goodreads people, you need to get your act together re book editions. Mine is NOT the kindle version, but the ISBN says it is. Arr3.7 or thereabouts;
goodreads people, you need to get your act together re book editions. Mine is NOT the kindle version, but the ISBN says it is. Arrgh.
original publication date: 1939 more about plot, etc., here .
Murder in Stained Glass is the opener of a new series of old titles all falling under the heading of "American Queens of Crime", issued by Pepik Books. Claire Theyers, the owner and director of this small press, has stated that "only quality fiction" that she's read and "truly enjoyed makes it into the series." Bravo for her -- and good for me, since like Ms. Theyers, I am constantly on the lookout for books from authors whom, as she notes, are "long forgotten about and their stories gathering dust in bookshops and charity stores."
The blurb on the back cover of this book notes that "If you like Agatha Christie then you'll love Miss Trumbull," and while this book may definitely appeal to Miss Marple fans, Miss Trumbull is a delight on her own, and certainly no elderly sleuth with a knitting bag. She is quite independent, both in terms of money and personality, and doesn't let little things like an attempt on her life or potentially dangerous situations get in her way. The novel also has one of the best twists that I must say I never saw coming -- and in this book, there are a number of potential suspects as well as a few well-placed red herrings that will keep any reader guessing. Yes, it's a bit dated but once in the mindset of the period, it became a fun, interesting and delightful read. Recommended for vintage crime readers. ...more
The Narcotic Farm is a companion book to a PBS documentary of the same name. The film itself is available on Vimeo -- I watched it yesterday and justThe Narcotic Farm is a companion book to a PBS documentary of the same name. The film itself is available on Vimeo -- I watched it yesterday and just sat here sort of spellbound the entire time. I've posted more about this book on the nonfiction page of my online reading journal if anyone is interested.
I first heard of this book while reading Sam Quinones' Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic - up to then I had absolutely no clue that this place even existed. The United States Narcotic Farm opened in 1935, just outside of Lexington, Kentucky; it was, as the book notes,
"an anomaly, an institution where male and female convicts arrested for drugs did time along with volunteers who checked themselves in for treatment."
In the 1920s, increasingly-strict drug laws and "aggressive enforcement" led to addicts being sent to prison "in droves," where they proved troublesome -- bringing drugs inside and getting non-addict prisoners hooked. The authors note that by the late 1920s, about "a third of all federal prisoners were doing time on drug charges." Social progressives of the time also took issue with the arrest of addicts, believing it to be "unjust" - so in 1929 two "government bureaucrats" lobbied for a measure that would create prisons just for convicted addicts, and by 1932, the construction of first of these institutions (the other in Ft. Worth) was underway. Its administration fell under both the US Public Health Service and the Federal Bureau of Prisons - and on the day it opened the first director, Dr. Lawrence Kolb stated that addicts would not be sent to prison for what was basically "a weakness," but they would be able to receive
"the best medical treatment that science can afford in an atmosphere designed to rehabilitate them spiritually, mentally, and physically."
The book and the documentary together detail the story of Narco (as it was known by the locals) from its beginning in 1935 through its final days forty years later. Some interesting highlights of its history include a few notables who passed through its doors -- both William S. Burroughs senior and junior, as well as a host of jazz musicians including Chet Baker, Lee Morgan, and Sonny Rollins. Both Burroughs, father and son, wrote books about their time at Lexington: Senior in his Junkie, where there's an entire section about him signing himself in," and Junior with his Kentucky Ham (which I'm planning to read soon) detailing his time as a patient there.
Good book -- eye opening to say the least, especially when some very disturbing facts about the research going on there are revealed. ...more
What a fun book! Fantomas is one seriously evil genius, and his nemesis, Inspector Juve, is one determined policeman. Not only is this book fun, but iWhat a fun book! Fantomas is one seriously evil genius, and his nemesis, Inspector Juve, is one determined policeman. Not only is this book fun, but it ends in a complete cliffhanger so I had to buy book two, The Exploits of Juve (Juve contre Fantômas), just to see what happens. I have this feeling that I'll end up with the entire set of Fantômas novels if the ending of book one is any indicator.
A series of heinous crimes leads Inspector Juve of France's Criminal Investigation Division to believe that they are all the work of a single mysterious evildoer: Fantômas. Trying to catch him, though, is going to be tough. There are some people who even doubt as to whether or not there actually is a Fantômas; one magistrate tells Juve that
"Fantômas is the too obvious subterfuge, the cheapest device for investing a case with mock honours. Between you and me, you know perfectly well that Fantômas is merely a legal fiction -- a lawyers' joke. Fantômas has no existence in fact!"
But Juve thinks he knows better -- he is obsessed with finding this elusive figure and has been after him for years. Events just may prove him right, as they put him on the trail of this mysterious and sinister crime genius, but in this book, nothing is ever as it seems.
for more of a look at this novel, you can click here to get to my reading journal's crime page; otherwise, I'll just say that I'll most definitely recommend the book to people who are into old classics or into fun sort of pulpy mysteries or to those who want something very much off the beaten path. This book (if you'll forgive the trite phrase) held me spellbound the entire time I was reading it -- and I can't think of a better recommendation for a couple of days' worth of sheer reading enjoyment. ...more
okay - after a rethink, I'll pump it up to 3.3,3.4 or so because I was liking it before the last 60 or so pages. This is why I hate star ratings -- Iokay - after a rethink, I'll pump it up to 3.3,3.4 or so because I was liking it before the last 60 or so pages. This is why I hate star ratings -- I can't convey what I feel by using stars. 3.3 to 3.4 is about right for my feelings about this novel.
This is a real-world book group read, and I picked it because of its discussion potential. Unlike everyone else that seems to have been blown away by this novel, I didn't love it. What I did like was its focus on perspective and the idea, as espoused by one of the characters in this book, that "You don’t always see how much other people are shaping you.” Here this applies not only to each of the individual lives of the three main characters (successful and famous Nell Stone, loosely based on Margaret Mead, her husband Fen, and the man whose story this book truly belongs to, Andrew Bankson) but also to the cultures they are studying first hand. It also has relevance on horrific events that happened later during World War II, which is really outside of the time of this novel (1930s) but which has its roots among these three people. I will admit to being totally sucked into this book for various reasons, but then came the last 57 or so pages, when in my opinion, things fell apart royally. From page 199 on, I thought the novel sort of moved into the melodrama zone beginning with Fen acting on his desperate desire to achieve some sort of lasting fame on his own with no thought at all to the consequences of his actions; although it is in keeping with the idea of factors shaping a person's actions, it was enough to tone down my enthusiasm. Well, that and my feeling that if an author's going to give us a disguised version of someone who is so well known, taking the kind of liberties she did with reality here at the end just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I get that in the midst of several 5-star reviews I'm once again that fish swimming upstream here, but well, I can't help it.
I marked this as "want to read" but I have no intention of reading it. So if anyone in the US wants this novel (I truly dislike domestic fiction, whicI marked this as "want to read" but I have no intention of reading it. So if anyone in the US wants this novel (I truly dislike domestic fiction, which is what it looks like), you can have it for the cost of a private message with an address. I'll pay the postage. Please -- give my book a home!...more
Just to be clear here, this book is neither an exposé nor a voyeuristic look into the lives of all of the meth addicts in this town, nor is there anything along the lines of say "Breaking Bad" here, so readers who are into that sort of thing should probably move along. This book is serious business and deserves to be read as such.
Methland is a book very much worth reading. Even if there are people out there who pooh-pooh the idea that there's a meth "epidemic" sweeping small-town rural America, what really struck me was the bigger implications of, as the dustjacket blurb notes, "the connections between the real-life people touched by the drug epidemic and the global forces behind it." As Mr. Reding states in an interview,
"...people are trying to destroy small town American life. And they're doing it economically...That's what big agriculture is doing and that's what the pharmaceutical industry is doing. Going back to the Clinton years, there's this notion that globalization is somehow beyond criticism, that it's a pure form of self-sustaining economic perfection. It's not true, and if you'd like to see where it's least true, go to Oelwein."
Oelwein, Iowa is the launching point of this book; it's a town which has been "left in the dust by the consolidation of the agricultural industry, a depressed local economy, and an out-migration of people." It's also a place where "the economy and culture" are
"more securely tied to a drug than to either of the two industries that have forever sustained the town: farming and small businesses."
However, it's not just Oelwein that is facing some pretty serious issues in this story. While he makes people in Oelwein the central focus of his book, and examines the town's changes and its problems through their eyes, it is also very clear that what has happened there is happening throughout the midwest. Oelwein, which was "on the brink of disaster" by May 2005, is just one focal point for examining how the lobbyists and government supporters of both Big Agriculture and Big Pharma, as well as the effects of free trade (vis-a-vis NAFTA) have all contributed to catastrophic changes in rural, small-town America, which in turn contribute to the rising meth epidemic in these areas.
Methland is also a story about real people in a real town with real lives, some of whom have shared their experiences with the author to offer firsthand accounts. Many of them have through no fault of their own been caught up in circumstances largely beyond their control; some of them do what they can in what seems like a hopeless situation. The author's research and his own observations make for great reading on a human level as well. This is also a book that seriously pissed me off -- as it should for anyone who reads it. ...more