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, March 28, 2010

Steven Cannell and James T. Hall

When Shane Scully was growing up abandoned in Huntington House, Walter "Pop" Dix became the closest thing to a father he would know. Early mornings at the beach, Dix would shepherd six youngsters out into the surf and give them life lessons along with teaching them how to ride the waves. Scully grew up to lead a successful life as a police detective with a smart, beautiful wife and a great son, but, ashamed of his painful beginnings, turned his back on the early years and the love he felt for the man who meant so much to him. When he learned that Pop had committed suicide, Scully was overwhelmed with remorse and guilt, especially when he found out that Dix had requested that Scully be one of his pallbearers. The other chosen five turn out to be colorful and well drawn characters whose determination to prove Pop's death was not a suicide bonds them in a fast moving plot. Stephen Cannell has been one of my favorite authors for years and I raced through this novel with characteristic enthusiasm. The Pallbearers is a definite winner.

I love Florida mysteries and I am fond of James Hall’s protagonist Thorn and his trusty sidekick Sugarman, a black/white relationship similar to Robert Parker's Spenser and Hawk. Thorn is abducted from his own ranch and spends a portion of the book trapped in a deserted pit terrorized by a pair of psychotics, resulting from his philanthropic attempt to designate a huge tract of Florida land as forever wild while Sugar and Thorn’s woman Rusty try to track him down. The Silencer is well worth a read.

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