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#1079 - 08/13/01 04:31 PM Three down, two to go
Anonymous
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While in Seattle, whence I returned today, I visited the Seattle Mystery Bookshop, where I bought:

The Renewable Virgin
You Have the Right to Remain Silent
The Apostrophe Thief
Fare Play
Full Frontal Murder


I don't think that any of these are readily available over here, so it was great to get a pile of them. I checked the publication dates to make sure I would read them in the right order. Just as well, as it turns out!

Barbara, your books are excellent for reading on long aeroplane journeys! I'm just starting Fare Play. I may have a question or two when I've finished the lot of them ...

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#1080 - 08/13/01 10:33 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Whoo-ee, that's the kind of message I like to read! And thank you for paying attention to the publication dates. As for your questions -- just don't make them too hard, okay?

All the books you listed have had British editions. But the print runs weren't very large over there, so I imagine they are hard to find.

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#1081 - 08/14/01 08:48 AM Re: Three down, two to go
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
The fact that my books are not easy to find in England reminded me of something that happened about a decade ago. An Englishwoman wrote to me that her local library was so small you needed a magnifying glass to read the budget. So at her own expense, she'd photocopied one of my books and donated the photocopy to the library. She was so proud of what she'd done and so pleased to be able to "help" me that I didn't have the heart to tell her what she'd done was illegal. I'm surprised the librarian accepted it, though.

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#1082 - 08/14/01 11:39 AM Re: Three down, two to go
Anonymous
Unregistered


Quote:
Originally posted by Barbara:
something that happened about a decade ago ... [snip] ... I'm surprised the librarian accepted it, though.
Certainly many libraries (including that of the University of Leeds) were pretty lax about copyright infringements until about a decade ago when the Copyright Licensing Agency started flexing its muscles. And "the librarian" may have been an unqualified assistant, but alarm bells could easily have rung further up the hierarchy when the "book" was presented for cataloguing.

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#1083 - 08/14/01 05:15 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
I'm glad she liked the book well enough to keep the original for herself.....

But since there are not many books any of us read over and over and over again without a break, she could have donated the original and checked it out when she wanted to reread it!
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#1084 - 08/14/01 05:19 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
Oh, and Andrew.....see if you can find any (all) of the opera mysteries somewhere...right up your alley, as it were.

Several years ago I lucked on to a couple of Barbara's books down here at the Outer Banks where they have a "take one, leave one" paperback exchange at the resort.

Checked it today and didn't find anything by anybody I'd even think about taking.
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#1085 - 08/16/01 08:27 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Jon Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 6422
Loc: Newark, Delaware, USA
I was lucky enough to happen upon Barbara's work when a ton of her books were easily available in paperback (the late 1980s), and I grabbed 'em all then, and was able to keep up and get the hardbacks as new ones appeared.

I know that mystery bookstore in Seattle, and will be visiting it next week, you may be sure. The plentiful supply of good bookstores is one of Seattle's chief claims to being a civilized city; I have a whole circuit that I visit.

And the Caruso books saw me through my flight to Bayreuth in 1988.

Andrew, those titles will cover the Kelly Ingram saga pretty well, but I hope you can pick up The Fourth Wall someday so you can get properly introduced to Abby.

I love The Renewable Virgin; it's one that I've enjoyed rereading several times (and a great title).

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#1086 - 08/17/01 10:53 AM Re: Three down, two to go
Anonymous
Unregistered


I've finished all five now, and will marshall my thoughts and post some thoughts over the weekend, probably after I've finished the last Sarah Caudwell, which I also picked up in Seattle. I thought each book was better than its predecessor, actually, though only in Full Frontal Murder did I work out whodunnit before Marian Larch did - quite a bit before, in fact.

In the Mystery Bookshop, by the way, Barbara, were two odd-looking vols labelled "uncorrected proof copy, not for sale under any circumstances". They cost somewhat more than the copies I bought.

As for the opera mysteries, I was thinking of trying for second-hand copies online.

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#1087 - 08/17/01 04:13 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
For as highly populated a book as FFM is, there's a distressing scarcity of suspects. I tried to make it not too obvious, but...oh well.

Quote:
Originally posted by Andrew:
[B]In the Mystery Bookshop, by the way, Barbara, were two odd-looking vols labelled "uncorrected proof copy, not for sale under any circumstances". They cost somewhat more than the copies I bought.
[B]


Those were Advance Reading Copies that are sent out to booksellers and reviewers, to help them decide whether they want to sell/review the book by the time it is officially released. Even though the publishers forbid their sale, they're sold all the time. The Seattle bookstore owner probably just put a price tag on his own ARCs, or maybe he picked them up at an auction somewhere. Personally, I don't see why anyone would want an ARC instead of a finished copy.

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#1088 - 08/17/01 06:38 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Jon Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 6422
Loc: Newark, Delaware, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Barbara:
Personally, I don't see why anyone would want an ARC instead of a finished copy.
Once in a while there's no alternative. I was unable to find a copy of Robert Barnard's Death and the Chaste Apprentice to buy (this was 8-10 years ago, before the 'net made specialized shopping easier), as there was no US paperback and the hardcover was out of print. But the mystery bookstore in Bethesda Maryland (gone within the last year *sob* though I think its branch in DC remains) had it on its "uncorrected proofs" shelf. Rather pricey for what it was, but at least I was able to obtain a copy that way. That's the only time I've done it.

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#1089 - 08/18/01 07:51 AM Re: Three down, two to go
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Ah, as an alternative to nothing, yes, an ARC has value. But there are people who collect these things, and I can't see why.

Are you talking about The Mystery Bookshop -- the one that used to be on Old Georgetown Road in Bethesda? I didn't know there was a branch in D.C.

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#1090 - 08/18/01 08:57 AM Re: Three down, two to go
Jon Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 6422
Loc: Newark, Delaware, USA
Yes, the one on Old Georgetown Road. Maybe I'm wrong about there being a DC one as well. I thought there was a store near Dupont Circle with the same name, but it may just be a similar one, or I may be completely out to lunch. (The most likely alternative.)

My visit to Bethesda a year ago was a bit depressing. It's always been fun to get up there for an hour or two when I visit DC. On a sunny afternoon it was exhilarating to walk around this lively area with all the used and specialty bookstores and restaurants with sidewalk cafes. But last time I went, several of my favorite stores were gone, after many years of reassuring permanence.

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#1091 - 08/18/01 02:03 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
That's sad about Bethesda. The chain stores have driven so many of these good little places out of business.

Jon, I believe you're thinking of MysteryBooks on Connecticut, right off Dupont Circle. Not a branch; two different owners. MysteryBooks was where Bill Clinton bought his mysteries. I did a joint signing there once; I think we were all secretly hoping the presidential limo would pull up at the door, but it didn't.

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#1092 - 08/18/01 03:58 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Jon Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 6422
Loc: Newark, Delaware, USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Barbara:
Jon, I believe you're thinking of MysteryBooks on Connecticut, right off Dupont Circle.


You're right. That was a careless mental agglomeration on my part -- I've visited both, and the names ran together in my head. And it's a little unusual for one metropolitan area to have two unrelated mystery bookstores. (I was about to say that Philadelphia is another exception, with one in the city and another on the Main Line in [I think] Bryn Mawr; but when I drove by the latter earlier this month, it was gone. I hope it's just moved, but I fear the worst.)

Only 2 years ago, the Washington Post had an article about the rebirth of Bethesda as a happening sort of place, worth strolling aorund and immersing oneself in. And now... well, you said it, it's sad.

[This message has been edited by Jon (edited 08-18-2001).]

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#1093 - 08/21/01 06:42 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Anonymous
Unregistered


Well, the weekend is past, I've read the Caudwell, I've sent my lengthy thoughts on the Seattle RING to opera-l (if anyone wants a look, they can be found here) and I'll post a few thoughts on the first of the Larch books that I read - the rest can wait till tomorrow.

The Renewable Virgin

This is a crumbling second-hand Bantam paperback which cost me $5.98. I like the Art Deco/Vorticist cover, though it doesn't relate to the book in any way that I can think of. I also like the idea of the story being told from three viewpoints - has anyone else done this before? All I can think of is Wirginia Woolf's The Waves. And I found Kelly, with her uncertainty over grammar apparent from the first page, really developing into a three-dimensional character, quite hard-headed but endearing as well as intelligent. (I think of her hair as light brown or even auburn, FWIW!)

I was a bit unsatisfied by the main dénouement, mainly because it came rather early (p127 out of 184). I expected some extra twists which never came, but this was based on standard whodunnits that I'd read over the years.

I'd forgotten that there was an extra bit to be unravelled, but because the victim was so shadowy, I wasn't terribly interested.

One linguistic point (from p100 of the Bantam): "sic the police on them" - is this a real expression or a misprint (?for "sick"?).

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#1094 - 08/21/01 06:47 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Scribbler Offline


Registered: 02/25/00
Posts: 2451
Loc: Los Angeles, CA USA
Sic: nope, this is a proper American spelling for a word used to order dogs to attack. It gets used in general to mean "to incite". And of course, metaphorically in the case of setting the cops onto someone.

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#1095 - 08/21/01 10:44 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
No, Andrew, Kelly is definitely blonde. I'd cast Sharon Stone, probably, or a younger Loni Anderson (she sort of reminds me of Loni's "Jennifer" character on WKRP....drop dead gorgeous blonde that people expect to be dumb, but she isn't.

Frances McDormand for Marian, I think.
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#1096 - 08/22/01 08:43 AM Re: Three down, two to go
Anonymous
Unregistered


You have the Right to Remain Silent: I was a bit disconcerted by the way the book started off with the Downtown Queens and then went off in a completely different direction, though Large Marge reappears (very entertainingly) later. The Queens' execution of Mrs Alvarez is reflected in the execution of the four Universal Laser employees - maybe that's the point? Maybe it's even a pointer to their killer, though I felt that the revelation of who that is comes as a rather unprepared-for surprise (maybe I hadn't been reading closely enough).

This book (the later ones, too) falls into a more conventional "police procedural" mode than did The Renewable Virgin. I missed the different viewpoints, but I felt much more under the skin of Marian here and later. Also, it was great to meet Holland for the first time after all I've heard and read about him. I've seen a couple of "Blake's 7" episodes, so I had a good idea of what he looked like ...

Although again the killer was revealed fairly early (p170 out of 250), the rest of the book was pretty exciting, so I didn't mind at all. Marian's constant battles with Foley and diFalco were other pluses. A most enjoyable book overall.

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#1097 - 08/22/01 10:27 AM Re: Three down, two to go
Mary Offline
Member

Registered: 10/05/00
Posts: 764
Loc: MN
Quote:
Originally posted by Kay:
Frances McDormand for Marian, I think.


Oh! Yes. Definitely.

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#1098 - 08/22/01 01:00 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Anonymous
Unregistered


The Apostrophe Thief

Somehow, this one seemed less serious than the others. The victim is a shady person we've never met (actually, Barbara, we don't meet most of your victims before they are murdered, or not for long), and the whole "fan" thing is mostly amusingly treated - the Zingones, for example (I loved Luke's bizarre way with words) - though the shaving-mug business shows a different sort of obsession. Plus actors always seem to leaven the dough. Oh, and the Waltzing Brünnhildes!

Then I enjoyed the Marian/Holland thing, still developing but full of misunderstandings, plus Murtaugh versus diFalco.

Overall, this is one where I wasn't too bothered about finding out who did it, nor very interested when the answer emerged - the interest was in the surroundings.

[This message has been edited by Andrew (edited 08-25-2001).]

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#1099 - 08/22/01 04:47 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Lorna Offline
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Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 2676
Loc: Dayton, Ohio
Kay, do you think Sharon Stone was ever a virgin? Much less a renewable one? Kelly is the kind of performer who projects a kind of sweet, open innocence and sexiness at the same time, and that ain't Karen Stone.

Barbara can correct me when she gets back if I'm wrong, but I think the type of starlet Kelly is supposed to be in the first book is more like that youngest blond on Baywatch, Dawn or Summer or something like that. She's wide-eyed and naive, yet she's built like a Centerfold and runs around 95% naked all the time. (Do lifeguards really wear swimsuits like that???) I'm not saying that actress (I don't know her name) would make a good Kelly; she's too bland for Kelly. But I think that's the type of roles Kelly was playing before she got her break.

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#1100 - 08/25/01 11:59 AM Re: Three down, two to go
Anonymous
Unregistered


Fare Play

This started out intriguingly - I was reminded of some of George V Higgins's openings. Overall, it was quite a dark book, with cold-blooded contract killings at its centre. The wedding, however, provided just the right amount of light relief, plus I enjoyed the further Marian/Holland developments.

Linguistic question: is "schoolgirl" (Chapter 23) commonly used in the USA for a University student? I realise that "school" is used over there for "university", but hadn't heard "schoolgirl" before. Does "schoolboy" exist? Here, both words are used only for pupils at what we call schools, i.e. places where you are educated up to the age of 16 or 18.

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#1101 - 08/25/01 12:45 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
Been a while since I read fareplay so I do't remember the contest....Barbara can speak for her self, but just from the standpoint of language...."School girl/boy" with or without the space usually refers to per-college level....turns up frequently in phrases like "schoolgirl/boy crush" (is crush used in UK to mean attraction to?)

College women (PLEASE...not "girls") have been called "coeds" from the term "co-educational". It's more or less condescending.
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#1102 - 08/27/01 02:01 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Barbara Offline
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Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
About "schoolgirl" -- yes, we're supposed to say "college women" now. But sometimes I forget. I could have said "a young college student".

I think I was just showing my age there; any female under thirty looks like a girl to me.

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#1103 - 08/28/01 07:02 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
Under 30? My 40+ daughter was still getting carded a couple of years ago.
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#1104 - 08/28/01 08:34 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Anonymous
Unregistered


My take on "scholgirl" or "schoolboy" is soneone in grade school. I don't know what fits high school students, but it's something else.

There's no rational reason for this particular distinction, and it may in fact be incorrect, as "girl" or "boy" just means a child of the appropriate sex.

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#1105 - 09/01/01 02:10 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Lorna, your naive sexpot on Baywatch sounds exactly like the kind of renewable-virgin role I had in mind. USA network is rerunning that show, so I watched four episodes this week. There were three blonds bouncing around, but they were named C.J., Donna, and Neely. No Dawn or Summer.

There were also two dark-haired lifeguards. One was Alexandra Paul ("Stephanie"), whom I remember from a couple of Perry Mason movies only because of her last name. And the other was Yasmine Bleeth ("Caroline"), who I suspect had stopped looking naive by the time she was three years old.

So I don't think I saw the one you were talking about.

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#1106 - 09/01/01 04:37 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Rita Offline


Registered: 09/22/04
Posts: 3264
Loc: St. Paul, MN
That show had a long run, about 11 or 12 years, so there were bound to be cast changes along the way. I watched maybe half a dozen episodes from either the second or third season, but I remember the character Lorna is talking about; Barbara, you must have watched episodes from later in the run.

The girl's name was Summer, and her mother had a restaurant on the beach which she named after her daughter (The Summer Place). I remember an episode in which Summer woke up in the bed of a male lifeguard with whom she'd spent the night, and she was as dewey and fresh and innocent as the day she was hatched. A very good example of a renewable virgin.

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#1107 - 09/01/01 10:03 PM Re: Three down, two to go
Lorna Offline
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Registered: 04/22/05
Posts: 2676
Loc: Dayton, Ohio
Oh, the restaurant -- that's right; now I remember. The Summer Place. And if I recall correctly, the mother was played by Susan Anton, the only one on the show who could act.

But I don't remember any Donna or Neely, so I guess we did watch episodes from different times. (I bailed out pretty quickly; there's only so much of that stuff you can take.)

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