Because Sometimes You Just Need an Escapist Mystery Novel

[If you’re here for the issues/addresses write-ups for postcarding, just scroll down. They’re right below.]

One of my favorite summer pleasures is reading mystery novels. I confess to a weakness for particular tropes: famous writers as detectives, historical novels with narrators who both reflect and question the times in which they live, unreliable narrators, female detectives, and anything involving epidemic disease, particularly plague. In the last week or so, I’ve read a quartet of mysteries that I can comfortably recommend to readers with similar interests.

Light in the Shadows by Linda Lafferty and Andy Stone, Lake Union Publishing, published 1 June, 2019, http://freshfiction.com/book.php?id=97351

Light in Shadows moves between two timelines: one during the life of bad-boy painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, whose career crossed from the late 1500s to the early 1600s; the other set in the present day and featuring an unlikely trio of characters—an art history student, a gay son from a mafia family, and a retired professor taking classes in Italy while mourning his wife’s death—trying to solve the murder of a priest who may, or may not, have discovered an unknown Caravaggio painting. Caravaggio comes across as a fascinating, but not very pleasant man, which concurs with the little I know about his life. These chapters are action-packed, but the real heart of the novel lies in the trio of amateur detectives negotiating very difficult relationships with themselves and with one another. Discovering whether the painting is a Caravaggio becomes much less important than seeing how the connections among these three develop.

Season of Darkness by Cora Harrison, Severn House, publishing date 1 July, 2019, http://severnhouse.com/book/Season+of+Darkness/8967

Season of Darkness features Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins as the sleuthing team, aided—or not—by housemaid Sesina, who was friends with the murder victim at the heart of the story. Dickens and Collins are an effective pair, the one much more self-assured than the other, which gives them an interesting mix of dissimilar strengths. The author sets enough false trails to keep readers guessing until the fast-paced ending. The depiction of the class divides in English society at the time, particularly the rather condescending “generosity” of some in the upper classes gives readers something to mull over after the mystery is solved.

Black Death by M.J. Trow, Severn House, publishing date 1 July, 2019, http://severnhouse.com/book/Black+Death/8973

In Black Death our sleuth is Christopher Marlowe, playwright and intelligencer. Robert Greene, a competitor and enemy since their college days, has died after penning a letter to Marlowe claiming he is being murdered and asking Marlowe to bring the killer to justice. From here, the plot grows increasingly complex, with two other possible murders, an epidemic of plague, a subplot set in Bedlam, and both an unscrupulous plague doctor with apprentices and the great alchemist John Dee. Shakespeare—a not particularly bright, not particularly gifted Shakespeare—provides moments of comedy within the action. And, oh yes, there’s a bear. If you have any interest in Tudor history or drama you’ll be delighted with this read that pulls in many of the eras key characters and concerns.

The Leaden Heart by Chris Nickson, Severn House, publishing date 1 July, 2019, http://severnhouse.com/book/The+Leaden+Heart/8968

I’ve been reading the Tom Harper series, set in late 19th Century Leeds, since its inception, and it continues to reward. In The Leaden Heart, Harper is now a Detective Superintendent; Leeds remains a grimy, industrial city with a significant wealth gap. When the brother of a former colleague commits suicide, Harper finds that a new kind of crime, involving complex financial dealings, is stretching the skills of his station house. Meanwhile, Harper’s wife Annabelle continues to serve as a poor law commissioner, simultaneously struggling against the mistreatment of the city’s poorest residents while battling with the misogyny of the other commissioners, all of whom are men determined to reject any idea proposed by a woman.

2019.06.22 Issues/Addresses Updates and Links for Comments on Federal Rules Changes

Here are this week’s Issues/Addresses write-ups. Remember—we don’t have to agree on everything. Use the parts of this list that speak to you and ignore those that don’t. Democracy isn’t an exercise in lock-step marching.

As always, please use/share/distribute as you see fit.

National Issues/Addresses

California Issues/Addresses

And here’s my friend Martha’s list of crucial proposed federal rules changes and links to the official comment pages. Federal agencies are required to post rules changes before they go into effect and are also required to take into consideration comments in response to those proposed changes. Using the official comment page for each item is the best way to ensure your voice is heard.

June 16, 2019, National and California Issues/Addresses Write-Ups for Postcarding and Links for Comments on Federal Rules Changes

Here are this week’s national level postcarding write-ups. Please use/share/distribute as you see fit. Remember, you can skim the list and pick the ones that speak to you; none of us has to do everything.

Here are this week’s California level postcarding write-ups. There are just a few of them this time around.

Both lists include links to the appropriate directories so you can easily find you legislators.

And here’s the weekly set of links to comment pages for proposed federal rules changes, courtesy of my friend Martha. When you’re addressing a specific proposed rules change, you will want to use the comments page, since the government has a procedural obligation to consider this material.

Issues and Addresses for 6/8/2019, the Big June List, and This Week’s Federal Comment Opportunities

Here are the latest issues/addresses write-ups.

First off, here’s the link to this week’s items.

And, if you’re interested in the Big June List, which includes the weekly write-up from the last three weeks, you can find that here.

Finally, here’s my friend Martha’s set of links to comment pages for proposed federal rules changes. These are important!

Thank you for all you do! If you can, drop me a comment and let me know how postcarding is going for you. It’s nice to know there are others out there working on this.

Issues, Addresses, and Federal Comment Periods, 6/2/2019

Here are this week’s issues/addresses write-ups for postcarding, along with an excellent document linking to federal comment sites for proposed regulation changes. These last are important because they’re under the charge of the executive branch of our government, so writing to Congress about these issues won’t have any effect—expect in very unusual circumstances when Congress passes a law to undo federal rules (not likely to happen now with the House/Senate split).

Look over the postcarding write-ups and act on those that speak to you. Check our the federal comment site links and do as many of those as you can—they’re quick and essential.

National issues and addresses for postcarding.

California issues and addresses for postcarding.

Links for commenting on proposed federal regulation changes.

Thank you for speaking out and believing that we have the power to change our country for the better!

This Week’s Issues/Addresses Write-Ups

Here are this week’s issues/addresses write-ups for postcarding. Remember, no need to do everything—do the things that speak to you. It all matters, and our individual efforts add up to something big.

National-level issues/addresses: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cOkGcduhKqq-KeclTVfNPXrHsC-L_GjJsxjeLQ8Ee7E/edit?usp=sharing

California-level issues/addresses: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1xV-FFynGaFuDORdhHt0eMCAalIRP6dP7vU8OIPz9SAU/edit?usp=sharing

Resistance! Persistence! Go the distance!

Issues and Addresses for 5/3/2019

Hi all! Here are this week’s postcarding write-ups.

You’ll find national topics here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1NJOZVHWMeljv-TLSmvf-uCS8m34K5jnUQ_pSSao90cs/edit?usp=sharing

You’ll find California topics here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1I2EmYD2IntFrg0N8eJiBP7eSNBCNkviafofQR6INFaA/edit?usp=sharing

Please use/share/distribute these as you like. Thank you for speaking up and for believing in a better America!


Issues/Addresses for 4.27.2019

Here are this week’s issues/addresses write ups for postcarding. I’m including two versions of the document.

• Here’s the “National Generic” version. It includes addresses for administration figures and links to the House and Senate directories: https://docs.google.com/document/d/128IEcff_sCgFWTx3EOPXugMh3KUz9AtTB5ApxK4XGwI/edit?usp=sharing

• Here’s the California version. It gives addresses for California Congressmembers and includes California legislative issues: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1MaJHJEBiBg1_nfVnnLcIq1Kd0TaHayFR8qnuRGsUI4g/edit?usp=sharing

Please use/share/distribute as you see fit. You don’t have to use all of these—pick those that speak to you and say what you want to say.


Issues/Addresses Write-Ups for 2.16.2019

Hi All–

Here are this week’s issues/addresses write-ups:

2019.02.16

If you have different Senators than I have, find contact info here: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

If you have a differe t Representative than I do, find contact info here: https://www.house.gov/representatives

If you have different California Legislators than I do, find contact information here: http://www.legislature.ca.gov/your_legislator.html