Frank Denton - The Rogue Raven
- Name: Frank Denton
- Location: Seattle, Washington, United States
What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Thursday, March 24, 2005
What is fascinating about the book is how Alpert uses this murder, quite a sensation in London at the time, as a basis for exploring the social conditions of London. He takes a look at what people wore, how they ate, the state of medicine and health care, housing and who could afford to own their own home. He speaks about class, learning, literature and the Church of England as well as other churches, particularly the Catholic Church which had been very unpopular since the Reformation. He tell of the various forms of entertainment, from the museum and opera to the circus, street performers and organ grinders. There is a chapter on transportation and the post, from coaching and coaching inns, through horse drawn trams and of course the very new railway system. (A good mystery about the railways of the period is Edward Marston’s The Railway Detective.) He does not neglect politics. There was the Chartist movement, which was rejected by Parliament several times during the two decades. He mentions Jews who were elected but were not allowed to be seated because they would not take an oath which included references to the Christian religion.
He finishes the book properly with the conviction of the Mannings for murder and their subsequent hanging. Charles Dickens was one of the prime sources for various aspects, with quotations both from his novels and from newspaper articles which he had written. Other writers from that period are also quoted. But the reader can easily tell that Alpert has read a lot of Dickens. I happen to read a fair number of mysteries set in the period and I enjoyed learning a bit more about it.
Friday, March 18, 2005
More Sherlock Holmes
Finally I stumbled upon what I hope will be a marvelous book while wandering through the University Book Store, one of Seattle's two largest bookstores. It's entitled The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes; the Adventures of the Great Detective in India and Tibet. It was written by Jamyang Norbu, a Tibetan writer. People who are familiar with the Holmes story will remember that Sherlock, after his presumed death in his fight with Moriarity at Reichenbach Falls, wandered in the east. He told Watson upon his return that he had been to Tibet and spoken with the "Great Lama," by which we presume him to mean the Dalai Lama. He used the assumed name of Sigerson. What excites me even more is that he wanders through northern India and on into Tibet in the company of Hurree Chunder Mookerjee, the famous Bengali spy known as Hurree Babu, a character in Rudyard Kipling's book, Kim. Kim is one of my top five favorite books of all time and I am really looking forward to reading this. I have several other books to finish first. I think that the wait is good discipline for me. But my mind is itching to set the others aside and to dive right into this.