Monday, April 25, 2011

Murder at the Vicarage (1930)

A man no one likes is found dead with a gun shot wound to his head. Threats have been made against him; his wife is now free to marry another and his scatter-brained child can do what she wants with his money. The police must first establish the exact time of death and then determine who has a motive. As new clues are uncovered, no one is above suspicion, not even the clergy! Agatha Christie's "The Murder at the Vicarage" is told by Leonard Clement, a fair-minded vicar, but it is the elderly spinster Miss Marple who, through local gossip and an interest in human nature, solves the crime.

Genre: Crime Fiction
Sub-category: Classic Detective Fiction (Golden Age)

  • Reader can unravel the mystery and solve the puzzle before the murderer is disclosed.
  • Curiosity is aroused and gratified at the end.
  • Novel includes multiple suspects, all of whom have a motive or secret to hide.
  • Red herrings disguise the real events of the murder.
  • Supernatural elements are avoided.
  • Solution does not rely on clues or information unavailable to the reader (as it does in Sherlock Holmes novels).
The following 'cosy mystery' traits also apply:
  • Gentle, no graphic violence, no profanity, no explicit sex.
  • Detective = amateur, usually a female. (Miss Marple)
  • Police force connection through spouse, lover, friend, or family member. (Clement, who shares information with Miss Marple, has access to police knowledge)
  • Murder takes place off-stage, usually bloodless. (gun shot to the head)
  • Setting = country house, small town or village to allow for closed group of suspects where it is believable they would all know each other. (small village of St. Mary Mead)
Murder at the Vicarage is well written and quick to read. Best of all, my intelligence wasn't insulted by its simplicity (as is was with Mortar and Murder). It is recommended that the Miss Marple books are read in sequence because many of the characters are reoccurring throughout the 12 novels.

To find on amazon: The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple Mysteries)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New York City: A Snap Shot View

During the summer of 2007 and the winter of 2008, I took the train up to New York City specifically to see the Poiret Exhibit at the Met and the broadway show, the Lion King at the Minskoff Theatre.

I am always struck by the size of the city and by the number of small intimate spaces tucked away in such multitude. Such a huge amount of life and activity!

But it wasn't all hoity toity museums and broadway shows. On our way to do more important things, we ducked into Katz for hot dogs and beer while everyone else was having breakfast. A completely unorthodox thing to do and something I still laugh about, but mostly because it was Nancy's idea and she's a vegetarian.

At one point, when we were out and about, someone tried to steal my purse! A guy slammed into me and swung me around as if he were being chased. I am certain it was an attempt to jostle and unbalance me but being the city girl I am at heart, I was prepared. My wallet was zipped up inside a pocket and my instinct was to immediately pull my elbow in and tightly up against my chest. "You're not getting my money!"

... and finally at the end of every bustling New York City day, I was able to relax. The first time in a small Lower East side apartment dressed up with flowers and the second in a glamorous Midtown hotel room for a relatively low price.

All photos taken by Nancy.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Ireland: A Snap Shot View

In 2001, before 9-11, I had the opportunity to visit Ireland with 4 people I hadn't met up until that point and 1 person I had known only for a few months. Since one of my fellow travelers had plans to open a pub when he returned to America, we did a lot of research on his behalf and visited the famous Guinness Storehouse, in addition to quite a few drinking establishments.

We started in Dublin, drove down to Kilkenny, stopped at their 13th century castle, and ended up in Kinsale, the gourmet capital of the south.

It was here, in Old Head, we gave our respects to the ship Lusitania that went down off the coast in May 1915 and wondered about the history of these two items.

We climbed the 127 narrow stairs to the top of the obligatory Blarney Castle, foregoing the kiss and actually preferring the gardens to the hype.

And all throughout, we paid homage to Ireland's long fight for self determination and independence. I brought back three things with me: a reinforced respect for the country, a nubby open-weave scarf I still wear and this poem: I was here, here I was, was I here, yes, I was.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Blog Love

Evil Pixie has awarded me again! This time it's an acknowledgement that focuses on those of us who have small numbers of followers (under 300) and asks that we pass the love along.

Here's my list of favorite bloggers who more people should read:

Back @ Evil Pixie who's clever, has a great sense of humor, and clearly loves her family (always a big plus in my eyes).

Hariklia from What She Said who writes beautifully and has led an interesting music-filled life.

Erika from Ocean Girl when she was a single-girl sailor and now from Rain Dog with her new best mate. (She's "busy" now and doesn't post often!)

Mina from Shining Lotus who's a photographer, yoga teacher, cat mama, and the wife of a rock-star who's just shown us all that challenges can be kicked in the ass!

Natsumi from n. who posts deceptively sweet little water colors and is gaining numbers fast. Follow her and maybe we can help put her over the qualification mark!

And, finally, Eric from Westsail 28 Clementine, because he's easy to love, has one follower (me!) and might be pushed to share his adventures if others were waiting for him to post like I am!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Boat Lettering

A while back, I wrote a post about selecting Clem's typeface. After searching through 2,289 options on fontshop, Eric and I decided last night on Brioso. Described as lively and energetic, this typeface is based on calligraphic tradition yet is "tempered by an ordered structure and lucid form." We think it honors our Westsail's reputation for being a solid ocean-going vessel yet allows for rhythm and grace. Tomorrow, BoatUS is printing this out on vinyl and next fall we will have it hand-painted on Clementine's hull.

The name and hailing port graphic was created by my good friend Jason who is most definitely the best designer I know.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Raising the Mast

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mortar and Murder (2011)

Avery Baker was "born and raised in Manhattan" and has since moved to Maine where she and her boyfriend Derek renovate and turn over houses. Both are fairly new in the business. She was a textile designer in New York City and he was a doctor who discovers he likes manual labor more than he does practicing medicine. A young Eastern European girl is found floating dead in the water and from there the mystery begins.

"Mortar and Murder" is a light and easy read, an enjoyable diversion, but plot aside, I don't buy Avery is from New York City and I don't think she makes a convincing designer. Here's the evidence:

In the opening pages Avery, nicknamed "Tink," is described as wearing a knit sweater with reindeer and snowflakes. In April! Not even acceptable at a Christmas party! Would a native of New York City, the fashion capital of America, wear a holiday sweater? I don't think so. Enough said.

Her relationship with Derek is a little suspect as well. He's tall, blond, and described as being every woman's dream guy. She's got "mello-yellow" hair, is small, bouncy, and asks a lot of annoying questions ... constantly. Good for an amateur sleuth but not very agreeable for a girl friend.

Genre: Crime Fiction
Sub-category: Cosy Mystery

  • Gentle: no graphic violence, no profanity, no explicit sex. (implied sex)
  • Detective= amateur, usually female. (Avery Baker)
  • Police force connection through spouse, lover, friend, or family member. (Wayne, the police chief friend).
  • Murders take place off-stage, usually bloodless. (drowning and blow to the head)
  • Setting = country house, small town, or village to allow for closed group of suspects where it's believable they would all know each other. (small coastal town with an array of barely inhabited surrounding islands)
Jennie Bentley is the author of "Mortar and Murder", the fourth in her cosy mystery series focusing on home renovation. Other authors of DIY cosys include the sub-topics scrapbooking, knitting, decoupage, and sewing (ugh).

To find on amazon: Mortar and Murder (A Do-It-Yourself Mystery)

Friday, April 8, 2011


Hariklia is a true to type Gemini who can almost always see both side of an argument and so has trouble making any type of decision (she also writes some very long sentences). She is short (in stature), often prickly (in temperament) and loves ice-cream.

She is a writer, a blogger, an ex-graphic designer and for the past 10 years a mum. This last job has been the most difficult as well as the most rewarding.

Hariklia's life has been defined by growing up in a working class, non English speaking family; by her obsession with certain bands and certain musicians; and by a love of travel, art and reading.

She is currently posting entries from her (until now, hidden) diaries, for the world to read, on her blog; the irony of which is not wasted on her. She hopes to have a book of fiction published later this year.

To learn more about Hariklia and to read her diaries, visit What She Said found here.

Get your free avatar here and then send your image and story to leslieinadamsmorgan (at) gmail (dot) com. For more avatar stories, click here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Evil Pixie

Evil Pixie is a daughter, sister, writer, photographer, consultant, PhD student, adjunct professor, London lover, cupcake connoisseur, and all-around extraordinaire (or least tries to be). She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family, Wicked Pixie and Naughty Pixie. However, one of her goals is to move the Pixie Household to London as soon as financially possible.

When not blogging, snapping, studying, grading, or sampling cupcakes, Evil Pixie is either out exploring the great landscapes of the Pacific Northwest or plotting three of the major photography trips she plans to drag Wicked Pixie and Naughty Pixie on (photographing the U.S. National Parks, the National Parks around the World, and the Antarctica/Galapagos Islands).

This Pixie's 5-year plan is to be living in London, running a successful photography studio, and racking up the writing credits. While she would love world domination (in the form of writing and photography), she'll settle for finding the perfect pillow to sleep on.

To find out more about Evil Pixie and to see some of her photos, click here.