Author Archives: george


I’m a huge fan of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s songs so when I heard Rumer had released an all Bacharah/David CD, I had to have it. Rumer had a hit album with Seasons of My Soul back in 2010. This new album mixes familiar Bacharach/David hits with some more obscure songs. Delightful music! What’s your favorite Bacharach & David song? GRADE: A
1 The Look Of Love 4:17
2 Balance Of Nature 4:06
3 One Less Bell To Answer 3:20
4 Are You There (With Another Girl) 3:15
5 (They Long To Be) Close To You 4:05
6 You’ll Never Get To Heaven (If You Break My Heart) 4:04
7 Land Of Make Believe 3:29
8 A House Is Not A Home 3:47
9 Walk On By 3:16
10 The Last One To Be Loved 3:41
11 This Girl’s In Love With You 4:54
12 What The World Needs Now Is Love 3:48


This latest resurrection of The Mummy is directed by Alex Kurtzman who produces Scorpion and Hawaii Five-O on CBS. The Mummy has a TV feel to it as Tom Cruise and his love interest, Annabelle Wallis, discover an Egyptian tomb in Iraq (a weird occurrence). The mummy (Sofia Bontella) in the tomb wants Tom Cruise to become the vessel to embody the God of Death, Set. Yes, there are several scary scenes. Plenty of thrills. Rats, spiders, and deadly birds. Yes, Russell Crowe is wasted in a silly role.

The Wall Street Journal headline to the review of The Mummy read: TOM CRUISE FALLS INTO A SAND TRAP. The movie reviewer, Joe Morgenstern, zinged the acting in The Mummy with lines like: “Jenny Halsey, a beautiful archaeologist played vervelessly by Annabelle Wallis…” Love “vervelessly”! This version of The Mummy doesn’t compare to the 1932 Boris Karloff film or the 1959 Christopher Lee classic. But if you’re looking for a mindless Summer popcorn movie, The Mummy will fit the bill. GRADE: C

Van Cliburn International Piano Competition 2017

The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition began in 1962 and features the world’s best young pianists ages 18 to 30. While the competition is available online at you may find the web site sluggish because of the heavy volume of watchers. FATHOM EVENTS is bringing the Finals to selected theaters so I’ve decided to go see these fine pianists today at our local Regal Theater. If you have any interest in classic music, you’ll enjoy these performances. The Competition starts in the afternoon so there’s still time to buy a ticket!
Prize Winners of the Fifteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition

Nancy Lee and Perry R. Bass Gold Medal
Yekwon Sunwoo, 28, South Korea

Silver Medal
Kenneth Broberg, 23, United States

Bronze Medal
Daniel Hsu, 19, United States

Audience Award
Rachel Cheung, 25, Hong Kong

FORGOTTEN BOOKS #427: Murder Draws a Crowd: Fredric Brown Mystery Library, Volume One and Death in the Dark: Fredric Brown Mystery Library, Volume Two

Haffner Press just released these wonderful volumes of Fredric Brown’s short stories. I read a lot of Fredric Brown in the 1960s, but these mystery stories from the Thirties and Forties are mostly new to me. Fredric Brown wrote great mysteries and Science Fiction. Many of these stories are being reprinted for the first time. If you’re a fan of Fredric Brown and stories of this vintage, these two delightful tomes are must-buys. I’m always interested in supporting small presses who publish books like Murder Draws a Crowd and Death in the Dark. You can’t go wrong with these two gems! GRADE: A

The Moon for a Nickel, Detective Story Magazine Mar. 38
The Cheese on Stilts, Thrilling Detective Jan. 39
Blood of the Dragon, Variety Detective Feb. 39
There Are Bloodstains in the Alley, Detective Yarns Feb. 39
Murder at 10:15, Clues Detective Stories May 39
The Prehistoric Clue, Ten Detective Aces Jul. 40
Trouble in a Teacup, Detective Fiction Weekly Jul-13-1940
Murder Draws a Crowd, Detective Fiction Weekly Jul-27-1940
Footprints on the Ceiling, Ten Detective Aces Sep. 40
The Little Green Men, The Masked Detective Fall 1940
Town Wanted, Detective Fiction Weekly Sep-7-1940
Herbie Rides His Hunch, Detective Fiction Weekly Oct-19-1940
The Stranger from Trouble Valley, Western Short Stories Nov. 40
The Strange Sisters Strange, Detective Fiction Weekly Dec-28-1940
How Tagrid Got There, unpublished until 1986
Fugitive Imposter, Ten Detective Aces Jan. 41
The King Comes Home, Thrilling Detective Jan. 41
Big-Top Doom, Ten Detective Aces Mar 41
The Discontented Cows, G-Men Detective Mar. 41
Life and Fire, Detective Fiction Weekly Mar-22-1941
Big-League Larceny, Ten Detective Aces Apr. 41 {as by Jack Hobart}
Selling Death Short, Ten Detective Aces Apr. 41
Client Unknown, The Phantom Detective Apr. 41
Your Name in Gold, The Phantom Detective Jun. 41
Here Comes the Hearse, 10-Story Detective Jul. 41 {as by Allen Morse}
Six-Gun Song, 10-Story Detective Jul. 41
Star-Spangled Night, Coronet Jul. 41
Wheels Across the Night, G-Men Detective Jul. 41
Little Boy Lost, Detective Fiction Weekly Aug-2-1941
Bullet for Bullet, Western Short Stories Oct. 41
Listen to the Mocking Bird (NT) G-Men Detective Nov. 41
You’ll End Up Burning!, Ten Detective Aces Nov. 41
Number Bug, Exciting Detective Winter 1941
Thirty Corpses Every Thursday, Detective Tales Dec. 41
Trouble Comes Double, Popular Detective Dec. 41
Clue in Blue, Thrilling Mystery Jan. 42
Death is a White Rabbit, Strange Detective Mysteries Jan. 42
Twenty Gets You Plenty, G-Men Detective Jan. 42
Bloody Murder, Detective Fiction Jan-10-1942
Fredric Brown in Trade Magazines, Part One
The “V.O.N. Munchdriller” stories from The Driller
The “William Z. Williams”” stories from Excavating Engineer
Little Apple Hard to Peel, Detective Tales Feb. 42
Death in the Dark, Dime Mystery Mar. 42
The Incredible Bomber, G-Men Detective Mar. 42
Pardon My Ghoulish Laughter, Strange Detective Mysteries Mar. 42
Twice-Killed Corpse, Ten Detective Aces Mar. 42
A Cat Walks, Detective Story Magazine Apr. 42
Mad Dog!, Detective Book Magazine Spring 1942
Moon Over Murder, The Masked Detective Spring 1942
“Who Did I Murder?”, Detective Short Stories Apr. 42
Murder in Furs, Thrilling Detective May 42
Suite for Flute and Tommy Gun, Detective Story Magazine Jun. 42
Three-Corpse Parlay, Popular Detective Jun. 42
A Date to Die, Strange Detective Mysteries Jul. 42
Red is the Hue of Hell, Strange Detective Mysteries Jul. 42 {as by Felix Graham}
Two Biers for Two, Clues Detective Stories Jul. 42
“You’ll Die Before Dawn”, Mystery Magazine Jul. 42
Get Out of Town, Thrilling Detective Sep. 42
A Little White Lye, Ten Detective Aces Sep. 42
The Men Who Went Nowhere, Dime Mystery Sep. 42
Nothing Sinister, Mystery Magazine Sep. 42
The Numberless Shadows, Detective Story Magazine Sep. 42
Satan’s Search Warrant, 10-Story Detective Sep. 42
Where There’s Smoke, Black Book Detective Sep. 42
Boner, Popular Detective Oct. 42
Legacy of Murder, Exciting Mystery Oct. 42
The Santa Claus Murders, Detective Story Magazine Oct. 42
Double Murder, Thrilling Detective Nov. 42 {as by John S. Endicott}
Fredric Brown in Trade Magazines, Part Two
“Willie Skid: Cub Serviceman Says” from Ford Dealer & Service Field
“Let Colonel Cluck Answer Your Questions” from Independent Salesman
“Barnyard Bill Says—” from Feedstuffs


Bill Crider reviewed David Terrenoire’s Beneath a Panamanian Moon here. I found a copy and put it on my Read Real Soon stack. Finally, it floated to the surface and I read it in one gulp. As Bill pointed out, it says “A Mystery” on the cover. But Beneath a Panamanian Moon is a high-octane spy novel. The narrator, John Harper, is a retired spy who now plays piano in clubs and parties. But, something big is going down in Panama so Harper finds himself recruited to find out what’s happening. A pile of bodies, a bunch of explosions, and some gaudy patter later, we discover the plot hatched south of the border. If you’re in the mood for a non-stop action thrill ride, Beneath a Panamanian Moon is just the ticket. GRADE: B+

THE KING’S BLOOD By Daniel Abraham

The second book in The Dagger and The Coin series brings more depth to the story. The major characters find themselves drawn into conspiracies as the King is threatened by the rise of the Spider Cult. As in the first book, The Dragon’s Path (you can read my review here) the young banker, Cithrin, attracts my attention every time her chapters appear. The growing power of the scholar, Geder Palliako, displays the feckless whims of Fate. I’m also impressed by the strength of Clara Kalliam, wife of a key nobleman, who seems to understand people and politics better than her husband does. I’m waiting for the soldier, Captain Mrcus Wester, to leap into action. Right now in The King’s Blood, he’s like a coiled cobra. GRADE: B+


Affairs of the Heart: Classic Tales of Love and Loss Based on the Fiction of Henry James features Diane Rigg, Margaret Tyzack, Pamela Brown, Patricia Routledge, Ian Ogilivy, Anton Rodgers, Jeremy Brett, Derek Jacobi, Eileen Atkins, Sinead Cusack, Edward Harwicke, Cheryl Campbell, David Massey, and Christopher Casenove in 13 hour-long episodes based on Washington Square, “The Marriage,” The Aspern Papers, “Covering End,” Wings of the Dove, “Glasses, “The Tone of Time,” “The Real Thing,” “Lord Beauprey,” An International Episode, “The Beach of Desolation,” Daisy Miller,” “Nona Vincent,” and “The Great Condition.” Acorn Media produced these two sets in an engaging package. If you’re a fan of Henry James, you’ll love these wonderful productions! GRADE: A


MacArthur Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh, no!

Back in the Sixties, Jimmy Webb’s “MacArthur Park” was an unlikely hit. It was over seven minutes long at a time when most songs on the radio were a little over two minutes long. It was “sung” by British actor Richard Harris. “MacArthur Park” included some loopy lyrics. In The Cake and the Rain, Jimmy Webb writes about “MacArthur Park” and his other hits like “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” and “Galveston”–hits for Glen Campbell. Jimmy Webb writes about his encounters with The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, the Supremes, Joni Mitchell, Simon & Garfunkel, and Elvis. In the Sixties and early Seventies, Jimmy Webb churned out hit after hit. Most of these songs were collected on the box set, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (2004). What is your favorite Jimmy Webb song? GRADE: B+
Disc: 1
  1. Sleepin’ in the Daytime
  2. P.F. Sloan
  3. Love Song
  4. Carless Weed
  5. Psalm One-Five-O
  6. Music for an Unmade Movie: Songseller
  7. Music for an Unmade Movie: Dorothy Chandler Blues
  8. Music for an Unmade Movie: Jerusalem
  9. Three Songs: Let It Be Me/Never My Love/I Wanna Be Free
  10. Once Before I Die
  11. Met Her on a Plane
  12. All Night Show
  13. All My Love’s Laughter
  14. Highpockets
  15. Marionette
  16. Laspitch
Disc: 2
  1. One Lady
  2. If Ships Were Made to Sail
  3. Pocketful of Keys
  4. See You Then
  5. Galveston
  6. Campo de Encino
  7. Love Hurts
  8. Simile
  9. Hurt Me Well
  10. Once in the Morning
  11. Catharsis
  12. Song Seller
  13. When Can Brown Begin
  14. Piano
  15. Love Hurts [Single Version]
  16. Ocean in His Eyes
  17. Feet in the Sunshine
  18. Cloudman
  19. Lady Fits Her Blue Jeans
  20. Just This One Time
Disc: 3
  1. Crying in My Sleep
  2. It’s a Sin (When You Love Somebody)
  3. Alyce Blue Gown
  4. Land’s End/Asleep on the Wind
  5. The Highwayman
  6. If You See Me Getting Smaller I’m Leaving
  7. Mixed-Up Guy
  8. Christiaan No
  9. Moment in a Shadow
  10. Sugarbird
  11. Where the Universes Are
  12. P.F. Sloan
  13. Dance to the Radio
  14. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
  15. Skylark (A Meditation)
Disc: 4
  1. No Good Indian [#][Outtake]
  2. Jet Lag Rag [#][Outtake]
  3. You Might as Well Smile [#][Outtake]
  4. Whistletown [#][Outtake]
  5. It Will Stand [#][Outtake]
  6. Hot Rod Queen [#][Outtake]
  7. See That Girl [#][Outtake]
  8. It Ain’t Raining [#][Outtake]
  9. Vagabond Queen [#][Outtake]
  10. If This Was the Last Song [#][Outtake]
  11. Saturday Suit [#][Demo Version]
  12. Cloudman [#][Demo Version]
  13. Fingerpaint Me [#][Demo Version]
  14. Mr. Shuck and Jive [#][Demo Version]
  15. Simile [#][Demo Version]
  16. Piano [#][Demo Version]
  17. Love Hurts [#][*][Demo Version]
Disc: 5
  1. Overture [Live][#]
  2. Sleepin’ in the Daytime [Live][#]
  3. By the Time I Get to Phoenix [Live][#]
  4. Macarthur Park [Live][#]
  5. Wichita Lineman [Live][#][Instrumental]
  6. Didn’t We [Live][#]
  7. My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama [Live][#]
  8. Pocketfull of Keys [Live][#]
  9. When Can Brown Begin [Live][#]
  10. Once in the Morning [Live][#]
  11. Song for My Brother [Live][#]
  12. Where’s the Playground Susie? [Live][#]
  13. Jerusalem [Live][#]
  14. Galveston [Live][#]
  15. Whistletown [Live][#]
  16. Piano [Live][#]
  17. Wichita Lineman [Vocal Version][Live][#]


John O’Neill of BLACK GATE loves to flaunt his incredible acquisitions from eBay and other sources. Check out John’s scores here and some BLACK GATE goodies here. I decided to do an imitation of John’s book presentations displaying the books I bought at the American Association of University Women’s Annual Book Sale this week. How do you think I did?


Here are Five Fun Facts about Gal Gadot, the actress who plays Wonder Woman:
1. Gal Gadot served as a combat instructor for two years in the Israel Defense Forces.
2. Gal Gadot, as Miss Israel, represented her country in the 2004 Miss Universe pageant.
3. Gal Gadot performed all her own stunts as Gisele in Fast & Furious #6.
4. Gal Gadot is the third actress and first non-American to play Wonder Woman, following Cathy Lee Crosby and Lynda Carter.
5. Gal Gadot added 17 pounds of muscle for her role as Wonder Woman by practicing kung fu, kickboxing, sword fighting, and jujitsu.

Gal Gadot carries Wonder Woman. Yes, Chris Pine, as Steve Trevor (an American spy helping British Intelligence), is a perfect foil for Gadot’s superhero character. Pine’s plane crashes near the island of the Amazons and Wonder Woman saves him. Pine is the first man Wonder Woman has ever seen. Plenty of humor ensues. The scenes of World War I battle fields suggest the horrors of war. Despite all the pyrotechnics of war, it’s the beauty of Gal Gadot that keeps our eyes glued to the Big Screen. I can’t wait to see Gal Gadot in the Justice League movie in November. GRADE: A-