Author Archives: george


Just in time for the Holiday Gifting Season, Otto Penzler dropped this huge 1000+ page tome featuring female detectives. Penzler takes the chronological approach and unearths some wonderful stories I was completely unfamiliar with. Many of the stories like Agatha Christie’s “Secret Adversary” remind me of how good the Golden Age stories were. When I first picked up The Big Book of Female Detectives I thought the stories would be about female detectives written by female writers. But Penzler also includes stories about female detectives in stories written by male writers. No matter. Here’s a 1000+ pages of stories to fill those cold winter nights with entertaining mysteries. My only complaint is that I had to rest this book on my dining room table when I read it. It’s too awkward to hold sitting in an easy chair. How many of these stories have you read? GRADE: A
Introduction by Otto Penzler xii
Victorians and Edwardians (British)
Mysterious countess / Anonymous — 3
Unraveled mystery / Andrew Forrester, Jr. — 10
Redhill sisterhood / C.L. Pirkis — 29
Diamond lizard / George R. Sims — 43
Stir outside the CafĂ© Royal / Clarence Rook — 57
Mandarin / Fergus Hume — 62
Outside ledge: a cablegram mystery / L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace — 72
Frewin miniatures / Emmuska Orczy — 79
Conscience / Richard Marsh — 91
Hidden Violin / M. McDonnell Bodkin — 103
Before World War I (American)
Christabel’s crystal / Carolyn Wells — 113
Bullet from nowhere / Hugh C. Weir — 122
Intangible clew / Anna Katharine Green — 138
Planted / James Oppenheim — 151
Pulp Era
Wizard’s safe / Valentine — 163
Red hot / Frederick Nebel — 176
Domino Lady collects / Lars Anderson — 193
Letters and the law / T.T. Flynn — 202
Old maids die / Whitman Chambers — 230
Too many clients / D.B. McCandless — 242
Rat turnaround / Roger Torrey — 255
Murder with music ; Coke for Co-eds / Adolphe Barreaux — 272
Chiller-diller / Richard Sale — 278
Passing of Anne Marsh / Arthur Lep Zagat — 296
Golden Age
Secret Adversary / Agatha Christie — 313
Diamond cut diamond / Frederic Arnold Kummer — 433
Locked doors / Mary Roberts Rinehart — 444
The Tea-leaf / Edgar Jepson & Robert Eustace — 470
Almost perfect murder / Hulbert Footner — 482
Lover of St. Lys / F. Tennyson Jesse — 517
Misogyny at Mougins / Gilbert Frankau — 529
Introducing Susan Dare / Mignon G. Eberhart — 538
Bloody Crescendo / Vincent Starrett — 554
Burglars must dine / E. Phillips Oppenheim — 573
Missing character / Phyllis Bentley — 584
Murder in the movies / Karl Detzer — 591
Gilded pupil / Ethel Lina White — 603
Case of the hundred cats / Gladys Mitchell — 613
Murder with flowers / Q. Patrick — 612
Vacancy with corpse / H.H. Holmes — 650
Riddle of the Black Museum / Stuart Palmer — 684
Meredith’s murder / Charlotte Armstrong — 695
Flowers for an angel / Nigel Morland — 711
There’s death for remembrance / Frances & Richard Lockridge — 720
Mom sings an aria / James Yaffe — 730
Modern Era
All the lonely people / Marcia Muller — 743
Blood types / Julie Smith — 753
Poison that leaves no trace / Sue Grafton — 764
Discards / Faye Kellerman — 773
Spooked / Carolyn G. Hart — 785
Making lemonade / Barbara Paul — 797
Louise / Max Allan Collins — 809
Strung out / Sara Paretsky — 821
Beneath the lilacs / Nevada Barr — 837
Miss Gibson / Linda Barnes — 847
Headaches and bad dreams / Lawrence Block — 858
Affair of inconvenience / Anne Perry — 870
Beaubien / Deborah Morgan — 877
Double-crossing Delancey / S.J. Rozan — 888
Shoeshine man’s regrets / Laura Lippman — 903
Dust up / Wendy Hornsby — 911
Case of the Parr children / Antonia Fraser — 921
Fast / Jeffery Deaver — 938
Bad girls
Winged assassin / L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace — 967
Blood-red cross / L.T. Meade & Robert Eustace — 980
Adventure of the Carnegie Library / John Kendrick Bangs — 994
Woman from the east / Edgar Wallace — 999
She knew what to do / Joseph Shearing — 1018
Forgers / Arthur B. Reeve — 1024
Meanest man in Europe / David Durham — 1037
Four square Jane unmasked / Edgar Wallace — 1046
Adventure of the headless statue / Eugene Thomas — 1076
Madame goes dramatic / Perry Paul — 1092
Extenuating circumstances / Joyce Carol Oates — 1107


I don’t know if all these singers and groups are “divas” but I found a lot to like listening to this 2-CD set. Most of these songs are from the Sixties and they sound wonderful! There are plenty of familiar songs here–“Chapel of Love,” “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” and “I Say a Little Prayer”–but there are also some surprises: “Fairytale” by The Pointer Sisters and “Gee Whiz” by Carla Thomas. How many of these songs do you remember? Are any of your favorite songs included on The Original Divas? GRADE: A
1. “Will You Love Me Tomorrow”-The Shirelles
2. “Chapel of Love”-The Dixie cups
3. “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”-Aretha Franklin
4. “Soldier Boy”-The Shirelles
5. “A Lover’s Concerto”-The Toys
6. “Anyone Who Had a Heart”-Dionne Warwick
7. “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss)”-Betty Everett
8. “Love Letters”-Kelly Laster
9. “Chains”-The Cookies
10. “Gee Whiz (Look At His Eyes)”-Carla Thomas
11. “I Say a Little Prayer”-Dionne Warwick
12. “Baby It’s You”-The Shirelles
1. “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going”-Jennifer Holliday
2. “Stop! In the Name of Love”-The Supremes
3. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”-Diana Ross and The Supremes and The Temptations
4. “Heatwave”-Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
5. “Please Mr. Postman”-The Marvelettes
6. “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”-Gladys Knight & the Pips
7. “Our Day Will Come”-Ruby and the Romantics
8. “Fairytale”-The Pointer Sisters
9. “My Guy”-Mary Wells
10. “Baby Love”-The Supremes
11. “Remember (Walkin’ in the Sand)”-The Shangri-Las
12. “Rescue Me”-Fontella Bass
13. “Dancing in the Streets”-Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
14. “Don’t Mess with Bill”-The Marvelettes
15. “If I Were Your Woman”-Gladys Knight & the Pips
16. “Come See About Me”-The Supremes


Rick Ollerman and an impressive group of writers have produced Blood Work, an anthology of crime and mystery stories in appreciation for Gary Shulze, owner of the ONCE UPON A CRIME bookstore in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Together with his wife, Pat, Gary helped dozens of writers by offering them a site for readings and promoting their books. When Gary died, the writers he helped decided to “give back” by producing this volume of short stories. The guidelines for the stories: they had to involve a book, or bookstore, or tuba (Gary played the tuba as part of a band that played concerts in the Twin Cities area).

In his Introduction, Rick Ollerman writes: “No one who is taking part in the writing or publishing of this book is making a penny from it. This is as true a labor of love as we can make it, with all the proceeds going to a charity that Pat says saved Gary’s life many times over. The beneficiary of this work is the Memorial Blood Centers of St. Paul, Minnesota…” This is the giving season so consider buying this book, enjoying the stories, and supporting the Memorial Blood Centers. I admire Rick and the other writers who contributed to this special project. Highly recommended! GRADE: A
Introduction by Rick Ollerman 1
Lush–Duane Swierczynski 5
Undeliverable–Libby Fischer Hellmann 17
Seven Fiancees–David Housewright 29
House on the Mound–Randy Wayne White 43
Just Another Cold Case–William Kent Krueger
Ticket to Hell–Kristi Belcamino
Message from a Dead Man–Michael Allan Mallory 75
Melanie–Jen Conley
Faith–Stuart Neville
Tommy the Turtle and the Tuba–Michael A. Black
The Adventure of the First Problem–Jess Lourey 127
The Stolen Arm–Scott Adlerberg 147
The Shoe Tack–Reed Farrel Coleman 159
Return–Eric Beetner 167
Malta–Terrence McCauley 175
Unsafe–Lois Greiman 191
At the Laundromat–Nick Petrie 205
The Secret Adversary–Jessie Chandler 217
I’m With It: A Love Story–Gary R. Bush 231
The Case of the Missing Tuba–Michael Stanley 251
Tide Kings–Rick Ollerman 259
An Orchestral Caper–Don Bruns 277
The Last Customer–John Gaspard 293
The Dead Man Blues–Lissa Marie Redmond 303
The Truck Stop–Jenny Milchman 321
Backlit–Michael Bracken 343
The Funkafied Man–Gary Phillips 363
Moose Tracks–Dave Case 377
One for the Books–Austin Camacho 391
Subtle Notes–Case Younggren 397


During Deb and John’s marvelous dinner, the conversation turned to Midsomer Mysteries, the British TV series. Deb is a big fan, as are the Meyersons. I had box sets of the series on DVD, but hadn’t gotten around to watching them. Deb’s enthusiasm motivated me to watch Midsomer Mysteries, Series 1. Bucolic English villages hide sordid crimes and wacky characters. Detective Tom Barnaby (John Nettles) and his assistant, Sergeant Troy (Daniel Casey) investigate these cases and expose their cunning plots.

This box set includes The Killings at Badger’s Drift, Written in Blood,, Death of a Hollow Man, Faithful Unto Death, and Death in Disguise. That’s 529 minutes of pure entertainment! I watched Midsomer Mysteries with the Closed Captioning on. Bonus features include Production Notes and a Midsomer map. I don’t know why I waited so long to watch this wonderful mystery series! Do you have a favorite Midsomer Mysteries episode? GRADE: A

BECOMING By Michelle Obama

My daughter, Katie, attended the event where Former first lady Michelle Obama and moderator Michele Norris addressed the crowd at TD Garden in Boston last Saturday night. Michelle Obama is on a book tour marketing Becoming, her memoir.

“I grew up with a disabled dad in a too-small house with not much money in a starting-to-fail neighborhood, and I also grew up surrounded by love and music in a diverse city in a country where an eduction can take you far. I had nothing or I had everything. It depends on which way you wan to tell it.” (p. 416)

I found Michelle Obama’s Becoming a choppy book. I was intrigued by her early years. But, once Michelle Obama meets Barack Obama, he hijacks her life…and her book. At this point, Becoming shows us how Michelle Obama views key events in her husband’s life: winning the Presidency, killing Osama Bin Ladin, being attacked by Fox News and Trump, etc. Michelle Obama admits to “yelling” when she’s angry. I also sensed she’s easily annoyed. And when Michelle Obama is annoyed, she makes things happen. There are several stories in Becoming where Michele Obama “intervened” when the Secret Service interfered with Sasha and Malia–and I suspect these stories are just the tip of the iceberg.

Michelle Obama is smart, funny, and passionate. But entire swatches of her life are missing. Michelle Obama has little to say about her time at Harvard Law School. She skips through the time when she and her husband are child-free. Maybe she’s saving these stories for another book. GRADE: B
Preface ix
Becoming Me 1
Becoming Us 109
Becoming More 381
Epilogue 417
Acknowledgements 423


Rookie QB Josh Allen returns from his elbow injury to lead the Buffalo Bills (3-7) against the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-7). Both teams, in the Playoffs last season, are going Nowhere this season. The Jaguars are 3-point favorites. For the Bills, these last six games are basically preseason games to see if they wasted their First Round Pick on Josh Allen or not. How will your favorite NFL team fare today?

FRANK SINATRA SINGS FOR ONLY THE LONELY [60th Anniversary European Edition 2-CD Collection]

For many Frank Sinatra fans, Only the Lonely (1958) is his best album. It’s moody and intense. Sinatra was at the top of his game. Nelson Riddle’s orchestra sounds fantastic on these new remastered CDs. I bought the European Edition because I read their mono version sounds incredible. After listening to it a couple of times, I agree!

There have been other “stereo” versions of Only the Lonely but I found them hard to listen to with the music swinging from one speaker to another. This new remastered stereo version eliminates that problem. But, being Old School, I prefer the new mono version. If you’re a Frank Sinatra fan, this is a must-buy. If you have a Sinatra fan on your Holiday Gift List, this wonderful 60th Anniversary Edition of Only the Lonely is the perfect choice. Do you have a favorite Frank Sinatra song? GRADE: A
Disc: 1 (Original Mono):
1. Only The Lonely
2. Angel Eyes
3. What’s New?
4. It’s A Lonesome Old Town
5. Willow Weep For Me
6. Good-Bye
7. Blues In The Night
8. Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry
9. Ebb Tide
10. Spring Is Here
11. Gone With The Wind
12. One For My Baby
13. Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry (alt take – May 5, 1958)
14. Angel Eyes (alt take – May 5, 1958)
Disc 2 (Stereo, New 2018 mix from 3 track masters):
1. Only The Lonely
2. Angel Eyes
3. What’s New?
4. It’s A Lonesome Old Town
5. Willow Weep For Me
6. Good-Bye
7. Blues In The Night
8. Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry
9. Ebb Tide 10. Spring Is Here
11. Gone With The Wind
12. One For My Baby
13. Lush Life (session takes – May 29, 1958)
14. One For My Baby (test track – June 24, 1958)

FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #504: THE GREAT SF STORIES #3 (1941) Edited by Isaac Asimov & Martin H. Greenberg

Some of the best stories of 1941 don’t appear in The Great Stories #3 (1941). Robert A. Heinlein’s stories could not be included in this volume because of contract problems. Martin Greenberg and Isaac Asimov provide insightful introductions for each of the missing stories however. Heinlein’s “Universe” is the iconic generational starship story. Heinlein’s “By His Bootstraps” might be one of the best time travel stories ever published. This volume also includes Theodore Sturgeon’s best SF story (according to Asimov): “Microscopic God” about a scientist who creates an entire microscopic race. Asimov’s classic, “Nightfall” and Alfred Bester’s “Adam and No Eve” round out the roster of famous stories in this anthology. Clearly, 1941 was a especially excellent year for Science Fiction! GRADE: A+
INTRODUCTION By Isaac Asimov and Martin H. Greenberg 9
“Mechanical Mice” by Maurice A. Hugi (aka, Eric Frank Russell) (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, January 1941) 13
“And He Built a Crooked House” by Robert A. Heinlein (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, February 1941) 37
“Shottle Bop” by Theodore Sturgeon (UNKNOWN, February 1941) 38
“The Rocket of 1955” by C. M. Kornbluth (STIRRING SCIENCE STORIES, April 1941) 66
“They” by Robert A. Heinlein (UNKNOWN, April 1941) 69
“Evolution’s End” by Robert Arthur (THRILLING WONDER STORIES, April 1941) 70
“Microcosmic God” by Theodore Sturgeon (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, April 1941) 86
“Jay Score” by Eric Frank Russell (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, May 1941) 113
“Universe” by Robert A. Heinlein (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, May 1941) 130
“Liar!” by Isaac Asimov (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, May 1941) 131
“Solution Unsatisfactory” by “Anson MacDonald”(aka, Robert A. Heinlein) (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, May 1941) 148
“Time Wants a Skeleton” by Ross Rocklynne (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, June 1941) 149
“The Words of Guru” by C. M. Kornbluth (STIRRING SCIENCE STORIES, June 1941) 203
“The Seesaw” by A. E. van Vogt (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, July 1941) 211
“Armageddon” by Fredric Brown (UNKNOWN, August 1941) 231
“Adam and No Eve” by Alfred Bester (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, September 1941) 237
“Solar Plexus” by James Blish (ASTONISHING STORIES, September 1941) 251
“Nightfall” by Isaac Asimov (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, September 1941) 263
“A Gnome There Was” by Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore (UNKNOWN, October 1941) 298
“By His Bootstraps” by “Anson MacDonald” (aka, Robert A. Heinlein) (ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION, October 1941) 323
“Snulbug” by Anthony Boucher (UNKNOWN, December 1941) 324
“Hereafter, Inc.” by Lester del Rey. (UNKNOWN, December 1941) 339


I’m a big fan of Kate Bush’s music so when I heard that Kate was remastering all of her classic albums, I was eager to listen to the result. Scintillating sound! Remastered Part 1 delivers a box set of seven CDs full of Kate Bush’s unique songs. Here are the seven albums included in this set:

Remastered Part 2 is scheduled for 2019. It will be another boxed set of Kate Bush’s later albums. If you’re a Kate Bush fan, this is a must-buy! A perfect holiday gift (to yourself!). Do you have a favorite Kate Bush song? GRADE: A