Finally, They Arrive!

Holmes and Mary Russell arrive at their destination, a CREEPY CASTLE with a CREEPY, SUPERCILIOUS BUTLER (named Florescu, self is inclined to pronounce the name with a French accent)

Self is all agog. She only wishes Holmes and Mary Russell could behave like married people. Maybe not PDAs. But what is the POINT of having Sherlock Holmes MARRIED if he doesn’t behave like it?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Setting

Husband and wife discuss:

“What awaits us in Bucharest, anyway?”

“Not Bucharest.”

“No?”

“A village near the town of Brasov, in Transylvania.”

“Transyl. Good God.” I stared at him. If Roumania was a realm of dragons, then the province of Transylvania would be the creature’s lair: dark, mysterious, and potentially deadly. There was a reason why Bram Stoker chose it as the home of his ancient vampire — a novel that has given me nightmares even before I knew I was going there.

“It is actually quite a pleasant piece of countryside, Holmes insisted. “Mineral resources, rich agricultural valleys, the Carpathians for defense. A fascinating source of folkloric traditions and superstitions.”

“One assumes their farmers grow plenty of garlic.”

Castle Shade, Chapter Two

Louise Heath (Wife of Donald)

One morning Louise decides to attend a lecture at the American Women’s Club. She brings Young Don (11 years old) with her. They’re in the Embassy car. Louise glances in the rearview mirror. Following them is a Volkswagen crammed with Gestapo trainees (!!!), some of whom look as young as sixteen. Louise floors the accelerator. She has a full tank of gas . . . the teenage trainees don’t.

All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days, p. 283

High fives, Mrs. Heath.

Excerpt from “Sand” (Pembroke Magazine No. 53)

Published here.

  • And then my dreams started. I dreamt of matryoshka dolls dancing around my bed. I dreamt my boyfriend, Melvin, had turned into a matryoshka doll. He stood next to me, making matryoshka doll faces. His severely penciled eyebrows acquired the intensity of lightning bolts. “Fuck!” I said. “Melvin, stop making matryoshka doll faces at me.” Melvin disappeared, and in his place was a dancing chicken. A dancing grilled chicken. A barbecue stick skewering each wing. I couldn’t believe Melvin had turned into a chicken and there was a chance I might eat him. Then I woke up. That’s how I knew, if I didn’t steal my mother’s Chopard earrings, and soon, I’d always be the kind of person whose boyfriend turned into a matryoshka doll that made faces at her.

It doesn’t read quite as exciting on the page, but I can assure you, the effect on the Banff audience when I read that passage was electric!

It’s actually a very melancholy story.

Stay tuned.

Smaller Troubles

Self is sure she is giving dear blog readers whiplash, because now it’s back to My Heart!

p. 178:

  • They say that troubles never come singly . . .

It’s true, they don’t!

The narrator, on top of having to deal with the after-effects of his wife’s stroke, has to worry about his 2002 Ford Taurus’s car alarm: “It has suddenly begun to go off and on of its own accord, bothering the people around us . . . That happens with American cars, in a culture founded on a quick profit, cars are built with cheap components, so as to make savings in their production and produce the maximum profit. In any case, the alarm went off uncontrollably and this caused me a significant problem. I accustomed my ear to its sound, I wake easily and dash down to turn it off, and then come slowly back up the stairs. Sometimes it happens that on my way back I hear it again, so I go back down. Horrible! I am becoming afraid of our Taurus.”

Staff Sgt. Roy M. Offerle of the Thirty-Sixth Infantry Division, Texas National Guard

Bicycle Camp, Java:

The survivors of the USS Houston and the Perth all end up being captured and siphoned to different POW camps around Southeast Asia. One day in May 1942, the USS Houston POWs in Bicycle Camp were joined by four-hundred-odd American infantry, who marched into camp “in full dress . . . hauling duffles and all manner of diverse equipment.” So splendid was their appearance that the Houston survivors at first thought they were being rescued. The sad truth came out only later. It turned out that the battalion was ordered to surrender by the Dutch Governor General, who sent a message to the US commander, telling him “It is useless to attempt an escape. There is no way out.” (I tell ya, Hornfischer really makes the Dutch look like out-and-out cowards, at least the ones in Dutch colonial government in Java were)

This Infantry Division was made up entirely of Texans (The Army, unlike the Navy, fostered regionalism: “Each of its batteries was drawn from a single town — D Battery from Wichita Falls, E Battery from Abilene, F Battery from Jacksboro . . . and so on.”) They had a particular brand of Texan humor, too.

Staff Sgt. Roy M. Offerle, p. 202:

  • At a train station, the Americans were presented to a Japanese officer who made a welcoming speech. “I guess that was the first time I’d heard a Jap or heard them speaking . . . He would scream and holler and yell, and then the interpreter would say, ‘The commander says he is very happy to see you.’ Then he would scream and holler like he was threatening to kill us, and then they would say, ‘You will soon go to a camp.’

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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.

Oh, the Cheekiness of It All

SPOILER ALERT

Call to Martin Lomax, The Man Who Died Twice, p. 83:

  • Does he know an Andrew Hastings? He does. Does Andrew Hastings work for him? He does, no use lying, this is MI5 and they know already. Was Mr. Hastings working for him this evening? No, he was not. We regret to inform you that Mr. Hastings has been shot dead while trying to murder a member of the British Security Services, condolences for your loss, but I wonder if you would have any comment on that.

Is there a #3 installment of The Thursday Murder Club in the works? Because self wanted it, like, yesterday.

Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day, 2nd Friday of December 2021

This year is going out with a bang! I know, I can feel it. Dick’s Place on Main Street (Mendocino) — a fine, fine name for a bar, in self’s humble opinion) is always full, and now the Mendocino Hotel bar has re-opened — after almost two years. Lots of people wandering in and out, live music. Good times!

Self is on p. 79 of a very delightful book, The Man Who Died Twice. And the section she’s on is Joyce’s, who is such a droll character. Apparently, a man’s head has been blown off from close range. Joyce isn’t sure she wants to see what a man with no head looks like, but “just as they loaded the body onto the stretcher” Joyce gets a “quick peek before they zipped up the body bag and, yes, Poppy really had blown his head off.”

Don’t Know About You, But

Self is quite enjoying reading about this shady Martin Lomax. He’ll probably end up getting bumped off. In the meantime, there’s this pesky journalist who asks to use his toilet.

“The equipment shed is nearer.”

No one ever comes in the house unless it’s business. No one. First it’s toilets, and then you never know what. MI5 think they can just break in? We’ll see about that. Martin Lomax has many friends. Saudi princes, a one-eyed Kazakh with a one-eyed Rottweiler. Both the Kazakh and the Rottweiler would rip you apart without hesitation. No one comes into the house without his invitation.

The Man Who Died Twice, p. 53

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