Dean Street Press mines the Golden Age

death-in-the-dentists-chairDeath in the Dentist’s Chair by Molly Thynne; Golden Age mystery; republished by Dean Street Press; list price, $2.99 (USD) for Kindle – but FREE when posted.

Why some mysteries are perennially popular and others fall out of favor is a mystery to me, and always has been, but one of the greatest advantages of digital publishing is the opportunity to rediscover such Golden Age gems as Molly Thynne’s six classic mysteries.

I picked up four of the six for free, thanks to my friend Cindy, who brought both Dean Street Press and Thynne (pronounced “thin”) to my attention recently, but any of them would have been a bargain at the $2.99 (USD) list price, and I recommend all six without reservation.

If you don’t like Golden Age fiction, you wouldn’t like these.  But, if you do, you’re in for a treat!

This week’s free offering is Death in the Dentist’s Chair – a popular place for murder in Golden Age fiction, as Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers also disposed of victims in a dentist’s office. Marian Babson did, too, decades later, in her In the Teeth of Adversity. This one is as every bit as good.

It’s a locked-room mystery, a favorite theme in classic crime fiction, returning Dr. Constantine and Detective-Inspector Arkwright, whom Thynne introduced in Death at the Noah’s Ark. Thynne created a challenging mystery with an intriguing cast of characters in a delightful setting, and wrapped it up in well-written prose for a satisfying story – and I could and do say the same about the other five mysteries she wrote.

The only complaint I can possibly make is that she only wrote six. I’d like to read more.

NOTE: Sis borrowed this title from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, then bought her own copy.  The publisher not only made no attempt to influence her review – the publisher doesn’t even know she has reviewed it!

Description: Constantine reflected on the various means dentists have at their disposal should they wish to silence their patients … Mr. Humphrey Davenport, society dentist, has an embarrassing problem – he has managed to get locked out of his own surgery. And to make matters worse, Mrs Charles Miller is locked inside, minus her false teeth. When the door is finally opened, the patient is found with her throat cut. Dr. Constantine, a fellow patient at the clinic, is a witness to the gruesome discovery. He lends his chess player’s brain to solving a locked room mystery with a difference, ably assisted by Detective-Inspector Arkwright. Was the murderer the theatrical Mrs. Vallon? Or little Mr. Cattistick, who recognized the fortune in jewels around the dead woman’s neck? Or perhaps it was Sir Richard Pomfrey, the subject of an unusually venomous look from Mrs Miller shortly before her demise? Death in the Dentist’s Chair was first published in 1932. This new edition, the first in many decades, includes an introduction by crime fiction historian Curtis Evans.

Also recommended without reservation:

The Crime at the Noah’s Ark: “There’ll be blue murder here before Christmas!” A number of parties heading for a luxurious holiday spot, are forced by severe winter weather to put up at the ‘Noah’s Ark’, a hostelry they will share with Dr. Constantine, a shrewd chess master and keen observer of all around him. Other guests include bestselling novelist Angus Stuart, the aristocratic Romsey family, a pair of old spinster sisters, and a galloping major whose horseplay gets him into hot water – and then gets him murdered. Who is the masked intruder who causes such a commotion on the first night? Who has stolen Mrs van Dolen’s emeralds, and who has slashed everyone’s (almost everyone’s) car tyres? And are the murderer and thief one and the same, or are the guests faced with two desperate criminals hiding in plain sight in the snowbound inn? Dr. Constantine, aided by two of the younger guests, is compelled to investigate this sparkling Christmas mystery before anyone else ends up singing in the heavenly choir …

The Draycott Murder Mystery: There was something about those hands, with their strangely crisped fingers, as though they had been arrested in the very act of closing, that somehow gave the lie to the woman’s attitude of sleep. A howling gale … A lonely farmhouse … the tread of a mysterious stranger … and then the corpse of a beautiful blonde, seemingly stopped in the act of writing. This is all a bit much for local bobby PC Gunnet, especially when it seems the dead – and aristocratic – woman shouldn’t even have been there in the first place. But nonetheless the owner of the farm, John Leslie, is convicted, and his guilt looks certain. Certain, that is, until the eccentric Allen “Hatter” Fayre, an old India hand, begins to look more deeply into the case and discovers more than one rival suspect in this classic and satisfying puzzler.





Shop Amazon Gift Cards. Any Occasion. No Expiration.

Amazon discounts Book 2 in Carlson’s Dear Daphne series

3d-carsonThe Kindle edition of Dating, Dining, and Desperation — the second book in Melody Carlson’s “Dear Daphne” series — is now on sale for 99 cents (USD), down from the list price of $7.99 (USD). (NOTE: Sis reviewed Dear Daphne 21 July 2016, click here to see that review.)

Description:  Daphne Ballinger has learned to accept her deceased, eccentric aunt’s strange request that she marry in order to inherit her estate, along with taking over her aunt’s hometown paper’s advice column.

But knowing and accepting that God’s will be done becomes harder when a new neighbor, a divorced socialite, learns of Daphne’s predicament and takes on the task of finding her the perfect man, even if it includes speed dating. When God does open Daphne’s heart, it is instead to take in a young girl left parentless and in the care of her dying grandmother. It may be a temporary arrangement until the girl’s uncle returns from the Marines, but God uses Daphne to speak His heavenly love and protection into the life of the child — whom Daphne soon discovers has a very handsome and single uncle.

Macomber’s Rose Harbor series comes to a sweet end

$12.99 (USD) Kindle; $14.99 (USD) hardback.
$12.99 (USD) Kindle; $14.99 (USD) hardback.

Sweet Tomorrows by Debbie Macomber; women’s fiction; published by Random House; list price, $12.99 (USD) for Kindle; $14.99 (USD) hardbound edition; and $13.35 (USD) paperback edition; Audible also available.

Debbie Macomber made me rethink women’s fiction, which hadn’t held any particular interest for me until I read my beautiful mom-by-marriage’s copies of the Blossom Street series.  I missed the earlier books in the Rose Harbor series, but I accepted Random House’s offer to read and review the final book in that series, and I’m glad I did.

Sweet Tomorrows is a sweet story, and it stands on its own quite well, as well as each title in the Blossom Street series and, in my opinion, much better than the long-running Cedar Cove series.

The Rose Harbor Inn, a bed-and-breakfast, is the center of this series, along with the heartbroken widow, Jo Marie Rose, who owns it.  Jo Marie has found healing for her hurting spirit here, and so have others who have visited or worked at the inn.  Such a premise could have been sickening at the hands of a lesser writer, but Macomber shows why she’s a perennial best-seller with this series. One of the ways she succeeds is in how she handles healing. She does not limit it to a physical cure, as so many in secular society do, but allows healing to be less – and therefore so much more – than a mere removal of physical ill and become a removal of dis-ease instead.  So much more powerful, and so much more realistic.

The stories are told in first-person, with different sections narrated by different characters.  Some readers dislike this device, but Macomber is skilled in creating distinctive voices for each character and both adept and experienced in employing this technique, whether in the context of one novel or over the course of a series.  I think it works just fine – better than an omniscient narrator or than restricting the storyline to one character’s perspective.

I find one fault with the novel, though many readers will not agree.  Onerose-harbor storyline, a romance between two wounded souls, develops with unrealistic rapidity. This is more common than not in romantic fiction, of course, and I suspect that many readers crave this speed.  My objection stems from observing too many instances of girls and young women expecting real life to match this pace and, as a result, ignoring small but serious red flags in their relationships.

All in all, though, I enjoyed this one and, if Mom hasn’t bought the others in the series, I will be getting them for both of us.

NOTE: Sis received an advanced reading copy from Random House via NetGalley in exchange for a review reflecting her opinions.  She is grateful to the author, the publisher and the service for this opportunity.

Description: The much-anticipated conclusion to Debbie Macomber’s beloved Rose Harbor series, set in the picturesque town of Cedar Cove, Sweet Tomorrows is a vibrant and poignant novel of letting go of fear, following your heart, and embracing the future—come what may. Nine months ago, Mark Taylor abruptly left Cedar Cove on a perilous mission to right a wrong from his past. Though Mark finally confessed his love for her, innkeeper Jo Marie Rose is unsure if he’s ever coming back. The Rose Harbor Inn barely seems the same without Mark, but Jo Marie can’t bear to lose herself in grief once more. Determined to move forward, she begins dating again, and finds companionship when she takes on a boarder who is starting a new chapter herself. Recovering from a twice-broken heart, Emily Gaffney, a young teacher, is staying at the inn while she looks for a home of her own. Having given up on marriage, Emily dreams of adopting children someday. She has her eye on one house in particular—with room for kids. Although Emily’s inquiries about the house are rudely rebuffed, her rocky start with the owner eventually blossoms into a friendship. But when the relationship verges on something more, Emily will have to rethink what she truly wants and the chances she’s willing to take. The inn seems to be working its magic again—Emily opening herself up to love, Jo Marie moving on—until Jo Marie receives shocking news. With Debbie Macomber’s trademark charm and wisdom, Sweet Tomorrows brings to a close the journeys of cherished characters who feel like old friends. Macomber has created an enchanting place in the Rose Harbor Inn that readers will never forget.


Discover Catherine Cookson

MaryJo Dawson, who writes the clean and cozy Sally Nimitz mysteries, brings to MiddleSisterReviews a series of reviews of authors from days gone by — writers who may not be as well known to today’s readers as they should be.  Today, she focuses on Catherine Cookson:

cooksonCatherine Cookson was born in 1906 into a humble household in rural England, where she knew hardship and poverty. By grinding hard work she saved enough money to buy a home and turn it into boarding house to make her own living. She married happily in her early 30s, but after a number of miscarriages, she was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder that meant she could not have children.

In her disappointment and grief, she turned to writing.

And what a talent this woman had! Most of her stories take place in Britain in the mid to late 19th Century, focusing on survival and victories amid grueling poverty, ignorance, and class distinction. Her attention to detail and her ability to weave a good story brought her well-earned success, accolades, and often record sales. Move over Agatha Christie: at one point Cookson held the record for books sought after and checked out in the British library system. Her heyday was from the 1960s to the 1980s, but her books are in reprint and most are available in ebook formats.

whipRecently I’ve re-read one of her later works, The Whip. It is the story of Emma Molinero,  beginning when she is orphaned before she was eight years old, and continuing through the next 24 years of her life. The daughter of a local farmer and a Spanish carnival performer who was a master with knives and whips,  Emma is transported from a life of love and protection at the carnival to the harsh realities of rural life in Tyneside in the mid-19th Century.

The young, kindly, new local parson and a local painter are two of the people who make life bearable for the girl during long days of drudgery and negative – sometimes cruel – attention from those who have no patience or understanding for someone who doesn’t conform. With her intelligence, independent spirit, and unusual good looks, Emma always stands out.

The years will bring bitter disappointments and cruel losses, but sometimes hope and humor. Cookson is a master at showing human nature at its best and its worst. When Emma’s husband’s twin brother losses his mind completely due to jealousy and hate, he is determined to destroy Emma if it’s the last thing he ever does. He almost succeeds.

The Whip is currently $5.99 (USD) on Amazon in the Kindle Store. Many of the original 1983 printed hard copies are available for very reasonable prices (ranging from $2.01 USD and up). The prices for the secondhand print editions vary, by seller and condition. Click to read a sample:  The Whip.

Other Cookson novels available in the same price range include: The Dwelling Place, Our Kate, The Girl, The Mallen Girl, The Invitation, and The Blind Years.

From Amazon’s author page: Catherine Cookson was born in Tyne Dock, the illegitimate daughter of a poverty-stricken woman, Kate, whom she believed to be her older sister. She began work in service but eventually moved south to Hastings, where she met and married Tom Cookson, a local grammar-school master. Although she was originally acclaimed as a regional writer – her novel The Round Tower won the Winifred Holtby Award for the best regional novel of 1968 – her readership quickly spread throughout the world, and her many best-selling novels established her as one of the most popular of contemporary women novelists. After receiving an OBE in 1985, Catherine Cookson was created a Dame of the British Empire in 1993. She was appointed an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda’s College, Oxford, in 1997. For many years she lived near Newcastle upon Tyne. She died shortly before her ninety-second birthday, in June 1998.

Sis thanks MaryJo for her contributions and for bringing another writer to her attention. She hopes that you, too, will enjoy these flashbacks and find some new-to-you writers to read and enjoy.


Saturday Savings: More histories, more mysteries

Endeavour Press discounted two biographies of Queen Victoria and one of Prince Albert, her husband, today (Saturday, 10 September 2016):

victoria1Queen Victoria, compiled by the queen’s librarian, was written to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and relies on the queen’s own notes. Richard Rivington Holmes provides contemporary insight into the queen, her peers, her background and her heirs. He also explores her lineage and how she came to inherit the throne and rule the British Empire. It’s on sale today for 99 cents (USD), a significant savings from the print list price of $25.95 (hardbound) or $26.95 (paperback). Sir Richard Rivington Holmes (1835-1911) was a British archivist and courtier, best known for being Librarian to the Queen at Windsor Castle. He was reappointed this role in 1901 by King Edward VII. He is also well known for his large Ethiopian artefact collection that has been catalogued into the British museum. Holmes is buried in Buckinghamshire.

A second Jubilee memoir, Victoria, Queen and Empresswas also written tovictoria2 celebrate 50 years of rule. G. Holden Pike received access to Victoria’s diaries to pen his biography.  It, too, has been discounted to 99 cents (USD), from a list price of $22.95 (hardbound). Holden Pike covers topics such as the Queen’s education, through to Prince Albert’s death, and finally to the Golden Jubilee, alongside other contextually relevant aspects of the Victorian era. Godfrey Holden Pike (1836-1910) was the sub-editor of The Sword and The Trowel for twenty years. He contributed many articles to the magazine, alongside penning many historical and biographical works such as Oliver Cromwell and His Times, and From Slave to College President.

albertHector Bolitho, the renowned biographer of royals, tackles Victoria’s husband in Albert, Prince ConsortThis one is also on sale for 99 cents (USD) today. Bolitho explores the life and personality of Prince Albert, from his birth in Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld, his marriage and restraining influence on Queen Victoria and his early death from typhoid.

Earlier this week, Lea Wait’s Shadows on a Morning in Mainethe eighth in her Antique Print Mystery series, was released. It’s available for $4.99 (USD). (See my Sister Sites page for more info on Lea’s website.) I’m really, really, really ready to escape from the unrelenting heat and humidity of the Gulf Coast, so a virtual vacation to Maine sounds perfect.

shadowsDescription: Antique print dealer Maggie Summer’s making big changes in her life. She’s taken a sabbatical from her college teaching job and moved to the coast of Maine to run an antique mall with Will Brewer, her significant other, and is finally hoping to adopt the daughter she’s been hoping for. However, the troubled girl referred to her doesn’t want any part of the plan, showing affection only for harbor seals, which remind her of her “real mother.” Maggie’s distraught when someone starts shooting the seals — and the a young fisherman is murdered. When Will then confesses a secret from his past, she begins to wonder if moving to Maine is the biggest mistake of her life.

R. Allen Chappell has been compared to Tony Hillerman — which is recommendation enough for any mystery fan. His Navajo Autumn is discounted to 99 cents (USD) today from $2.99. I read a sample, enough to make me want to read more.

Description: Thomas Begay is found dead-drunk under the La Plata Bridge …not unusual for Thomas Begay. What is unusual, is BIA investigator Patsy Greyhorse, found lying beside him …not drunk, or even a Navajo, but very dead nonetheless. Long time friend Charlie Yazzi, fresh from law school, risks his career …and even his life to help his old schoolmate. The Answer seems to lie with the Yeenaaldiooshii …should one choose to believe in such things. In the far reaches of the reservation there still are traditional Navajos living their lives with few concessions to modern mores. Guided by their strong sense of cultural heritage these outliers remain a strong anchor for the Navajo Nation. This story follows the lives of such people, caught up in a plot that could have far-reaching implications for the entire tribe.

Saturday Savings 03.09.2016

Histories, mysteries and more . . .

Labor Day weekend brings an end, for some, to summer, and the beginning, to others, of college football season. Mister Sister and I spent the last few days giving our house a much-needed deep cleaning as we get ready for Game Day celebrations. I’m ready to relax (after the game, of course) with some good books. Here’s what I’ve found on sale today:

TitanicWalter Lord’s account of the Titanic disaster earned him a reputation for meticulously researched literary non-fiction. Open Road Media brings his A Night to Remember and The Night Lives On, which examines factual and fanciful theories surrounding the ship and its sinking, in The Complete Titanic Chronicles, discounted today to $4.99 (USD) — $20 off its list price!

Endeavour Press offers the sensational and best-selling history from Lord Russell of Liverpool of Nazi war crimes, detailing the illegal as well as immoralScourge atrocities committed against Germany’s own citizens, prisoners of war and others.  Lord Russell of Liverpool—né Edward Frederick Langley Russell, 2nd Baron Russell of Liverpool—was Deputy Judge Advocate General for the British Army of the Rhine, and was a chief legal adviser for Britain during the war crimes trials following World War II. The Scourge of the Swastika, his history of those crimes, is on sale today for $1.99 (USD), down from $14.99 (USD).

Mysterious Press discounts Aaron Elkins’ fourth Gideon Oliver mystery, Old Boneswhich won the Edgar Award and which was voted one of 100 Favorite Mysteries of the 20th Century by the Independent Booksellers Association, to $1.99 (USD) from $7.99.

BonesBook description: With the roar of thunder and the speed of a galloping horse comes the tide to Mont St. Michel goes the old nursery song. So when the aged patriarch of the du Rocher family falls victim to the perilous tide, even the old man’s family accepts the verdict of accidental drowning. But too quickly, this “accident” is followed by a bizarre discovery in the ancient du Rocher château: a human skeleton, wrapped in butcher paper, beneath the old stone flooring. Professor Gideon Oliver, lecturing on forensic anthropology at nearby St. Malo, is asked to examine the bones. He quickly demonstrates why he is known as the “Skeleton Detective,” providing the police with forensic details that lead them to conclude that these are the remains of a Nazi officer believed to have been murdered in the area during the Occupation. Or are they? Gideon himself has his doubts. Then, when another of the current du Rochers dies—this time via cyanide poisoning—his doubts solidify into a single certainty: someone wants old secrets to stay buried . . . and is perfectly willing to eradicate the meddlesome American to make that happen.

I love Rudyard Kipling’s stories, and Kim, the classic story of an orphaned boy, a lama and two empires clashing over one magical land, is free today, thanks to Open Road Media.

Saturday Savings 27.08.2016

I like to say that I was created for joy since my first name literally means “song of joy.” I love to make joyful noises — silly songs that I sing to my cat, my dogs, my horse, myself — but sometimes joy seems to desert me. It’s then that I need help. He who created me for joy always provides.

In the last week, I’ve been overcome by everything. Our internet connection went down last Saturday, and I couldn’t get online long enough to find any discounts to share with you or to post them if I had been able to find them. The weight of almost 94 years is taking a toll on my beautiful mom-by-marriage. The cousin-by-marriage who introduced me to Mister Sister is unwell. The unrelenting heat and humidity of August on the Gulf Coast is wreaking havoc on my body, and my spirit. The news was filled with disturbing stories, from dirty politics to earthquakes to stupidity.

Anne of InglesideA stranger came to my aid, clicking on my profile at Amazon.com and sending me an item from my Wish List: Anne of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery, the one chronicle in the series that I did not have and had not read.  A dose of Anne was just what I needed. I ended up rereading the whole Anne of Green Gables series, allowing all that is therein to heal my wounded spirit . . . the beauty of Prince Edward Island, the joy that is Anne and the wisdom of the writer.

Today, I returned to the quiet time I need before I start my days and I recalled again how much I need this time, to pray and to read something that feeds my soul before I face whatever the day has in store for me. This Saturday, I’m sharing some books that are essential reading for my spirit and some that may perhaps speak to yours:

The Lucado Inspirational Reader: Hope and Encouragement for Your Everyday Max LucadoLife by Max Lucado, discounted from $9.99 to $0.99 (USD). I received an email yesterday notifying me that this one had been discounted to $2.99, and I decided to check today to see if the price held. Instead, I saw that the price has dropped by two more dollars! Here’s a description:

Comfort and the cross. Faith and forgiveness. Salvation and spiritual refreshment. For more than 25 years you’ve trusted Max Lucado to walk with you as you ponder these essential truths. This collection of his very best illustrations, stories, and one-liners guides you through his signature themes and life’s most important matters. Spend a few minutes or a couple of hours at the foot of the cross. Take a moment or an afternoon to search the heart of the Savior. Seize a second for a second chance. Return to these words time and again for a dose of hope and encouragement straight from Max’s heart to yours.

A few months ago, I reviewed a powerful primer on prayer. It’s free, a gift from author Diane Moody to you. If you didn’t get it, consider clicking now on Confessions of a Prayer Slacker and find out if you are slacking off and what you need to do to get back on track.

A few years ago, I was introduced to slim volume in plain but powerful language for its chapters on prayer. I strive to read a chapter every day. As soon as I come to the end, I go back to the beginning and start all over again. As long as I’m reading it, I don’t get off track. It’s time to hit reset and start again at Chapter One:

It isn’t available in a Kindle edition yet, but you can find digital versions free online at several sites. I downloaded a couple, but I also bought a hardbound edition secondhand. This one is so valuable to me that I paid a bookbinder to stitch the pages and strengthen the binding so it will last a lifetime. But, be warned: This is not a book for every Christian. The way is simple, but it isn’t easy to follow and I can’t pretend that I walk all of it. All the same, it has taught me more than how to pray. It showed me how to say farewell to frustration. Can you do that? Do you want to do that?

Zoo Station journeys to 1939 Berlin

From Soho Crime
From Soho Crime

Zoo Station by David Downing; first published in 2007 by Soho Press Inc.; Kindle price currently $1.99 (USD), paperback edition, list $9.99 (USD). Book 1 of a 6-book series.

Zoo Station introduces John Russell, a journalist whose policy of appeasing the Nazis in 1939 mirrors the policy of the politicians whose attempts to avoid a world war would soon fail.

Russell, a 40-year-old who freelances for newspapers around the world, has lost the youthful idealism that once led him to join the Communist Party, fight fascists in Spain, and write hard news without worrying about whom it might offend. Now, he plays it safe so he can remain in Berlin, where his young son, Paul, lives with his ex-wife and her second husband.

But nothing is safe in Nazi Germany, and Russell soon finds himself caught between his old comrades in Russia, his connections at the British Embassy and the Gestapo. The danger deepens when a fellow journalist enlists Russell’s help, then plunges to his death from the platform at the Zoo Station subway while gathering evidence of a Nazi plan to euthanize German children.

Soho Press provided an advanced reading copy of Zoo Station as part of its reading challenge celebrating 25 years of publishing international crime fiction, and I thoroughly enjoyed this thriller. Russell’s conflict between compromise and integrity while living under Nazi rule really reflects the conflict that paralyzed the politicians who tried throughout the 1930s. The result is a taut thriller that provides insights to a real struggle, as well as the fictional one.

Russell proves to be an honorable hero, an ordinary man who undertakes the extraordinary when faced with dangerous times in a dangerous place. I’m glad this was only the first book in a series, because I want to read more. If you like espionage thrillers, especially those set in Nazi Germany, I think you will, too.

NOTE: Sis received a complimentary copy of Zoo Station from Soho Press Inc. via NetGalley for her participation in the publisher’s 25th anniversary reading challenge.  Sis is grateful for the opportunity.

Description:  By 1939, Anglo-American journalist John Russell has spent over a decade in Berlin. He writes human-interest pieces for British and American papers, avoiding the investigative journalism that could get him deported. But as World War II approaches, he faces having to leave his son as well as his girlfriend of several years, a beautiful German starlet. When an acquaintance from his old communist days approaches him to do some work for the Soviets, Russell is reluctant, but he is unable to resist the offer. He becomes involved in other dangerous activities, helping a Jewish family and a determined young American reporter. When the British and the Nazis notice his involvement with the Soviets, Russell is dragged into the murky world of warring intelligence services.

Soho Crime has been publishing atmospheric crime fiction set all over the world for the last 25 years. The publisher’s popular series take readers to France, China, England, Laos, Northern Ireland, Australia, Japan, Germany, South Africa, Italy, Denmark, and Palestine, among other locales, with entire range of crime fiction—detective fiction, police procedurals, thrillers, espionage novels, revenge novels, stories of thieves, assassins, and underworld mob bosses.


Return to Rio, or escape into fiction

with Saturday Savings 13.08.2016

MunichIn 1972, the Germans planned a spectacular celebration of sport in an effort to erase the bigotry that blazed in Berlin 36 years earlier . . . but Munich was marred by the terrorist attack on the Israeli athletes and the massacre of hostages and terrorists at the airport afterward.

Richard Mandell, whose history of the 1936 Games was required reading for the organizers (and was featured here a week ago), had access to everything — participants, planners, sites — for three weeks. His The Olympics of 1972: a Munich Diary is a record of his impressions of the aesthetic, political, and athletic dimensions of the spectacle. It’s discounted today to 99 cents.

Mandell urged the organizers to cancel the games, but his diary isn’t aNazi Olympics history of the terrorist attack itself. Many of his observations are about design: the plastic roof that covered acres, the visual Esperanto of color-coded uniforms, the catalogs for the many art exhibitions, the newly devised “pictograms” directing visitors around the Olympic facilities that transformed Munich. Mandell also writes about modern sports equipment and about television and sport. He describes what he learned by watching training fields, saunas, and in the all-you-can-eat cafeterias and listening in on athletes’ conversations in the Olympic Village.

Peter Lovesey not only wrote the Peter Diamond mysteries (which Sis has Kings of Distancebeen reviewing), but he also wrote profiles of five long-distance runners from past Olympics:  The Kings of Distance, which is also on sale for 99 cents today. This history tells the stories of:

Deerfoot the Indian brave who successfully challenged the leading runners of Victorian England. In 1863, he set a record for distance covered in one hour that was only exceeded by a British amateur 90 years later.

George at the age of 19, in 1878, with the solitary distinction of joint first place in a walking race to his credit, announced that he would one day run a mile in 4 minutes 12 seconds, an achievement unbelievable at that time. Eight years later, having improved every world record, he officially attained his ambition in ‘The Mile of the Century’.

Shrubb, ‘The Irrepressible,’ discovered his running ability by accident, and made staggering records in the most unpromising conditions. His historic run in November 1904, created new world records for every distance from six to 11¾ miles.

Nurmi, at the Paris Olympic Games of 1924, achieved the never-to-be-repeated feat of winning both the 15,000 and 5,000 metre races within 1 hour and 20 minutes, and carried off four individual gold medals in the six days.

Zátopek so manifestly set himself apart from other distance runners that reporters named him ‘The Human Locomotive’, describing his races in two categories: one for Zátopek, the other for those who struggled far behind for second place. A strenuous training programme prepared him for the most extraordinary triple victory in the history of the Olympic Games.

BourneNot into the Games?  Well, Jason Bourne is back in theaters, and the first book in Robert Ludlum’s series is on sale, too, at $1.99.  The Bourne Identity is a classic suspense story, and, as fun as the film is, the book is better.

Description: His memory is a blank. His bullet-ridden body was fished from the Mediterranean Sea. His face has been altered by plastic surgery. A frame of microfilm has been surgically implanted in his hip. Even his name is a mystery. Marked for death, he is racing for survival through a bizarre world of murderous conspirators—led by Carlos, the world’s most dangerous assassin. Who is Jason Bourne? The answer may kill him.

What’s up with a blue cat? Lenora explains

PeteGuest review by Lenora, a kindergarten teacher

If you’re a parent, grandparent, or just care about a child, you’re probably wondering why the Pete the Cat series is a good choice for young readers. A blue cat, you might wonder? What’s up with that?

Pete the Cat piques the interest of young children. They like animals. Pete seems to have lots of fun, which is always a plus in children’s minds. He rides a skateboard and a surfboard. He’s very cool!

Pete has a very positive attitude. He doesn’t get upset when bad things happen. Bad things sometimes happen but that’s all OK. Everything will be fine. Pete is all about kindness to others. Many of my students live in neighborhoods with lots of violence. This positive attitude is very reassuring to them.

The stories are very obviously fictional, and that appeals to youngbeach pete children. They like to make believe. Cats aren’t blue and they don’t talk. They don’t really drive buses, ride skateboards or surfboards, or go to the beach or scuba dive. It’s so fun to pretend, though! They can imagine themselves there having fun with Pete. Many kids today need to escape their horrific environments.

Many of the Pete the Cat books are in the My First I Can Read series published by HarperCollins. The I Can Read series has long had an excellent reputation for quality books for young readers. Many of the words are appropriate sight words for young readers. The amount of text on the page is also appropriate for young readers. A student that is reading at a first-grade level could read them independently. They’re excellent shared or buddy readers for kindergarteners. A kindergartener who has read the story repeatedly with someone could read much of it themselves. Repeated reading of a story is an excellent way to boost your child’s oral reading fluency.

reading labelMy kindergarteners loved Pete the Cat last year. The kids at my van dismissal duty did, too. He was a favorite amongst the pre-kindergarten through second grade amongst that group. They would get very excited when I read a Pete the Cat book while they were waiting to go home.

Lenora reports that 13 students attended Monday’s Meet the Teacher event at her school, when each received a copy of one Pete the Cat Too Cool for School to keep. “I saw some big smiles and excited faces!” she said. Students who did not attend receive their copy when they first report to school.  And she’s already using these books, which many of you have donated, to teach her students about generosity and kindness. All proceeds generated through clicks on this review will be forwarded to Lenora by means of an Amazon.com gift card, to use for more books or supplies. Please help me verify these purchases by emailing me at Sis@MiddleSisterReviews.com. You don’t need to tell me what you bought or how much you spent, simply that you clicked on one of the links in this post or the searchable link below. That will help me separate your purchase from any others on the same day.  Thanks!

Lenora uses a Pete the Cat hand puppet as well as the books in her classroom.
Lenora uses a Pete the Cat hand puppet as well as the books in her classroom.
A plush Pete the Cat poses with his eponymous books.
A plush Pete the Cat poses with his eponymous books.