Saturday, May 21, 2022

Scott's Take: The Death Of Doctor Strange by Jed Mackay

The Death Of Doctor Strange by Jed Mackay collects the series about the last days of Dr. Strange’s life. Hero, Avenger, Doctor, Sorcerer Supreme, the magnificent Dr. Strange has been many things in his life, has had many adventures, and faced numerous foes. However, no matter how powerful or smart or brave a hero is, they all eventually die. In this tale, Dr. Strange has been murdered which now allows various foes to invade the Earth. It’s up to the heroes of Earth who are used to Dr. Strange solving any problem involving magic to face off against the unknown. At the same time, a mysterious investigator must uncover the murderer of Dr. Strange.

This tale is a love letter to the character of Dr. Strange while showcasing how important he is to the Marvel Universe. This tale includes Clea (Dr. Strange’s wife), Wong, Bats (the ghost dog), various Avengers, and various enemies of Dr. Strange dealing with the aftermath of his death. His death had many far-reaching repercussions.

My main complaint is that there is not enough time dealing with the grief of Dr. Strange’s death because the focus is so much on moving the plot forward. For example, there is very little time spent on how his death affects the students at his academy. The art is very good and there is plenty of action and mystery for fans of Dr. Strange. I highly recommend The Death Of Doctor Strange by Jed Mackay for both new and experienced fans of Dr. Strange.

This series is followed by Strange which deals with the new Sorcerer Supreme. That series has only a couple of issues out and not enough to be released yet in trade paperback. As such, there is no release date for the trade book.


My reading copy came from the Polk-Wisdom Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.


Scott A. Tipple ©2022

Friday, May 20, 2022

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Mummy Case Mystery (1933) by Dermot Morrah

Beneath the Stains of Time: The Mummy Case Mystery (1933) by Dermot Morrah: Dermot Morrah was a British journalist for The Times , chiefly as an editorial writer, but was best-known during his lifetime as an expert o...

The author's Blog: Interesting Perspective on Today’s Problem

 The author's Blog: Interesting Perspective on Today’s Problem

The Rap Sheet: Let Us Hail the Anthony Hopefuls

 The Rap Sheet: Let Us Hail the Anthony Hopefuls

Euro Crime: Published 16-22 May 2022

 Euro Crime: Published 16-22 May 2022

In Reference To Murder: Friday's "Forgotten" Books: The Albert Gate Mystery

 In Reference To Murder: Friday's "Forgotten" Books: The Albert Gate Mystery

Patti Abbott: FFB: LET HIM GO, Larry Watson

 Patti Abbott: FFB: LET HIM GO, Larry Watson



FFB Review: SINS FOR FATHER KNOX (1973) by Josef Skvorecky Reviewed by Barry Ergang

Another review by Barry Ergang found in the massively magnificent archive here at Casa Tipple and Home Eatery Library….  


SINS FOR FATHER KNOX (1973) by Josef Skvorecky

Reviewed by Barry Ergang


Father Ronald A. Knox, aside from being a clergyman, was one of the early exponents of what has become the “Golden Age” mystery story: the formal, fairly-clued whodunit and—in some cases— howdunit. Among hardcore history-of-mystery buffs, Knox is probably best remembered for his Ten Commandments for writing a detective story. In 1973, Czechoslovakian author Josef Skvorecky wrote the novel Sins for Father Knox, a chapter of which (“chapter” here loosely defined because each is actually an individual short story with an occasional reference to one of its predecessors) violates one of Knox’s commandments. Chapter descriptions—no spoilers!—follow.


Lieutenant Boruvka has his doubts about the guilt of Eve Adam, who has been convicted of and imprisoned for the murder of film director Rudolf Weyr. Despite being married and a parent, Boruvka can’t help finding Eve attractive as he interviews her at the Czechoslovakian women’s prison, listening to her story and remembering vital testimonies from her trial. Apart from finally being able to solve the case and exonerate Eve, he finds that investigation, like film-making, can be “An Intimate Business.” 


Performing as a lounge singer at the Moulin Rouge in Sweden and sharing an apartment with a stripper named Zuzka, Eve while breakfasting one morning is approached by a large American who calls himself MacMac. He presumes to know who she is because each has a book with the word Thursday in the title. He assures her that her problem will be taken care of that day, and not to worry. Unnerved but fascinated, Eve doesn’t correct his “Mistake in Hitsungsee,” but instead plays along, thus getting herself caught up in a locked-room murder.


In “The Man Eve Didn’t Know from Adam,” Eve is in Rimini, Italy, performing, visiting, and picnicking with Czech girlfriend Lubomira, now known as Laura. The two observe, from a considerable distance, a young woman hitchhiker enter a raspberry-red sports car, and later discover that she’s been murdered. The police, led by the arrogant Hercule Potarot (yes, I spelled his surname correctly), have stopped five raspberry-red sports cars of different makes. Eve must help him determine, putting it charitably, which driver is the “sex-murderer” responsible.  


At the bar in the Majestic Hotel in Sweden, where she’s performing, Eve meets and shares a drink and a cigarette with the inebriated Mr. Jensen. He tells her “Order anything you want, as much as you want. I’m picking up the tab. Because tonight, I’m going to be murdered.” In a story complicated by time elements and multiple characters’ activities, Jensen is indeed murdered. Investigating is Detective Niels C. K├Âlln, whom Eve met in Hitsungsee, and who is now married to Zuzka. Amid some of the K├Âllns’ amusing domestic conflicts, Eve delves into “A Question of Alibis” to solve the case.  



Now performing at The Pink Jungle in New York City, Eve makes time with—and correctly identifies—McGrogan as a private detective. While they schmooze, the pair also observes the attractive—and married—Connie Starrett being attentive to a number of prospective lovers. When Connie and a man named Leary are murdered, as well as three private detectives—all Irish, McGrogan among them—Eve and a cop named O’Raglan spend a lot of time  trying to geometrically puzzle out the answer to “Why So Many Shamuses?” I personally tried to puzzle out why it’s such an overlong and tedious story.



In “Miscarriage of Justice,” Eve is visiting American relatives in a small town in upstate New York. They’re gathered at the airport to see Bob Cornhill off to Buffalo when, from the waiting room window, they see that a house in town is on fire. Cornhill’s daughter thinks it’s their house, and shortly thereafter, an announcer over the public address system confirms it, advising Cornhill to return home. When he does, police Sergeant O’Mackey tells him the fire wasn’t set, that someone planted a bomb, and that he suspects Ben Turpin, who has done work for Cornhill in the past, because Turpin is African-American and Cornhill once testified against an underground—and vengeful—black organization. What ensues eventually pits O’Mackey against Eve.



Now singing at a San Francisco bar called The Sailor’s Dream, and after chatting with him there but not learning his name, Eve is invited to the Berkeley home of Marcus Twisten, one of several of “The Mathematicians of Grizzly Drive.” As a result of their burgeoning relationship, she becomes involved in trying to solve the kidnapping of his niece in a 39-page story that was about 30 pages too long for yours truly. I was a disaster at math in school, have managed to reach the age of 71 without ever needing algebra, and was thus bored out of my socks as I skimmed 10 wearisome pages of what allegedly (you couldn’t prove it by me and I don’t care) explains the solution to the mystery. 



Eve is a passenger in tourist-class aboard a transatlantic liner bound from New York to Europe in “An Atlantic Romance.” Here she makes the acquaintance of several fellow passengers, some of whose recollections and personal histories go back to World War II, and one who has a dubious history when it comes to the amorous intentions he displays toward her. When one of the passengers is murdered, Eve has to grapple with matters of right, wrong, and a kind of nosiness, as well as the solution.



“Just Between Us Girls” has Eve’s girlfriend Zuzka recounting to two young men, Georgie and Brucie, an incident involving what amounts to a girls’ night out and the resultant murder of one of them. Why she was slain and by whom was—for this reader—another tedious tale that necessitated skimming just to reach its end even though it was mercifully briefer than some of its predecessors. Overloaded with characters that are only names on the page—as are many in other chapters—I didn’t care who the murderer was.



“The Third Tip of the Triangle” concludes where everything began: in Prague, and with the usually saturnine Lieutenant Boruvka feeling even gloomier upon learning his teenage daughter is pregnant. Complicating his professional life is a phone call summoning him to the scene of the death of electrical engineer Ludvik Arnold. His investigation includes a number of suspects, one of whom is his daughter’s age who happens to be the offspring of a friend. He is also reunited him with Eve Adam, who helps solve this, another case I couldn’t wait to reach the end of.



 Although I’ve known of it, and have seen his Ten Commandments previously, I’ve never read any of Father Knox’s fiction. In each chapter of Sins for Father Knox, and in homage to the mysteries posed in the early Ellery Queen novels, there is a challenge to the reader about solving the crime and identifying the commandment violated. I think its concept is clever, some of the violations neatly subtle, but the overall execution too often tedious and thus disappointing.



Barry Ergang ©2018, 2022 


Derringer Award-winner Barry Ergang’s mystery novelette, “The Play of Light and Shadow,” is available at Amazon and Smashwords, along with some of his other work.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Dark City Underground: MYSTERY SCENE MAGAZINE - SUMMER 2022, NO. 172

 Dark City Underground: MYSTERY SCENE MAGAZINE - SUMMER 2022, NO. 172

Something Is Going To Happen: Raise a Glass to the Bad Guys (by Derek Haas)

 Something Is Going To Happen: Raise a Glass to the Bad Guys (by Derek Haas)

Trace Evidence: Confined to a Cell(phone) by Michael Mallory

 Trace Evidence: Confined to a Cell(phone) by Michael Mallory

The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 5-19-22

 The Rap Sheet: Revue of Reviewers for 5-19-22

In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 5/19/2022

 In Reference To Murder: Mystery Melange for 5/19/2022

Update on Medical Morning

 Back home from the podiatrist. He is pleased with the progress thanks to the cream he has me using. He spent about a half an hour working on both of my feet. Wants me back in three months. 

Medical Morning

After the cancer scare with the toe on my right foot last month, I am on the way this hour back to the podiatrist. This is the one month follow-up as he had concerns and wants to recheck both feet. It is a bit of a drive --45 minutes one way--and not one I want to do at all. Doc and staff are great. I just don't feel like peopling or dealing with the traffic. 

Hopefully, not long after noon I will be back home and inside where I belong. The heat continues to fry things here and we are supposed to hit 100. Then there is the smoke in the air on top of the ongoing pollen and air pollution problems. The outside is not good for yours truly so there is that issue too.

Blah. If we just had the Federation's transporter technology.....  

Lesa's Book Critiques: WHAT ARE YOU READING?

 Lesa's Book Critiques: WHAT ARE YOU READING?

The Rap Sheet: Drawing on Various Sources

 The Rap Sheet: Drawing on Various Sources

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Potter of Bones, Deathwatch Beetle, Parable of the Sower, All Boys Aren't Blue

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Nevermore: Potter of Bones, Deathwatch Beetle, Pa...:   Reported by Garry   “The Potter of Bones” by Eleanor Atwood Arnason is an award-winning short story that originally appeared in Asim...

Review: Shifty’s Boys by Chris Offutt

Shifty’s Boys by Chris Offutt picks up a bit after The Killing Hills and begins with the local taxi driver, Albin, finding a body. At first, he thinks he has found somebody passed out from drinking way too much. Has happened before in Rocksalt, Kentucky, so he is not very concerned as he sees the odd shape up against the fence in the parking lot of the local Western Auto. It is only when he gets out of the cab and walks towards the male figure, he realizes that it is not mud on the man’s clothes, but blood.

Mick Harden is home on medical leave thanks to an IED attack that nearly killed him. It didn’t. Getting divorced, once he signs the paperwork, might kill him. The pain pill addiction he has might as well. Staying at his mom’s house, now owned by his sister, Linda Hardin, the sheriff, might also kill him. While she cares about him, they don’t get along that well in the best of times, With him home on medical leave and dealing with pain, grief, and trauma, and her running for election, these certainly are not the best of times.

He does not know it, but he really needs a project to do while he continues his painful rehab for his leg injury. Mick thinks too much and he needs something to do that will fully occupy his mind as he works to rehab the leg, wean himself off the painkillers, and deal with moving forward.

That project will soon be investigating the death at Western Auto on behalf of Mrs. Kissick. It was her son, Barney, who was found dead. While Mick and Mrs. Kissick, also known as “Shifty,” have history and were not on very good terms the last time they spoke, she needs help. She wants Mick because she knows that his being a miliary cop will come in handy as the case is stagnated.

Local police know that drugs probably were involved, but beyond that, they have zero clues or any ideas as to what happened. Shifty knows full well that drugs might have been involved as that is the family business. She also knows that it was not a drug deal gone wrong, like the local police think, as Barney never did business in the city. They had a rule about that.

The city cops figure a drug dealer got what he had coming and can’t be bothered to do much at all to find the killer or killers. Shifty is enraged, has money, and wants to hire Mick to find out who did it and why. She figures Mick, who grew up with her sons, will be able to do so. Mick agrees to poke around a little bit and soon figures out that there is a lot going on in Shifty’s Boys.

While this read does tie into the first book, The Killing Hills, this one easily could be read as a standalone. A complicated read full of interesting characters that are doing what they need to do survive, there is a lot of grey here in terms of morality and temporary alliances. As in the previous read, the author’s obvious love for the land and the people of the region comes through loud and clear.

Like The Killing Hills, Shifty’s Boys is well worth your time. The book is currently scheduled to be released on June 7, 2022. 


My reading copy came by way of a digital ARC from NetGalley.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2022

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Shotgun Honey: Comics’ll Break Your Heart: Barbarian with a Gun (1994) Max Cage

 Shotgun Honey: Comics’ll Break Your Heart: Barbarian with a Gun (1994) Max Cage

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Short Story Wednesday: Don't Look Now by Daphne du Maurier

Bitter Tea and Mystery: Short Story Wednesday: Don't Look Now by Daphne du...: After I purchased this book of short stories, I noticed that the cover was a blurry photo of a face of a person in anguish, or so it looks t...


Jerry's House of Everything: SHORT STORY WEDNESDAY: THE DIAMONDS OF SHOMAR'S Q...:  "The Diamonds of Shomar's Queen" by Charles J. Mansford, B.A.  (first published in The Straand Magazine , July 1892; collecte...



Patti Abbott: Short Story Wednesday: "Just a Little Fever" Sheila Heti

 Patti Abbott: Short Story Wednesday: "Just a Little Fever" Sheila Heti

Little Big Crimes Review: Zebras by Stacy Woodson

Little Big Crimes: Zebras, by Stacy Woodson: "Zebras," by Stacy Woodson, in The Tattered Blue Line: Short Stories of Contemporary Policing, edited by Frank Zafiro, Code 4 Pre...

Short Story Wednesday Review: Shots Fired: Stories From Joe Pickett Country by C. J. Box

With Season One of "Joe Pickett" having started on Paramount+ last Sunday, I thought this would be a good time to share this review from the massively magnificent archive here at Casa Tipple and Home Eatery Library.


When I was a kid growing up in Northeast Dallas my parents always took us camping on the winter breaks as well as during the summers. Not only did we do a bunch of parks and sites here in Texas we spent weeks at a time up in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. My dad was an avid hiker and he and I frequented many a trail. Little did I know then that, as fate would have it, once I moved out at age twenty I would never make it back to the mountains I had loved since a child. Author C. J. Box is one of a handful of writers who really bring the beauty of the wilderness alive for this reader. His latest book titled Shots Fired: Stories From Joe Pickett Country does it again in spectacular fashion.


The short stories in this anthology are ones that have appeared in various anthologies as well as three brand new ones exclusive to this book. Four of the tales feature Game Warden Joe Pickett and /or Nate Romanowski. One story is set overseas in Paris by way of South Dakota and is a very dark tale. There is one based on a snippet of history from before WW2 and the magnificent Hindenburg. The ten tales presented are all good ones and readers get to them after a short introduction that explains the background of each work.


The book opens with a Joe Pickett story titled “One-Car Bridge.” Joe has to deliver some bad news to the manager of the Crazy Z Bar Ranch one Saturday in September. The absentee ranch owner, a very wealthy man by the name of Lamar Dietrich, is known for his harsh ways and absolute refusal to accept anything less than total success by all of his employees. He won't be happy that the Game and Fish Commission has formally denied his plan to convert around two thousand of his sprawling ranch into an exotic game hunting operation. Mad does not begin to cover what Joe and others expect his reaction to be and the ranch manager and his family are in for it.


In the “Pirates Of Yellowstone” Eddie and Vladdy have come a long way from their home in Prague to work in the park. They were assured by Yellowstone Park representatives in Prague that they had jobs to work for the official park concessionaire. Unfortunately, now that they are here and very ready to work, their jobs do not exist. The best the HR representative here can do is put them on a waiting list. They have to make some money---one way or another.


From modern day, readers journey back in time to September 1835 where the winter snows have come early and heavy to the mountains known as the Wind River Range in “The End Of Jim and Ezra.” Pushed hard by newcomers and a lack of beavers in their normal trapping grounds, Jim had made the decision to go far higher into the mountains than normal. Higher than any white trappers had ever gone before and it worked. It had worked so well Jim hadn’t wanted to leave. Now the snows have come and they can't get their beavers or themselves out. Hopefully the weather will break before they do.


Nate Romanowski is the main focus of “The Master Falconer” though Joe Pickett does make a brief appearance. Visitors from overseas have landed in Saddlestring, Wyoming, and they plan on conducting some business with Nate. Not that he has any interest in ever dealing with them again even before they use what he cares most about against him.


“Every Day Is A Good Day On The River” is the title of the next story as well as statement of life for many folks. In the tale, Randall “Call Me Duke” Connor has two clients in the flat-bottomed Mckenszie boat drifting down the river. Jack and Tim are supposed to be on the North Platte River for a day of relaxation and fishing. Jack is a bit nervous never having done this before, but Tim seems very quiet and in a mood. Jack would be quite a bit more nervous if he had any idea what is coming at them.


Based on a picture from 1936 and some very interesting history “The Pronghorns Of  The Third Reich” comes next. A debt from before WWII has come due and Clint means to collect it no matter what..


Joe Pickett is back in the next tale titled “Dull Knife.” Checking the license status of a group of ice fisherman on the surface of Dull Knife Reservoir in the Big Horn Mountains should be a fairly routine event. Even with all the noise the ice is making at twenty-two degrees below zero.  Pickett's license check once he gets across the noisy ice leads to far more interesting things.


“Le Sauvage Noble (The Noble Savage) comes next where those in Paris can't get enough of the idea of American Indian's and Cowboys. So on the advice of his buddy Lyle, Jimmy Two Bulls packs his recently purchased and allegedly authentic Indian garb and leaves South Dakota behind for Disneyland Paris and the Wild West Show. According to Lyle, if he plays the Indian role correctly good times will be had with the way too sophisticated women of Paris.


“Blood Knot” comes next and this very short story is all about family legacy and appreciation. Intense and over quickly it can't really be described more without ruining the read.


The final story is “Shorts Fired: A Requiem for Ander Esti.” Like the previous story, legacy and tradition are key components of this tale. It is late September and Joe Pickett is sent to investigate the shooting of a vehicle driven by Burton Hanks. He reported being shot at and claims to know the identify the shooter. Burton expects Pickett to dispense immediate justice by arresting Ander quickly and hauling him to jail, but Pickett sticks to his usual method of trying to figure out all the facts first.


This collection of short stories is a good one and there is not a bad one in the bunch. Split fairly evenly between the Pickett stories and others that feature interesting characters and often difficult situations, Shots Fired: Stories from Joe Pickett Country provides a lot of good reading. For those new to the Joe Pickett series of very good books, this read explains why so many are fans including this reviewer.



This reviewer was selected to receive an ARC of the book by LibraryThing in exchange for my objective review.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2014, 2018, 2022

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Beneath the Stains of Time: Days Gone By: Q.E.D. vol. 19-20 by Motohiro Katou

Beneath the Stains of Time: Days Gone By: Q.E.D. vol. 19-20 by Motohiro Katou: Motohiro Katou 's Q.E.D. vol. 19 suspiciously starts off with a surprisingly conventional detective story, "The Ghost of Macbeth,&...

Cats, Books, and...More Cats!: ROCCO reviews ONE OF US and interviews author Lorie Lewis Ham

Cats, Books, and...More Cats!: ROCCO reviews ONE OF US and interviews author Lori...:   ROCCO’s REVIEW ONE OF US LORIE LEWIS-HAM Kindle/Paperback/Amazon Five Stars   At 35, children’s book author Roxi Carlucci find...

Blood-Red Pencil: Editing for Voice by Mysti Berry

Blood-Red Pencil: Editing for Voice: One of my favorite things about editing and publishing the LOW DOWN DIRTY VOTE series is the astonishing range of voices the stories present...

The First Two Pages: “Pick a Color” by Eric Beetner

 The First Two Pages: “Pick a Color” by Eric Beetner

Jeanne Reviews: Murder at the Mistletoe Ball by J.D. Griffo

Alberta Ferrara has a lot to be grateful for in her life:  a generous bequest that has allowed her a lovely home and independence; an adoring, accomplished, and high-spirited granddaughter; a sister and a sister in law who have aided, counseled, and taste-tested flavored vodkas with her; and a beau with whom she is finding love. The one huge disappointment is her life is that she and her daughter Lisa Marie have been estranged for years. Mother and daughter never got along and, despite some overtures from Alberta, Lisa Marie has never seemed at all interested in any sort of reconciliation.

Now, however, Alberta has received a message from her daughter.  Lisa Marie needs her help. Her son Sergio has disappeared, apparently enthralled with some woman named Natalie, and Lisa Marie is desperate.  Can the Ferrara Family Detective Agency track down the errant son?

They’re certainly going to give it their best shot, though they may make a little detour to the Mistletoe Ball, a major fundraiser for a local hospital and possibly the social event of the season.  Unfortunately, one attendee isn’t exactly welcomed with open arms:  it’s Natalie, and she’s very dead.

This is the sixth in the series and I did find it entertaining.  The negatives I’ve found throughout (too much exposition, for example, and stereotyping) are still here, but I enjoy the dialog between the characters enough to keep reading. The plots can also be more than a bit over the top.  A similar series is Maria DiRico’s Catering Hall, which has faster pacing but just as much humor.  I also admit that I appreciate the fact that Griffo employs senior sleuths as his main characters. While this might not be everyone’s flavor of vodka, the series makes me laugh enough that I’ll be picking up the next in the series.

While the books don’t have to be read in order, there is some notable character development among the supporting cast. There’s also been the long simmering situation with Lisa Marie, but don’t let that stop you from picking up any of the books.  Previous books in the series are:

Murder on Memory Lake

Murder in Tranquility Park

Murder at Icicle Lodge

Murder at Veronica’s Diner

Murder at St. Winifred’s Academy (March 2022 Review)


Monday, May 16, 2022



Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Batten Down the Belfry by Diane Kelly

Bookblog of the Bristol Library: Batten Down the Belfry by Diane Kelly:   Reviewed by Jeanne Whitney and Buck, cousins who have gone into the house-flipping business, have taken on a new project:   an abandon...

Pulp Modern: David Cranmer

 Pulp Modern: David Cranmer

In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 5/16/2022

 In Reference To Murder: Media Murder for Monday 5/16/2022

Aubrey Nye Hamilton Reviews: Cold Revenge by Jo A. Hiestand

Jo A. Hiestand lives in St. Louis, Missouri, where she writes two British mystery series set in Derbyshire and Staffordshire as well as a cozy culinary mystery series. In addition to the usual travel and research for books set in another country, she has enlisted British police officers to help maintain technical accuracy of her plots.

Cold Revenge (The Wild Rose Press, Inc., 2015) is the first Michael McLaren mystery. It was published by Worldwide Press under the title Siren Song in 2012. McLaren is a former detective, forced out of the Derbyshire police in a political power move. Angry and bitter, he moves to Staffordshire where he takes up a reclusive life, repairing stone walls. A year later Linnet Isherwood seeks him out to investigate the death of her friend Marta Hughes, who vanished after a successful night of gambling and was found dead about 10 days later. The case has gone cold and the police have no more leads to follow. The considerable cash she was carrying was never recovered.

McLaren assumed that Marta had been attacked for her casino winnings but soon discovered there were other possible motives. The neighbor next door harassed her relentlessly, and a local group of drug-using teenagers resented her reporting them to the village constable. One of Marta’s coworkers was a strong suspect at one point but since she had an unshakeable alibi for the night Marta disappeared, no case could be brought against her.

McLaren investigates as best he can, frustrated at using only the resources available to a civilian. One advantage he has is the perspective of time; some of the witnesses relaxed their guard and he managed to coax more information from them than they provided originally. A stalker leaving beer bottles for McLaren to find and a disappearing hitchhiker complicate his work.

A convoluted, layered plot that unfolds in a leisurely style. Hiestand writes about the rural East Midlands of England in scenic detail; it sounds lovely. McLaren is miserable at the loss of his former life and he’s happy immersed in the investigation. He’s not especially likable and probably isn’t meant to be. For fans of British detective fiction and for anyone looking for a new binge read -- there are 11 more books in the series.

·         Publisher:  The Wild Rose Press, Inc. (March 20, 2015)

·         Language:  English

·         Paperback:  360 pages

·         ISBN-10:  1628308907

·         ISBN-13:  978-1628308907


Aubrey Nye Hamilton ©2022

Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

In Reference To Murder: Crimefest Garlands

 In Reference To Murder: Crimefest Garlands

Dru's Book Musings New Releases: Week of May 15, 2022

 Dru's Book Musings New Releases: Week of May 15, 2022 

Guest Post: Never Let Them See You Sweat by Paula Messina

Please welcome Paula Messina to the blog today…


Never Let Them See You Sweat

by Paula Messina


In an old deodorant commercial, an actor cautions, “Never let them see you sweat.”

That’s good advice for any public appearance. The rub is how to pull it off. I’ll tell you right now, the trick isn’t the right deodorant.

Your nerves needn’t sabotage you. Instead, make your nerves work for you.

After my very first speech, someone said, “You’re so calm up there. How do you do it?”

I don’t remember my response. I do remember what I thought, and more importantly, how I felt.

Are you out of your mind? Calm? I thought I’d pass out.

It happened again after my next speech. Another audience member wanted to know, “How do you stay so calm?”

I detected a trend, two audience members too polite to tell me I was a horrible, nervous wreck and should never, ever give another speech.

I was a slow learner. I didn’t stop.

By the fourth or fifth time an audience member asked how I remained calm, light dawned over Marblehead. When my knees knocked, I was the only one who heard the rattle. The audience saw a calm, collected speaker.

I found it comforting to know what I experienced as a speaker was different from what my audience experienced. It was okay to be nervous because the audience didn’t see, much less feel, my anxiety.

I’m not going to tell you I conquered my nerves. I still get nervous. My hands still shake and my heart races, but I know I’m fine despite those nerves. Or maybe it’s because of those nerves.

In an article on the website, Cinzia Roccaforte says “A 2012 study of actors and other performers indicated that stage fright was a universal experience that cuts across all types of professional and amateur performers. If performance anxiety is pervasive, why might people continually subject themselves to one nerve-wracking experience after another? This same study indicated that performers possessed self-awareness regarding anxiety, but chose to keep performing because it often fulfilled other emotional needs.”

Tony Bennett credits Frank Sinatra with the best advice he ever received. “Sinatra told me not to worry about being nervous, that it was a good thing since it showed that I cared…and if I cared, the audience would also care and root for me. He was absolutely right and to this day I still get butterflies when I go on stage, but I know that it’s a good thing.”

Nerves are part and parcel of every performance. Actors say it’s time to toss the grease paint when the butterflies fly away. In a Harvard Business Review article, Allison Shapira says, “Contrary to popular belief, the secret to confident public speaking is not about getting rid of your nerves. The key is to reframe your anxiety as excitement.”

Sinatra and Shapira are on the same wave length. Accept that you’ll be nervous and call it excitement.

It also helps to be prepared. If you rehearse and are confident in your material, you’ll be more able to believe those nerves are your friend.

To be honest, I don’t know why I appear calm when speaking before an audience, but I believe the fact that I always practice is part of it. I practice as early and as often as I can. Also, I take my time. I pause and breathe. I never rush.

Just as it’s important to see your nerves in a different light, it’s helpful to change the way your perceive your audience. It isn’t the enemy. It’s a friend who wants you to succeed. Sarah Smith, author of Crimes and Survivors, says, “Your audience wants to like you. They want to have fun and be amazed. Remember that and have fun too.”

Here are some more tips:

Joan Leotta, a short story writer, poet, and spoken word artist says, “Smile when you walk up to the mic, keep that smile inside you.”

Play a character. This can be someone you make up, a favorite character from fiction or the movies, or a great orator. The character might even have the same name as you. When you stand in front of the audience, you’re not on the line. The character is.

Beforehand, find a quiet, private spot to close your eyes and imagine yourself doing well. Make the image as bright and colorful as you can. Note your flawless delivery. Hear the thunderous applause. See the standing ovation. Feel the satisfaction of a job well done.

Imagine you’re speaking to a loved one. Longtime Boston news anchor Jack Williams pictured his parents’ faces. You can do the same with a loved one, a friend, even your pet orangutan.

Try isolating your tension. For example, clench the toes on your right foot. This confines your tension to one spot and relaxes the rest of your body.

Imagine that the audience members are in clown regalia or their birthday suits. Imagine owning the room by sending out feelers from your head to every corner.

You give a speech or a reading. The verb “give” says it all. Your performance is a gift to your audience. Your audience accepts your gift by listening intently and applauding wildly at the end.

Remember what Frank Sinatra said. Your nerves mean you care.

If you’d like to develop your public speaking skills and practice regularly before an audience, Toastmasters International ( is a good place to start. Two-time Derringer Award winner Stephen D. Rogers is also a Distinguished Toastmaster with hundreds of speeches under his belt. He says, “Being in Toastmasters has helped me become more comfortable with everything from prepared speeches to general conversation.”

Your nerves will always be with you. They’re a fact of life. Don’t fight them. Enlist them as an ally.

And remember, never let them see you sweat.


Paula Messina ©2022 

When Paula Messina isn't walking along the United States' first public beach, she's working on a novel set in Boston during the 1940s.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

KRL This Week Update for 5/14/2022

Up on KRL this morning a review and giveaway of "Claws for Suspicion” by Deborah Blake along with a fun behind the book interview with Deborah 

And a review and giveaway of "Three Shots to the Wind" by Sherry Harris along with a fun summer cocktail recipe from Sherry!


We also have a review and giveaway of "Simmering With Resentment" by Daryl Wood Gerber


And a review and ebook giveaway of "Four-Leaf Felony" by Tonya Kappes


Looking for a new mystery podcast to try? Up in KRL this morning we have an interview with Clued In Mystery Podcast


Up on KRL News and Reviews this week we have a review and giveaway of "Three Tainted Teas" by Lynn Cahoon

Happy reading,

Jungle Red Writers: Then A Cowboy Walked In

Jungle Red Writers: Then A Cowboy Walked In: HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Do you watch Ozark? I love it. I truly love it. And I loved the ending, too, but of course will not discuss it. (Althou...



Scott's Take: Guardians Of The Galaxy: No Guts, No Glory by M.K. England

Guardians Of The Galaxy: No Guts, No Glory by M.K. England is a prequel novel to the Guardians Of The Galaxy video game that came out last fall. I highly recommend the video game as it is a lot of fun, but I digress. In this book, Starlord and the rest of the team successfully completed their last mission, but were ripped off when it came time to get paid. They are in desperate need of funds, so they are taking a rather questionable job.

Twelve years ago, during the war against the Chitauri, Starlord fought with the resistance on Mercury in order to prevent the invasion of Earth. During the fighting, there was a traitor that actively sabotaged their mission. The identity of the traitor was never uncovered. Someone has now taken control of the abandoned base. The team has been hired to retake the base. Starlord is hoping a side benefit to retaking the base will be that he can identify the long-ago traitor.

The story is told through frequent flashbacks that take up about fifty percent of the tale. Guardians Of The Galaxy: No Guts, No Glory has plenty of action, humor, and some drama. All five Guardians have important parts of the story, but the main character is clearly Starlord. There are some really fun moments of dialog.

I think Guardians Of The Galaxy: No Guts, No Glory makes more sense if you have played the video game, but things will still be clear for those who have not played. While it has nothing to do with the movies or the graphic novels, if you have watched or read either, you will not be lost here. While the characters have some differences in their backstory here as compared to the movies or the graphic novels, those changes are relatively minor.

I think as long as you are a fan of the Guardians Of The Galaxy you should enjoy this tale. I enjoyed Guardians Of The Galaxy: No Guts, No Glory by M.K. England as it is a lot of fun.


My paperback reading copy came from the Central or Downtown Branch of the Dallas Public Library System.


Scott A. Tipple ©2022