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

Stephanie Plum

I flew through Finger Lickin' Fifteen in a long afternoon.

The cast of characters in skip-tracer Stephanie Plum's life is incredible. And unforgettable. Best friend Lula, the pistol-packing reformed 'ho busting out of her outrageous and colorful outfits, is up to her generous endowments in trouble after witnessing a machete murder on the street in front of her Firebird, which, btw, ends up torched. Also torched are Stephanie's old Escort and two of the mysterious Ranger's new Porsches. Lula and Grandma Mazur(also a pistol-packer) set fire, not once but several times, to their chef's outfits and surrounding areas while practicing their barbequeing skills for a cooking competition to win a million dollars. Stephanie's apartment is firebombed, and Rex the hamster survives an exploding pressure cooker of BBQ sauce which demolishes Stephanie's kitchen. Stephanie is rescued by Ranger, resists his charms to bed her, and agonizes over her breakup with Morelli the cop, as her rival Joyce Barnhardt is on hand to move in on Morelli.

It is impossible to read anything else when one of these wacko, campy adventures awaits me.