After several stories in venues like EQMM, Terrie Farley Moran has written her first novel. Don't you love the cover. You will probably enjoy the story even more.
Sassy and her BFF, Bridgy, have come to Fort Meyers from Brooklyn to open a combination book store/cafe. It's become a focal point for the community due to its many opportunities to both discuss books through several book groups and to have a nice breakfast or lunch. Both aspects of the business are treated seriously and you can imagine just such a place. (I hope there is one, in fact).
One day, one of their most faithful patrons turns up dead. Her death is followed by several other disquieting events and Sassy is drawn into solving the murder. There is more than she thought to be learned about her friend and her background.
This is a charming book. Terrie Moran manages to combine great location details, a group of fun and funny characters, lots of references to southern cuisine and life, references to books and food, some Floridian history and geography, and a mystery to solve without overloading the book with any one of them. And, oh, a cat named Paws who has a distinctive personality as well. I read this book during a particularly stressful week and it was a tonic. It is a smooth and quick read.
This is a terrific start to a series. Can't wait to see what's going on in Fort Meyers next.
I mentioned recently that I think most current thrillers are
too long, but sometimes I get the urge to read one anyway. That's the case with
THE VALHALLA PROPHECY, the latest book in the Nina Wilde/Eddie Chase series by
Andy McDermott. I haven't read the other books in the series, although I have
several of them, but it was easy enough to jump into this one. The story
occasionally refers back
Welcome to October and Traveling The Globe. All through the month of October we will go on a journey to new and exciting places. The premier stop on this adventure will Brazil's second largest city of Rio de Janeiro.
Today will are featuring three titles with Rio in the title
Thanks to everyone for your good wishes while I was out with the shoulder surgery. Still barking a bit after two weeks, and I've got an I-Can't-Shave beard going and am still sleeping upright on the couch. But getting there. Thanks to Danielle Burby and Todd Moss for posting the past two weeks.
One of the more exciting things that happened in the past month is that Book Culture, an independent bookstore that lost its lease uptown, announced that it was reopening in one of the retail spaces below my apartment building. And instead of putting up the usual brown butcher's paper to cover the windows during renovation, they put up a happy sign telling the story of the return of a bookstore to the former site of an older store, Endicott Books, which was one of the inspirations for You've Got Mail.
This weekend, my wife and I were taking a walk and saw that there were a bunch of brightly colored stickies on the window of the store. Turns out that an anonymous Upper West Sider decided to create an Old School Pinterest board and put out a bunch of sticky pads and Sharpies and asked the neighbors to write notes about the new store, take photos, and post on Twitter with #BOOKCULTURE. And they did. And the neighborhood is truly giddy. More next week, but here are a couple of very happy pictures.
WESTERN UNION. 20th Century Fox, 1941. Robert Young, Randolph Scott, Dean Jagger, Virginia Gilmore, John Carradine, Slim Summerville, Chill Wills, Barton MacLane. Based on the novel by Zane Grey. Director: Fritz Lang.
I don’t know if you spotted it right off, without my pointing it out to you, but if you did and it took you aback, just a little, I don’t blame you. But yes, indeed, Robert Young got top billing in this colorful tale of a crew of Western Union workers constructing a telegraph line from East to West across the United States, mile by mile.
The movie is based on the novel by Zane Grey from 1939. The story is told in first person by Wayne Cameron, a tenderfoot fellow from Boston who has made his way west to make his way in the world. In the movie his name is Richard Blake, and naturally enough, he’s the fellow that Robert Young plays.
But neither the top billing (in the movie) or the primary protagonist (in the book) make a bit of difference. This is Randolph Scott’s film all the way, from beginning to a somewhat quizzical end. Scott plays a cowpoke named Vance Shaw in both book and movie, but in the film he’s an outlaw, making his first appearance sitting in the saddle against a clear blue sky before making his escape from a posse on his trail by riding through and scattering a large buffalo head, filmed in beautiful closeup Technicolor.
From here the book and film diverge considerably, although the head construction engineer for the crew working for Western Union and the new telegraph line is named Creighton in both (Dean Jagger in the movie) and both Scott and Young sign up. In the movie a rivalry between the two is fanned by their mutual interest in Creighton’s sister (Virginia Gilmore), complicated by the fact that Shaw’s brother (Barton MacLane) is still on the outlaw trail and determined to prevent the telegraph line from going through.
Personally I think the movie would have been a lot better without the comedy antics of Chill Wills and (especially) Slim Summerville, but otherwise there’s action aplenty, and some very good acting on the part of Randolph Scott, torn between his loyalty to his brother and getting the telegraph line through. This wasn’t his first western role, but the many closeups he has this film show him well on his way to becoming the hard-bitten icon of the West he was soon to be.
I’d also have preferred a different ending. Not that there’s anything wrong with the one we have, but this one jarred me a little, and it may you as well.