Generous Art Scott (aka, Eagle Eye) sent me this copy of Crimson Snow: Winter Mysteries (2016) edited by Martin Edwards. The theme of this anthology centers around murder in the Winter. My favorite story in Crimson Snow is Julian Symons’ “The Santa Claus Club” that involves a fatal poisoning. But Art informed me of a surprise in Crimson Snow that even Martin Edwards missed. “Mr. Cork’s Secret” by MacDonald Hastings featured a contest where readers could send in their solution to the crime and a winner would be selected.

The winner from Australia–A. G. Yates–was probably better known as “Carter Brown.” Art Scott, celebrated lately for his marvelous work on the Robert McGinnis covers for PAPERBACK PARADE’s Carter Brown issue (you can read my review here), spied the “A. G. Yates” name while my Evelyn Woods speed-reading trained eyes just zipped over it. Congratulations, Art! GRADE: B+
The ghost’s touch / Fergus Hume — 5
The Chopham affair / Edgar Wallace — 24
The man with the sack / Margery Allingham — 40
Christmas Eve / S.C. Roberts — 68
Death in December / Victor Gunn — 82
Murder at Christmas / Christopher Bush — 157
Off the tiles / Ianthe Jerrold — 175
Mr. Cork’s secret / MacDonald Hastings — 186
The Santa Claus Club / Julian Symons — 237
Deep and crisp and even / Michael Gilbert — 253
The carol singers / Josephine Bell — 267
Solution to “Mr. Cork’s Secret” 307


Robert Skidelsky is best known for his three-volume biography of John Maynard Keynes, the great British economist. So, it should come as no surprise that a big chunk of Money and Government chronicles the impact Keynes had on 20th Century economics. And, the impact of Keynesian Economics was huge until the 1970s when the theory broke down because of “stagflation.” Stagflation perplexed Keynesian economists because the Economy wasn’t supposed to experience rising unemployment and inflation at the same time. But the 1970s–perhaps suffering a hangover from the Vietnam War and then jolted by the OPEC oil embargo–struggled with an Economy mired in slow-growth and rising inflation–conditions that were supposed to be impossible together under Keynesian Economics.

You might not want to read all the macroeconomic stuff in Money and Government, but I recommend you read Chapter 1: “The Mysteries of Money: A Short History.” That will explain how we got from bartering to credit default swaps and crypto-currencies. Skidelsky provides clear explanations for the thorny economic issues of today. He doesn’t overreach with predictions. Money and Government reveals the workings of the economy system we’re living with and tackles some of the problems we will be facing in the years ahead. Recommended! GRADE: A-
Table of Contents
List of Figures xiii
Preface xvii
Introduction 1
i Unsettled Issues 1
ii The Culprits 4
iii A Brief Sketch of the Book 8
Appendix 1.1 Ideas, Vested Interests and Cycles 11
Part 1 History of Economic Thought 19
1 The Mysteries of Money: A Short History 21
i The Classical Dichotomy 21
ii The Origins of Money 23
iii The Value of Money 25
iv Creditors and Debtors 27
v The Origins of the Quantity Theory of Money 32
vi The Demand for Money 35
vii Money, the Great Deceiver 36
viii Conclusion 38
2 The Fight for the Gold Standard 40
i Prelude to the Gold Standard: the British Recoinage Debate of the 1690s 41
ii Nineteenth-century Monetary Debates: An Overview 44
iii Bullionists versus the ‘Real Bills’ Doctrine 45
iv Currency School versus Banking School 49
v Bimetallism 50
vi How Did the Gold Standard Actually Work? 52
3 The Quantity Theory of Money: From History to Science 60
i The Quantity Theory of Money: The Two Branches 60
ii Fisher’s Santa Claus 62
iii Knut Wicksell’s Credit Money version of the QTM 67
iv Was Wicksell a Quantity Theorist? 70
v Conclusion 71
Appendix 3.1 Fisher’s Equation 71
4 Theories of the Fertile and Barren State 73
i Introduction 73
ii The Fertile State of the Mercantilists 77
iii The Wasteful State of the Political Economists 81
iv The Victorian Fiscal Constitution 85
v The Persistence of Mercantilism 88
vi Conclusion 93
Part 2 The Rise, Triumph and Fall of Keynes 95
5 Keynes’s Intervention 99
i The Trouble with Money 99
ii The Problem with Fiscal Policy 106
iii The Macmillan Committee 114
iv The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money 117
v Policy Implications 124
Appendix 5.1 Contrast Between the Classical and Keynesian Models 132
Appendix 5.2 The Fiscal Multiplier 133
6 The Keynesian Ascendancy 137
i Keynesianism Ascendant 137
ii Full Employment Keynesianism: 1945-60 141
iii Growth Keynesianism: 1960-70 148
iv Reasons for the Strength of the Boom 154
v Stagflation Keynesianism: 1970-76 162
vi Great Britain: the End of the Keynesian Road 167
7 The Theory and Practice of Monetarism 171
i Keynes and the Classics 172
ii The Neo-classical Synthesis 173
iii The Emergence of the Counter-orthodoxy 174
iv Monetarism 176
v The Monetarist Experiment: 1976-85 184
vi Monetarism’s Fiscal Legacy 190
vii From Friedman to the New Consensus: 1985-2008 194
viii Conclusion 201
Appendix 7.1 IS/LM, the Keynesian Teaching Tool 203
Appendix 7.2 The Modelling of Expectations 205
Appendix 7.3 The Central Bank Reaction Function 212
Part 3 Macroeconomics in the Crash and After, 2007- 215
8 The Disablement of Fiscal Policy 221
i The Fiscal Crisis of the State 221
ii The British Debate 225
iii Austerity: A Comparative Assessment 241
iv Conclusion 244
Appendix 8.1 Monetary Financing of the Deficit 246
9 The New Monetarism 248
i Pre-crash Monetary Orthodoxy 249
ii Why Quantitative Easing? 253
iii Quantitative Easing Programmes, 2008-16 256
iv How was QE Meant to Work? 258
v Assessment 263
vi Conclusion 277
Appendix 9.1 A Note on Tim Congdon 279
10 Distribution as a Macroeconomic Problem 288
i The Indifference of Mainstream Theory to Inequality 288
ii The Microeconomics of Distribution 290
iii Distribution and the Macroeconomy 293
iv The Modern Under-consumptionist Story 298
v Conclusion 305
11 What Was Wrong with the Banks? 307
i Pre-crash Orthodoxy 308
ii Theory 310
iii Understanding Banking: Some Essential Terms 316
iv Loosening the Regulatory Noose 318
v Financial Innovation 322
vi Conclusion 327
Appendix 11.1 Why Didn’t the Credit Ratings Agencies Do Their Job? 329
12 Global Imbalances 331
i Introduction 331
ii A Pre-crash Bird’s-eye View 334
iii Some Basic Theory 335
iv Current Account Imbalances as a Cause of Meltdown? 336
v Saving Glut versus Money Glut 338
vi Banking Imbalances 342
vii Conclusion 343
Part 4 A New Macroeconomics 345
13 Reinventing Political Economy 347
i Introduction 347
ii What Should Governments Do and Why? 349
iii A New Macroeconomic Constitution 351
iv The Inflation Problem 358
v Making Banking Safe 361
vi Inequality 368
vii Hyper-globalization and its Discontents 371
viii Reforming Economics 384
Notes 391
Bibliography 427
Index 461

THE MAN WHO SOLVED THE MARKET: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution By Gregory Zuckerman

Gregory Zuckerman reveals how an obscure mathematician from State University of New York at Stony Brook, Jim Simons, used his unique data analysis techniques to become a billionaire. Of course, Simons’ activities are shrouded in secret. Employees had to sign non-disclosure agreements. But Gregory Zuckerman found enough sources to at least provide an outline of Simons’s activities and approach to the Stock Market.

Jim Simons didn’t really know much about the Stock Market. But he knew a lot about mathematics and he believed that enough data would provide “patterns” that investors could act on to predict Market moves–up or down. Zuckerman chronicles the years of frustration and failures as Simon and his team tried to apply mathematics to Stock Market historical data. It was only with the arrival of powerful computers that Simon and his mathematical analysis started to produce results.

In the past 10 years, Jim Simons and his hedge fund out-performed most mutual funds and indexes. Many of Simons’s secrets found their way into other hedge funds. Does this mean the Stock Market is “fixed”? No, but it means trying to “beat” the Market by yourself is a fool’s errand. My advice is to buy an S&P Index Fund and rest easy. Are you in the Stock Market? GRADE: A

NOIR ARCHIVE, VOLUME 3 (1957-1960) [Blu-ray]

If you’re a fan of noir movies, you’ll love this 9-film–3 disc–collection of noir classics in high definition with their original aspect ratios.

The Crimson Kimono (1959) Directed by Samuel Fuller
Starring: Victoria Shaw, Glenn Corbett, James Shigeta
The Lineup (1958) Directed by Don Siegel
Starring: Eli Wallach, Robert Keith, Warner Anderson
Man on a String (1960) Directed by Andre DeToth
Starring: Ernest Borgnine, Kerwins Mathews, Colleen Dewhurst, Alexander Scourby
The Shadow in the Window (1956) Directed by William Asher
Starring: Phil Carey, Betty Garrett, John Barrymore, Jr.
The Long Haul (1957) Directed by Ken Hughes
Starring: Victor Mature, Diana Dors, Patrick Allen
Pickup Alley (1957) Directed by John Gilling
Starring: Victor Mature, Anita Ekberg, Trevor Howard
The Case Against Brooklyn (1958) Directed by Paul Wendkos
Starring: Darren McGavin, Maggie Hayes, Bobby Helms
She Played with Fire (1957) Directed by Sidney Gilliat
Starring: Jack Hawkins, Arlene Dahl, Dennis Price, Bernard Miles, Ian Hunter
The Tijuana Story (1957) Directed by Leslie Kardos
Starring: Rodolfo Acosta, James Darren, Robert McQueeney

How many of these noir movies have you seen? GRADE: B+

THREE WOMEN By Lisa Taddeo

Lisa Taddeo spent eight years researching these profiles of three women and sexuality from women’s perspectives. Taddeo visited their towns, met their friends and families, studied their jobs and the patterns of their lives…and their sexual desires.

I confess, I’ve been baffled by women and their behaviors throughout my life. And, I grew up with three sisters so I had plenty of behavior to experience. That’s why Lisa Taddeo’s book fascinated me. In North Dakota, Taddeo chronicles the predicament of Maggie, a high school student who has a relationship with her handsome, married English teacher. This is NOT To Sir, With Love. Taddeo travels to suburban Indiana and introduces the reader to Lina, a frustrated mother of two, whose husband isn’t interested in affection or love or sex. Lina connects with an ex-boyfriend on Facebook (where else?) and Taddeo reports on the passionate affair that results. The third woman, Sloane, is a wealthy restaurant owner in the Northeast. She is happily married to a man who likes to watch Sloane have sex with other men and women.

Lisa Taddeo writes with a novelist’s eye for detail and immediacy. This is not dry, academic writing. All the events are told through the women’s viewpoints. I understand the guys in Three Women, even when they’re behaving badly (maybe especially when they’re behaving badly). The emotionality of the women in Three Women leaves me pondering about the complexity and fragility of the female psyche. GRADE: A


The AFC and NFC Championship games feature four excellent teams. The Titans are the Cinderella team (although they are 7 1/2 point underdogs). KC Head Coach Andy Reid experienced more than his share of Playoff heartbreak, but 2020 could be his year. It helps to have Patrick Mahomes as your quarterback.

The Smart Money says the San Francisco 49ers should win this game going way. Aaron Rodgers is 36 years old and prone to mistakes now (and the Parkers are 7 1/2 underdogs, too). But the Packers can be gritty at times. Will this be one of them? I’m going with the Chiefs and Art Scott’s 49ers. Who do you think will win today?


Mary Norris has worked for The New Yorker since 1978, mostly as a copywriter. Norris edited the work of John McPhee, George Saunders, Ian Frazier, Mark Singer, Emily Nussbaum, Jon Lee, Calvin Trillin, Karen Russell, Ben McGrath, and dozens more. In Between You and Me, Norris writes about her love of grammar and how she managed to score her dream job. In later chapters, Norris explores burning questions like who put the hyphen in Moby-Dick and why are there so many commas in so much of our writing.

The comma was invented by Aldo Manuzio, a Venice printer, in 1490. Maruzio was working on printing Greek classics and found that using a comma (in Greek, komma means “something cut off”–a segment) made the passages less confusing. Over time, Norris is convinced that people insert too many commas in much of their writing.

My favorite chapter is Chapter 7: A Dash, a Semicolon, and a Colon Walk into a Bar. Norris analyzes how Emily Dickinson used dashes in her poetry and how Henry James used colons and semi-colons so effectively. GRADE: A

In It’s Greek to Me, Mary Norris writes about her love affair with Greece and the Greek language. I found It’s Greek to Me less interesting and less compelling than Between You and Me.. Are you a fan of grammar? GRADE: B
Introduction: Confession of a Comma Queen 1
Chapter 1 Spelling Is for Weirdos 15
Chapter 2 That Witch! 35
Chapter 3 The Problem of Heesh 57
Chapter 4 Between You and Me 77
Chapter 5 Comma Comma Comma Comma, Chameleon 92
Chapter 6 Who Put the Hyphen in Moby-Dick? 111
Chapter 7 A Dash, a Semicolon, and a Colon Walk into a Bar 131
Chapter 8 What’s Up with the Apostrophe? 147
Chapter 9 F∗ck This Sh∗t 157
Chapter 10 Ballad of a Pencil Junkie 169
Epilogue: The Million-Dollar Copy Editor 193
Acknowledgments 201
Notes 205
Appendix: Some Books I Have Found Particularly Helpful 213
Index 217
Invocation 1
Chapter 1 Alpha to Omega 19
Chapter 2 A Is for Athena 42
Chapter 3 Dead or Alive 66
Chapter 4 Demeter Dearest 97
Chapter 5 A Taste for Tragedy 122
Chapter 6 Swimming with Aphrodite 149
Chapter 7 Acropolis Now 176
Chapter 8 The Sea! The Sea! 201
Acknowledgments 223
Appendix The Greek Alphabet 227

FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #575: THE GREAT SF STORIES #18 (1956) Edited by Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg

As a kid, I was a big fan of Alan E. Nourse. I loved Nourse’s Scavengers in Space (1958) and read it several times in my teens. “Brightside Crossing” shows Nourse’s approach to his craft: presenting convincing characters and scientific applications (for the time) blending in action and adventure. My favorite story in The Great SF Stories #18 is Murray Leinster’s “Exploration Team” that also won a Hugo Award. Leinster had been writing for 40 years and being recognized near the end of his writing career moved me at the time. Damon Knight’s “The Country of the Kind” and “Stranger Station” displays Knight’s versatility. Mack Reynolds specialized in writing SF about economics and business. “Compounded Interest” gives readers a glimpse of the Universe Mack Reynolds would develop over the next 25 years in his unique work. Greenberg’s and Asimov’s introductions to the stories in this volume are particularly informative and entertaining. GRADE: A
“Brightside Crossing” by Alan E. Nourse (GALAXY, January 1956) 13
“Clerical Error” by Mark Clifton (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, February 1956) 35
“Silent Brother” by Algis Budrys (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, February 1956) 75
“The Country of the Kind” by Damon Knight (THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, February 1956) 96
“Exploration Team” by Murray Leinster (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, March 1956) 111
“Rite of Passage” by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore (THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, May, 1956) 161
“The Man Who Came Early” by Poul Anderson (THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION), June 1956) 203
“A Work of Art” by James Blish (SCIENCE FICTION STORIES, July 1956) 230
“Horrer Howce” by Margaret St. Clair (GALAXY, July 1956) 248
“Compounded Interest” by Mack Reynolds (THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, August 1956) 261
“The Doorstop” by Reginald Bretnor (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, November 1956) 276
“The Last Question” by Isaac Asimov (SCIENCE FICTION QUARTERLY, November 1956) 286
“Stranger Station” by Damon Knight (THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, December 1956) 300
“2066: Election Day” by Michael Shaara (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, December 1956) 327
“And Now the News…” by Theodore Sturgeon (THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION) 344


Science journalist Linda Geddes writes about the power of the Sun over our lives. Citing scientific studies and research, Geddes shows how sunlight affects circadian control, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, coronary artery disease, schizophrenia, obesity, and sleep.

My mother was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and a sunlamp helped her mood immensely during the dark Western New York winters. When I was a college student, I worked the Midnight Shift at a local Goodyear Chemical plant. Staying up all night and sleeping all day made me feel awful. I was so glad when that job came to an end! Geddes documents how low Vitamin-D affects health when people don’t get enough sunlight. Of course, too much sunshine can trigger melanoma so you have to be careful. I found Chasing the Sun an informative and useful book. Are you getting enough sun? GRADE: A
Introduction 1
1 The Body Clocks 16
2 The Body Electric 40
3 Shift Work 67
4 Doctor Sunshine 89
5 Protection Factor 111
6 A Dark Place 127
7 Midnight Sun 145
8 Light Cure 156
9 Fine-tuning the Clock 177
10 Clocks for Society 189
Epilogue 206
Acknowledgements 211
Notes 215
Index 227


Jonathan Bates explores the Classics that may have affected Shakespeare and his writings. Bates traces the influence of Horace, Juvenal, Cicero, Virgil, and Seneca on several of Shakespeare’s plays. But Bates stresses that the author that many have had the greatest influence on Shakespeare’s writings is Ovid. With dozens of examples, Bates builds a case that Ovid and his sensibility permeate Shakespeare’s plays.

Through careful quotes and citations, Bates shows the effects of Shakespeare’s reading on his writing. If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, you’ll learn a lot about the sources of the Bard’s plots, wit, and humor. Bates also deals with the women characters in Shakespeare and the Puritan influence: “And the relationship between church and the theatre became increasingly strained as ‘Puritan’ polemicists voiced their disapproval of players, especially when adult male actors stared kissing boys dressed as girls.” (p.3)

I particularly enjoyed the analysis of Plutarch and Montaigne as Bates traces their effect on various plays and sonnets. I found How the Classics Made Shakespeare informative and entertaining. What’s your favorite Shakespeare play? GRADE: A
Table of Contents
Preface and Acknowledgments ix
Illustrations xiii
1 The Intelligence of Antiquity 1
2 O’er-Picturing Venus 21
3 Resemblance by Example 36
4 Republica Anglorum 48
5 Tragical-Comical-Historical-Pastoral 64
6 S.P.Q.L. 90
7 But What of Cicero? 106
8 Pyrrhus’s Pause 126
9 The Good Life 146
10 The Defence of Phantasms 160
11 An Infirmity Named Hereos 185
12 The Labours of Hercules 210
13 Walking Shadows 232
14 In the House of Fame 252
Appendix: The Elizabethan Virgil 277
Notes 285
Index 349