Frank Denton - The Rogue Raven

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.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Will Thomas - To Kingdom Come

Will Thomas has written a very interesting series of mysteries featuring Cyrus Barker, an enquiry agent in the London of the early 20th century. His assistant is Thomas Penrith, a young Welsh lad whose wife has died and who has just come out of prison. Despondent and unable to find a job Thomas is thinking seriously of suicide when he answers Barker’s advertisement and is surprised to be hired. Thomas finds his new employer rather unusual, speaking several languages, knowing strange martial arts, with the ability to disguise himself and evidently quite wealthy. Immediately Thomas finds himself being taught skills he never dreamed of. He finds himself well-clothed, well-fed and in comfortable surroundings for the first time in a long time. Will Thomas’s first novel, Some Danger Involved, concerns the murder of Jewish citizens. This second novel is about Irish radicals attempting to blow up London in their quest for independence. London, indeed all of England, was a hot pot of radicalism in those days prior to World War I. An interesting time period in which Will Thomas has chosen to set his mystery adventures. He has written two additional novels in the series which I will get to eventually. Recommended.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

And All I Got For Christmas Was A Goat

Christmas eve is always a busy time at our house. With two granddaughters, 10 and 6, it’s a wonder that anyone gets to open their presents. Grace, the youngest, was passing out presents. Finally she got around to passing out a gift to Grandpa. In the envelope she handed me was a card from Heifer International. On the back was a note. It said, “Here’s that goat that Dad always wanted.” It’s true. I’ve always had a fondness for goats, especially Nubian goats with the long floppy ears.

Heifer International is an organization which helps struggling people from around the world become self-reliant for food and income. So I hope some family in an poor village somewhere is taking good care of my goat and treating her nicely. She’ll give them milk for themselves and maybe a bit extra to sell. I wish them well, parents, kids (a pun) and my goat. And thank you to Sean, Mary Rose, Nora and Grace (who happen to have two goats of their keep down the brambles and brush on their ten acres.).

Friday, January 11, 2008

As If That Wasn't Enough

On top of the break-in, we had some trees down. There have been several big windstorms in western Washington in the last few weeks. One big tree was leaning into the top of another. We’re talking fir trees that are probably eighty feet tall. It threatened the power line. A somewhat shorter was leaning over the power line that comes to the cabin. So after I returned home we called around to see who we might contact to take the trees down. Also called the power company so they could come and drop the line. Word has come back from Bubba that the job is now done. He has cut the trees he took down into 16-inch lengths so we can use them in the stove at the cabin or bring them home and burn them in our Jotul stove in the living room. Only cost $250. Twenty years ago, even ten, I could have done it myself. But old age has brought wisdom. I know better. So Bubba’s price was cheap. Who knows? Maybe we got $250 worth of firewood out of the deal.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Case 0f the Kindly Break-In

Every year between Christmas and New Years I host a group of old friends at our cabin near Mt. Rainier. Obviously I arrive first since I have the keys. This year when I unlocked the front door I knew immediately that something was wrong. The lights were on. Then I saw the mess, things strewn all over. The back window was open, the curtains blowing. I should explain that many years ago we installed shutters over all the windows when we were broken into previously. I looked out the back window and saw that the shutter was intact, as were the hasps. I didn’t know that bolt cutters could cut through Master locks.

A survey of the cabin showed some funny things. The thieves took my very good sleeping bag, the vacuum cleaner, the VCR, the electric blanket from the bed in the loft. In fact, all the blankets. They did not take the television set, the two-burner hotplate, the microwave or the toaster oven. They took all of the spare bed clothes, some old clothes from the closet, the can of coffee but not the coffee pot. They took the basins for dish washing and draining, but not the drainer. The trash bags, the small garbage can, the emergency lantern were gone. They left two rolls of toilet paper.

So we have some replacing to do. Thankfully they did not break the hinges or the hasps on the shutter. And they did not break the glass in the sliding window. Small things to be thankful. This is only the third break-in in forty-five years.

The upside is that we can now give the cabin a good cleaning and throw away some stuff that needs to be thrown.