Quote of the Day: From Which Dear Blog Readers Can Infer

He looks up and has to stifle an exclamation. Super Jo has materialised in front of him. How does she do that? Ruth’s cat is the same. You’re sitting there quietly on her sofa and suddenly that orange beast is in front of you, radiating waves of hatred.

The Night Hawks, p. 29

Yes indeed, after a two-book detour into science fiction, self has returned to the Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery series. The Night Hawks is Book # 13, and after this there are only two more: author Elly Griffiths has announced that Book # 15, The Last Remains, will be the final book of the series.

Self looked up Book # 14, The Locked Room, in her local library, but there are 44 holds on just four copies so she probably won’t get around to it.

She started reading the series in April, while she was in Northern Ireland, and blew through ten books while traveling from Downpatrick to Belfast to London to Oxford. After self calmed down and accepted the fact that Ruth and Harry Nelson did not in fact belong together, she began to enjoy the books more. The series have followed the fates of these two from the time Ruth was 39 to the time she is — in her mid-50s? While her life may seem sad — she doesn’t get her man! — she has a lot of professional achievements — she is now head of her department! — and has a delightful, precious daughter who must be about to enter secondary school!

Stay tuned.

Sam the Man!

Sam has a plan to rescue the town of Perdido Beach, California from killer bugs AND baddie Drake.

You GO, Sam! That’s right, never give up!

As he thinks aloud, Toto stands helpfully by his right shoulder, very forthcoming with the ad libs.

Sam: Could Jack do it? If he doesn’t want to, I could do it.

Toto: Yes, Sam would.

Sam: Dekka can fly, that’s her superpower.

Toto: That is true.

Sam: I can find a car with at least a gallon of gas and go tearing for Perdido Beach and maybe beat the bugs.

Toto: Sam believes he can, it’s true.

Everyone ignores Toto, but the kid stands just to the side, saying to himself, “That’s not true” or “That’s true.” Do not ask me HOW this scene works, but it is HILARIOUS.

Stay tuned.

Havaer, the Government Man

Self is so glad that she has Shards of Earth to keep her mind off the unspeakable tragedy that is Renegade SCOTUS. Anyhoo, it’s doing double-time duty this weekend, and self has just been barreling along.

She’s now in a Havaer section, and it is pretty much generic hard-boiled detective stuff. Though Havaer is far from her favorite character, the dialogue has a certain Raymond Chandler vibe. Havaer has been interviewing a witness, a lawyer named Thrennikos who’s been contacted by Idris sidekick Kit (a beautiful lawyer; self hates Kit for having had such wonderful adventures with Idris while poor Solace, Idris’s close friend, was stuck on an all-woman ship and put into cryogenic sleep for, off and on, 40 years).

Thrennikos: Officer, these are my new clients, representing the Broken Harvest Society. They share your interest in my earlier visitors. And in anyone asking questions about them.

Havaer: And the currency your new clients are paying you is . . . ?

Thrennikos: Not skinning me and wearing me like a cloak, yes.

Threnniko’s New Client: Government man, my name is Heremon, herald of The Unspeakable Aklu, the Razor and the Hook.


What follows is a torture scene. Dammit, Adrian Tchaikovsky, why do you have to make even the torture scenes so full of balletic blood splatter and beautifully articulated flayed organs?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Note to Self

Still reading The Lantern Men. The Dr. Ruth Galloway books are such a guilty pleasure.

Self is on p. 277.

She was in the city for most of the day, couldn’t wait to get home to resume reading!

Note to self: Never, ever stay at a writers retreat with a name like Grey Walls.

Another note to self: Never get friendly with the girlfriend of a serial killer. Never return her calls, never introduce your eleven-year-old to her gardener.

Just when her frustrations with the main character reach near boiling point, Elly Griffiths slips in a joke: Ruth is seeing a doctor because she’s been getting panic attacks. “The loo in the patient area had a sign on it saying PATIENT TOILET. Well, the WC must be the only thing around here that isn’t feeling frustrated.”


Stay tuned.

Surrender to the Cheese

That is what she tells herself: Do not judge, you like what you like.

She has set aside The Last Graduate — the universe was too difficult, too much a blend of Harry Potter, Survivor, and 90210 — and is back to reading another Dr. Ruth Galloway book, The Lantern Men. She’s skipped a couple of earlier books but has realized it is best to read each book in the series as if it’s a standalone. Otherwise, it gets too frustrating: there is no development of the Ruth/Nelson relationship, from book to book. There is the occasional hook-up, and that is all.

In this installment, there is a delicious development: Ruth gets properly yelled at. By her current lover. An American TV personality named Frank. It is obvious to Frank, as well as to this reader, that she is simply using Frank for S.E.X. because Nelson is married and therefore only occasionally available.

Ruth’s job, Frank yells, is to be “a university lecturer.” And then he does this supposedly very American thing, he calls Ruth “honey.”

Is Frank toast?


Nelson fetches Ruth so she can visit a serial murderer in prison. To add to the excitement, Nelson is a terrible driver: “Nelson swerves to overtake a caravan. Ruth shuts her eyes. She opens them; they are still alive and the road is clear.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Wild Chase Scene, The Chalk Pit

Self knows these Ruth Galloway posts of hers are much less popular than her posts of flowers. Nevertheless.

Every Ruth Galloway book ends with a chase scene. Self should know, this is her ninth.

Why does she keep reading? Why?

Who knows? Maybe it’s those goodreads reviews that said there was a hook-up between the two Mains, that ends on a cliff-y.

What? Another cliff-y? She can’t believe it. For the nth time, a cliff-y? But here she is.

Also, if she had a penny for every time Ruth calls Nelson (although Ruth, mind you, always always always feels such trepidation for doing so, he being married to someone else after all) and he answers, “Ruth? What’s wrong? Is it Katie?” — ! She’s becoming quite fond of this way of answering the phone, though. (Where is that promised hook-up? There’s only 50 pages left!) In fact, if Nelson were ever to answer the phone without saying, “What’s wrong? Is it Katie?” self would be very disappointed.

He has just said it again, unfortunately this time Ruth isn’t alone, she’s in the middle of a wild car chase with Nelson’s boss at the wheel, and they’re on speakerphone. To her credit, Nelson’s boss is very poker-faced. Or maybe she’s just British. Who knows.

Nelson’s boss drives a Porsche. Wow, self did not realize that police superintendents made that much money! Also, this woman wears skinny jeans but can rugby-tackle like nobody’s business.


Father’s Day 2022

Listening to Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine.

It is son’s FIRST FATHER’S DAY, WOO HOO! Where does the time go.

Jumbotron on Jefferson Avenue says: SEVERE DROUGHT. LIMIT WATERING TO TWO DAYS A WEEK.

This is why self does all her watering by hand. And only at 10 p.m.

This morning, she was at the 9:35 a.m. screening of Top Gun: Maverick at the local Century 20. There were lots of people. She got peeved when someone came in late and sat right next to her. She prefers to keep at least one empty seat between her and the next person. So she moved. We are still in a pandemic!

After the movie (Really great. What a good actor Miles Teller is. And Jennifer Connolly is fantastic and beautiful. How many people know that she was an undergrad at Stanford? She was a transfer from Yale), self drove to Menlo Park Library and checked out yet another Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery.

Went home, resumed reading The Chalk Pit, which might be her favorite of the entire series (14 books and counting). p. 267, Nelson interviews a local theater director in his flat. The same director who is staging an Alice in Wonderland play featuring an adult Alice tripped out on acid (The staging of this play is one of the biggest running gags in this book)

It is pushing midnight. A local woman’s gone missing. The woman just happens to be the partner of one of self’s favorite minor characters, DI David Clough.

“All the cast get on well. Cassie seems close to Adrian Linley, who plays the Caterpillar, her father in the play. Flora Frampton, who plays the Queen of Hearts, she mothers everybody, and Darrell Shaw . . . ” he pauses.

“Yes? What about Darrell Shaw?”

“He’s a young actor. Very talented. Plays the Gryphon, the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat. I just have a feeling that he has rather a crush on Cassie.”

“Does she have a crush back?”

“No.” Leo sounds quite shocked. “She seems blissfully happy with that oafish policeman partner.” He stops. “Oh, I’m sorry . . . “

Nelson hangs on to his stiff upper lip. LOL LOL LOL

Waiting in some excitement for the Juneteenth concert at the Hollywood Bowl to begin. CNN is carrying it live.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Alice in Wonderland: the Freudian version, in Ruth Galloway # 9, The Chalk Pit

Sometimes, self has questions. Such as: How did she get to Book # 9 in the Dr. Ruth Galloway series? She only started Book # 1 in April, while she was in Northern Ireland of all places. You’d think she would be so taken with the surroundings (beautiful) that she would not have time to be into a new mystery series. But for some reason, she got hooked.

Every book in the series, self reaches a point where she says, Oh no, I can’t. This isn’t possible. I have to stop reading. But here she is.

In this book, Judy Johnson, DI, interviews a witness and immediately pegs the woman’s accent as “South African” and self wants to know how Judy can be so certain when Judy has never, ever left England, much less ever been to South Africa, and as far as self knows, there aren’t too many self-identifying South Africans in Norfolk, England for Judy to pick up any sort of acquaintance with the accent.

But only a few pages later, we are in a play, where Ruth’s young daughter has a small role, and this play and its director are so inspired! Sublime! The director is talking about the id and about Alice in Wonderland being on acid — to Kate’s daughter, a six-year-old! And Ruth is standing there, and doesn’t know what to think. But her daughter is so disarmingly enthusiastic about playing the young Alice (not yet hooked on acid), so Ruth suspends judgment and watches from the sidelines, and the scene is absolutely hilarious! It goes on for quite a few pages. It is a fully realized scene, it is served up in the middle of this novel, and has no relation to anything that comes before and after, much less any connection to the mystery, but it had self absolutely rolling on the floor!

And then, on p. 105, Ruth and Harry Nelson — who lead completely separate lives — have their moment. Which is to say, they bump into each other, by accident. This is always the point (in every book) at which the book’s tension picks up. It doesn’t matter how implausible the meeting — in The Chalk Pit, it’s a Saturday, and Ruth and her daughter are sightseeing, in the same place where Harry and his wife and daughter are shopping. See how perfect that is?

Side Note: Self borrowed most of the books from the library, which is a good thing. She just looked at the price (of the hardback, which she checked out of the library): $27.

Spaceship Fueling Station, Planet Gora

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, pp. 30 – 31:







The Wayfarers, Book 4: The Galaxy, and the Ground Within

“Mmm-hmm,” Tracker said. “And nothing makes bullshit worse than someone with an accent like mine.”

“Your accent is fine,” Speaker said. “It’s not like you’re the only person in the galaxy with a thick accent.”

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, p. 20

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