Friday, October 09, 2015

Say Yes to the Dress -- Susan McBride

Andrea (Andy) Kendricks is the Debutante Dropout, and this is the 6th book in the series about her.  The setting is Dallas, Texas, which is fun for me because even though I'm not a Dallas resident, I recognized a lot of the places mentioned in the course of the story, which begins at a high society wedding attended by Andy and her mother, Cissy.

Andy has a clothing malfunction and meets the wedding planner, who happens to be Olivia La Belle, known as La Belle from Hell back in Andy's school days, and she doesn't seem to have changed a bit.    One of the bridesmaids has dropped out at the last minute, and Olivia needs a replacement.  Andy needs a dress.  Olivia bullies her into wearing the bridesmaid's dress and taking part in the wedding.  Not too long afterward, Olivia is murdered.

The primary suspect in the killing is sweet old Millicent Draper, longtime friend of Andy and her mother.  She wouldn't kill anyone, would she?  Andy doesn't think so, and she's soon amateur sleuthing all over the place with a bit of help from her fiance, Brian Malone, who's also Millie's lawyer her mother, and her best friend, reporter Janet Graham.

Zippy first-person narration, a plot complicated by some sexual revelations, and a lot of humor.  It all adds up to an entertaining cozy and a nice change of pace from some of the bleaker material I read.  Check it out.

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Best TV Shows Ever: Top 100 Television Programs 

Song of the Day

Etta James - Trust In Me - YouTube:

Today's Vintage Ad

Science Explains Why Some Movies Make Millions

Science Explains Why Some Movies Make Millions (While Others Flop)

13 Facts About L. Frank Baum’s 'Wonderful Wizard of Oz'

13 Facts About L. Frank Baum’s 'Wonderful Wizard of Oz

A Brief History of Practical Effects in Cinema in 10 Movies

A Brief History of Practical Effects in Cinema in 10 Movies


Dorothy Cameron Disney, The Strawstack Murders, Dell, 1944

Where Reference Fits in the Modern Library

Where Reference Fits in the Modern Library: For years, we’ve been hearing that traditional library reference service is dead. In reality, reference just disappeared, like Jimmy Hoffa. But unlike in the case of Hoffa, no one in the library field seems intent on figuring out what happened to reference. In fact, many librarians are intent on carrying on as though little has changed.

The Hidden Bolts that Drive Manhattan's Infrastructure Nerds Nuts

The Hidden Bolts that Drive Manhattan's Infrastructure Nerds Nuts

Meet the con artist who popularized writing to Santa Claus

Meet the con artist who popularized writing to Santa Claus

A Review of Interest (To Me, Anyway)

Kevin's Corner: FFB Review: "The Prairie Chicken Kill: A Truman Smith Mystery" by Bill Crider

The Oldest Footage of New York City Is Absolutely Breathtaking

The Oldest Footage of New York City Is Absolutely Breathtaking 

FFB: The Crackpot -- John E. Stockman

When it comes to offbeat and forgotten books, Ramble House has you covered.  The Crackpot is from Richard Lupoff's Surinam Turtle imprint, and it's a collection of short stories the likes of which you've never read before.  I guarantee it.  Art Scott recommended the collection to me, and he had a hand in its assembly.

John E. Stockman was a collector of comic books, Edgar Rice Burroughs books, and pulp magazines.  He also published a fanzine that included his short stories.  You can read more about him in the Foreword by Lupoff and the Introduction by Dwight R. Decker.  Then you can read the stories, all of which are told in Stockman's unique voice.  You don't have to be a crazed collector to enjoy the stories, but it might help if you are, or if you know one.  I, of course, am not one, but I do know a few.

Some of you who are more familiar with fanzines than others (you have to be of a certain age) might appreciate "The Crank," which is about "the madman of the ditto machine," Victor Vackie, a series character.  The ending is one that will surely make you smile. Well, it made me smile.  Also, the notes on the story explain the ditto machine and the mimeo machine for the whippersnappers.

"Old Man Teeverberg" is "A short sketch relating the retirement years of an old coot," so it naturally appealed to me.  Stockman didn't seem to think much of it, but it's highly appealing to an old coot.  Like me.

"Junior's Ordeal" is about a cunning plan that can't possibly go wrong, except that it does.  I liked the twist ending, too.

I'm sure this book isn't for everyone, but some of you might want to give it a try for its picture of a bygone era, its spot-on commentary on crazy collectors, and its humor.  It's great fun if you're in the mood.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Vintage Hollywood Photographs

Vintage Hollywood Photographs: Photographs have been an important part of the Hollywood publicity machine since its earliest days. With legions of beautiful stars and starlets, the movie studios easily mastered the simple publicity image and many of these photographs are now treasured by collectors of cinematic ephemera.

After the Honeymoon

After our honeymoon in Colorado, Judy and I spent a week or so with her parents and then went up to Denton, Texas, to look for an apartment.  I was going to be in grad school starting the second six weeks of the summer session, and Judy was going to look for a job.

As usual, we knew nothing much about finding a place to live.  We looked at the ads in the local newspaper, the Denton Record-Chronicle, known to many wits as the Wretched-Chronicle, and found an ad for an apartment that looked great to me, mainly because the rent was $50 a month.  Judy expressed a bit of apprehension, but I said, "How bad could it be?"  Well, we found out.

The woman who owned the apartment, which was actually a closed-off section of an old house, was Mrs. Luker.  She took us to the place and let us in.  The first thing Judy noticed was the large hole in the bedroom floor.  It was pretty hard to miss.  I asked about it, and Mrs. Luker said that it really wasn't too bad.  She hadn't had any complaints about animals getting into the house.  I thought that sounded good.  Especially for $50 a month.  Judy looked at me as if I'd lost my mind.  She said there was no way we were going to live in that place.  I hadn't been married long, but I'd already learned who was running the show, as I've mentioned previously.  So I told Mrs. Luker we'd have to look elsewhere.

As it happened, Mrs. Luker also had an apartment house that she said had fairly nice accommodations.  It was only two blocks from the campus, but it was $80 a month, and we'd have to pay the electricity.  Judy said that was fine and that we'd be happy to take a look.  I've mentioned the address before, 308 Normal Street. (The old name of the current University of North Texas was North Texas Normal College, so the name had nothing to do with normality.)  

This place was much more to Judy's liking, so I bit the bullet and said it was fine with me, too.  We had a second floor apartment, and it had the biggest closet of any place we ever lived.  Judy loved it.  We had room for all our clothes, and also all the boxes we'd used to pack the things we moved in with.

There was one catch.  The apartment had just been vacated and hadn't been cleaned.  Mrs. Luker said that if we'd clean it, she'd give is the first month's rent.  As you can guess, I jumped at that opportunity.  Judy didn't mind, either.  The place was a mess, and we earned our money.  Those of you who knew Judy will believe me when I say that when we moved out, the place didn't need cleaning.

The picture is of Judy standing outside our front door on the balcony.  We lived there for just over one year and were very happy in most ways.  Judy got a job, and she wasn't thrilled with that.  If I get around to it, I'll tell that story one of these days.

Top 10 Most Excellent Nicknames In History

Top 10 Most Excellent Nicknames In History

Song of the Day

Above and beyond - Rodney Crowell - YouTube:

15 Awfully Big Facts About 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'

15 Awfully Big Facts About 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Today's Vintage Ad

Bouchercon Bound

While you're reading this, I'm sitting in Hobby Airport in the Southwest terminal, waiting for the plane to Bouchercon.  Or I should be.  One never knows for sure.  While I'm in Raleigh hobnobbing with all the big names in mystery (Jeff Meyerson, George Kelley, etc.), the blog will continue as usual with all the regular stuff and the goofy stuff and the lists.  Or it should.  Blogger is pretty reliable, and I expect it to work.  I don't expect to have much time to respond to e-mails or comments on the blog, but maybe I can stick in a few Bouchercon updates.  If not, I'll report next week.  I'm flying back on Monday, and I should be back in the saddle by Tuesday.  Meanwhile, here's a picture of me and occasional commenter Steve Stilwell engaged in a discussion at the 2006 Bouchercon in Madison, WI.

Frank Albanese, R. I. P. STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Frank Albanese, 84, of Bay Terrace, who began his working life as a longshoreman and was a successful boxer before becoming an actor, playing roles on the stage, in movies and on television, died Monday in Addeo House Hospice, Egbertville.


Carter Brown (Alan Yates), The Savage Salome, Signet, 1961

Judge Crater Inexplicably Not Included

8 of the Most Intriguing Disappearances in History 

21 Of The World's Most Powerful People As Youngsters

21 Of The World's Most Powerful People As Youngsters

I Miss the Old Days

How Advertising Invented 8 Phrases We Use Every Day

This Is Exactly Why We Have 911

Man, 53, Calls 911 To Complain That His Girlfriend Will Not Have Sex With Him  

Vulgar language at the link.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Take that, thrill-seeking tourists!

Terror at 3,500 feet as glass walkway in China cracks: A newly opened glass walkway, suspended 3,500 feet above a canyon in central China, cracked Monday to the terror of thrill-seeking tourists.


Steve McQueen’s ‘Papillon’ Gets Remake

Kevin Corcoran, R. I. P.

LA Times: Kevin Corcoran, the former child actor known to generations of Disney fans as "Moochie" from "The Mickey Mouse Club," as well as for his roles in such hits as "Old Yeller" and "Pollyanna," died Tuesday at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank. He was 66.  

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Free for Kindle for a Limited Time The Best of C.L. Moore eBook: C.L. Moore: Kindle Store

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Shoplifter brawls with Walgreens employee over electric-toothbrush heads 

Billy Joe Royal, R. I. P.

Billy Joe Royal, Country and Pop Singer, Dead at 73: Billy Joe Royal, who scored the 1965 Top Ten single "Down in the Boondocks" and also made frequent appearances on the country chart in the Eighties, died suddenly Tuesday morning at his Marietta, North Carolina home, according to the Tennessean. He was 73 years old.

Reflections - Robert Silverberg

Reflections: Star (Psi Cassiopeia) by Robert Silverberg

Song of the Day

You Can Have Her By Roy Hamilton - YouTube:

11 Perfectamundo Phrases from 'Happy Days'

11 Perfectamundo Phrases from 'Happy Days'

Today's Vintage Ad

I miss the old days.

“A Roadmap to Literary Mysteries” (by Bob Van Laerhoven)

“A Roadmap to Literary Mysteries” (by Bob Van Laerhoven) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: Bob Van Laerhoven’s story “Checkmate in Chimbote” appeared in EQMM’s June 2014 issue and was read for our podcast series by his translator, Josh Pachter, earlier this year. The Belgian journalist made his fiction debut in 1977 as a short-story writer, and in 1985 as a literary novelist. More than thirty novels followed, some of them crossovers between literary fiction and the suspense novel.

10 Mysteries With Major Developments In 2015

10 Mysteries With Major Developments In 2015 


Norman Daniels, Dr. Kildare's Secret Romance, Lancer, 1962

How The Wolf Man Created The First Cinematic Universe

Universal Monsters: How The Wolf Man Created The First Cinematic Universe

Is 1995 the Old Days Now?

20 Years Ago, This Is What Fall Looked Like

Alvin, Texas, Inexplicably Not Included

These are the cities that the richest Texans call home


CBS starts development on young Miss Marple series   

Hat tip to Toby O'Brien.

Vintage Treasures: The Ballantine Paperbacks of Vincent King

Vintage Treasures: The Ballantine Paperbacks of Vincent King