Sunday, November 30, 2008

Bare Cupboards

Re: I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason by Susan Kandel

Cece Caruso is evidently not a great cook. She laments the fact that her pantry has assorted odds and ends and does not have enough groceries to prepare anything resembling a meal.

That reminds me of Kinsey Millhone, Sue Grafton’s female-sleuth, who doesn’t have much in her pantry either. She eats a lot of fast food. She also enjoys odd combinations of things, like peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. I’ve never tried that but it doesn’t sound appetizing to me. I’m a peanut butter and honey fan myself.

I think Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum never has much around her kitchen either and eats a lot of fast food and junk food. Stephanie’s mentor, the ultra cool Ranger, chides her for her eating habits since he is a health food nut.

Ah, who cares what they eat, as long as these ladies solve the mystery!

Raymond Burr Look-a-Like?

Re: I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason by Susan Kandel

One of the interesting tidbits mentioned in this book is that Earl Stanley Gardner, the author of the Perry Mason books, looked a lot like actor Raymond Burr. Burr had come in to read for the part of district attorney Hamilton Burger but when Gardner got a look at Burr he said 'there is our Perry Mason!'

Gardner was right on the money. Burr personified the smart defense attorney. It's hard to imagine anyone else in that role.

According to Wikipedia, Perry Mason was television's most successful and longest-running lawyer series from 1957 to 1966. Plus there were more than 25 made-for-TV movies from 1985 to 1993.

We are currently watching Season One, Volume Two:

The acting and writing in these shows is excellent. There are lots of 'red herrings' and we are often very surprised by 'who-done-it'. But Perry Mason isn't - he's figured it out all along!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Re: The Hidden Window Mystery by Carolyn Keene

Peacocks feature prominently in this Nancy Drew book. In her search for the missing stained-glass window, Nancy uncovers a clue that the window might be hidden on the old plantation estate Ivy Hall. She and friends Bess and George stay at the mansion to try to solve the mystery. While there they find a peacock running loose in the yard. Turns out it belongs to a neighbor who raises them and it just got loose. Nonetheless it startles them all.

Ivy Hall is owned by an actress named Sheila Patterson. She is very upset about the peacock and claims it brings bad luck.

I had never heard that before so I did some Google searches. Supposedly a peacock's feather is regarded as a bad omen amongst theatrical folk. Just like other people regard the sighting of a black cat as bad luck.

Evidently NBC did not consider the peacock to be bad luck since they used it for their logo for many years!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rest In Peace Dad!

In Loving Memory of Lawrence F. Schultz, who passed away at age 90.

Date of Birth: February 20, 1918

Date of Death: November 12, 2008

We love you and miss you Dad!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Hidden Window Mystery

I'm also reading Nancy Drew - The Hidden Window Mystery.

Nancy reads an article in a magazine which offers a reward to anyone who can find a missing stained-glass window. The window features a picture of a peacock. Nancy wants to donate the money to the local hospital. Clues lead Nancy and her friends Bess and George to travel to Charlottesville VA where they stay with Nancy's cousin Susan and her husband Cliff.

Not only are they involved in the search for the missing window, but they are asked by Cliff to persuade a neighbor to open up the grounds of his mansion for a charity event. When Nancy, Bess and George walk near the mansion, they hear awful screeching sounds. What is making them?

This book has some information on how to make stained-glass windows. I've toyed with that idea myself, so I've been enjoying reading the book. I love the colors and patterns of most stained-glass windows and think they are beautiful. We have three-Tiffany-styled stained glass lamps and light-fixtures in our home. I'd get more, but my husband says "I don't think so"!

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason

What a catchy title for a novel! That plus the color - bright neon lime green - caught my eye at a bookstore we stopped at during our summer vacation. Plus I'm a fan of the old TV series starring Raymond Burr and Barbara Hale so I had to buy the book.

The female-sleuth here is clothes-hound Cece Caruso, a divorced mom living in trendy West Hollywood CA. Cece is writing a biography of Earl Stanley Gardner (ESG), himself an attorney and the author of numerous Perry Mason mystery stories.

As part of her research Cece is reading through many old letters ESG received from people who felt they were wrongly accused and falsely imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. Cece reads one letter that catches her eye and off she goes, to delve into the mystery of who killed Joseph Albacco Jr's wife?

I just started reading this book and I'm enjoying the information author Susan Kandel has supplied about ESG. For instance, he was a staunch supporter of the underdog and had a wild almost rebellious streak in him which led him to get involved in boxing when it was considered a felony in California.

I don't have any ESG books but I just might have to get some so I can have my own dreams! Just don't tell my husband!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tom Tom Turkey to the Rescue

Re: Turkey Day Murder by Leslie Meier

Turkeys figure prominently in this book, in more ways than one. Tom Tom Turkey is a 50-plus-pound male turkey that resides on a local farm. Female-sleuth Lucy Stone goes to the farm for a meeting and unwittingly finds herself face-to-face with Curt Nolan's killer. Tom Tom Turkey actually plays a role in saving her life, while her newly adopted dog Kudo is in Lucy's car waiting for her return.

I'll bet that's a first in mystery-land: having a turkey save you from sudden death!

When I mentioned that to my husband, he reminded me of the infamous WKRP in Cincinnati episode: "Turkeys Away". Radio station WKRP has a promotion to give away free live turkeys. They throw the turkeys out of the plane - and well - it's not a pretty sight. See they thought the turkeys could fly....but they can't.....ouch.

Anyway, "Turkey Day Murder" is fairly low-key. I thought there wasn't much suspense to the story. In spite of that I found myself enjoying the book for the descriptions of Lucy's daily life.

You can purchase the book here:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Curt Nolan's Murder

Re: Turkey Day Murder by Leslie Meier

The murder occurs about half-way through the book, during Chapter 10. There are 23 chapters in the book, so Lucy has to do some fast sleuthing to figure out 'who-done-it'.

Curt leaves behind a dog named Kadjo. In the book's opening chapter, Kadjo is in trouble because he has raided a local hen-house. The Tinker's Cove Board of Selectmen (like a city counsel) has a hearing to determine what to do with Kadjo and he barely escapes with his life. After Curt's death Lucy is asked by Curt's girlfriend to take the dog into her home. She agrees and re-names the dog Kudo.

Kudo kinda reminds me of Cujo, the dog in the Steven King book and movie of the same name. I've seen pieces of the movie Cujo while flipping channels, but have no desire to see the entire movie or read the book. I'm not a Steven King fan, although I did read The Shining and thought the book was good. I just can't get into the idea that a St. Bernard could become a raging killer.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lumpy Potatoes and Dusty Turkey

Re: Turkey Day Murder by Leslie Meier

It's a Thanksgiving Day feast for twelve at Lucy Stone's house - a twenty-five-pound turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, peas and creamed onions. She even made a brown rice and carrot casserole for the visiting college freshman who are vegans.

Everything goes well except for a couple of mishaps - the potatoes are lumpy and the turkey fell on the floor! Lucy thinks, great, I have lumpy potatoes and dusty turkey!

(My husband would call that "floor-enhanced turkey").

The turkey incident happens when Lucy struggles to get it out of the pan and accidentally drops it, in the process spilling greasy turkey juice over herself and on the floor. She is pretty upset when she realizes she can't make gravy, especially when her son Toby keeps bragging to his friends how great his mom's gravy is.

So she improvises: she takes two cans of pork gravy, adds some soy sauce and a dash of cooking sherry and viola! Instant gravy! (I wonder what Goldy Schulz would say about that!)

Toby's friend comments: "I've never had anything like it". I'll bet!

Photo courtesy stock.xchng

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Turkey Day Murder

The murder of Metinnicut Indian activist Curt Nolan happens on Thanksgiving Day, during the big high-school football game of the Tinkers Cove Warriors vs the Gilead Giants. The body was found near one of the concession stands by a cheerleader. Curt’s head was bashed in by an old ceremonial Indian war club.

The club is sacred to the Metinnicut Indian tribe. Every year the war club is loaned out to the high school football team by Fred Rumford, a member of the local museum.

During pre-game festivities, the club is then carried onto the field by the team’s young captain - this year it is a boy named Chris White. However Chris later loses track of the club and it is picked up by the murderer.

Curt was outspoken and had a habit of provoking people with his opinions. Lucy’s husband Bill wants her to stay out of the investigation, but her elderly friend Miss Tilley wants Lucy to do some sleuthing as a personal favor to her. Miss Tilley had known Curt since he was a little boy and was fond of him.

What will Lucy do? Listen to her husband or do Miss Tilley a favor? Hmmm, not much of a mystery there!