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Friday, July 10th, 2015

book coverIn Lea Wait’s first installment of her Shadows mysteries, Shadows at the Fair, antiques dealers seem to be dying at an alarming rate at antiques expositions.

One local antiques dealer is killed in a one car accident, two Scranton Pennsylvania antiques dealers die of smoke inhalation, another dies from substance abuse and the most recent victim died from poisoning.

Maggie Summer, the owner of Shadows Antiques, is totally unaware of these tragedies when she arrives at the prestigious Rensselaer County Spring Antiques Fair.

Maggie isn’t clueless for very long as rumors are flying everywhere but the recently widowed Maggie doesn’t intend for murder to interfere with selling her antique prints. That is until one of the dealers at the show is murdered and her friend, Gussie’s 20 year old nephew, Ben, who has Down’s Syndrome, is accused of the murder.

To help Gussie and Ben Maggie needs to find out who killed the antiques dealer. But who can Maggie trust when anyone could be the killer?

From Library Journal
Her discreet search for clues accompanies a similarly low-key dissemination of information about old prints and other antiques. Fans of John Dunning’s mysteries about the rare book world (e.g., Booked To Die) may also enjoy this solid, middle-of-the-road start to a new series. Wait is a fourth-generation antiques dealer and has sold antique prints for over 25 years.

The New York Times Book Review Cannily draws on its author’s professional experiences in the antiques trade… The fairground setting beckons like a weekend in the country…

Collection Connections: Harper Lee and Truman Capote

Friday, July 10th, 2015

Harper Lee

Harper Lee

On July 14th, Harper Lee’s eagerly awaited, much-hyped book Go Set a Watchman will be released.

The long-lost manuscript was written before Lee wrote her only published book, To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960.

The story follows an adult Scout Finch who travels from New York to Alabama to visit her father, Atticus, 20 years after the events of Mockingbird.

When I think of Harper Lee, I always think of Truman Capote. They became friends in the early 1930s in Monroeville, Alabama. They lived next door to each other: Capote with aunts and uncles, Lee with her parents and siblings, and shared a love of reading and writing.

Truman Capote

Truman Capote

Capote is the inspiration for Scout’s friend, Dill, in Mockingbird, and Lee accompanied him to Kansas to research In Cold Blood.

But by the time of his death in 1984, at the relatively young age of 59, the two had not been in communication for years.

Apparently, I am not the only person who is fascinated by this literary friendship: in Capote in Kansas: A Ghost Story (2007), author Kim Powers imagines the final years of Capote’s life in which he reaches out to her in mysterious ways.

This novel attempts to answer tantalizing questions like what happened between them? And who really wrote To Kill a Mockingbird?

Though Capote wrote novels, short stories and plays that are now considered literary classics, he achieved fame with In Cold Blood, the journalistic story of two men who killed a family (in cold blood). Capote called it a “nonfiction novel” and it is considered a pioneering example of the true crime genre.

Christmas Memory

A Christmas Memory

I have been haunted by the reading of that book and it nearly turned me away from him, but fortunately someone told me that most of his work was not like In Cold Blood, so I did read other works by Capote.

My all-time favorite is A Christmas Memory, a poignant short story about a seven-year old boy and his elderly aunt, making fruit cakes to give away.

Curtis has this story in stand-alone volumes, but also in The Complete Stories of Truman Capote and in Breakfast at Tiffany’s: A Short Novel and Three Short Stories.

By the way, be sure to drop by the Bestseller Express (7-day) shelf after July 14, as Curtis should have lots of copies of Go Set a Watchman!

— Pamela Bobker

book cover

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