First Published:Serialized in The Saturday Evening Post, US in 1938. Also published as Easy To Kill in the US in 1939.
I Read: Murder Is Easy. New York, Harper, 2011.
Series: Stand Alone
Detective: Luke Fitzwilliam (with assists from Superintendent Battle and Mr. Harley Quin)
Summary: By chance and happenstance, Luke found himself occupying the same train car as an elderly woman who reminded him of his elderly Aunt Mildred. Due to the fact he had not been in England for a number of years, and was a former policeman, Luke was disposed to listen to her whitter on. Her troubles seemed a bit unusual, as she was going to Scotland Yard to tell them about a series of murders in her village, she know who was going to be next. Luke dismissed her as an elderly lady with a very vivid imagination until the local paper reports her accidental death and the person she’d identified as being in peril death as well.
Review: This mystery is the quintessential Christie mystery, and I loved it! Set in a small village, with a small cast of characters and being investigated by an amateur (as Fitzwilliam was retired from the police) detective. It does not boast a huge twist ending, however it still manages to surprise you. Or at least it surprised me -- you’d think having read as many as I have now, I would be better at this educated guessing thing. But I get so caught up in the story I either forget or fall for Christie’s red herrings! Really I would highly recommend this mystery to anyone looking for a new book to read!
Now onto my almost relevant story, this week's is based on this quote: “You know this place is too marvelous--one simply can’t keep a secret! That’s what I like about it--it’s so different from that inhuman you-mind-your-own-business-I-will-mind-mine of a city!” (pg. 59). I cannot convey how true, funny but true, I find this Christie’s observational quote.
About fifteen years back I had to travel to a tiny town in Iowa (or at least this town seemed tiny to me) with my family. The trip was unplanned and right after we got there I realized I needed to register for my college classes; if I waited there was a good chance I would not get the ones I needed. Now remember, this was back before smart phones, high speed internet, iTunes and we were still using floppy disks. Scary right? I could register for my classes via the internet, however, the sticky wicket here - no one my Aunt knew had a computer with internet access. Someone suggested we go to the high school and use their equipment -- I was told to just to walk there, speak with the district superintendent and he’d let me use it. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
When we walked into the door of the school, the secretary and Superintendent - who was suspiciously, I mean conveniently in the office - greeted us by name, without any introductions (I went with my folks, as I didn't want to get tossed out of the school by myself, which I was pretty sure was going to happen - as I didn't think any school employee would let strangers use their computers - I would be wrong). They knew what were we there for and had absolutely no issue with us using the equipment. Which was great, but I was still rattled -- who on earth lets an unknown visitor into their school and leaves them largely unsupervised (they just waved us in the general direction of the library)? Remember this is a pre-Columbine world and it still felt weird.
Later, I noticed I walked around the town and interacted with people, they all greeted me by name. Which was very nice, sociable and neighborly - just what you come to expect from a great small town. But I had NEVER BEEN IN A SMALL TOWN and found it seriously creepy; Children Of The Corn, Cybermen or Ood, level of creepy. A hive mind sharing all the details of who I was, why I was there and an unnatural, unhealthy level of interest in what I was doing.
This quote reminds me of this trip where everyone knew everything (or it felt like everything) about me - while I struggled to place the right name to the right face. Once I stated I didn’t care for a bakery’s pastries and the baker heard about it and sought me out to ask why. Not being raised there I didn’t possess the skills or necessary acumen to hide anything about myself in that town. Lying wasn’t an option, my full dossier (I swear) had been passed out at a town meeting, before I got there. This experience contrasting greatly with my life back in Seattle, where only the smell of my decomposing body would alert my neighbors should I die due to being electrocuted by my toaster while the refrigerator pins me to the floor -- having fallen over due to my extreme measures of trying to disengage said toaster (or some other completely ridiculous way of dying). This is a trite comparison, I am well aware, but after that trip I believe the small town thing is very real.... Perhaps I still find it all a bit creepy....
“Truth...is seldom romantic.” (pg. 39)
“My dear fellow! Sanity is the one unbelievable bore. One must be mad-deliciously mad-perverted-slightly twisted-then one sees life from a new and entrancing angle.” (pg. 100)
Interesting Fact:Murder Is Easy is one of the last books in which Superintendent Battles appears (Cards On The Table is the last one for me and I haven’t read it yet), he's not the featured detective, but has a walk-on part so to speak. I enjoyed visiting with him again.
Another of Christie’s characters makes an obfuscated appearance in this mystery as well, Mr. Harley Quin. Now hear me out. I say obfuscated because I believe he sets Luke Fitzwilliam on the path to find the killer, without making an onstage credited appearance. What leads me to think Mr.Quin hand his fingers in the pie? The train makes an unusual stop, which no one else disembarks from and leaves unnoticed by Fitzwilliam and a bored porter (BTW there are no spoilers here, you find all this out in the first few pages). These two incidents together put Fitzwilliam on the correct train to learn about the village murders. These could be coincidences save for two other details; 1. The Bells and Motley Inn is mention specifically in the story, which we know is associated with Mr. Quin; and 2. this mystery is all about lovers thrown together, torn apart and thwarted and Mr. Quin is always associated with lovers.
There is no way to prove my theory about Mr. Quin, not really. This mystery along with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Murder On The Orient Express have almost no information in Christie’s notebooks, detailed by John Curran. Either they were lost or the information for the mysteries was stored exclusively in Christie's, no one knows - a small mystery in itself.
I will say I do find it interesting the willful disbelief I have found surrounding the character Mr. Harley Quin. Not in a derogatory way, just an interesting phenomenon surrounding Mr. Quin. While researching for this week's and last week's blog post I read a number of articles about him. While a few acknowledge his methods as being "mysterious" none (that I found) ever mentioned the idea of him being a supernatural entity. Even though he spoke to the dead, disappeared over edges of cliffs, appeared as a vision to an artist, and could walk unseen by all except Mr. Satterthwaite - none ever really acknowledge these seemingly impossible feats.
Cheating: Did you know Helen Keller was accused of cheating more than once? Notably at the age of twelve she was accused of plagiarizing a story she sent to a patron. The Frost King was a gift to the head of the Perkins School For The Blind, where Helen had studied for a time. Michael Anagnos then published the story in the alumni magazine, where it was picked up later by a larger periodical. A reader spoke to a teacher at the school saying it bore more than a striking resemblance to Canby’s tale, The Frost Fairies. After a long hearing into the matter Keller was cleared of the charge of plagiarism by a single vote. My two cents? She was twelve, not thirty; she sent the story as a birthday present, she didn’t sell it to a publisher -- Keller apparently forgot it had been read to her when she was eight and wrote a similar story she thought was an original idea. The entire thing seemed to be blown out of proportion, but that’s just me. Due to this experience Keller never wrote another fictional story again.
In this instance Keller and I have one very small sliver of similarity, neither of us cheated. I am 23 weeks in, all most halfway there! Can’t succumb now!
We’re continuing to have problems getting the newzine to some folks. Last week was the second, consecutive with a significant number of rejected addresses. As spam filters and internet security becomes more of an issue and the internet tubes get tighter, we’re thinking that we’ll need to do something else about the newzine, and our thought is to begin posting them on our blog. That way, if you don’t receive one you can simply check there at your convenience. Who knows, it may get to the point where we don’t e-mail them at all. We’ll see how it goes over the next few weeks.
Our own Boyd Morrison announced this week on Facebook that he’s been co-writing the next Oregon Files novel with Clive Cussler. Congratulation, Boyd!
They’re available in Whatever Denomination You Want; They Don’t Expire; You can Order Them by Phone, e-mail or through the Website, and we can Mail them directly to the Recipient if you’d like. Perfect for all sorts of occassions - such as new graduates who no longer have to read for classes!
While we specialize in mystery and crime books, we can order virtually any new book that you might want, no matter what its topic.
Signed Copies to Reserve (the authors will not be here for a formal signing or we’ll be getting the copies from other sources):
The signed copies of Dennis Lehane’s The Drop that we announced last week have been cancelled by the publisher. There will still be hardcovers, but they will not arrive pre-signed. Let us know if you want the hardcover or trade paperback.
See the calendar of all currently-scheduled events on our website. The website calendar contains plot synopses. At the bottom of it is the updated, complete list of signed copies that we’ll be getting from other sources. Click Here.
Chevy Stevens, June 24
Jennifer Murphy, June 28
Burt Weissbourd, June 28 (please note 3:00pm)
Ingrid Thoft, July 2
Mike Lawson, July 3
Yasmine Galenorn, July 5
Diana Renn, July 7
Leslie Budewitz, July 11
Emma Campion (Candace Robb), July 12
Warren C. Easley, July 19
J.A. Jance, July 22
Greg Rucka, Aug 2
Kat Richardson, Aug 9
Mary Daheim, Aug 14
Martin Limón, Aug 19
Chelsea Cain, Aug 20
And there are always more on the way!
Remember, too, that while it is always fun to come in and meet the author in person, that isn’t always possible. So reserve a signed copy to be mailed to you or for you to pick up later. Those who reserve in advance get the copies in the best condition!
mug (v.1) : "to beat up," 1818, originally "to strike the face" (in pugilism), from mug (n.2). The general meaning "attack" is first attested 1846, and "attack to rob" is from 1864. Perhaps influenced by thieves' slang mug "dupe, fool, sucker" (1851). Related: Mugged; mugging.
mug (n.2) : "a person's face," 1708, possibly from mug (n.1), on notion of drinking mugs shaped like grotesque faces. Sense of "portrait or photograph in police records (as in mug shot, 1950) had emerged by 1887. Hence, also, "a person" (especially "a criminal"), 1890.
mug (v.2) : "make exaggerated facial expressions," 1855, originally theatrical slang, from mug (n.2).
You can browse our collectable and hard-to-find books, as well as signed copies from earlier author events, on Biblio.com. You do not have to place an order through them, especially if you’re a long-time customer and we have your ordering info. Just email us to order.
In our May 16th newzine, Adele wrote up this review. We're rerunning it as Joel was in earlier this week to sign copies. If you'd like one before Adele sells them all, act fast!
Joel Dicker, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair (Penguin tpo $18.00).
In 1975, fifteen year-old, Nola Kellergan was seen running through the woods in Somerset, New Hampshire, never to be heard from again. Thirty-three years later, Marcus Goldman, a young novelist with a best seller to his name, visits his mentor, Harry Quebert, hopefully to get past his writer's block. Marcus has written a huge best seller and is under deadline to finish his second book but hasn't been able to write a word. While in New Hampshire, Marcus finds out that Harry, 37 at the time, had had an affair with Nola before she went missing.
Now 2008, her body is discovered on his property, and Harry is the main suspect. Marcus comes back to New Hampshire to investigate and try to help his mentor who has already been convicted in the press. As Marcus tries to find the true story through his mentor’s books, the hidden history of Somerset's residents, and from Harry, he finds his voice and finally writes the whole story.
I love the mystery with how this book unfolded and hope this young Swiss author writes many many many more.
We have a Tumblr blog, in addition to our regular shop blog:
Hardboiled, maintained by JB – pulp covers, film noir and other images of crime and mystery
On This Date
June 15, 1859 – the San Juan Islands’ “Pig War” starts when Lyman Cutlar finds Charles Griffin’s pig in his garden once again eating potatoes and kills it. This will quickly escalate to a confrontation between American and British military exchanging shots. When it is resolved, what territory in the inland Pacific Northwest waterways that belong to the US and to Britain (Canada) will finally be settled
June 15, 1905 – Wendell Hertig Taylor is born. In 1971, he and Jacques Barzun publish the classic A Catalog of Crime
June 15, 1908 – Sam “Momo” Giancana was born in Chicago’s ‘Little Italy’. He was executed in 1975 just before he was to testify before the House Select Committee on Assassinations which was re-investigating the Kennedy assassination concerning ties between the CIA and the Mob and plots against Castro
June 15, 1920 – the “Duluth Lynchings”: after a rumor sweeps through a crowd that six black circus workers raped a white teenager, the mob lynches the men. Though four earlier lynchings had taken place in MN, these “shock the nation” due to them haven taking place in the North, rather than the South
June 15, 1935 – film adaptation of Hammett’s The Glass Key, staring George Raft, premiered
June 15, 1944 – Robert Keppel, detective and teacher, was born in Spokane. Bob was the first detective of what was first called ‘The Ted Murders’: the Bundy case
June 16, 1829 – Chiricahua Apache leader Geronimo was born in Gila River, AZ
June 16, 1911 – thriller writer Victor Canning was born in Plymouth, England
June 16, 1922 – Jonathan Escott – who wrote os Jack S. Scott and Jason Leonard was born in London
June 16, 1959 – though circumstances are contentious, Superman star George Reeves died from a gunshot
June 16, 1960 – Psycho premiered
June 17, 1904 – noted actor Ralph Bellamy was born in Chicago. He portrayed Ellery Queen in 4 movies, then played a criminal mastermind Randolph Duke in Trading Places (1983)
June 17, 1933 – the Union Station Massacre in Kansas City and sets in motion the call for a strong Federal role and puts Hoover in the center of it
June 17, 1971 – The Anderson Tapes premiered and Nixon declared the “War On Drugs”
June 17, 1953 – Sam Fuller’s Pickup on South Street premiered
June 17, 1954 – Australian mystery writer Kerry Greenwood was born in Footscray, Victoria
June 17, 1968 – Deanna Raybourn was born in Fort Worth
June 17, 1972 – the 3rd Watergate Break In ends with the burglars arrested
June 18 – births of Carolyn Wells (1869, Rahway, NJ) and Elisabeth Sanxay Holding (1889, Brooklyn)
June 18 – three from Hollywood: E.G. Marshall (1910, Everett Eugene Grunz in Owatonna, MN), Richard Boone (1907, LA, and the 1st actor offered the role of Steve McGarrett!) and Keye Luke (1904, Guangzhou, China)
June 18, 1939 – “Ellery Queen” radio program premieres
June 18, 1945 – future FBI profiler John E. Douglas was born in Brooklyn
June 19, 1863 – Sir Max Pemberton – first writer to publish a novel featuring a team of crooks (1896’s A Gentleman’s Gentleman) was born in Birmingham, England
June 19, 1903 – Judge John D. Voelker (who wrote Anatomy of a Murder as Robert Traver) was born in Ishperning, MI
June 19, 1923 – Joseph Hansen – one of the first writers to have a gay hero – was born in Aberdeen, SD
June 19, 1930 – the great dame and actress Gena Rowlands was born in Madison, WI
June 19, 1953 – the Rosenbergs were executed
June 19, 1954 – Kathleen Turner was born in Springfield, MO
June 19, 1968 – The Thomas Crown Affair premiered
June 19, 1975 – former Chicago mob boss Sam Giancana was murdered while cooking liver
June 19, 1982 – Paolo Mainaridi and Antonella Migliorini become the 9th and 10th victims of The Monster of Florence
June 20, 1983 – Lizzie Borden was acquitted
June 20 – a Big Day for Authors and Actors: Rupert Croft-Cooke, who wrote mysteries as Leo Bruce (1903), Harry Carmichael (1908, Montreal), Lilian Jackson Braun and Celia Fremlin (1914, Willimansette, MA and London), Catherine Aird (1930, Huddersfield, England), Martin Landau (1931, Brooklyn), Dorothy Simpson (1933, Monmouthshire, Wales), Danny Aiello (1933, NYC), Gordon Willams (1939, Renfrewshire – published as P.B. Yuill), Susan Dunlap (1943, NYC), Jean-Claude Izzo (1945, Marseille), John Goodman (1952, Alton, MO), Robert Crais (1953, Independence, LA), and Nicole Kidman (1967, Honolulu)
June 20, 1947 – Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel shot down in LA
I Read:The Mysterious Mr. Quin. New York, William Morrow, 2012.
Series: Short Stories featuring: Mr. Harley Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite
Summary: “I have a certain friend--his name is Mr. Quin....His presence is a sign that things are going to happen, because when he is there strange revelations come to light, discoveries made. And yet--he himself takes no part in the proceedings...”(pg. 125) and this is the best summary of this short story collection. A man of magic who knows what is in the hearts of lovers, who will save or condemn them based on what lies in them, with Mr. Satterthwaite's unique clarity helping Mr. Quin bring their secrets to the light of day.
Review: In the beginning I had ruled out reading any of Christie’s short story collections as there are more than enough full length mysteries to fill up fifty-two weeks. But, the further I delved into Christie’s characters the more I felt I could not ignore them all. Especially since I discovered Mr. Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite were Christie’s favorite detectives to write about -- she only wrote their stories when she felt like it. I hope all eight members of my audience will forgive me, but I broke this initial blog boundary. I am very glad I did (I am kind of obsessed now). I have been boring Fran & JB silly with my speculations on the nature of Mr. Quin and Mr. Satterthwaite ever since!
You see I have been boring them, and now possibly you my eight readers (it use to be both my readers, so the numbers are improving!), because Mr. Quin is a very different sort of character in the Christie’s bevy of detectives. Thus resulting in very different sort of mystery being told to the audience. Mr. Quin always shows up in conjunction with lovers; his timely appearance always saves a set, sometimes puts a set together and occasionally condemns a set when others are placed in harms' way. While he knows what is in the hearts of lovers Mr. Quin cannot come right out and tell people. It would reveal his true nature, like Batman taking off his mask during a job, that would never do. So Mr. Quin works his magic through Mr. Satterthwaite (who incidentally is one of the few people in the Christie cannon not to have his first name revealed).
Mr. Satterthwaite can see things others do not, he is an observer of the human drama and relishes his quiet role. He can see with clarity what Mr. Quin put before him, as Mr. S has never been in love, ever. So he is a wonderful foil for Mr. Quin as he sees the problems/mysteries laid before with through a much different lens. And among all the other people he interacts with (save one, an artist in the story "The Dead Harlequin") Mr. Satterthwaite is the only one who suspects who Mr. Quin truly is, the actual and real Harlequin.
This set of stories makes me wonder. As previously stated these short stories were her favorite ones to write, and Christie refused to pen a full length novel or series about these two detectives. However if she were writing her mysteries today, would she have broken her rule and written urban fantasy mysteries featuring these two? As these short stories are infused with tantalizing hints of the supernatural (which interestingly enough get shuffled to the side when non-fantasy lovers discuss this set of stories). There is a very real demand for this type of mystery these days, and these short stories are absolutely wonderful. No way to really answer the question, but one I am intrigued to think about.
“Yes, I must confess -- I do rather adopt that attitude towards you. A Man of magic. Ha, Ha. That is how I regard you. A man of magic.” (pg. 54)
Interesting Facts: It is very interesting how pervasive Harlequin has become; especially since he started out as a stock character in an Italian comedy sketch program called the Commedia dell’arte -- from what I understand this was a sixteenth century version of Saturday Night Live. Christie based her version of Mr. Quin off a much later English version of Harlequin, in the Harlequinade (now with magic powers and a romantic hero status with less slapstick antics).
The harlequin motley (a patchwork of multi colored diamonds), has been embraced, perhaps loosely interpreted sometimes, by a number of biologists. Harlequin often used as a first name due to a pattern appearing on the skin/fur/leaves on the living creature in question. In the animal kingdom you can find a rabbit, sheep, quail, macaw, duck and a Great Dane; under the sea you find a shrimp, crab, fish and ghost pipe fish; the creepy crawly section contains a snake, gecko, frog, beetle and a lady bug; among the green and leafy a hydrangea, tree and a pot plant - each of these are named after Harlequin's colorful patchwork costume.
Let us not forget that Harlequin is the unofficial patron saint of lovers; in that vein we have the Harlequin Enterprises. In other word the publishing group which focuses on romantic fiction of all kinds!
Harlequin has grown beyond his humble roots as a stock character in a centuries old comedy. Like Merlin evolving into Gandalf into Dumbledore; each iteration adding layers, complexity and nuance into the character. But at their core we recognize their important role in the narrative. Christie added her own unique layer to Harlequin to this character, making him into more than he was previously. The cultural references will keep him in our minds and hearts, and I cannot wait until I meet Mr. Quin again!
Cheating: I discovered the temptation to cheat is lessened with short stories, as they are over so much faster than a full length novel. So I had no problem resisting the urge. Plus I found these stories fantastic and fascinating!
I faired better than literary forger William Lauder -- who wished to cheat his way into academic fame and fortune. How? By ruining the reputation of one of the best English poets of all time. In 1747 Lauder claimed John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost was nothing more than cobbled together bits of other poet’s poems. Lauder purposely distorted Milton’s work and forging “plagiarized” sources attempting to convince people Milton did not really write this definitive piece. However there were a number of academics which called him on to the carpet. They’d discovered many passages Lauder attributed to other poets could not be found in any published copies they could get their hands on and some of Milton’s lines were infused into the Latin text of Lauder’s “source” pieces.
Soon Lauder’s deceit was widely know, Samuel Johnson (the man who wrote the first dictionary in 1755, which was considered the quintessential tome until the OED) defended Lauder at first, until evidence provided by other scholars was to damning to ignored. So incensed by Lauder’s deceit Johnson dictated to him the public confession acknowledging the attempted academic forgery. Lauder’s reputation never recovered from this self-inflicted scandal, eventually he emigrated to Barbados where he died a poor shopkeeper. Lauder was not forgotten however, his dubious legacy? He made sure other academics were on the look-out for other fraudulent scholarly works.
The moral of the story? Cheaters never prosper, perhaps this will keep me on the straight and narrow in my Christie reading.
On The Slog, (6/9) The Stranger's Paul Constant reported yesterday that due to contentious negotiations with another supplier, Ama - er, um SPECTRE has suspended the pre-ordering fuction for Warner Brothers/Paramount movie releases.
He quotes from Bill Hunt on The Digital Bits: "Not done yet... some of you have been asking why your Amazon.com pre-orders for select Warner Bros, Paramount catalog, Viz Media (and other Warner-distributed) titles have been suspended. We’ve learned through industry sources that Warner Home Video and Amazon.com are in the middle of negotiations on a new contract, so pre-orders on Warner titles have been suspended until a deal is reached. Hopefully, the situation will be resolved soon."
Sounds like SPECTRE is spreading it's 'negotiating tactic' beyond just Hachette. Keep an eye on this to see if they up the ante.
Jeremy Greenfield, writing in The Atlantic on May 28th, notes: "Hachette is the first among the world's five largest publishers (Penguin merged with Random House last year)to sign another contract with Amazon since its court-mandated contract in 2012—and likely the most important. In the coming two years, Amazon and its competitors will renegotiate contracts with all of the world's largest publishers and in 2015 they will be again allowed by law to negotiate contracts where they determine the prices of e-books. Amazon likely doesn't want this and, by the looks of it, is even willing to inconvenience its own customers in the short term to ensure this long-term outcome."
One can infer that if the scorched earth practices used against Hachette continue and prove beneficial to SPECTRE they will use them against other suppliers - as they currently are against Warner.
SPECTRE has battled the NYC publishers. Are they now going to take on the LA studios?
Maybe the music industry at the same time?
Janet I. Tu, writing in the Seattle Times (6/11, Amazon launches streaming music for Prime subscribers), "Artists from Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and a number of independent labels are included. But artists from Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music label, aren’t." So they'll sell Warner Music but not Warner movies? The issue with Hachette for their books and Warner Brothers for their movies has been discount amounts - that is, how much SPECTRE makes from each sale. Tu notes "Negotiations with the music companies began about six months ago but slowed when those companies considered Amazon’s offers too low, according to a New York Times report."Those who do begin using the system should bear in mind SPECTRE's history of removing e-books from customer's devices. This music system will be cloud-based, which would seem to make it even easier for a supplier to monkey with someone's purchases. And, of course, their customers have to pay to be prime members even before they pay for the music they want. They'll pay twice.
And if all of that isn't enough, SPECTRE "...plans local services marketplace this year". Writing for Reuters (6/11), Deepa Seetharaman reports that it "later this year plans to launch a marketplace for local services, a broad term that encompasses anything from babysitters to handymen to birthday clowns, beginning with a single market, several people familiar with the matter said." What market are they going after now? "The move takes direct aim at consumer review sites Yelp Inc and Angie's List Inc as well as U.S. home improvement chains Home Depot Inc and Lowe's Companies Inc, which have both invested in ways to link customers with local plumbers, painters and other service providers."(thanks to Paul Constant for pointing toward this article.)
Americans usually have a distrust of huge institutions. A huge segment of the population distrusts, and indeed fights, Big Government. At the start of the Great Recession, there was understandable fury at the big banks and the idea of Too Big To Fail. Supposedly, some of the most hated instutions on the planet are the cable companies and the monopolies they have our TV and internet connections.
Then, too, people have been outraged over the intrusiveness of the NSA and them sticking their noses and fingers into the lives of private citizens by hoovering up all sorts of private information. It's Big Goverment, Big Military-Industrial Complex, Conspiracy Theory stuff and all of it feels counter to the Open Range of American Myths.
So why aren't more alarm bells being sounded over SPECTRE's incursions into EVERYTHING? Cloud computing for the CIA and finding you a baby sitter? Your music, your movies and your reading material? When does SPECTRE become 'too big'?
As George Packer wrote in The New Yorker, "Bezos originally thought of calling his company Relentless.com - that URL still takes to to Amazon's site...". Later in the same article, Packer writes "Before Google, and long before Facebook, Bezos had realized that the greatest value of an online company lay in the consumer data it collected."
The relentless acquisition of power, influence, and information.
Author James Patterson announced some time ago that he was going to give away $1million to independent bookshops. It was his intention to help bolster the health of the shops and to ensure they continue to help readers find new authors and to help new readers find books. Mr. Patterson is most concerned about getting children reading and into a life of books, and we applaud him for his efforts and for putting his money where his mouth is.
We applied for one of his grants, and were delighted to be included in his second round of recipients. Stores were invited to submit a proposal of no more than 500 words explaining how a grant would be used. Shop owner JB Dickey sent a plan to use half of whatever money was granted for targeted advertising in social media, and the other half to reward his staff who have voluntarily curtailed their work hours to save the shop payroll expenses.
We’d like to formally thank Mr. Patterson for all that he is doing for independent booksellers across the country and, by extension, for readers. We hope other bestselling authors pay attention and follow his lead.
Endless thanks, too, to all of our loyal fans who wrote to him on our behalf.
Douglas Preston says he feels betrayed: "...after having supported the online retailer even as its growing power raised alarm bells. Some of his books now face shipment delays and higher prices because they are published by Hachette. 'I’ve supported Amazon from the time it was a struggling startup,' Preston said in an interview. 'I feel betrayed personally by this company now that it’s become one of the largest corporations in the world that it would do this to me.'”
Derek Beres wrote from a different perspective: Why the Amazon-Hachette Debate Means Nothing to Writers. Beres dismissed concerns about one company's control of communication and the exchange of ideas: "That’s exactly what you’d expect when people think they’re more important than they are."
We thought it might be instructive to detail some of the authors are affected by this.
Authors published by Hachette (with either new books or backlist titles) - not an exhaustive list of ALL of their writers but authors we have had on our shelves:
Jeff Abbott, Megan Abbott, Kate Atkinson, David Baldacci, Josh Bazell, M.C. Beaton, Lauren Beukes, Mark Billingham, Holly Black, Sara Blaedel, Lawrence Block, Sandra Brown, Stella Cameron, Gail Carriger, Donato, Carrisi, Lincoln Child, Marica Clark, Michael Connelly, Jeffery Deaver, Ted Dekker, Nelson DeMille, Robert Dugoni, Warren Ellis, Zoe Ferraris, Colleen Gleason, George Dawes Green, Derek Haas, Brian Haig, Carl Hiaasen, Anne Holt, Anthony Horowitz, David Hosp, Elizabeth Singer Hunt, Charlie Huston, Joshilyn Jackson, Hannah Kent, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dorothy Koomson, Michael Koryta, Richard Lange, Joe R. Lansdale, Margaret Maron, Archer Mayor, Brad Meltzer, Deon Meyer, Denise Mina, David Morrell, Walter Mosley, Thomas Mullen, Marcia Muller, James Patterson, George Pelecanos, Benjamin Percy, Elizabeth Peters, Douglas Preston, Ian Rankin, Cornelia Read, Michael Robotham, Karen Rose, David Rosenfelt, Sebastian Rotella, JK Rowling (as Robert Galbraith), Greg Rucka, James Sallis, CJ Sansom, Nick Santora, Maria Semple, Darren Shan, Duane Swiercynski, Alic Sebold, Dan Simmons, Tom Rob Smith, Trenton Lee Stewart, Donna Tartt, Laini Taylor, Jim Thompson, Scot Turrow, Carrie Vaughn, Urban Waite, Joseph Wambaugh, Donald E. Westlake, Kate White, Don Winslow, Tom Wolfe, Daniel Woodrell, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Anne Zouroudi