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#881 - 06/03/00 02:18 AM Of Cats and Monks and other critturs
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
The only relationship this has to BPaul's work is that I didn't find any (as usual) on the shelf at Waldenbooks, when I stopped by to pick up some reading material to carry to Australia.

I do most of my book selecting at the library (where there are lots of Barbara's books available) or the BookTrader in PHL (ditto, unless Jon got there first!), which I was afraid I might not have time to visit, so I was amazed to discover how many names new to me were on the mystery shelf. The other thing that was surprising was how many of these "new" writers seem to involve cats in their sleuthing.....I guess the success of Lilian Braun's "Cat Who" and Rita Mae Brown's "Sneaky Pie" series has turned loose a flood of cat detectives (does anybody write about dogs....other than Asta, that is?)

I was also a bit startled by the going rate for paperback mysteries (yes, Barbara, I know writers have to eat like everybody else).

I set myself a limit of $5.99 per book and sort of stuck to writers I know. What was surprising was that when I got home and looked at my choices I had THREE that had medieval backgrounds: A Cadfael I had not read (and I'm betting that's the inspiration for this trend), a Margaret Frazer and one by a Seattle-based writer I am not familiar with, Candace Robb.

The fourth book is by another unfamiliar name: Carolyn G. Hart. It appealed to me because it has a "retired newshound" (female) for a sleuth and takes place on some island off the Carolinas, two things with which I can identify.

Not surprisingly, all four are by women writers.

Oh, yes...I bypassed the latest by "Margaret Truman" ever since I found out that Harry's girl doesn't really write her own books! I've never been too crazy about her work anyway. But that's another thread on another forum. (Deleted I think.)
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#882 - 06/03/00 06:21 AM Re: Of Cats and Monks and other critturs
Barbara Offline
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Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Lawrence Block once said there were only two kinds of mystery novel. One with cats, and one without cats.

The cat is sort of the standard crittur for mysteries; look at the success of the Cat Crimes series of anthologies. A lot of mystery booksellers keep a cat in the shop. I asked one shop owner why, and she said, "It's expected."

Carolyn Hart has been around for a long time; you must have picked up one of her "Henrie O" books, a series with a lady detective "of a certain age". (She had an earlier series about a married couple that ran a mystery bookstore.) One book of the "Henrie O" series was made into a TV movie three or four years ago, doubling as a pilot. It wasn't very good; in fact, it sank like a stone. Barbara Eden was completely wrong in the lead; but she's the one who took out the option on the book (looking for a new TV series for herself). William Shatner was in it, wearing a very strange bathing suit.

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#883 - 06/03/00 09:06 AM Re: Of Cats and Monks and other critturs
Jon Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 6422
Loc: Newark, Delaware, USA
Quote:
([Carolyn Hart] had an earlier series about a married couple that ran a mystery bookstore.)
I read the first few of those, passed along by a mystery-loving friend (the one who thinks Barbara wrote He Huffed and He Puffed and He Turned Blue). Very agreeable reading for summer, but suffering as the series continues from the Jessica Fletcher problem -- just how many murders can we believe a nice ordinary person can run into?

Has that series definitely ended, then? (I didn't really keep up with it after 3 or 4.)

I'm always nervous about critiquing writers here, by the way -- with all the excellent writers we have on the board, I figure I'm bound to find myself criticizing someone's best friend. (On the other hand, the same thing happens to me in reverse on some of the musical email lists -- my buddies getting trashed for their record producing or composition or whatever -- and I manage to be philosophical about it; so maybe I worry too much.)

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#884 - 06/03/00 01:25 PM Re: Of Cats and Monks and other critturs
Kay Offline


Registered: 04/25/99
Posts: 17046
Loc: Roanoke, VA , USA
Quote:
William Shatner was in it, wearing a very strange bathing suit.


Designed to make him look thinner and younger, perhaps?

Which reminds me that one of the online birthday greetings I received came from Barbara's postcard site...the cover of her Star Trek novel, purporting to be from Ambassador (formerly Commander) Spock and directed to the "Sentient Life Form" at my address.
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#885 - 06/03/00 09:35 PM Re: Of Cats and Monks and other critturs
Barbara Offline
Administrator

Registered: 04/24/99
Posts: 13033
Loc: Citrus Heights, CA , US
Ha...that's a goodie.

Yep, that was the purpose of Shatner's strange swim garb; it didn't conceal the extra weight he was carrying around the middle but it did cover it up. Remember pictures of men wearing black swimsuits at the seashore early in the century? Like that, except with a designer look and a modified tank top instead of sleeves. But the man is a good swimmer, even with the extra weight; and no, he didn't use a double.

Jon -- yes, that earlier series of Carolyn Hart's is ended. Her books are all cozies; she's won a couple of Agatha awards. Carolyn has one writing mannerism that rubs me the wrong way; she likes strings of one-sentence paragraphs, seven or eight in a row. I guess this is supposed to give added weight to each sentence, but I find it intrusive. Still, she always tells a good story, so it's only a minor annoyance.

I might add that Carolyn Hart is one of the nicest people I've ever met in my lifetime -- no airs, no hidden agenda, no upmanship games. A genuinely decent person. How many people can you say that about?

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#886 - 06/03/00 10:30 PM Re: Of Cats and Monks and other critturs
Anonymous
Unregistered


Shatner swimming?

He must have a waterproof rug.

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#887 - 06/03/00 11:47 PM Re: Of Cats and Monks and other critturs
Scribbler Offline


Registered: 02/25/00
Posts: 2451
Loc: Los Angeles, CA USA
You never saw STAR TREK: THE VOYAGE HOME?

He's got a long underwater sequence there - with no double (at least for parts of it).

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#888 - 06/04/00 12:48 AM Re: Of Cats and Monks and other critturs
Anonymous
Unregistered


Talking of cats and Lilian Braun, whom Kay mentioned up above, I havenít read any of Braun's "Cat Who Ö" series, but enjoyed a short story by her called "Phut Phat concentrates" (1963, preceding the first "Cat Who"). A Siamese cat manages (by concentrating his thoughts on the mind of one of his owners) to make him realise who has burgled the house. In the process, he realises that the other owner (the one who gives him his food) is less receptive and maybe not the real power in the household that he had thought.

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