Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Readin'


Book Review: Dead Hunt by Beverly Connor




It’s been a fairly low-energy week for me because I’ve had a nagging case of the sniffles.

Fortunately, before I started getting all sneezy, I’d stopped by the local big box book emporium for some fresh reading. It took some searching but I eventually managed to locate the sole copy of Beverly Connor’s Dead Hunt that the store had gotten in. They only ever keep a single copy of her most recent “Diane Fallon” series in stock and I am beginning to think that I am the only person in town who has read any of her books.

Which is a shame.

Connor writes two “detectives”. The first series is comprised of archeological mysteries, featuring Lindsay Chamberlain. The series is out of print in the US but Connor’s website promises a new “Lindsay Chamberlain” title in the not-too-distant future. If you’re a fan of archeological mysteries, it’s worth seeking out this series on the web or in used book stores.

The second is the “Diane Fallon Forensic Investigation” series and Dead Hunt is the fifth title.

Diane Fallon is the director of a natural history museum in Georgia. She has a background in forensic anthropology and also heads a crime lab that is housed in the same building as the museum. Juggling criminal investigations, small town politics, museum administration and – well – life can be stressful so, for relaxation, Dr. Fallon enjoys spelunking.

In Dead Hunt, Fallon becomes involved in the search for a “black widow” while coping with allegations that the museum is purchasing illegal antiquities. She becomes, simultaneously, the prime suspect in a grisly murder and the target of a killer. And her neighbors are getting fed up with all of the excitement that seems to follow her home.

What makes Beverly Connor’s "Diane Fallon Forensic Investigation" books enjoyable is the way that she crafts mysteries that interweave past and present in unsuspecting ways. Her books are more character- and plot-driven mysteries than strict procedurals. And, they keep you guessing ‘til the end.

Frankly, she deserves more attention than she gets.



(Beverly Connor’s books are available online. For more information on the author, please check out her website. Image of book is from her website at: http://beverlyconnor.net .)

Knittin'



Yes, Folks –

She’s taught herself to knit, by gum!

Well….only just. Barely.

But, a cell cozy, GPS cozy, pair of legwarmers and a Valentine’s prezzie ( scarf for TonyP) makes it pretty much official.

Previous forays into the land of English knitting were frustrating failures. Back in the 70s, there was a short sortie into Continental knitting that was a bit more encouraging. Ultimately, however, it proved just as fruitless.

Not that it really bothered me because I can crochet like nobody’s business. So, I’ve been quite content to admire the work of knitting friends (such as the oh-so-talented Knittin-Gin) without feeling any urge, whatsoever, to make any more attempts at the craft.

So, anyway….last month, I realized three things: 1) TonyP really wanted me to make him something, 2) He prefers knitted articles to crocheted (considers them more appropriate for a guy), 3) my ankles were cold.

Since I was in need of a pair of legwarmers (and crocheting them is tedious beyond belief!) I hied me hence to Fabric & Crap for some ballet pink yarn and bamboo knitting needles. Once home, I practiced with some seriously ugly practice-yarn-with-no-bounce-left-in-it and managed to fumble about until I had completed cozies for my cell phone and the family GPS.

Stylistically, my knitting style lacks provenance. It’s some bass-ackwards fusion of English and Continental, with the yarn held the way I do when I crochet. I wouldn’t dare knit in public, for fear of shocking the more knit-lit but it’s a method that works for me.

The legwarmers worked up very quickly. Encouraged, I purchased yarn for TonyP’s scarf and had it finished and blocked before Valentine’s Day!

My goals for knitting are humble. Generally speaking, I have entirely too many complicated, major projects so any knitting objectives need to be achievable, affordable and not overly ambitious.

I call my current project “Carolina Springtime” because the SWS variegated yarn in “natural pink” reminds me of the dogwoods and azaleas that grace North Carolina each Spring. It is a simple pullover inspired by a 1970s design in Make It with Mademoiselle (1977). My version is only a rough approximation because I am using a singled strand of variegated yarn, unlike the double strand of solid yarn called for in the original design. Similarly, the needle size is different and I opted for a slightly looser stitch. As the design is basically just four rectangles, I’m simply making up panels to the same dimensions as in the original and I want to take advantage of the natural curl at the edges.

Come to think of it…..the sweater would work up just as well in crochet!
( Above and Right: Current "Carolina Springtime" project in Patons SWS, "Natural Pink".)