2016 ended on a high note for me, literarily speaking. I read some extraordinary books in November and December. As this is one of my favorite blogs of the year, I can’t wait to share them with you. America’s First Daughter, a historical novel by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie is simply an extraordinary read. Based on […]

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“All crime novels are social novels,” says Laura Miller in her recent article “Try To Remember” in The New Yorker, an article devoted to Dublin-based mystery writer Tana French (Oct. 3, 2016, page 72). Unlike many articles in The New Yorker, this one cuts to the chase. Says Miller, “Most crime fiction is diverting; French’s is […]

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The State of the State We’re settling in for fall around here. Brilliant color, cold morning walks, baked apples. Most of the wineries have finished harvesting grapes and are now processing the bounty into next year’s wines. My dear friends Cheryl and Ginny and Margie, along with several other friends, celebrate birthdays with me in October. Cheryl and I also […]

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More than half of 2016 is behind us, and it’s a good time for a mid-year book review. How is your reading going? Mine is a little slower than I would have liked, but I’m reading some terrific stuff, so let’s get started. One of my guilty pleasures was re-reading Tana French’s thriller Faithful Place. […]

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Looking back, over the year, I find that I’ve read only 27 books to date. Strangely for me, there were more books. I just didn’t complete them…or even get very far into them. First, let me just say that I’m a dolt. I picked up and attempted to read both The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (Pulitzer Prize […]

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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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If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.   –Stephen King, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” Imagine reading Stephen King’s “Great Commandment” if you’re a writer. It’s  […]

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First it was the Swedes with Henning Mankell and Stieg Larsson. Lately I’ve gotten into a couple of Irish mystery writers–Tana French and Benjamin Black (pseudonym for Irish novelist John Banville, who has chosen to write his dark and nasty stuff under a different name). French’s debut novel, In the Woods (2007), is the dark study of […]

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