Monday, June 8, 2015

Summer Mystery Sale! Buy 4 Mysteries and Get Your 5th FREE!

Dying for a good mystery? Daedalus has got you covered! Purchase four mysteries from our special selection and get a 5th mystery for FREE! Don't miss out on this great offer. Visit our special page here and stock up for the summer!

Here are just a few of the titles available:

The Mysterium: A Hugh Corbett Medieval Mystery

This 17th mystery in P.C. Doherty's superbly detailed historical series—following The Waxman Murders and Nightshade—opens in February 1304. London is coming to terms with the fall from power of Walter Evesham, chief justice in the Court of the King's Bench, just as a series of brutal murders shocks the populace. Accused of bribery and corruption, Evesham has sought sanctuary to atone for his sins, but when he is discovered dead in his cell at the Abbey of Sion, it appears that the killer known as the Mysterium, once brought to justice by Evesham, may have returned. Sir Hugh Corbett is tasked with discovering whether this foe is indeed the Mysterium or an even more cunning imitator.

To Davy Jones Below: A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery

With the peal of wedding bells still ringing in their ears, the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple and her new husband Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard embark on an ocean trip to America, in this ninth mystery in Carola Dunn's long-running cozy series (following Rattle His Bones). The honeymooning pair are joined by a coterie of fellow travelers, including American industrialist Caleb P. Arbuckle, his millionaire friend Jethro Gotobed, and his new wife Wanda, an ex-showgirl with huge ambitions. But soon the pleasant prospect of the voyage descends into an atmosphere rife with chaos, intrigue, and ugly rumors, followed by a series of suspicious accidents and a sudden death. And with harsh weather and rough seas brewing, it's up to Daisy and Alec to uncover the passengers' tangled
secrets and hidden agendas.

The Sound and the Furry: A Chet and Bernie Mystery

In this sixth installment of a sharp and witty mystery series that shows no signs of slowing down, canine narrator Chet and his human partner PI Bernie Little are handed a hard case in the Big Easy when they happen upon a prison work crew that includes Frenchie Boutette, an old criminal pal. It seems Frenchie's brother Ralph, the one white sheep in their Louisiana family, has gone missing. Chet and Bernie head down to New Orleans, and Chet discovers a world of sights, smells, and tastes that are like nothing he's ever encountered—and uncovers a world of trouble involving family feuds, stolen shrimp, Big Oil, and a legendary bayou gator named Iko.

What are some of your favorite mystery novels?  Please share in the comments.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Are You a Tudormaniac?

Hello! My name is Amy (aka Daedalus Amy) and I'll be posting on behalf of The Daily Glean.

For all you Tudor fans have we got something for you!

Is it the drama—the royal rivalries, the plots and battles, the boundless ambition—that makes us thrill to tales of Tudor England? Is it the players—kingly Henry VIII, ruthless Thomas Cromwell, doomed Anne Boleyn, triumphant Elizabeth? Or is it the history itself, vividly played out in the works of Shakespeare, and more recently in books from historical writers like Hilary Mantel, Antonia Fraser, and Philippa Gregory?

Whatever the reasons, we can't get enough of the Tudors—particularly the new BBC–PBS Masterpiece series Wolf Hall—and here we celebrate this magnificent era in gripping historical narratives and novelizations as well as gorgeously costumed performances on DVD. Visit our forum here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

For relentless readers: 10 links to groovy book lore

"Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?"— Henry Ward Beecher

"A house without books is like a room without windows."— Horace Mann

Did you know that the average American household watches 42 hours of television per week? And that 40 percent of Americans reject evolution? (I guess they're not watching Cosmos). The vibrant illustration above is from a 1960s biology textbook. Those were the days!
Taking a stand for the enduring value of books and reading, today's Glean is devoted to 10 links I've collected that celebrate same, illustrated with sundry book-related images. Enjoy!
1.  Here's The Guardian on readers of fiction within fiction, including Roald Dahl's Matilda (left) and Mad Men's Joan Holloway (she reads Lady Chatterly's Lover, while Don Draper reads Portnoy's Complaint).
2.  Columnist Frank Bruni of the Dallas Morning News cites a report by Common Sense Media that 22% of 13-year-olds and 27 percent of 17-year-olds say they hardly ever or never read for pleasure (up from 8 and 9% 30 years ago). He goes on to cite several more research studies on the correlation between brainpower and being bookish, summarized flatly by The Guardian's Dan Hurley as “reading and intelligence have a relationship so close as to be symbiotic.”
Alexander Benois De Stetto, Still Life with Books (1929)
3.  Independent bookstore Aaron's Books divulges 10 Ways Reading Improves Everything—which includes one of my favorites, listening to audiobooks while traveling, doing chores, or walking for exercise.
4.  Here comes flavorwire with no fewer than 50 essential mystery novels that everyone should read. Wowsa! They kick things off with Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles and continue with classics by Agatha Christie, Patricia Highsmith, Jo Nesbo, Edgar Allan Poe, Dashiel Hammett, et al. Did they omit any of your favorites? We usually have a quorum of the above on our website (Sherlock Holmes illustration by Rochelle Donald.)
5.  Here's a roundup by the CBC on five literary hoaxes, including some quite quirky poseurs (e.g., septuagenarian, white male Yale grad pens memoir of Mexican-American street kid).
6.  I kind of assume that if you're perusing this blog you have an awesome vocabulary and are somewhat of a bibliophile. So let's see how you stack up against the Huffington Post's "15 Words You Didn't Know Were Coined By Famous Writers." I think this might be the most delightful item on my entire compendium! I look forward to your favorites in the comments.
7.  Of ShortList's tally of classic works of literature being adapted for film, I'm most intrigued by Madame Bovary with Mia Wasikowska, Macbeth with Marion Cotillard as Lady M, Salomé with Jessica Chastain, and The Jungle Book (animated, with voices by Bill Murray, Idris Elba, Scarlett Johansson, and Ben Kingsley).
8.  This article in the Chronicle of Higher Education talks about a digital, crowd-sourced project called Book Traces, which preserves interesting marginalia and inserts that 19th-century readers left in books.
9.  “I have now attained the true art of letter-writing, which we are always told, is to express on paper what one would say to the same person by word of mouth,” Jane Austen wrote to her sister Cassandra on 3 January 1801, adding, “I have been talking to you almost as fast as I could the whole of this letter.” According to Ingrid Tieken-Boon van Ostade at the Oxford University Press blog, Austen is believed to have written some 3,000 letters, only about 160 of which have survived, most of them addressed to Cassandra." I reckon her sister was Austen's ideal reader, and that the missives to her significantly helped the budding writer hone both her prose and her innate gift for satire.
10. In this Guardian list, author Gill Lewis picks special children's books featuring birds, including Owl Moon by Jane Yolen and John Schoenherr; Silent Spring by Rachel Carson; and The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico. (Molly Monday, these owls are for you!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

World of wonders: spotlight on Marc Chagall's ceiling and more from the Palais Garnier

Instead of booking expensive trips to view the world's wonders, cash-strapped, armchair art lovers can now behold them with a few clicks of a keyboard.
It's all part of the Google Cultural Institute, the current offerings of which range from Hamburg's Archaeological Museum and the Rubens House in Antwerp to the National Cowboy Museum in the U.S. (There are at present more than 500 partners from over 60 countries, with more than 6.2 million objects and artifacts already online.)
In 1964, Marc Chagall completed a fantastical painting, in Paris's Palais Garnier (a.k.a. the Paris Opera), depicting scenes from works by Mozart, Mussorgsky, Beethoven, Verdi, Debussy, Wagner, Berlioz, and more. Problem was, the lofty opus was difficult to inspect, as it was almost 60 feet above the floor.
The Paris Opera, with Chagall's opus on the ceiling (Corbis)
Now, thanks to the internet, anyone can view this colorful masterpiece in minute detail. Chagall's great work has been digitized, allowing viewers to zoom in and out, looking at each scene up close and personal. I've selected a few of my favorites to share with you, above and below.
The central panel evokes four composers and works. On this half are Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice (Eurydice plays the lyre [Orpheus’s instrument] and an angel offers flowers) and Bizet's Carmen. 
Only Chagall would have a bull playing the guitar!
This evocation of Pelleas et Melisande by Debussy is bounded by one of the splendid gilt details that encircle the composition.
Above, Tristan and Isolde, and a woman playing a stringed instrument. So lovely! Below, a bit of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake.
Chagall's conception of Mozart's Magic Flute. A giant angel fills the sky while a bird plays the flute. Chagall designed the sets and costumes for the 1967 Metropolitan Opera production of the opera.
 Below are several more examples of the opulent decoration in the building, beginning with a panel by Paul Baudry depicting Salome dancing before Herod. Baudry also did a series of Muses.
The digitized artworks also extend to the outside of the building. At the tippy-top is the bronze statue "Apollon, la Poésie et la Musique" (1860-1869), by Aimé Millet, while the front is graced by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux's sculpture "La danse."
Bon voyage!