Archive for April, 2014




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Yes, you read that correctly! The Marion Friends of the Library Book Sale in the garage of the Marion Library will begin in roughly 2 days, 17 hours, 32 minutes and 25 seconds… make that 24 seconds… make that….!  Get Ready! Get Set! Buy! Buy! Buy!


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ImageDeath on Blackheath by Anne Perry is the popular author’s twenty-ninth mystery featuring the late Victorian era couple Thomas and Charlotte Pitt. Like all of her previous novels about the pair, her latest offering draws upon their unique status in the rather rigid social hierarchy of the time.  They occupy a rather nebulous position in Victorian society since they each come from different backgrounds. Although a brilliant detective who occupies various positions of authority during the series, Thomas was a gamekeeper’s son by birth. Charlotte belonged to the Victorian middle class and as such, even after her marriage to Pitt, she retains access to various places and people that would be denied to her husband.  The two work well together as their different perspectives enable them to understand the subtle nuances of custom and appearance that dominate the final years of Queen Victoria’s reign. Death on Blackheath makes effective use of their carefully established backstory since more than one element of plot and character reach back to earlier books in the series. This makes the narrative richer but does not make the novel inaccessible to a new reader. The case in this offering centers around an unidentified body that is found near the home of a brilliant scientist whose work is vital to the Royal Navy. The Pitts have to determine if the scientist had any connection to the crime without damaging his public reputation and endangering the work he has been doing for the nation.  Subplots involve Charlotte’s beautiful younger sister Emily and her venerable “great aunt” Lady Vespasia who each deal with romantic problems tied to the larger mystery. Combining political intrigue, psychological insight, suspense, and the depth of character associated with all of her previous works, Death on Blackheath is a real triumph for Perry. It confirms once more for her readers that no other mystery writer can so effectively bring the Victorian era to vivid life.


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New Books @ SBRL!

Follow Libby the ‘Brary Fairy as she leads patrons to our newest materials! (Please, excuse the pixie dust in your browser!)



A Family Affair by Fern Michaels

In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen

Forget Me Not by Fern Michaels

Black Lies, Red Blood by Kjell Eriksson

Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Long Man by Amy Greene

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue

Stolen Remains by Christine Trent

Chestnut Street by Maeve Binchy

The Darling Ladies of Lowell by Kate Alcott

Live to See Tomorrow by Iris Johansen

Fallout by Sadie Jones



This is Your Captain Speaking: My Fantastic Voyage Through Hollywood, Faith & Life by Gavin MacLeod

Baby Knows Best by Deborah Solomon

Let’s Just Say It Wasn’t Pretty by Diane Keaton

Gifts From the Kitchen

Music for Your Heart by Ace Collins


(image created for S.B.R.L. by http://www.partywithaprincess.com)

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Stop You’re Killing Me!


Do you like mysteries? Are you always searching for something new to read in that genre? If so, we invite you to visit www.stopyourekillingme.com.  This user friendly website contains a comprehensive list of over 4300 mystery authors and allows readers to determine the order of various books by a given author, locate titles based on categories like geographic location, historical era, occupation of the main charcter and type of mystery like cozy or hardboiled. It is a delight to browse through the site’s offerings and most titles are linked to a purchase source at www.Amazon.com.  I know it is a real cliché but www.stopyourekillingeme.com is a mystery lover resource to die for!


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Dearly Beloved,  On Saturday, May 3 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., The Marion Friends of the Library will be gathered at the Marion Library’s garage in order to join together an assortment of discarded and donated books with eager new owners in search of new literary experiences. If you fail to show up and buy some of these treasures at bargain prices, you can only keep silent, hold your peace, and blame yourself for missing an opportunity for that wonderful union of reader, author, and the printed page!  Don’t miss out and be like this lonely, jilted reader!



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We’ve all had the disappointing experience of seeing a beloved book turned into a poorly executed movie or television show; however, an old approach to publishing is reversing the process with startling results.   During the late sixties, the Gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows” told the story of a conflicted vampire named Barnabas Collins and his efforts to find some kind of peace or redemption while finding his way in a strange world of automobiles, mini-skirts, and an assortment of supernatural creatures who seemed to show up at his ancestral estate Collinswood with an alarming regularity.  In an effort to make even more money off of the popular characters, a series of novels that allegedly told various stories about incidents from the ancient vampire’s long (un)life were produced by the pseudonymous Marilyn Ross.  Now, in truth, Collins was chained up in a coffin for all those decades but matching facts from the TV series was less important than cranking out a couple dozen Gothic romances with the name Barnabas Collins featured in the titles to attract fans of the show.  A short time later, around a dozen “novels” featuring the equally popular members of TV’s “The Partridge Family” hit the shelves! Before you could say, ”c’mon, get happy” the books featuring David Cassidy’s image on every cover became hugely popular. Much like the “Dark Shadows” books, the Partridge chronicles paid little attention to any fact previously established on the television show.  With some juggling of genders, names, and family members, the books could just as easily have been about the Brady Bunch or possibly the Osmonds!  This was not a new practice since dozens of mysteries were published in the forties in which a generic heroine purported to be Betty Grable, Alice Faye, Judy Garland or any one of a number of starlets of the time, solved a mystery at some spooky old house.  It didn’t really matter to fans of the title characters that Betty talked just like Alice who acted just like Judy or that the Keith Partridge of the Partridge series was depicted as a complete cipher who could have been called Donny, Greg, or any other name. The entire concept was based on presenting a book that would appeal to fans who would shell out their ready cash merely because of the tenuous connection the books had to their beloved film or television stars.  One of the oddest series of TV tie-ins appeared in the seventies when someone produced a few books about the family depicted on the show “The Waltons.”   Reading about John Boy solving mysteries was disconcerting to say the least. The books failed to catch on and before long the publisher said “good night” to them for good.


In recent years, the producers of several television shows have taken a more commendable approach to turning their characters into literary stars. Jessica Fletcher of “Murder, She Wrote” continues to solve crimes in the astonishingly murder-happy community of Cabot Cove, Maine thanks to a series of mysteries that feature Angela Lansbury’s geriatric sleuth.  The books are written by Donald Bain and he has enjoyed tremendous success with the series. TV’s brilliantly obsessive Adrian Monk also now stars in popular mysteries written by Lee Goldberg. Like Bain’s novels, these mysteries are well-done and make scrupulous use of facts established by the shows.  As fans note, Goldberg’s Mr. Monk truly talks and acts like the television version. In a truly complex scenario, there are also popular mysteries about heroine Nikki Heat who is a fictional character who was supposedly created by fictional author Richard Castle within the context of the “Castle” television series.  A photo of Nathan Fillion, the actor who plays Castle on the show, is pasted on each “Nikki Heat” novel since Fillion’s title hero Castle is supposedly  the author of the books! That’s a bit complicated. It almost makes me want to revisit the simpler scenario of a two hundred year old vampire having dozens of tragic romances! A final screen to novel twist may be found in the odd case of Robert B. Parker’s Sunny Randall.  Parker was already a beloved writer whose Spenser and Jesse Stone were the heroes of two long running series when the writer created Sunny Randall as a role for actress Helen Hunt to play in a proposed film that never developed. Rather, than discard the idea, Parker merely made the Hunt inspired blonde sleuth into the heroine of her own series of books. Fiction may really be stranger than truth in these cases in which readers are urged to tune in to their favorite TV stars turned novel heroes!


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