I can always count on Donna Leon. She gives me a good read, a solid mystery, a social issue, the louche damp atmosphere of Venice and the Venetian aristocracy, and my good friend Guido Brunetti, police commissario, with his lovely wife and dear children and great Italian meals.
This time, she fooled me.
A barrel chested man is found floating in the canals with no identification. When identified, he is found to be a veterinarian, separated from his angry and hostile and broken-hearted wife.
Then Donna Leon pulls me way out of my comfort zone – TWICE. First, there are parts of the book I can scarcely read, as she talks about the meat industry. I’m reading this book, dealing with the meat industry, and I’ve just watched the movie GreY posted on the devastation meat eating causes in your metabolism and blood; the passages in Beastly Things sealed the deal – I don’t think I can eat red meat again. I’m not sure I can even be around red meat. Leon is fearless; she spotlights issues few dare to tackle. There are issues here that are not for the faint-hearted. Read at your own risk.
It’s a tricky mystery, and at the end, Leon catches me by surprise again, as she describes the funeral of the veterinarian, a very unusual funeral, where his patients are also in attendance. It was hard to read. My eyes were blurring. If you like mysteries, if you have pets you adore, this is the sweetest literary funeral you will ever attend.
October 3, 2012 Posted by intlxpatr | Books, Circle of Life and Death, Community, Crime, Cultural, Detective/Mystery, Education, Fiction, Food, Health Issues, Hygiene, Italy, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Technical Issue, Values, Work Related Issues | Leave a Comment
James Lee Burke is number one on my guilty-pleasures list.
I first met his main character Dave Robicheaux in A Morning For Flamingos, a book I picked up in a military library at Lindsay Air Station, a post that doesn’t even exist any more. In the cold dark endless winter in Wiesbaden, Germany, James Lee Burke lit up my life. I had thought I was picking up just another escapist mystery novel, but when James Lee Burke puts words together to describe the way a storm moves in over the bayou, prose becomes poetry.
There is a downside. Whether it is his character Dave Robicheaux, the former New Orleans cop, now head homicide investigator in New Iberia, Louisiana, or his Hackberry Holland series set in West Texas, James Lee Burke’s books are filled with extreme violence and disturbing images that live in your head for a long time.
I’ve recommended James Lee Burke to friends, some of whom have said “Why do you read this trash??? It is HORRIBLE! It is full of over-the-top violence!”
And then again . . . he is writing about some really really bad people. They are out there. There are people who exist who inflict cruelty. I don’t understand it, I can’t begin to fathom where the urge would come from, but I’ve seen it. It’s out there. James Lee Burke pulls up that rock and exposes the dark happenings underneath.
On one level, as I started reading Creole Belle, I thought “Oh James Lee Burke, stop! Stop! It’s the same old formula! A downtrodden victim (often a beautiful woman) cries for help. You and Clete start looking for information and end up beating people up and then they retaliate by threatening your family! There is a rich, beautiful woman who seems vulnerable and who you kind of like, but she is complicated. There are rich amoral people who keep their hands clean, but who are calling the shots and never go to jail! Stop! Stop!”
Well, I should say that, and maybe I should stop. Then he starts talking about the smoke from the sugar cane fields and the bridge over the Bayou Teche, and the big Evangeline oak in St. Martinsville, and I am a goner. I’m sucked in, I’m hooked.
I detest the violence and the images. I keep coming back because James Lee Burke has some important things to say.
I’d love to have him to dinner. I’d love for him and our son to have a chance to talk about Law Enforcement. Here is what James Lee Burke has to say in Creole Bell:
There are three essential truths about law enforcement: Most crimes are not punished; most crimes are not solved through the use of forensic evidence; and informants product the lion’s share of information that puts the bad guys in a cage.
My son hates shows like CSI, and Law and Order, where the evidence convicts the criminals. He says it raises unreal expectations in juries, and makes it harder to get a conviction.
We watched a Violation of Parole hearing, or actually a series of hearings, where the judge asked each individual whose parole was about to be revoked what had happened when he or she was re-arrested. In each case, the parolee had done something stupid; drove a car with an expired license, drove to another state, was arrested driving drunk, etc. EVERY time. The judge made his point, I believe.
From Creole Belle:
But if Caruso was the pro Clete thought she was, she would avoid the mistakes and geographical settings common to the army of miscreants and dysfunctional individuals who constitute the criminal subculture of the United States. Few perpetrators are arrested during the commission of their crimes. They get pulled over for DWI, an expired license tag, or throwing litter on the street. They get busted in barroom beefs, prostitution stings, or fighting with a minimum-wage employee at a roach motel. Their addictions and compulsions govern their lives and place them in predictable circumstances and situations over and over, because they are incapable of changing who and what they are. Their level of stupidity is a source of humor at every stationhouse in the country. Unfortunately, the pros – high end safecrackers and jewel thieves and mobbed-up button men and second story creeps – are usually intelligent, pathological, skilled in what they do, middle class in their tastes and little different in dress and speech and behavior from the rest of us.
And then there are paragraphs like this that discuss the human experience, and have a far wider application than the book:
No one likes to be afraid. Fear is the enemy of love and faith and robs us of all serenity. It steals both our sleep and our sunrise and makes us treacherous and venal and dishonorble. It fills our glands with toxins and effaces our identity and gives flight to any vestige of self-respect. If you have ever been afraid, truly afraid, in a way that makes your hair soggy with sweat and turns your skin gray and fouls your blood and spiritually eviscerates you to the point where you cannot pray lest your prayers be a concesion to your conviction that you’re about to die, you know what I am talking about. This kind of fear has no remedy except motion, no matter what kind. Every person who has experienced war or natural ctastrophe or man-made calamity knows this. The adrenaline surge is so great that you can pick up an automobile with your bare hands, plunge through glass windows in flaming buildings, or attack an enemy whose numbers and weaponry are far superior to yours. No fear of self-injury is as great as the fear that turns your insides to gelatin and shrivels your soul to the size of an amoeba.
Last, but not least, this is what keeps me coming back to James Lee Burke, so much so that I buy the book almost as soon as it is released. James Lee Burke isn’t afraid to take on the big guys. He “gives voice to those who have no voices.” (Proverbs 31:8) His focus is always on the dignity of the common man, the dignity of hard work, done well, and on the dignity of doing unexpected kindnesses to those who have no expectation of kindness.
. . . All was not right with the world. Giant tentacles of oil that had the color and sheen of feces had spread all the way to Florida, and the argument that biodegradation would take care of the problem would be a hard sell with the locals. The photographs of pelicans and egrets and seagulls encased in sludge, their eyes barely visible, wounded the heart and caused parents to shield their children’s eyes. The testimony before congressional committees by Louisiana fisher-people whose way of life was being destroyed did not help matters, either. The oil company responsible for the blowout had spent an estimated $50 million trying to wipe their fingerprints off Louisiana’s wetlands. They hired black people and whites with hush-puppy accents to be their spokesmen on television. The company’s CEO’s tried their best to look ernest and humanitarian, even though the company’s safety record was the worst of any extractive industry doing business in the United States. They also had a way of chartering their offshore enterprises under the flag of countries like Panama. Their record of geopolitical intrigue went all the way back to the installation of the shah of Iran in the 1950′s. Their even bigger problem was an inability to shut their mouths.
They gave misleading information to the media and the government about the volume of oil escaping from the blown well, and made statements on worldwide television about wanting their lives back and the modest impact that millions of gallons of crude would have on the Gulf Coast. For the media, their tone-deafnessness was a gift from a divine hand. Central casting couild not have provided a more inept bunch of villains.
James Lee Burke has a voice, and he uses it. He could just cash in on his reputation as an Edgar Award winning author, but he uses his voice to speak out against injustice and corruption. He is a champion of the people. I’ve written several book reviews, and taken some trips just because I wanted to see James Lee Burke country; if you are interested in those, you can read them here.
I have a concern about this series, in that this book ended differently than all the others. So differently it made me seriously question whether Burke intends to continue writing about Dave Robicheaux or if Dave is about to hang up his shield and call it a day. He’s a guilty pleasure I am not yet ready to give up.
July 23, 2012 Posted by intlxpatr | Adventure, Blogging, Books, Bureaucracy, Character, Charity, Circle of Life and Death, Civility, Community, Cooking, Cultural, Detective/Mystery, Environment, Family Issues, Fiction, Financial Issues, Friends & Friendship, Law and Order, Political Issues, Social Issues, Travel | Louisiana, New Iberia, New Orleans | 5 Comments
For James Lee Burke, I make an exception to the paperback only rule. (Paperbacks are lighter, so if you fall asleep, they don’t hurt you when they fall over. They travel well on airplanes, and you can leave them behind when you finish them, and not feel bad. Yes, I have heard about Kindle. No, I don’t think it meets my needs. I like to pass books along.)
I was on the “mail it to me the day it comes out” list at Amazon for his newest book, a Hackberry Holland mystery set in the wilds of Texas. I hit page 2 and came across this:
“The sheriff had arrived at an age when he no longer speculated on the validity of a madman’s visions or, in general, the foibles of human behavior. Instead, Hackberry Holland’s greatest fear was his fellow man’s propensity to act collectively, in militaristic lockstep, under the banner of God and country. Mobs did not rush across town to do good deeds, and in Hackberry’s view, there was no more odious taint on any social or political endeavor than universal approval. . . “
His books transcend the banality of modern mysteries.
This book is Feast Day of Fools, and I’ll tell you more about it when I’ve finished.
I was shocked to hear about this operation on National Public Radio this afternoon, and to know it was Pensacola. What got my attention was one of the police officers saying that they were shocked to capture so many local people; they had expected to attract predators from surrounding states, but not so many locals. Truly sad.
And kudos to all the men in blue and officers of the court who are putting away these people who would prey on children, taking them off the game board.
You can read the entire article yourself at the Pensacola News Journal:
25 men accused of setting up child sex encounters in Pensacola sting
Twenty-five men were arrested this month in Pensacola during a weeklong undercover operation in which suspects are accused of using the Internet to set up sexual encounters with children. The suspects came to meet the minors at a home in northeast Pensacola only to find a slew of law enforcement officials waiting for them.
The sting, called Operation Blue Shepherd, began June 20 with 30 officers from local, state and federal agencies participating, according to a Pensacola Police Department press release. The results were announced at a news conference this morning at PPD.
Pensacola Police Capt. Paul Kelly said officers used various social networking and E-commerce sites to respond to advertisements of a sexual nature and to place similar advertisements.
The suspects specifically described various sexual acts they were going to do with the male and female children, ages 12 to 14, with whom they believed they were talking. All of the suspects, except one who took a taxi, drove to the undercover house with the intent to perform these sexual acts with the children. Upon arrival, they were arrested and questioned.
Kelly said officers were surprised to find so many eager participants from the immediate Pensacola area.
“We expected to have more violators traveling from outside the area. What this tells me is that these violators do not have to travel far to find their victims. They are much closer to home than we imagined. Most of them were not reluctant or frightened to approach the door of a stranger’s house. They literally pulled up to the house and walked quickly to the door eager to meet the child,” Kelly said.
Agencies participating in Operation Blue Shepherd were the State Attorney’s Office, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement , Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office, Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office, Walton County Sheriff’s Office, Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, Gainesville Police Department, Fort Walton Beach Police Department, Tallahassee Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Just back from a wonderful two day trip to Botswana, visiting my dear and beloved friend Precious Ramotswe, who owns the #1 Ladies Detective Agency. For her, I make an exception to the paperback book rule (buy paperbacks because hard covers can hurt you if you fall asleep and they fall over) and get on the pre-publication order list so that Amazon will send me the book as soon as it comes out.
The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party arrived Wednesday night. My husband was expecting a friend, and when the doorbell rang I thought “oh my, he is really early!” but it was the UPS guy, who had left a book-sized package on my doorstep. I had just finished an easy but fun book (The Map Thief by Heather Terrell) and was at odd ends as to what to read next, and this was an easy answer. As my husband drank Arabic coffee and sweet sweet Arabic tea, and ate delicate Middle Eastern treats downstairs, I got to start The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party.
You know the books. They aren’t difficult to read, but while you are reading, you are transported to another world. Precious Ramotswe’s Botswana is not a world without problems, but the solutions to the problems are often found in softer gentler ways, ways that would seem counter-intuitive in our culture, but make total sense when you are raised in Botswana. There is a value placed on peaceable interaction, and maintaining relationships, on forgiveness, and going to extra mile. It’s a sweet world, and a great escape.
As usual, there are several intertwining plot lines with ingenious and unexpected solutions. I suspect that is what keeps me glued to this series – I cannot anticipate the solutions. That, and the gentleness of her outlook, the sweetness of life in Botswana, and the dignity and integrity of McCall’s primary characters.
I don’t know how McCall manages to keep the series fresh, but he avoids the formulaic and I find each book a treat. My favorite part of this book is how Mma Potokwane manages to wangle and invitation to Mma Makutsi’s wedding:
Mma Potokwane noticed the other woman’s uncertainty. “Yes,” she continued. “There’s that problem. And then there’s another problem. Problems come in threes, I find, Mma. So the next one – Problem number two, so to speak – is the cooking of food. You know what I find, Mma, it is this: the people doing the cooking never have enough pots. They say they do, but they do not. And right at the last moment they discover that there are not enough pots, or, more likely, the pots they have are too small. A pot may be big enough to cook your meat and pap at home, just for a family, but do not imagine that it will be big enough to cook for a couple of hundred people. You need big, catering-size pots for that.”
She was now warming to her theme. “And the third problem is the food itself. You may think that you have enough for the feast, and you may be right when it comes to the meat. People usually have enough meat – often rather too much, in fact. But they forget that after their guests have eaten a lot of meat, they need something sweet, and often they have made no arrangements for that. A wedding cake? Yes, but there will only be one small piece of that for each guest – usually not enough. So people find themselves wishing that they had had the foresight to get a supply of ordinary cake for the guests to eat with their tea. And where is this cake? Not there, Mma.”
Mma Ramotswe glanced at Mma Makutsi; this was not the way to speak to a nervous bride, she thought. “I’m sure that everything will work out well,” she said reassuringly. “And if there are any problems, they will surely just be small ones – nothing to worry about.”
Mma Potokwane looked doubtful. “I hope so,” she said. “But in my experience, it never works out like that. I think it’s better to be realistic about these things.”
Mma Makutsi picked up her pencil to add something to her list. “You said something about pots, Mma. Where would I be able to get these big, catering-size pots?”
Mma Potokwane examined her fingernails. “Well, we have them at the orphan farm. Each of the house mothers has a very large pot. I’m sure that we could do something . . . “
Run to your bookstore and buy The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party!
March 25, 2011 Posted by intlxpatr | Adventure, Africa, Books, Botswana, Character, Community, Cultural, Customer Service, Detective/Mystery, Living Conditions, Local Lore, Marriage, Mating Behavior, Relationships, Shopping, Social Issues, Work Related Issues | 1 Comment
I didn’t know that much about the Chinese obliteration of Tibetan culture in Tibet. I didn’t know about the systematic destruction of the monasteries, or at least not in detail. I didn’t know about the brutal re-education techniques for the Bhuddist monks. I didn’t know how strong and resistant the peoples of Tibet are to the Chinese incursion.
I’ve learned most of what I know reading Eliot Pattison’s series featuring Shan Tao Yun, a Chinese detective. Or he used to be. In the first book, The Skull Mantra, we meet Inspecter Shan Tao Yun in one of those re-education camps, where he has been tortured and mistreated almost to his physical limits, and the Bhuddist monks teach him new ways of thinking, and those ways help him to see things differently – and to survive.
The Tibetans hate the Chinese, but they make an exception for Inspector Shan Tao Yun, who earns the respect of both Tibetans and Chinese for his unwavering integrity, and his ability to solve the most intricate puzzles. As he does, we learn more about different aspects of life today in Tibet.
The Lord of Death introduces us to the evolving mountain climbing industry developing in Tibet, just across the border with Nepal. Western climbers will see themselves in a very new light reading this book, which involves the murder of the visiting Chinese Minister of Tourism, an American female climber, and former members of a clandestine CIA trained group of Tibetans during WWII.
In every volume, I learn something fascinating. In this book, I learned more about the early struggles of the Chinese Cultural revolution, the corruption of Chinese ideals, and more about Tibetan ways of thinking. I cannot wait for the next book to come out. You can visit his website here: Eliot Pattison.com
March 6, 2011 Posted by intlxpatr | Adventure, Arts & Handicrafts, Books, Bureaucracy, Character, Cross Cultural, Cultural, Customer Service, Detective/Mystery, Experiment, Family Issues, Geography / Maps, Living Conditions, Political Issues, Social Issues, Tibet | 4 Comments
“Here’s the book,” Sparkle said, sliding into the restaurant seat as we all poured over the menu, wafts of garlic, white wine and butter drifting our way. “I’m getting kind of tired of Dave and Clete.”
“What, you mean not just bending the envelope but tearing right through it?” I asked “Or all the gratuitous violence?”
“Mostly the scorn for official procedures,” she started, two little lines between her eyes as she took in all the delicious possibilities, “How about some of that Montepulciano?”
She passed the book along to me. I was in the middle of another book, but oh, the temptation to drop it and get on with a new James Lee Burke.
The book opens with Dave Robicheaux, our recovering alcoholic detective, meeting up with a convict on a work crew whose sister has disappeared and who was found murdered. Bernadette Latiolais’s remains are thought to be the work of a serial killer working the area who targets prostitutes, but Bernadette was an honor student, graduating with a full scholarship promised to a Louisiana university. She was also an heiress, in a small way, to some property at the edge of a swamp. She doesn’t fit the profile, and her brother wants justice – not for himself, he’s doing his time, but for his sister, who never did anything to anyone, and who wanted to create a conservation area to preserve bears.
Right off the top, Robicheaux is outside of his parish, investigating a case nobody cares about in an area out of his jurisdiction.
OK, OK, my sister is right, this is pretty much another formulaic James Lee Burke. There are the corrupt rich families, the amoral women, the voiceless victims. Instead of the old Italian organized crime families, this time there are hired mercenaries, equally creative in killing, but way more efficient in cleaning up afterwards.
I’m just a sucker for James Lee Burke’s writing. Here’s one sample, from his interview with a very rich old man who goes a long way back with Robicheaux’s family:
“Don’t get old, Mr. Robicheaux. Age is an insatiable thief. It steals the pleasures of your youth, then locks you inside your own body with your desires still glowing. Worse, it makes you dependent upon people who are half a century younger than you. Dont’ let anyone tell you that it brings you peace, either, because that’s the biggest lie of all.”
Burke’s Dave Robicheaux and his private-investigator friend Clete are flawed men, prone to violence, but I cut them a lot of slack because in each novel they are bright shining avengers of all the wrongs done to the weak and helpless. They are Quixotic. They fight the rich and powerful for the rights of the common man. They know the risks they take, and they are too old to think they are going to survive every bad guy they go after. It’s a good thing the law of averages doesn’t hold true in novels; they should have been dead a long time ago.
What keeps me coming back are the lyrical descriptions of life along the Atchafalaya Bayou, community life in New Iberia, Louisiana, and Robicheaux’s family life, wife Molly, daughter Alifair (now grown to young womanhood) and Snuggs their cat and Tripod their raccoon, as well as the knowledge that at the end of the book, in spite of every evidence to the contrary, Dave and Clete will emerge alive, if damaged, and their indirect and violent path will have achieved some semblance of justice.
(I ordered the spaghetti with a white-wine mussel sauce, and Sparkle ordered the chicken marsala. Mom had seafood diablo.)
I got it all done – two days before Christmas. Wooo HOOOO, I get the reward, a new book! One I had been eager to read, House Rules by Jodi Picoult. (You can read reviews of other Picoult books by doing a blog search, enter Jodi Picoult in my blog’s search window.)
What I really like about Jodi Picoult is that she writes about really tough situations and exposes our ignorance and ambivalence to us. In this book, she writes about a single mother who is raising two sons, one of whom has Asperger’s Syndrome. He is extremely bright, but lives in a world where he is bombarded by too much sensation. He cannot block out sensory input that we learn to ignore, and some of it – noise, colors – in his case, the color orange – or any change in routine can cause him to spin out of control. Imagine a two year old having a tantrum in a grocery store . . . now imagine an eighteen year old young man having the same tantrum. It helps you see what the Mom is dealing with.
Dad left when the second son was born. “It’s too hard,” he said, and left her to cope with all of it.
She gets child support, while her husband is raising his new family a continent away. She free lances as an advice columnist, and edits from her home to supplement the bare bones family existence. She learns to cope with Jacob’s needs, and she advocates for him fiercely, to be mainstreamed in the school system AND to have some special supports to soothe him when he becomes over-stimulated.
Jacob isn’t a burden, although his need for routine – certain colors for different days of the week, including meals – can be burdensome. Jacob is also very very bright, and obsessed with crime scene forensics. He loves setting up “crime scenes” for his mom to solve and the one bright spot in his daily life is the Crime Busters show which comes on every day at 4:30.
And then, suddenly, a life which is already wobbling turns upside down. Jacob is implicated in the murder of his tutor, a young woman Jacob loved working with, who helped him develop an understanding of how people interact and behave. Those who know Jacob understand his quirks and eccentricities are due to his wiring, but Jacob looks very odd, very threatening and even violent to the outside observer – a nightmare client as a defendant.
It is a GREAT read. Picoult keeps her secrets up to the very end; the book is tightly wired and we are given clues all along the way. The edition I read had both a reader’s guide and an interview with the author at the end. It is NOT cheating to read those first! It gives you good guidance on what the author is trying to say, and what may be significant, while not appearing particularly so.
It gave me a great appreciation for parent’s of children outside the realm of ‘normal.’ It gave me an appreciation for the work and persistence and dedication it takes to try to get a more level playing field for their children.
It the book Jacob has some self-awareness, and compares Asperger’s Syndrome to seasonings, and he believes we all have a dose of Asperger’s Syndrome in our wiring, but that some children get a little extra.
Several weeks ago, AdventureMan presented me with two (large) piles of files, saying that they were mine and needed to be gone through. I spent the day today tossing out old term papers, old manuscripts, old resumes – lots and lots of things that were worth saving, and now, not so much.
One thing I came across was a file with copies of work my departed aunt Helen had done to gain entrance into the DAR, Daughters of the American Revolution (Revolutionary War for America’s Independence). It was like a game, only when she started playing, there was no e-mail, only snail mail. Long distance telephone calls were expensive, and she was a Navy wife, so it was all done by hand.
Genealogy work, too, was painstakingly done, and family histories, cemetery records, lists of people arriving and departing on ships and who married who – all lovingly compiled and typed on manual typewriters by people with a passion for making connections, solving the mysteries of who married whom and for how long:
(“no need to mention the divorce” one correspondent wrote, “it happened in my family, too, and it isn’t relevant so we just won’t mention it” she wrote about a marriage that ceased to exist over a hundred years before)
My aunt had a sure thing, and she had a unique entry, so she was tracking three entries at the same time, trying to prove a new connection, while knowing she had in her pocket an already proven entry.
I lost a couple hours of my life, reading through all the correspondence, trying to decipher her notes and the arcane charts of relationships stretching back to 1690, when one line of the family arrived on these shores. I grinned, thinking how we document our bloodlines, leaving out the pirates and the horse thieves, and (legend has it) the French aristocrat who left his first family in France and started our branch here, without having divorced his first family, LOL.
My aunt must have been a little younger than I am when she started on this search, and I know that she served proudly in the DAR for many years, along with several civic committees, library committees and planning commissions in Santa Barbara, California. I still miss her.
I needed some escape time, so I started The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, a mystery by Stieg Larsson, set in Sweden. I love these detective stories set in other countries; I can learn something as I pass the time reading an exciting mystery. And part of my heritage is Swedish, so I thought this should really be fun.
It wasn’t, at least not at the beginning. At the beginning, I didn’t like any of the characters, and they were always eating sandwiches that sounded awful, like liverwurst and egg. I felt like the characters didn’t have any moral center, like they drifted from day to day without neither conscience nor a plan. The main character, Mikael Blomkvist, is about to go to prison for libel; he printed a story about a major industrialist which turned out to be false, and he protected his source. We don’t really know the whole story, not until the end, which makes it hard to evoke a lot of sympathy for Blomkvist.
He is contacted by another industrialist, and asked to solve a mystery, if possible, about the disappearance, 40 years ago, of his niece, Harriet Vanger. Blomkvist would investigate under the cover of writing an autobiography of his employer and his family. There are members of the family who object. In many ways, it isn’t a very nice family.
Blomkvist gets an assistant, a deeply troubled and flawed young woman, Lisbeth Salander, with a gift for investigation. There is a lot of violence, sexual violence, and mutilation of animals. One of the points I credit Larsson with making is the amount of violence against women in Sweden, which goes on under a seemingly civilized veneer. The truth, as I see it, is that there is violence against women in every society; in some it is better documented than in others. In some, it is better punished that others. It exists in all societies, in all countries.
Another think I ended up liking about the book was that the main character, Blomkvist, who writes financial analysis, takes the press to task for printing what passes for financial news without critically reading and evaluating, which he feels is a responsibility of the press. At one point, as people quail with fear that the stock exchange will drop dramatically, he is interviewed and explains that the stock market is based on perceptions, while the Swedish economy is based on production and services; that while the markets may fail, the economy can still be going strong.
Slowly, the book tightens up. Actually, by the end, I was hooked. The only question in my mind is – did I like it enough to read another?
The book is available, new, from Amazon.com at $6.00 plus shipping.
December 29, 2009 Posted by intlxpatr | Books, Character, Civility, Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, Detective/Mystery, Family Issues, Financial Issues, Friends & Friendship, Interconnected, Living Conditions, Relationships, Values, Women's Issues | Sweden | 5 Comments
- 2,113,001 hits
intlxpatr on Captain Greg from Afghani… Envy on Captain Greg from Afghani… intlxpatr on Maldives President Urges Patie… The Reluctant Ayatol… on Maldives President Urges Patie… intlxpatr on Sunrise in Seattle: A Quick…
Wikipedia Donate Button
Travel Blog Nominee
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
- April 2011
- March 2011
- February 2011
- January 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- October 2010
- September 2010
- August 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008
- March 2008
- February 2008
- January 2008
- December 2007
- November 2007
- October 2007
- September 2007
- August 2007
- July 2007
- June 2007
- May 2007
- April 2007
- March 2007
- February 2007
- January 2007
- December 2006
- November 2006
- October 2006
- September 2006
- Arts & Handicrafts
- Circle of Life and Death
- Cold Drinks
- Cross Cultural
- Customer Service
- Diet / Weight Loss
- Eating Out
- ExPat Life
- Family Issues
- Financial Issues
- Free Speech
- Friends & Friendship
- Fund Raising
- Geography / Maps
- Gulf Citizens Diplomacy Council
- Health Issues
- Home Improvements
- Hot drinks
- Just Bad English
- Law and Order
- Lectionary Readings
- Living Conditions
- Local Lore
- Locard Exchange Principal
- Mardi Gras
- Mating Behavior
- Middle East
- Pet Peeves
- Political Issues
- Public Art
- Qatteri Cat
- Random Musings
- Road Trips
- Saudi Arabia
- Social Issues
- sunrise series
- Technical Issue
- Women's Issues
- Work Related Issues