In The Writer's World

Dear Old and Recent Friends,

It was never on my bucket list to survive a day when the temperature tops out at 116 F. Here’s to another notch in the gunbelt. It is difficult to describe to anyone who hasn’t experienced this how horrible it was because I was brain dead throughout the worst of it.

Hell on Earth

To prepare for this hell on Earth, I cooked food in advance so that all was required was a quick zap in the microwave. I made extra ice cubes ahead of time. My poor little air-conditioner unit kept the inside of the condo at survival temperatures. I took cool baths.

On the third hottest day (108) we met at the home of my ex and his significant other to have a past due visit with Julian’s grandparents from Florida. They have central air. It was a wonderful gathering. Crossing the street was like walking through an oven. Inside, it was normal. We even took a picture. We’re not a bad-looking bunch!

On the second hottest day (112) I took an early morning trot around the parking lot. Too hot for a real walk.

On the hottest day (116) I met a Dear Friend early at Washington Square Mall. It was cool in there and we took a proper walk. I went home and didn’t even venture out to pick up the mail.

Survival 101 for Mystery Lovers

How did you all survive this latest preview of the Apocalypse? I really want to know, so please send your comments.

Joan Hickson as the inestimable Miss Jane Marple.

For my part, I subscribed to BritBox and streamed Masterpiece Theatre’s Miss Marple, the series featuring Joan Hickson that aired in the late 1980s. Widely regarded as the best Miss Marple ever, Hickson stuns us with a mix of frailty and grit. She speaks her mind as she drills her subjects with that piercing raptor’s stare. And yet, and yet, bulldog that she is, she couches her insults so politely. One could learn a great deal from Jane Marple. This particular series is set in the 1950s. The vintage costumes are stunning.

Through this series, I also developed a second wave of appreciation for Agatha Christie. The genius is in the structure. Each mystery is set out as a clever puzzle that the author invites us to crack. Her books are set in the 1930s and kept readers distracted as they cowered in shelters during the Luftwaffe’s bombing of Britain and attempted to unravel her puzzles. They certainly kept me occupied for many happy hours when it was too hot even to read!

What’s Next?

(Great question)

Oregon is officially open now. Live theatre is returning, and many Portland-area theatres have announced upcoming seasons. I will attend my first live play at Broadway Rose on July 11, and can’t wait.

A recently planned trip to Prairie City, Oregon, had to be canceled, so I booked a room at the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport for early August. It will be a time to write, reflect, walk on the beach, and pamper myself a little. I’m told the dining room is excellent. This is a bucket list wish, something I have longed to do for years. There is an Agatha Christie Room. In fact, it should be the perfect place for ruminating on Miss Marple and puzzles. However, for this trip, I chose the Oscar Wilde Room. Just because.

Julian at 6 monthsThat beloved baby Julian is now six months old and has turned this cynical old trout into a complete mushball. Every day I am more in love. Who could have dreamed that becoming a grandparent could do such a thing? Certainly not yours truly.

As you await my next Emma Golden Mystery, please remember that all my previous books including Books 1-3 in the Emma Golden mystery series are available to order in paperback or ebook from my website or on Thank you.

Peace and love until we meet again.


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  • Val Basom says:

    Glad to see you and read your news.
    I don’t know what is worse the freeze in February or the blasting heat.
    I have fond memories of the Sylvia Beach Hotel have a great time!

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