June Newsletter

The State of the State In western Oregon, summer has arrived with a couple of very warm days followed by some very East Coast thunderstorms. Rest and repeat. Today is the longest day of the year, so happy Solstice everyone! I’ve made Chicken Paprikash twice since we returned from our Grand Tour of the Danube. […]

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The curtain has fallen on another year of great books, and it’s time to take stock of what has passed. Nearly six months ago I did a little mid-year check in, and I realize that most of the great books I read last year were during that first six months. For personal reasons, I sought escape […]

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I learned of British mystery writer Ann Cleeves quite by accident when the mystery series Vera first was aired on Oregon Public Broadcasting a couple years ago. I was captivated by the dumpy, grumpy, woman-of-a-certain-age head of the Northumberland Police Department’s major crime unit. Played in the series by Brenda Blethyn, DCI Vera Stanhope uses and abuses her sergeant, […]

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“If it weren’t for a ridiculous snobbery about ‘crime writing’,” John Mortimer once observed, “Ruth Rendell would be acclaimed as one of our most important novelists.” This is a mouthful from the late barrister, screenwriter, and creator of “Rumpole of the Bailey”. Now 82 years young, Ruth Rendell, as I recently discovered, is author of […]

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Fictional characters have a lot to lose, and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the mystery novel. Our characters have flaws–great big FAT flaws, and lots of them. To show you what I mean, let’s take a look at the four principal characters in Elizabeth George’s wonderful Inspector Lynley series. Poor Tommy Lynley was born […]

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He’s tall and drop-dead gorgeous, with sandy hair and dark brown eyes. He’s a meticulous dresser with an upper crust accent. He drives an indecently expensive car, and yet he tries to pretend that he’s not the 13th Earl of something-or-other and seldom visits the family pile of rocks in Cornwall. He carries heavy baggage […]

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