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Mystery Monday

In 1936, S.S. Van Dine (author of the Philo Vance mysteries) published an article titled "Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories." Some of these rules, for example, 3 and 9 seem rather curious today.  Fans of police procedurals know it takes teamwork to find the guilty party.  Jack Reacher fans know he is too often irresistible to women who are not looking for a long-term commitment. As for some of the other rules, have they stood the test of time?  You be the judge.

1) The reader should have the same opportunity as the detective to solve the crime.

2) No tricks can be played to mislead the reader unless it is also done to the detective by the criminal.

3) The detective should not have a love interest.

4) Neither the detective nor one of the official investigators can turn out to be the criminal.

5) The villain must be found by logical deduction, not luck, accident, or un-motivated confessions.

6) The story must have a detective who also solves the crime (by detection).

7) It must be a murder mystery ("the deader the corpse the better").

Custer, Sherman papers

Historians, genealogists, and researchers have a window of opportunity to view more than 115,000 U.S. Military Academy application documents dating to West Point's early years. Beginning with Veterans Day and running through Sunday, November 14, there will be no charge when viewing these images on Ancestry.com, a genealogy website. Thereafter, when searching from home, a person would need a subscription. However, the New City Library offers this database in the library as an ongoing  free database. Documents such as the papers of Lt. Col. George Custer and Gen William Tecumseh Sherman are there for the viewing.

Broadening Your Horizons

When you think of Fantasy, what elements immediately spring to mind?  Perhaps a vaguely medieval, pre-industrial setting, for starters-- thatched cottages, castles, a feudal system, and so on.  A young, questing hero, or maybe a team of adventurers wielding longswords and magic.  An evil witch or wizard.  For variety, let's toss in a few noble Fae folk, a stolid dwarf, and a troublesome halfling or two.  And it's not a proper fantasy without some fabulous beasts, right?  How about a fire-breathing dragon?  Classic... why is that, though?

Now, before you get too upset at me for reducing all fantasy fiction to a stereotype, I do have a point.  Potentially, the fantasy genre has a near-limitless scope-- it's not bounded by science or reality, only by the author's imagination.  Despite that latitude, what fan hasn't read a dozen books containing most of the elements I listed above?  My concern is that the American fantasy landscape today is suffering from a sad lack of diversity.

New DVD Releases for November 9th

We have four new DVDs for Tuesday, November 9th.  They are:

Furry Vengeance (Childrens)

Charlie St. Cloud (Zac Efron)

Grown Ups (Adam Sandler)

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World

New Romance Fiction for November 2010

* = holiday-themed title

In paperback:

Scoundrel by Zoe Archer (2, The Blades of the Rose) H, S, M
Rebel by Zoe Archer (3, The Blades of the Rose) H, S, M
Bespelling Jane Austen by Mary Balogh, Colleen Gleason, Susan Krinard, and Janet Mullaney H, C, A, S
    (Pbk-Romance Bespelling)
When Pleasure Rules by J. K. Beck (2, Shadow Keepers) C, S, M
Mad about the Duke by Elizabeth Boyle (7, Bachelor Chronicles) H
Scoundrel in My Dreams by Celeste Bradley (3, Runaway Brides) H
One Scream Away by Kate Brady (1, Sheridan) C, M
Lord Lightning by Jenny Brown (1, Lords of the Seventh House) H, S

New Speculative Fiction for November 2010

New to our shelves:

The Secret History of Fantasy by Peter S. Beagle, ed. F (Fantasy Secret)
The House on Durrow Street by Galen Beckett (2, Mrs. Quent) F
Bearers of the Black Staff by Terry Brooks (1, Legends of Shannara) F
The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars by Steven Brust (Fairy Tale series) F
Side Jobs: Stories from the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files) F, H
He Is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson by Christopher Conlon, ed. H (Horror He)
Haunted Legends by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas, eds. H (Horror Haunted)
Petty Magic: Being the Memoirs and Confessions of Miss Evelyn Harbinger, Temptress and Troublemaker

Coming In April

Fiction:

Baldacci, David. The Sixth Man.

Private investigators Sean King and Michelle Maxwell are asked to investigate the case of an alleged serial killer who is locked away in a mental facility.

Berg, Elizabeth. Once Upon a Time, There Was You.

A sudden tragedy brings a divorced couple close together.

Kellerman, Jonathan. Mystery: An Alex Delaware Novel.

A beautiful woman is brutally murdered.  She’s as mysterious in death as she was alive.

Perry, Anne. Treason at Lisson Grove: A Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Novel.

Special Branch's Inspector Thomas Pitt finds himself in pursuit of a terrorist. Can he stop him before it’s too late?

Non-Fiction:

Montville, Leigh. Evel Knievel.

New Large Print for Novemeber 2010

FICTION:

Crossfire by Dick Francis

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer

Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer

Skein of the Crime by Maggie Sefton

Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger 

Portobello by Ruth Rendel

Shadow Zone by Iris Johansen

As Husbands Go by Susan Isaac

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

Minishopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

The Icing on the Cupcake by Jennifer Ross

Cross Roads by Fern Michaels

The Confession by John Grisham

Moonlight Lake by Dennis Lehane

Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson

One Season of Sunshine by Julia London

Worth Dying For by Lee Child

The Blind Contessa's New Machine by Carey Wallace

A Plague of Lions by Guy Fraser

Overdrive Step by Step

What's Cooking?: Autumn Harvest

pie

As I survey the colorful array of apples, pears, grapes, winter squash, persimmons, and pomegranates, they remind me of autumn jewels waiting for me to spirit them away to my kitchen.  For me, it is the season to open the ovens, and bake those pies and tarts!  I excitingly gloss over new recipes and retrieve the time-tested favorites.  The first apple pie of the season is sort of a celebration in our house.  With great anticipation, we can’t wait to have a flaky crust embrace these luscious slices in the hot oven.  The apple pie I make is filled with the combination of what I name as the “3Gs” - Granny, Gala, and Golden Delicious apples and then it is covered with a rich brown sugar crumb topping.  So good with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on that crunchy topping!

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