Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Crafty Killing

Here's the first book I've finished reading during my recuperation:

A Crafty Killing is Lorraine Bartlett's first in her new Victoria Square Mystery series. It's in the cozy mystery genre - amateur protagonist, no violence on the page - and works wonderfully. Katie Bonner finds herself manager of Artisans Alley in Victoria Square, a fictional village in New York State, after her husband dies and his business partner shows up dead. She ends up figuring out the murder and improving the business prospects for Artisans Alley at the same time. The book is published by Berkley Prime Crime. As usual, Lorraine paints colorful, fleshed-out characters, places us in a delightful and sometimes spooky setting, and tells a great story. This promises to be series that leaves you eager for the next installment.

ine also writes as Lorna Barrett. She has a very successful series -- that is, NYT Bestseller-kind of success -- the Booktown Mysteries, also published by Berkley. I've read all the currently published volumes and can't wait to read the next. And she has her Jeff Resnick series under the name LL Bartlett, which I haven't gotten to yet.

Lorraine's a busy woman - did I also mention she blogs daily at Dazed and Confused? I recommend anything she's written.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Reading While Healing

In my regular life, I don't make enough time to read unless I'm on vacation. What, how can you not read, you might ask. Oh sure, I read, in between commuting, working, exercising, cooking, and spending a little time with my dearly beloved. I read the daily Boston Globe, the weekly Ipswich Chronicle, and the New Yorker, especially when I get to the gym and prop it up on the elliptical strider.

Books? I'm lucky if I finish one novel per week.

Now that I'm home full time with a back healing from major surgery, severe warnings that I'm not to lift, bend, or twist, and energy only for slow strolls up and down my street, I finally have time to read as much as I want to. My stack of To-Be-Read books from mystery writer friends is gradually shrinking. I have books on request from the library. I even have the time and space to read a non-fiction book. I usually read non-fiction essays only in the New Yorker. And when a friend asked if I'd read the draft of her family history, I could freely say, "I'd love to," instead of worrying that I'd never find the time.

This is a gift! I'm going to share the gift with you by chronicling here what I'm reading,
and plan include a short review of each book. It's still hard to sit at the computer for very long, so I'll try to do one book per day.

Stay tuned for the following:

  • A Crafty Killing by Lorraine Barlett
  • Come and Find Me by Hallie Ephron
  • The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard
  • The Girl I left Behind by Judith Nies
  • Who Wrote the Book of Death? by Steve Liskow
  • A Single Deadly Truth by John Urban
If you've read any of these, please leave a comment and let me know what you thought.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Time of Recuperation

My posts have become less frequent lately. I've been dealing with back-pain issues and am coming up to spinal fusion surgery next week. It's a carefully considered decision and a weighty one. But posts will likely remain infrequent for a few more weeks.

On the other hand, I'll have several days in the hospital during which I can take notes for a future story or scene. The pad of paper and pen are already packed.

During the following weeks of home rest, I have serious plans to catch up on my To Be Re
ad stack of mysteries, and to catch up movies I have missed, too. My son explored the Ipswich library's stash of DVDs yesterday and found some good ones. The doctor recommends walking, so a little stroll to the library will be on my agenda as soon as I can. Luckily, it's just up the hill. Our new Ipswich bookstore, the Book Nook, has its grand opening on April 2. I should be able to stroll downtown for that, too.

Who knows, I might be able to work on my ice-fishing story for the Guppies anthology or write some more scene
s on the second Lauren Rousseau mystery, this one a fictional account of murderous local politics set partially at our local Crane Beach and the Castle Hill mansion that overlooks the beach.

Having been blessed with a Glass-is-Almost-Always-More-Than-Half-Full personality, I believe that maintaining a positive attitude is good for health, both mental and physical. So I'm determined to make the best of my six weeks away from paid work. I'll post news here when I'm able.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Whew. Email account got hijacked last week. Spam mail went out to every person I had ever sent mail to or received mail from, apparently. Twice. Both times the message had no subject line and included a link to a hoax medical/prescription site. Fake cheap Canadian drugs, anyone?

I hope nobody clicked that link. I tried to apologize to all, near and far.

I felt dirty, like when my apartment was burglarized many years ago. Somebody was in there in my personal stuff. Icky. At least I didn't have my facebook account also hacked, as happened to many friends just a few weeks ago.

I changed my password and set up a double login system for my mail. Now when I type the password, my cell phone rings with a verification number that I type in on the spot. Only then does it let me see my Inbox. Let's hope this is successful at keeping the spammer away.

And then, of course, my thoughts turned to how I could use this in a story. Who would be the spammer? They could target just the person they wanted to harm. If anyone clicked the link, it could lead to some nefarious location or contact. How could I hook up email hacking with murder? Hmmm. Much smiling and rubbing of hands.

Can you tell I'm a silver-lining type? How would you put mail spam in a murder story?