Saturday, November 29, 2014

What is Stephen Policoff reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Stephen Policoff, author of Come Away.

His entry begins:
Actually, right now, I am mostly re-reading. I have to put together a syllabus for a creative writing class I am teaching in the spring in Global Liberal Studies at NYU, so I am looking over some books I have taught previously to decide if I still plan to teach them or not. I re-read and loved Jamaica Kincaid’s Annie John, her best book, I think, and a wonderful, unusual, coming-of-age story, full of vivid details of childhood in Antigua, and sharply held-back...[read on]
About Come Away, from the publisher:
Who is the small, greenish girl Paul Brickner repeatedly sees skittering around the edge of his yard in upstate New York? No one else seems to see her. Ever since Spring was injured in a fluke fall, Paul has been possessed with the anxiety that he might lose her.
Visit Stephen Policoff's faculty webpage and Facebook page, and learn more about Come Away.

Writers Read: Stephen Policoff.

--Marshal Zeringue

Friday, November 28, 2014

Five top supernatural novels

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Ella Cosmo tagged five top supernatural books that promise to keep you up late at night, including:
The Croning, by Laird Barron

It would be criminal not to include The Croning on this list. A Lovecraftian horror story in the truest sense, the novel follows Don Miller, a geologist married to anthropologist Michelle Mock, whose investigation into the existence of “little people” is not what is seems. As Mock’s investigation continues, it draws both her and Don closer to a horrifying truth about human existence. Are we all just the pawns of a mysterious otherworldly evil? The novel’s tone of nihilistic dread is made all the more terrifying by Barron’s slow and deliberate chronicling of the destruction of Don’s fundamental beliefs about our world.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 99: John Higginson's "Collective Violence and the Agrarian Origins of South African Apartheid, 1900-1948"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Collective Violence and the Agrarian Origins of South African Apartheid, 1900-1948 by John Higginson.

About the book, from the publisher:
This book examines the dark odyssey of official and private collective violence against the rural African population and Africans in general during the two generations before apartheid became the primary justification for the existence of the South African state. John Higginson discusses how Africans fought back against the entire spectrum of violence ranged against them, demonstrating just how contingent apartheid was on the struggle to hijack the future of the African majority.
John Higginson is Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is also a research Fellow in the College of Human Sciences and the department of history at the University of South Africa in Pretoria, South Africa. He is the author of A Working Class in the Making: Belgian Colonial Labor Policy, Private Enterprise and the African Mineworker, 1907–1951 (1989).

Learn more about Collective Violence and the Agrarian Origins of South African Apartheid, 1900-1948 at the Cambridge University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Collective Violence and the Agrarian Origins of South African Apartheid, 1900-1948.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Rachel Manija Brown & Sherwood Smith's "Stranger"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: Stranger by Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith.

About the book, from the publisher:
Many generations ago, a mysterious cataclysm struck the world. Governments collapsed and people scattered, to rebuild where they could. A mutation, “the Change,” arose, granting some people unique powers. Though the area once called Los Angeles retains its cultural diversity, its technological marvels have faded into legend. “Las Anclas” now resembles a Wild West frontier town… where the Sheriff possesses superhuman strength, the doctor can warp time to heal his patients, and the distant ruins of an ancient city bristle with deadly crystalline trees that take their jewel-like colors from the clothes of the people they killed.

Teenage prospector Ross Juarez’s best find ever – an ancient book he doesn’t know how to read – nearly costs him his life when a bounty hunter is set on him to kill him and steal the book. Ross barely makes it to Las Anclas, bringing with him a precious artifact, a power no one has ever had before, and a whole lot of trouble.
Learn more about Stranger at the Viking Children’s Books website.

The Page 69 Test: Stranger.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ann Purser's "Suspicion at Seven," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: Suspicion at Seven by Ann Purser.

The entry begins:
Benedict Cumberbatch as Inspector Cowgill, or any other character that would suit BC`s chameleon-like talents.

And Steven...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Ann Purser's website.

The Page 69 Test: Found Guilty at Five.

Writers Read: Ann Purser.

My Book, The Movie: Suspicion at Seven.

--Marshal Zeringue

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Gayle Forman's 3 favorite reads of 2014

At Omnivoracious Gayle Forman tagged three favorite books she read this year, including:
All the Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

The ingenious structure of this book—two narrative timelines, one of them told backwards—infuses the work with a creepy tension, as do the settings: Australia’s outback and an unnamed island off the coast of Britain where sheep are mysteriously dying. The book I’ve most recommended this year.
Read about another book on the list.

My Book, The Movie: All the Birds, Singing.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is David M. Carr reading?

Featured at Writers Read: David M. Carr, author of Holy Resilience: The Bible's Traumatic Origins.

His entry begins:
In my spare time I read mostly fiction, since it provides an angle on truth and writing that I miss in the mass of research reading that I do. I just finished reading (actually listening to) Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (as read by Juliet Stevenson). I listened to it twice, ever more impressed with the poetic language of the novel, Woolf’s exquisite depictions of the interior lives of her intersecting characters, and the fluid way she moved between the inner worlds of the different characters moving through the day. In one sense, the novel covers very little ground, the happenings of a single day. But in another sense the novel seems to say that the most important stories, for several of the main characters, had happened long ago. The novel traces the reverberations of these earlier stories--of love, rejection, and even wartime trauma--on the current lives of each character making their way through the one day in June. It impressed on me the...[read on]
About Holy Resilience, from the publisher:
Human trauma gave birth to the Bible, suggests eminent religious scholar David Carr. The Bible’s ability to speak to suffering is a major reason why the sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity have retained their relevance for thousands of years. In his fascinating and provocative reinterpretation of the Bible’s origins, the author tells the story of how the Jewish people and Christian community had to adapt to survive multiple catastrophes and how their holy scriptures both reflected and reinforced each religion’s resilient nature.

Carr’s thought-provoking analysis demonstrates how many of the central tenets of biblical religion, including monotheism and the idea of suffering as God’s retribution, are factors that provided Judaism and Christianity with the strength and flexibility to endure in the face of disaster. In addition, the author explains how the Jewish Bible was deeply shaped by the Jewish exile in Babylon, an event that it rarely describes, and how the Christian Bible was likewise shaped by the unspeakable shame of having a crucified savior.
Learn more about Holy Resilience at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Holy Resilience.

Writers Read: David M. Carr.

--Marshal Zeringue

Seven top bad witches in literature

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Shaun Byron Fitzpatrick tagged seven of the best bad witches in literature, including:
Elphaba (Wicked by Gregory Maguire)

Sure, the movie version’s Wicked Witch of the West was cool, but she doesn’t hold a candle to Wicked’s version. While not technically a villain, Elphaba was still feared throughout Oz, and for good reason. A powerful sorceress and a rebel fighting against the tyranny of the Wizard, Elphaba had no problem with upsetting authority, and was willing to kill if she needed to. (I’m beginning to see a pattern: “bad witch”= “pretty casual about killing people.”)
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Pg. 99: Diana Walsh Pasulka's "Heaven Can Wait"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Heaven Can Wait: Purgatory in Catholic Devotional and Popular Culture by Diana Walsh Pasulka.

About the book, from the publisher:
After purgatory was officially defined by the Catholic Church in the thirteenth century, its location became a topic of heated debate and philosophical speculation: Was purgatory located on the earth, or within it? Were its fires real or figurative?

Diana Walsh Pasulka offers a groundbreaking historical exploration of spatial and material concepts of purgatory, beginning with scholastic theologians William of Auvergne and Thomas Aquinas, who wrote about the location of purgatory and questioned whether its torments were physical or solely spiritual. In the same period, writers of devotional literature located purgatory within the earth, near hell, and even in Ireland. In the early modern era, a counter-movement of theologians downplayed purgatory's spatial dimensions, preferring to depict it in abstract terms--a view strengthened during the French Enlightenment, when references to purgatory as a terrestrial location or a place of real fire were ridiculed by anti-Catholic polemicists and discouraged by the Church.

The debate surrounding purgatory's materiality has never ended: even today members of post-millennial ''purgatory apostolates'' maintain that purgatory is an actual, physical place. Heaven Can Wait provides crucial insight into the theological problem of purgatory's materiality (or lack thereof) over the past seven hundred years.
Learn more about Heaven Can Wait at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Heaven Can Wait.

--Marshal Zeringue

Ten fictional families you could probably abide this holiday season

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog, Rebecca Jane Stokes tagged ten fictional families you might enjoy more than the one you'll actually spend the holidays with, including:
The Everdeens

If I had to pick any family with whom to dwell during the holidays in an apocalyptic version of earth, it would have to be the Everdeens. That’s mainly because if I overindulge in my food rations, Prim or Mama Everdeen would be able to brew up some sort of herbal tincture to treat my indigestion. That being said, the “cornucopia” utilized in the Games themselves is a cruel mockery of the symbol of a day when the only battle to the death should be over the last piece of pumpkin pie.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Hunger Games also appears on Jonathan Meres's top ten list of books that are so unfair, SF Said's top ten list of unlikely heroes, Rebecca Jane Stokes's top eight list of books perfect for reality TV fiends, Chrissie Gruebel's list of favorite fictional fashion icons, Lucy Christopher's top ten list of literary woods, Robert McCrum's list of the ten best books with teenage narrators, Sophie McKenzie's top ten list of teen thrillers, Gregg Olsen's top ten list of deadly YA books, Annalee Newitz's list of ten great American dystopias, Philip Webb's top ten list of pulse-racing adventure books, Charlie Higson's top ten list of fantasy books for children, and Megan Wasson's list of five fantasy series geared towards teens that adults will love too.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: Jen Nadol's "This Is How It Ends"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: This Is How It Ends by Jen Nadol.

About the book, from the publisher:
If you could see the future, would you want to? After the disturbing visions Riley and his friends see turn out to be more than hallucinations, fate takes a dangerous twist in this dark and suspenseful page-turner.

Riley and his friends are gearing up for their senior year by spending one last night hanging out in the woods, drinking a few beers, and playing Truth or Dare. But what starts out as a good time turns sinister when they find a mysterious pair of binoculars. Those who dare to look through them see strange visions, which they brush off as hallucinations. Why else would Riley see himself in bed with his best friend’s girlfriend—a girl he’s had a secret crush on for years?

In the weeks that follow, the visions begin to come true...including a gruesome murder. One of Riley’s closest friends is now the prime suspect. But who is the murderer? Have Riley and his friends really seen the future through those mysterious binoculars? And what if they are powerless to change the course of events?
Visit Jen Nadol's website.

Writers Read: Jen Nadol.

The Page 69 Test: This Is How It Ends.

--Marshal Zeringue

Todd Moss' "The Golden Hour," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Golden Hour by Todd Moss.

The entry begins:
I get this question a lot, which hopefully means readers believe The Golden Hour would make a terrific movie. Judd Ryker is not your typical gun-wielding thriller hero. He’s a 30-something soft-spoken professor on leave from Amherst College who arrives at the State Department armed with data and ideas. Judd’s a nerd who’s much more comfortable with numbers than people, but as a diplomat, this is a problem he needs to quickly overcome. (I know a lot of successful people like this—they are brilliant analysts, but they could work on their people skills!) Jake...[read on]
Visit Todd Moss' website.

Writers Read: Todd Moss.

The Page 69 Test: The Golden Hour.

My Book, The Movie: The Golden Hour.

--Marshal Zeringue

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Pg. 99: David Carr's "Holy Resilience: The Bible's Traumatic Origins"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Holy Resilience: The Bible's Traumatic Origins by David M. Carr.

About the book, from the publisher:
Human trauma gave birth to the Bible, suggests eminent religious scholar David Carr. The Bible’s ability to speak to suffering is a major reason why the sacred texts of Judaism and Christianity have retained their relevance for thousands of years. In his fascinating and provocative reinterpretation of the Bible’s origins, the author tells the story of how the Jewish people and Christian community had to adapt to survive multiple catastrophes and how their holy scriptures both reflected and reinforced each religion’s resilient nature.

Carr’s thought-provoking analysis demonstrates how many of the central tenets of biblical religion, including monotheism and the idea of suffering as God’s retribution, are factors that provided Judaism and Christianity with the strength and flexibility to endure in the face of disaster. In addition, the author explains how the Jewish Bible was deeply shaped by the Jewish exile in Babylon, an event that it rarely describes, and how the Christian Bible was likewise shaped by the unspeakable shame of having a crucified savior.
Learn more about Holy Resilience at the Yale University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Holy Resilience.

--Marshal Zeringue

Cover story: "The Price of Thirst"

Karen Piper is the author of Cartographic Fictions and Left in the Dust, which the Los Angeles Times has called an “eco-thriller” that every “tap-turning American” should read. A regular contributor to Places magazine, Piper is also a winner of Sierra’s Nature Writing Award and has published in numerous academic journals. She is professor of postcolonial studies in English and adjunct professor in geography at the University of Missouri.

Piper's new book is The Price of Thirst: Global Water Inequality and the Coming Chaos.

Here she explains the connection of the book's cover to the pages within:
The cover photo is a large well in Gujarat, India, a region of the world known for water shortages. You’ll notice how crowded it is, how far down the ropes go, and how it’s surrounded by desert. You’ll also notice that it is mostly women who do the hard work of hauling water, and that this work is getting harder by the day. The reality for many people in the world is that these wells are drying up or becoming too dirty to drink—primarily because of climate change, pollution, and over-extraction of groundwater resources. My book talks about these three things, and also about the global challenges we will all face in finding and distributing water fairly. In India, the groundwater is so over-pumped that millions of people are affected by fluoride poisoning, due to the fact that deep aquifers have more fluoride in them than shallow wells. It’s a very serious problem that causes skeletal deformities, blindness, and a host of other issues.

Ultimately, imagine what would happen to the people in that photograph if that well were dry tomorrow, or if there were only enough water for two of those people. Or imagine that a French or American corporation came in and posted a sign saying, “Sorry, this water now belongs to us. No further access.” What would the people in that photograph do? That is precisely the question of my book.
Learn more about The Price of Thirst at the University of Minnesota Press website.

The Page 99 Test: The Price of Thirst.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five thick books that deserve their own movie series

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog John Bardinelli tagged five long books that deserve their own movie series, including:
Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein

One of the big sci-fi books from the 1960s, Stranger in a Strange Land tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a human born on Mars who comes back to his home planet and tries to understand life in a post–World War III society. Nothing humans do makes sense to him, and half of the things he does make no sense to humans. The book eventually veers off into free love hippie commune territory that seems a little dated by today’s standards, but in 1961, it was practically revolutionary.

Filming Stranger in a Strange Land wouldn’t take as many movies as the other items on the list. The uncut edition is about 528 pages long, but the material isn’t as dense, and Valentine’s psychic powers and rise to stardom would make for some great big screen material. The MPAA would have a field day with the sexual content, but hey, if 50 Shades of Grey gets a movie, we can’t grok why Stranger in a Strange Land shouldn’t, too.
Read about another entry on the list.

Stranger in a Strange Land is among MaryKate Jasper and Charlie Jane Anders's top ten super-weird books that are considered part of the science fiction canon and Battlestar Galactica creator Ron Moore's favorite sci-fi novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Gavriel D. Rosenfeld reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Gavriel D. Rosenfeld, author of Hi Hitler!: How the Nazi Past is Being Normalized in Contemporary Culture.

His entry begins:
The historical legacy of the Nazi era continues to fascinate me and I have begun work on a new book about the history of the Fourth Reich. As part of this project, I recently finished reading a (by now, surely forgotten) novel from 1944, Erwin Lessner’s Phantom Victory: A Fictional History of the Fourth Reich, 1945-1960. This future history (or to be technical, retroactive alternate history) was written by an Austrian World War I veteran and emigré to the United States and features a nightmare scenario in which the United States neglects to follow up its military victory over the Nazis with a hard peace and thereby enables the Nazis to return to power and establish a Fourth Reich. The plot and characters are reasonably engaging (the founder of the Fourth Reich is a charismatic peasant named Friedolin who leads the Germans back to power via feigned penance for their crimes), but the book is mostly of interest for...[read on]
About Hi Hitler!, from the publisher:
The Third Reich's legacy is in flux. For much of the post-war period, the Nazi era has been viewed moralistically as an exceptional period of history intrinsically different from all others. Since the turn of the millennium, however, this view has been challenged by a powerful wave of normalization. Gavriel D. Rosenfeld charts this important international trend by examining the shifting representation of the Nazi past in contemporary western intellectual and cultural life. Focusing on works of historical scholarship, popular novels, counterfactual histories, feature films, and Internet websites, he identifies notable changes in the depiction of the Second World War, the Holocaust, and the figure of Adolf Hitler himself. By exploring the origins of these works and assessing the controversies they have sparked in the United States and Europe, Hi Hitler! offers a fascinating and timely analysis of the shifting status of the Nazi past in western memory.
Visit Gavriel D. Rosenfeld's website.

Writers Read: Gavriel D. Rosenfeld.

--Marshal Zeringue

Monday, November 24, 2014

Pg. 99: Deana Rohlinger's "Abortion Politics, Mass Media, and Social Movements in America"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Abortion Politics, Mass Media, and Social Movements in America by Deana A. Rohlinger.

About the book, from the publisher:
Weaving together analyses of archival material, news coverage, and interviews conducted with journalists from mainstream and partisan outlets as well as with activists across the political spectrum, Deana A. Rohlinger reimagines how activists use a variety of mediums, sometimes simultaneously, to agitate for – and against – legal abortion. Rohlinger's in-depth portraits of four groups – the National Right to Life Committee, Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women, and Concerned Women for America – illuminates when groups use media and why they might choose to avoid media attention altogether. Rohlinger expertly reveals why some activist groups are more desperate than others to attract media attention and sheds light on what this means for policy making and legal abortion in the twenty-first century.
Learn more about Abortion Politics, Mass Media, and Social Movements in America at the Cambridge University Press website and Deana A. Rohlinger's website.

Deana Rohlinger is an associate professor in the department of sociology and a research associate at the Pepper Institute of Aging and Public Policy at Florida State University.

The Page 99 Test: Abortion Politics, Mass Media, and Social Movements in America.

--Marshal Zeringue

Dick Cavett's 6 favorite books

Dick Cavett contributes regularly to the New York Times's online opinion section. His new book is Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks.

One of the legendary talk-show host's six favorite books, as shared at The Week magazine:
Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel

Herrigel, a German philosopher-teacher, goes to Japan for instruction, intrigued by tales of an archer who hits his target without aiming or caring and the swordsman whose discipline allows him in combat to dismiss from his mind both his opponent and his opponent's sword. Sound crazy? There's much to learn here about learning.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue

Elizabeth Kadetsky's "The Poison that Purifies You," the movie

Featured at My Book, The Movie: The Poison that Purifies You by Elizabeth Kadetsky.

The entry begins:
The twenty main characters in The Poison that Purifies You abide by the David Mitchell/Wachowski Brothers principle, also known as the Vertigo principle: a core of actors plays multiple roles. Also, time collapses which in this case allows for actors from past and present to co-exist in the same collection and even story. And, of course, race is no object—characters’ hair color and ethnicity easily shift. Since Hitchcock has been evoked, casting begins with Kim Novak, and to match eras loosely, she plays alongside Jon Voight, in his Midnight Cowboy iteration, in the short story “Loup Garou.” Novak, hair curled and dyed black, plays the part-native French Canadian former waitress Cecile. Jon Voight plays across from her as John, who, in the writing was named for, yes, Jon Voight. He wears tight white jeans, a cowboy hat and a Western snap shirt and drinks straight from...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Elizabeth Kadetsky's website, Facebook page, and Twitter perch.

My Book, The Movie: The Poison that Purifies You.

--Marshal Zeringue

Pg. 69: E.B. Moore's "An Unseemly Wife"

Featured at the Page 69 Test: An Unseemly Wife by E.B. Moore.

About the book, from the publisher:
Not all journeys come to an end….

1867
. Ruth Holtz has more blessings than she can count—a loving husband, an abundant farm, beautiful children, and the warm embrace of the Amish community. Then, the English arrive, spreading incredible stories of free land in the West and inspiring her husband to dream of a new life in Idaho.

Breaking the rules of their Order, Ruth’s husband packs up his pregnant wife and their four children and joins a wagon train heading west. Though Ruth is determined to keep separate from the English, as stricture demands, the harrowing journey soon compels her to accept help from two unlikely allies: Hortence, the preacher’s wife, and the tomboyish, teasing Sadie.

But as these new friendships lead to betrayal, what started as a quest for a brighter future ends with Ruth making unthinkable sacrifices, risking faith and family, and transforming into a woman she never imagined she’d become….
Visit E.B. Moore's website.

The Page 69 Test: An Unseemly Wife.

--Marshal Zeringue

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Pg. 99: Gary Schmidgall's "Containing Multitudes"

Featured at the Page 99 Test: Containing Multitudes: Walt Whitman and the British Literary Tradition by Gary Schmidgall.

About the book, from the publisher:
Walt Whitman burst onto the literary stage raring for a fight with his transatlantic forebears. With the unmetered and unrhymed long lines of Leaves of Grass, he blithely forsook "the old models" declaring that "poems distilled from other poems will probably pass away." In a self-authored but unsigned review of the inaugural 1855 edition, Whitman boasted that its influence-free author "makes no allusions to books or writers; their spirits do not seem to have touched him." There was more than a hint here of a party-crasher's bravado or a new-comer's anxiety about being perceived as derivative.

But the giants of British literature were too well established in America to be toppled by Whitman's patronizing "that wonderful little island," he called England-or his frequent assertions that Old World literature was non grata on American soil. As Gary Schmidgall demonstrates, the American bard's manuscripts, letters, prose criticism, and private conversations all reveal that Whitman's negotiation with the literary "big fellows" across the Atlantic was much more nuanced and contradictory than might be supposed. His hostile posture also changed over the decades as the gymnastic rebel transformed into Good Gray Poet, though even late in life he could still crow that his masterwork Leaves of Grass "is an iconoclasm, it starts out to shatter the idols of porcelain."

Containing Multitudes explores Whitman's often uneasy embrace of five members of the British literary pantheon: Shakespeare, Milton, Burns, Blake, and Wordsworth (five others are treated more briefly: Scott, Carlyle, Tennyson, Wilde, and Swinburne). It also considers how the arcs of their creative careers are often similar to the arc of Whitman's own fifty years of poem-making. Finally, it seeks to illuminate the sometimes striking affinities between the views of these authors and Whitman on human nature and society. Though he was loath to admit it, these authors anticipated much that we now see as quintessentially Whitmanic.
Learn more about Containing Multitudes at the Oxford University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Containing Multitudes.

--Marshal Zeringue

Five of the best oddball detective novels

Jeff Somers is the author of Lifers, the Avery Cates series from Orbit Books, Chum from Tyrus Books, and We Are Not Good People from Pocket/Gallery. He has published over thirty short stories as well.

At The Barnes & Noble Book Blog Somers tagged five detective novels featuring "oddballs who will satisfy your yen for mystery and your yen for surprisingly creative worlds," including:
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, by Michael Chabon

This fantastic novel is an alternative history novel, and what truly sets it apart from just about every novel ever written is how well it’s constructed. The alternative timeline, wherein Israel is destroyed in 1948 and a temporary Jewish settlement in Alaska becomes the Jewish state (something that almost happened) is simultaneously subtle and ambitious in scope. Add in a mystery that’s well-constructed just as a mystery, a long list of creative and fascinating characters (and genius riffs on one of the world’s most musical languages, Yiddish), and you’ve got a tremendous book that also happens to be an oddball detective novel.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Yiddish Policemen's Union is among J.D. Taylor's ten top counter-factual novels and Molly Driscoll's top six alternate-history novels.

--Marshal Zeringue

What is Ann Purser reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Ann Purser, author of Suspicion at Seven: A Lois Meade Mystery.

Her entry begins:
I belong to a book club - around twelve of us turn up in the Reading Room (truly a small building erected about a hundred years ago in our tiny village, in an effort to educate the poor and neglected members of the parish}. We meet once a month, and this is about right for me to read one book a month. This month we have Fludd, by Hilary Mantel, a deliciously creepy read. Into churchy matters - dark corners of the mind - comes Fludd, a strange character who comes and goes at will, sometimes without apparently taking steps to appear or disappear. Frustrated women, corrupt clergy, all...[read on]
About the book, from the publisher:
Lois Meade has done enough buffing and polishing over the years with her cleaning business, New Brooms, to know that all that glitters is not gold. So when a bag of costume jewellery is the main clue in a murder, she has a strong suspicion that appearances may be deceiving…

After a woman is discovered in the Mill House Hotel, strangled with a silver necklace beside a bag filled with faux silver, gold and pearls, costume jewelry dealer Donald Black seems like the obvious suspect. But Lois knows Donald’s wife, who runs a baker’s shop near the hotel, and can’t believe her husband could be a killer. Plus, Donald has an airtight alibi.

Nevertheless, Donald is no angel. It appears he’s running a pyramid scheme, and Lois’s mother is getting sucked in. Could the murder have anything to do with his unscrupulous business practices?

As Inspector Cowgill and Lois hope the bling may shine a light on the killer, the discovery of a second body on the old waterwheel in the hotel may be grist for the mill in solving the murder—if they can manage to catch the culprit without getting the runaround.
Learn more about the book and author at Ann Purser's website.

The Page 69 Test: Found Guilty at Five.

Writers Read: Ann Purser.

--Marshal Zeringue