Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hard Case Crime and Cool & Lam

ardai_escalatorI love Erle Stanley Gardner’s Cool and Lam series. It’s far and away my favorite stuff from the creator of Perry Mason. Next Tuesday, December 6, Hard Case Crime is publishing the never before released second Cool and Lam novel, The Knife Slipped.

So this past Monday over at, I had an excellent Q&A with Charles Ardai, founder and head honcho of Hard Case Crime. And this coming Monday, I’ve got a post ready to go on the Cool and Lam series. So, head on over to Black Gate for a little Erle Stanley Gardner.


And Even More of Otto Penzlers SH Library! (The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes)

penzler_robertsSo, over at today, The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes looks at a fifth book in Otto Penzler’s Sherlock Holmes library. This one is from S.C. Roberts, an accomplished bookman who had a life-long impact on Cambridge.

This is a nifty little collection of essays written by Roberts and a nice addition to a Sherlockian bookshelf. I’ve long been fond of his pastiche, “The Strange Case of the Megatherium Thefts.”

I had previously written a post on Vincent Starrett’s two entries in the series, followed by a post on the two books from James Edward Holroyd.



The Beach Boys – at The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes?

BeachBoys_MTVernonThis week, I actually managed to tie my favorite band into my Monday morning post over at

Included with the Beach Boys’ 1972 album, Holland, was an EP. For you youngsters, that stands for ‘Extended Play’ and it was a bonus record: less music than a regular album but more than on a 45. Mt. Vernon and Fairy: a Fairy Tale, was an odd piece of music, singing and spoken verse, telling the story of a young prince and a magic transistor radio.

I talk about this rather unique piece of Beach Boys history, so head on over to Black Gate and check it out.

John D. MacDonald over at

MacDonald_TigerYesterday, July 24th, marked the 100th anniversary of John MacD’s birth (and it was also my twelfth wedding anniversary. Fortunately, I remembered both occasions!).

You can search John’s name here at AlmostHolmes and find several posts I’ve written about my favorite author. For today’s ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes’ post over at, I talk about JDM, and delve a bit into one of my favorite short stories, “The Trap of Solid Gold.”

Please head on over. And if the mood strikes you, leave a comment. That shows there’s some interest in the post topic. I work for free, so I don’t think they’ll be cutting me loose just yet, but it’s good to see discussions going on about the posts.

And if you’ve (shudder) never read any of MacDonald’s work, I truly believe that you’re missing out on one of the finest writers of the twentieth century. In any genre. He was just that good.


Gideon Lowry – John Leslie’s Key West PI

Leslie_NightDaySo, I finished my three-post series on the late, great Tony Hillerman over at You can find links to all three of them in this final post. I thoroughly enjoy his stuff and I recommend you check him out. Or at least read my posts!

I also did a post on a serial killer loose in Austin, TX back in 1885. That’s three years before Jack the Ripper, yet it’s a largely forgotten horror in American crime history. Go ahead and give it a quick look.

In between, I wrote a post on Key West’s finest private eye, Gideon Lowry. I really enjoy this four book series which John Leslie wrote back in the nineties. Lowry, who is in his late fifties, makes as much money playing piano in Key West bars as he does doing PI work. Leslie has created an interesting character.

And Key West becomes an essential element in the series. The ebooks are only $2.99 at Amazon (and free for Kindle unlimited!) and well worth the price. If you’re looking for a good PI series that is a bit different than the rest, check it out. After you read my post, of course!





Writing about Tony Hillerman Over at


UPDATE – Post two, focusing mostly on Joe Leaphorn, is live and you can read it here.

This week over at Black Gate, ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes’ (that’s me) talked a bit about Tony Hillerman. Years ago, a friend gave me a copy of Thief of Time, which I thought was a captivating book. I went back to the beginning of the Navajo Tribal Police series, The Blessing Way, and continued reading the series until Hillerman died of cancer in 2008. His daughter, Anne, has written two additional books since his passing.

This coming Monday (April 25), a second post about Hillerman’s books will go up. I delve into the first three in the series; all of which feature Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn. Then, the week after that, I’ll look at books four, five and six, which feature Jim Chee, a younger, lower-ranked officer. In book seven, Skinwalkers, Hillerman brought Leaphorn and Chee together for the rest of the series.

I hope you read along with me, as this is one of my favorite mystery series. Hillerman (who not an Indian) really immerses the reader in Navajo culture and life in the Four Corners Region.

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This Day in Baseball History: March 23, 1938 – Landis Frees the Minor Leaguers

FederalLeagueI love baseball history and I enjoy writing short bits about it. I frequently write a ‘This Day in Baseball History’ post at my Facebook page.  I thought this one was worth posting here on my blog. It ties in my second-favorite player of all time towards the end.

In 1913, the newly formed Federal League began play as a baseball minor league. In 1914, it became the third major league, throwing (for the time) big money at current National and American League players to entice them to switch teams. Several, including a few Hall of Famers, did. In January of 1915, the Federals filed an antitrust lawsuit against the other two major leagues.

The federal judge assigned stalled the case until the Federal League signed an agreement with the other two leagues, dropped the suit and folded. The owners of the Baltimore Terrapins were the only team to object to the agreement. They would then file their own suit, leading to the famous Supreme Court ruling that baseball was not interstate commerce and therefore not subject to anti-trust laws (what a joke!).

Kennesaw Mountain Landis was the federal judge who oversaw that first lawsuit and kept it from progressing – to the great benefit of the Major League Baseball. Then, after the famous Black Sox Scandal of 1919, the baseball owners begged Landis to become the first Commissioner, in an attempt to restore the public image of the National Pastime.

Landis_FistHe accepted, receiving a lifetime appointment and total authority. Later, the owners would regret creating this Frankenstein, but they were desperate in 1920. He was a supporter of the reserve clause and had no mercy on players suspected of gambling. While the owners certainly played a large part, Landis enforced segregation in the game. His successor, former US Senator Albert ‘Happy’ Chandler, supported Jackie Robinson’s signing.

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