• English village,  Jigsaw puzzles,  Mystery

    Puzzling Out an English Village Murder

    A quaint little village in the Cotswolds, or the Lake Country, or somewhere in Oxfordshire. A place where everyone knows your name and what you’ve been up to. The public house is the center of community activity and the place to escape the troubles and worries of daily life. There’s a manor house, the hoary old church, the classic English cottages. But there may be the new development, causing tension in the community. Long-held grudges and long-festering feuds suddenly boiling up in the face of change, with murder the result. Fertile and deadly ground for thousands of mystery novels, and countless television shows. It’s also the inspiration for Murder in…

  • cozy mystery,  Mystery

    Jessica Fletcher is my hero

    I’m very late to the Murder, She Wrote party, but now that LeAnn and I are watching the show, I realize what a wonderful character Jessica Fletcher is. Wise in the ways of the world, kind to everyone she meets, and filled with empathy for all. Her previous career as a high school teacher and her upbringing as a Mainer both come out in her down-to-earth manner. Like all great detectives, she’s curious, always asking questions, fearless once she’s on the case in pursuing leads wherever they take her, and relentless in investigating. She’s also persistent in her writing, always working on the next book, wishing she could focus more…

  • Luna,  Moon,  stargazing,  Weekday

    Happy Day of the Moon

    Mondays, am I right? Turns out, not only is the start of the conventional work week*, but it’s also the day of the Moon. Literally. Monday is derived from the Old English Mōnandæg. Mōna means Moon in that language. Wikipedia states that it was a translation of the Latin “dies lunae,” day of Luna, the Latin name for Earth’s constant companion in the celestial dance. This Monday I was up early, as is my elderly cat Mittens’s wont, since he loves his “pill treats,” and wants them as soon as the sky begins to lighten. After taking care of him, I took my telescope outside for some morning Moon viewing.…

  • Mystery

    Some favorite mystery shows

    Living in the current golden age of digital streaming, we mystery lovers have a lot of wonderful mystery shows we can watch, old and new. Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order. Midsomer Murders. I love this delightful cozy featuring police as the main characters, set in the fictional English County of Midsomer. Twenty-two season and counting of light-hearted, sometimes outlandish, and always enjoyable mystery spinning. Only Murders In the Building. This fable-like series on Hulu blew me away when it premiered last year. The trio of sleuths have fantastic chemistry, balancing in the wacky oldsters in Martin Short and Steve Martin, and Selena Gomez’s twenty-something…

  • Uncategorized

    Summer is in full swing

    The temperature reached 98F here in Portland yesterday afternoon. Not nearly as scorching as Austin and other places in Texas have faced these past few days, and much “cooler” then when we were in fiery grip of the heat dome last summer. Today is cooler, closer to the range of what I can consider perfect summer weather for Oregon. We’re currently at 86F. I spent time today out in my “zero gravity” chair in the backyard, shaded from the sun by a lilac tree, and working on A Shush Before Dying. The forecast calls for even cooler temperatures over the next week. But I have no doubt that scorching heat…

  • stargazing

    A Moon shot

    I’m working on a longer post about my love for stargazing, but after being up to late stargazing lately, coupled with Mittens waking me up too early for his pill “treats”, today ended up being more of a slog than I’d imagined, so I thought I’d share an image from last night’s twilight viewing of Luna, taken through a refractor telescope. The purple border on the right edge of the Moon is caused by something called “chromatic aberration,” which is an artifact of the two lenses of this particular scope and its short focal length. Still the terminator, on the lefthand edge of the lunar image here, is sharp. The…

  • Muse,  Mystery,  Perry Mason,  Pulp Mystery

    Feeding My Mystery Muse

    After returning from a visit with a friend yesterday, I watched two more classic Perry Mason episodes, and marveled again at the storytelling and dialogue, and the skilled way a mystery was laid out and solved in under an hour. The series is very much a product of its time, and yet feels fresh and modern in many ways. Good conflict is timeless, and Perry’s never-ending quest to help those in need is as relevant today as it was in the 1950s and 1960s. I’m also reading James Scott Bell’s entertaining “Neo-Pulp” mystery collection, Trouble is My Beat, featuring pulp writer and Hollywood studio troubleshooter Bill Armbrewster. It’s a cracking…

  • Cats,  Weekend

    Happy Caturday

    Enjoying a fun, lazy Saturday afternoon here. I think our cat Mittens is enjoying it most of all. He’s nearly sixteen and loves his comfy spots. Hope you are having a wonderful weekend as well.