Detective Carella — and his beautiful unspeaking and unhearing wife Teddy — went on to feature in many 87th Precinct novels to come.

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November 2, 2013 · 1:56 am