Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Murder, He Wrote

The second George Smiley novel is an offbeat curio in the series and a damn good one at that. A unique entry because it isn’t a spy novel at all but rather an old-fashioned detective mystery along the lines of Agatha Christie or Dorothy L. Sayers. Later, more celebrated Smiley adventures certainly have mystery elements sprinkled in (as Smiley investigates a mole within the Circus Spy agency) but A Murder of Quality operates outside the espionage community altogether.

Plot: Miss Brimley is an old friend of George Smiley (from his WWII exploits) and when she receives a letter from a woman named Stella Rode, who claims her husband is trying to kill her, Brimley seeks Smiley’s counsel. Unfortunately, though, it’s too late.

Read the rest of my article at Criminal Element

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Church at Auvers by Vincent Van Gogh

My charmers and I have been enjoying painting during breaks in the day and evenings. Picasso's we are not but the youngest of us has great, great potential and I marvel at her ability to imagine something and recreate it faithfully on canvas ... well, paper. For me, its a relaxing break from reading, writing, and editing.

I went to the local library and grabbed several art books for kids on Monet and Van Gogh. Ava recognized The Starry Night from one of her favorite shows, The Little Einsteins, and I stopped on The Church at Auvers depicted here. Funny, when I looked at this classic again I immediately looked for the creature from a 2010 Doctor Who episode called "Vincent and the Doctor" where the time traveler notices a grotesque creature in one of the windows and so he goes back in time to help the artist triumph over the beast and only then does the painting resort to its normal appearance. Silliness for sure. Anyway, I'm enjoying Van Gogh's art these days and felt like posting The Church at Auvers.

In a letter dated June 5, 1890, Van Gogh writes to his sister:
... I have a larger picture of the village church - an effect in which the building appears to be violet-hued against a sky of simple deep blue colour, pure cobalt; the stained-glass windows appear as ultramarine blotches, the roof is violet and partly orange. In the foreground some green plants in bloom, and sand with the pink flow of sunshine in it. And once again it is nearly the same thing as the studies I did in Nuenen of the old tower and the cemetery, only it is probably that now the colour is more expressive, more sumptuous. [from Van Gogh's Letters].

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Angel Deeb

It's always a pleasure to have Patti at BEAT to a PULP and this time with "The Angel Deeb."

Swashbuckling Swagger!

In another time they may have sailed with Blackbeard or Captain Kidd but these anachronistic swashbucklers live in a future of droids, Daleks, and mutants. They are heroes who laugh in the face of death, live to do battle against impossible chances, and know when to toss that one-line quip that sends proceedings up with a wink. Quite often they are hesitant protagonists who seem more prone to shady dealings than noble pursuits, but when the chips are down they rise to the occasion and balance the odds.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Twain’s Other Steamboat Adventure

It was always nuts for Tom Sawyer—a mystery was. If you'd lay out a mystery and a pie before me and him, you wouldn't have to say take your choice; it was a thing that would regulate itself. Because in my nature I have always run to pie, whilst in his nature he has always run to mystery. People are made different. And it is the best way. —Huckleberry Finn
I'm at Criminal Element with Tom Sawyer, Detective: Twain’s Other Steamboat Adventure. Speaking of Twain, he had so many quotable quotes, right? Here's one of my favorites: "When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained." Or this one: "But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?"

Friday, October 24, 2014

Reexamining A Clockwork Orange

BEAT to a PULP's Chad Eagleton has an in-depth essay on Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange over at The Fall Creek Review. A thought-provoking piece on the relevance of this book and, honestly, if its actually any good.

I've always liked the Stanley Kubrick movie but can remember having a difficult time, myself, finishing the novel. Chad tackles thiscomparing book vs. filmplus highlights Rat Pack by Shane Stevens which is how he initially came to read the Burgess classic.

Btw some recent greatness at The Fall Creek Review includes "The Lizard's Ardent Uniform" by Chris Holm and Ron Scheer's  "My Dinner with Allen Ginsberg." TFCR sporadically updates but when they do you don't want to miss any posts. A good site to bookmark.

Free ebook! Carnosaur Weekend by Garnett Elliott

It’s a dirty job …

Policing the timelines has always been dangerous, but the brave agents of Continuity Inc. have arguably the most important job in human history. Protecting human history.

Newly promoted agent Kyler Knightly teams up with his uncle, Damon Cole, to stop unscrupulous developers from exploiting the Late Cretaceous. A luxury subdivision smack-dab in the middle of dinosaur country threatens not only the present, but super-rich homeowners looking for the ultimate getaway.

CARNOSAUR WEEKEND includes the original Kyler Knightly story, “The Zygma Gambit,” inspired by the dream journals of Kyle J. Knapp.

*This book will be a free Kindle download for several days and the print version will be released next week.