The Janus Stone: Spoiler Alert!

This book is every bit as good as The Crossing Places. No, it’s actually better. So much funnier! Though the parts told from the murderer’s point of view (thankfully, brief) are gut-churning. Do not read any further if you do not want to know the identity of the murderer! The dialogue is A++.

Ruth screams, so loudly that it startles both of them. Roderick stops and looks at her quizzically.

“Why are you frightened?” he asks.

“What do you think?” shouts Ruth. “I’m stuck here on a boat with a madman. A madman with a knife.”

Roderick looks quite hurt. “I’m not mad,” he says. “I’ve got a first in classics from Cambridge.”

From what Ruth has seen of Oxbridge graduates, the two are not mutually exclusive.

The Janus Stone, p. 287

This conversation follows immediately after a scene where we see DCI Harry Nelson running around like a chicken without a head. Eventually, he figures out (through the timely appearance of Cathbad) that he’s been worried about the wrong daughter. Self wanted to pull her hair out.

Stay tuned.

Introducing Forensic Archaeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway

“Why don’t you live somewhere more convenient?” her colleagues ask. “There are some lovely properties in King’s Lynn, or even Blakeney if you want to be near to nature.” Ruth can’t explain, even to herself, how a girl born and brought up in South London can feel such a pull to these inhospitable marshlands, these desolate mudflats, this lonely unrelenting view. It was research that first brought her to the Saltmarsh but she doesn’t know herself what it is that makes her stay, in the face of so much opposition. “I’m used to it,” is all she says.

The Crossing Places, by Elly Griffiths, p. 15

Yes indeed, self did finish reading The Leavers. Last night. It messed with her heart big-time. The ending was good. Four stars!

She’s glad to be reading a mystery, The Crossing Places. Mysteries feel more in line with her state of mind, these days.

Stay tuned.

Today’s Headlines, 3rd Tuesday of March 2022

WALL STREET JOURNAL, Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine — Russian forces are killing civilians and looting stores and homes across occupied parts of southern Ukraine, residents said, as Moscow arrested elected local leaders and sought to replace them with pro-Russian collaborators.

People arriving here from Russian-held areas over the weekend described hungry and undisciplined Russian troops shooting unarmed villagers, breaking into supermarkets and shops, and raiding homes in search of food and valuables as their own supply lines have failed.

“They just brazenly come in, without any shame, and take whatever they want,” said Valentyn Khodus, 64, who came to Zaporizhzhia from the small village of Myrne after days hiding in the cellar with her daughter and grandson as Russian troops went door to door ransacking houses.

Two neighbors who were driving a car with a Ukrainian flag were shot and killed by a Russian patrol last week, she said. “It’s still there, on the roadside, and their bodies are still inside,” Ms. Khodus said.

Russia said it isn’t planning an occupation of Ukraine and that its forces are liberating Ukrainians.

Sentence of the Day, 2nd Friday of 2022

  • “The policeman wanted to throw my three-year-old daughter out the window but I held her tight.” — Simon Ackerman

It is Kristallnacht, the Night of the Broken Glass.

The violence was so chaotic, it was hard to believe it was planned. But it was.

“Goebbels holds a press conference to castigate Lochner, Schultz, and other foreign correspondents for writing what he insists are false stories. No stores were looted. No Jews were killed.”

More than ever I’m convinced, we are going down this dangerous road. Right now we have Joe, but can he pass the baton? He should pass the baton because we need a strong AFTER.

Hitler didn’t even need a Supreme Court to justify him. WE DO.

After Kristallnacht, something breaks in the Americans. Ambassador Hugh Wilson is recalled to Washington “for consultation.” He never returns to Berlin. The US Embassy is left in the hands of junior diplomats. Consul Prentiss Gilbert is given a hasty promotion to chargé d’affaires. He dies of a heart attack, five months later.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Ibrahim, TMWDT

Donna looks up, breathes out, and blinks tears from the corners of her eyes.

“Thank you. I’ve felt a bit stupid recently.”

“Loneliness is hard, Donna. It’s one of the big ones.”

“You should do this for a living, you know?”

“You are simply a little lost, Donna. And if one is never lost in life, then clearly one has never traveled anywhere interesting.”

“And you?” asks Donna. “You seem sad.”

“I’m a little sad, yes,” agrees Ibrahim. “I’m frightened, and I can’t see a way through it.”

“Up the next mountain would be my advice,” says Donna.

The Man Who Died Twice, p. 254

Richard Osman’s dialogue. That is all.

Joyce, TMWDT

Although perhaps he isn’t really boring, if everything you hear is true? Killings and gold and helicopters and whatnot? Though if you need killings and gold and helicopters to make you interesting then I suppose you are still boring at heart. Gerry never needed a helicopter.

The Man Who Died Twice, p. 160

Reading this book ever so much faster than she read The Birthday Boys (That book took two damn weeks!) but not trying to rush through because she enjoys the Fearless Four so much.

Next year, she will again join the Goodreads Reading Challenge, but will up her reading goal by 1 or 2. Mustn’t get too ambitious, but this year she almost doubled her reading goals, who would have thought?

Stay tuned.

After

Only nineteen of the three thousand transcripts that were eventually declassified and published in 1995 mention Julius or Ethel. Julius was given the code name “Antenna” or, as already seen, “Liberal” in the messages. David was code-named “Kalibr” (Caliber) and Ruth was called “Osa” (Wasp). However, Ethel had no code name and was mentioned only once, and then by her given name.

Ethel Rosenberg, an American Tragedy, p. 223

Self has no words.

Over-the-Top

Since Eddie’s Boy began (actually, also in the two days since she started reading), so many things have happened to the hero/hitman. After he was targeted in York (York! City of cathedrals!), Michael Schaeffer (yes, MC does have a name) headed to Manchester Airport (which was smart, because Gatwick and Heathrow have security cams all over the place) and flew to SYDNEY.

SYDNEY, as in Sydney, Australia.

Before you can say two sneezes, he’s attacked twice, the first time on the airport express to downtown Sydney (Scary/good scene! It goes down in exactly 13 minutes).

So, having determined that Sydney was a VERY BAD IDEA (LOL), he takes another flight, this time to the U.S.

It’s a good thing this was written before pandemic, or Michael would have no recourse except — maybe an island in the middle of the Pacific?

Wait, why didn’t he go to an island in the middle of the Pacific? Surely, it would be hard for hitmen to escape detection there — fewer people, etc etc

As a matter of fact, self has already written this story: in her story, the island isn’t deserted because it’s an island in the Philippines, which is over-populated. Her story’s called “Sand,” and it’s coming out later this year in Pembroke Magazine.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

pp. 53 – 58, EDDIE’S BOY

It takes only five pages for Thomas Perry to describe what goes down on an airport express train to downtown Sydney.

From the top of p. 53 to the bottom of p. 58: non-stop action and HELL YEAH!

Setting in EDDIE’S BOY

Eddie’s Boy opens in Bath! That’s Jane Austen country! Of all the bloody cheek.

It seems Eddie the hitman’s settled down with a member of the British royalty! Whose family has owned a house on the Royal Crescent for hundreds of years. Every May, the couple abandon Bath (because that’s when all the American students pour into town — oh, the horror!) for the more sedate charms of a country manor outside York.

Lord, what a ride this is going to be!

Self loves Bath. She was there once, in 2017. The Royal Crescent is, rightly, a World Heritage sight. Self is mighty entertained at the notion that one of those fabulous Georgian townhouses is the abode of an American hitman and his lordly wife.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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