In the beginning...

...there were The Flyaways, a family who traveled in their miraculous flying machine having daring adventures with Goldilocks and Cinderella. The first in the 3-book series by Alice Dale Hardy was published by Grosset and Dunlap in 1925 and copies are almost extinct. Few people remember Ma and Pa, Tommy and Susie Flyaway now.

I became acquainted with them on my grandfather's lap, my dear Grandpa Baker who read and read and read to me every evening for as many years as I can remember. I would hold my breath as each chapter ending neared, hoping he would not stop. I would keep begging for "just one more" chapter until his voice got so hoarse I would have to run to his room to get his throat lozenges.

Over the years we covered all of Uncle Wiggly and Honey Bunch, the Bobbsey Twins, the Five Little Peppers, the Wind in the Willow series, some of them more than once. He read to me until long after I could read everything for myself, until I was into Beverly Gray, Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. I was safe and happy snuggled up on the couch with him and that feeling has never left me. I still read and read and read, and it still makes me feel safe and happy.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

David Levien

Today I finished David Levien's Where the Dead Lay, the second of his books I have read, the first being City of the Sun, which was good enough to lead me to seek out more. You will find out that I devour detective stories and my all-time favorites features the rugged and sensitive Travis McGee, whose adventures on his houseboat The Busted Flush unfortunately ended with the death of author John McDonald back in the 90's. All of his McGee books, and there were many, have a color in the title, e.g. The Lonely Silver Rain, and can be found in libraries and used books sales. He is worth looking for.

Levien's PI is Frank Behr, a former cop tortured with guilt over his part in the death of his young son. This book opens with the murder of his friend and mentor, Aurelio Santos, in his martial arts studio. Behr, of course, determines to track down the killers and finds them a strange and violent crew. He continues to battle his own demons, particularly his feelings when his young girlfriend becomes pregnant. I also learned what a "pea shake" operation is. Anybody else know?

I'm now looking for Levien's first two novels, and not just because the photo on his book jacket is very cute.

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