When the Cookie Crumbles
Berkeley Prime Crime
Cozy up with Virginia Lowell’s third Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery featuring Olivia Greyson, owner of Chatterly Heights’s The Gingerbread House, and her indefatigable best friend, Maddie. The whole town is in the throes of preparation for the celebration of the town’s founding. Rashly, the pair have been inveigled into making gingerbread replicas of all the historical town landmarks, including the famous Chatterly Mansion. Preparations founder when Paine Chatterly, thought long dead, pops up claiming the mansion, then is found dead in his bathtub. Olivia and Maddie step in, uncovering layers of town scandal in the process.
Lowell’s deft descriptions create lush verbal confections, weaving colors, scents and textures together to experience the crunch of gingerbread or scent of lemon polish on old oak.
An Invitation to Murder
Eleanor Avenue Press
If you missed Gerry Stimmler’s first Margie’s Murder Mystery, Dropped Dead in Kona, plunge into An Invitation to Murder. The arrest of Margie’s dad for the murder of his old business partner brings Margie and her posse–husband Joe, BFF Amanda and spouse Pete, family pooch Mr. Magoo–back to the mainland to sort it all out. Not so simple. L.A. is astir with Margie’s fifteenth high school class reunion, and Christian, former classmate and son of Ed, the slain business partner, begs Margie to attend. Desperate, he calls and stalks and wheedles. Joe, our narrator, observes patiently, and tries to restrain Margie’s sleuthing, nursing his fantasies of Margie in her cheerleader outfit. Humor, madcap characters, and brash plotting make for a brisk read.
Written and drawn by Dylan Edwards (a.k.a. NDR), the six stories are true accounts from his interviews with the seven principal characters. Edwards explains, “They have been dramatized for comics, and as such, some minor characters may be composites, and some framing devices invented.” Other devices, pseudonyms, rearranged character imaging, and so on have also been employed to protect privacy, but the bottom line is that the seven are all individuals who belong in the rather specialized category of “queer-identified female-to-male transman.” Edwards skillfully proves that even within this rather restricted membership, no two stories are alike, and each of his lively, richly drawn characters strives to explore the meaning of “being a man,” and illustrate that everyone, however configured, seeks companionship, completion, and love.
150 Years of Photojournalism
Nick Yapp and Amanda Hopkinson
Culled from 70 million possibilities within the vast Getty Images archives and other sources, this handsome volume opens with a calm fishing scene along New York’s Genesee River and draws the reader/viewer along through 150 tumultuous years of photographic images views of world history ranging from a portrait of Charles Darwin to a hooded Iraqi prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison; from the steam traction engine in the 1860s to the last touchdown in 2005 of the U.S. Space Shuttle Atlantis. Part I embraces 1850-1918; Part II, 1918 to today. Each offers glimpses into discrete segments: “Street Life,” “Sport,” “Entertainment,” “Social Unrest,” and of course, the many wars and revolutions. Browse it for hours and draw your own conclusions about the glory and (im)perfectibility of Man.