I’d Vote for Them

Miss Marple for President

From The Bluestocking Salon:

Miss Jane Marple was born in an English cathedral close, a gentlewoman and lifelong resident of the village of St. Mary Mead. While most women of her generation devoted themselves to homemaking, Miss Marple leveraged her unflappable constitution and needle-sharp understanding of human nature into an unorthodox career in criminal justice. Weathering criticism and scorn from those who question the intellect and skill of spinsters, Miss Marple has quietly cultivated a sterling reputation as “the finest detective God ever made,” unmasking criminals from all walks of life and earning the respect of Scotland Yard’s top brass. Her tireless work over the years has saved countless lives…and laid the groundwork for a presidency rooted in fairness and fearlessness in the face of evil. Thus it’s only natural that Miss Marple would choose former police officer Hercule Poirot as her estimable running mate. Monsieur Poirot’s devotion to law and order shapes all aspects of his life, work, and moustaches, and his little grey cells and sophisticated worldview are matched only by his reputation across Europe and the Orient as one of the most unique personalities in law enforcement. United in their quest for truth and justice, voters can rest assured: Marple and Poirot are on the case.

I’ve always loved the kind of murder mystery in which bodies are decorously laid out on the library floor without a lot of fuss and bother, and the rest of the books concern witty conversation and much drinking of tea–or tisanes.  When I was living in Austria, I polished my German by reading translations of Agatha Christie novels. It was extremely helpful, but also led to a rather peculiar vocabulary.

I’m pretty sure that my taste for series of books in which readers can re-visit the characters like old friends came, in large part, from my affection for Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot.

Miss Marple for President!


Points of Interest

One of my readers, Laura Holmes, made a trip to the Island recently, and made a point of searching out the locations in the books. She was kind enough to send me some of the photos.

She had ice cream at the Albatross;

Laura at the Albatross

She lay on the rocks at School House Beach;

School house beach

and she sought out my friend, Captain Bill, who was one of my best resources for information while I was researching.

Laura and Captain Bill

Captain Bill is mentioned in both books, but would only be noticed by those of you who read authors’ notes and acknowledgments. (Confession: I generally do not.) I missed him at my recent book signing. He was working that day, and apparently got to the book shop just after I had left.

He’s one of my favorite people.


A Quandary

I’ve been having a lot of conversations with tow truck drivers lately. It’s all part of my car’s campaign to retire.  It has 106,000 miles on it, but I was kind of hoping for a few more years. I come from a family with a long tradition of driving cars ’til they drop.

Although, I confess: with the prospect of a new German Shepherd puppy later this fall, I had begun to think I might need a bigger car. We already have 190 pounds worth of dogs. The new one will add another 150.

And I have a hatchback. 

I need to think about this.

Do they look happy about a baby brother?

Small Town Glory

We had a perfect Fourth of July parade with all the proper small town things.

We had veterans of all ages and kinds of service (whose pictures I don’t have because we were all clapping and cheering for them).

We had the volunteer Fire Department marching in crisp blue dress uniforms. ( For whom we also clapped, but I was not wiping away tears so I was able to take pictures.)

We had the vintage fire trucks.

We had the fire department’s dog.

We had the vintage tractors.

Lots of them.

We had the Giant Pink Metal Pig.

As one does.

We had the Boy Scouts.

We had the horses.

And the goats.

And the politicians with goats.

We had the marching bands.

And the giant shoe.

And, of course, we had the obligatory singing dog.


A splendid time was had by all.

From This Time Forward Forever More

John Adams Letter

Because we are working people who have to get up early, we will celebrate the Fourth of July at our lake cottage tonight. That’s ok, because the Declaration of Independence wasn’t actually ratified on the 4th anyway, but on the 2nd.

It was my favorite founding father, John Adams, whose idea it was that we should celebrate with fireworks. In a letter to his wife, Abigail, he wrote:

But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.…

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

We will all take turns reading the Declaration of Independence while our neighbors arrange for a spectacular private fireworks display.

It’s a day to celebrate.

Lake sunset before the fourth

The Calm of the Lake before Fireworks Armageddon


What Writers Do When They Should Be Writing. A List

Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 3.02.09 PM

  1. Decide to take dogs for walk.
  2. Look for sunglasses in purse.
  3. Go outside to see if sunglasses are on porch.
  4. Talk to neighbors for two hours over fence.
  5. Look for sunglasses on bedside table.
  6. Pick up t-shirt on bedroom floor.
  7. Notice box of new beach towels in guest room.
  8. Put away  new beach towels.
  9. Look for sunglasses in car.
  10. Make grocery list.
  11. Recharge computer.
  12. Check e-mail. Nothing from anyone.
  13. Look for sunglasses in tote bag.
  14. Wonder if sunglasses are still at bookstore from last night.
  15. Call bookstore.
  16. Wonder if sunglasses are at restaurant from last night.
  17. Call restaurant.
  18. Look for sunglasses in car again, focusing under seats.
  19. Talk to friend on phone.
  20. Look at plot map. Notice holes in plot.
  21. Ponder death.
  22. Empty purse on floor looking for sunglasses. Find emptied bottle of zinc tablets in bottom.
  23. Clean out purse. Pick off lint from zinc tablets. Return to bottle.
  24. Accidentally call book store from last week. Chat with proprietor.
  25. Decide to write blog post.
  26. Look for sunglasses in car again, focusing on trunk.
  27. Stare at blog screen.
  28. Send irritable e-mail to online company who keep sending surveys that flash at you when you’re trying to think.
  29. Look for sunglasses in tote bag again.
  30. Find two day old NY Times in tote bag.
  31. Do crossword puzzle in NY Times.
  32. Walk path from car to door, hoping to find sunglasses in grass.
  33. Rub tummy of Dog One.
  34. Stare at blog screen.
  35. Rub tummy of Dog Two.
  36. Look for sunglasses in different tote bag. Find sunglasses.
  37. Resolve to carry fewer tote bags.
  38. Don’t write a single thing all morning.
  39. Decide it’s too hot to take dogs for walk. Swimming would be better.
  40. Look for sunglasses.

Something You Don’t See Every Day

So, I had a book event for The Audacity of Goats at “A Room of One’s Own” in Madison on Sunday. People came, which is always nice.

But my own event notwithstanding, and apparently, unbeknownst to the general public, it was Food-Shaped Vehicle Driver Training Day at the Oscar Mayer plant.


Note the license plate.


There were also Mr. Planter’s Peanut vehicles, because, as every school child knows, it’s Mr. Planter’s 100th anniversary this year.

We asked one of the drivers about it, and he explained that there are only three peanut vehicles in the world. Since we hadn’t known that there were any, this came as a surprise.

“Are peanuts difficult to drive?” we asked.  He grinned. “It’s nuts!”

I imagine he’ll be saying that a lot this summer.