Monday, June 27, 2016

Western Mysteries

Suspenseful, mind boggling mysteries are very popular with readers, as are classic western adventures. Put them together and you’ve got a down-to-earth detectives faced with puzzling crimes in scenic outdoor locations.  It just so happens that the library has several good series of western mysteries, shelved in the Adult Mysteries section on the main floor – right across from the New Mysteries on the wooden kiosks.  Try the newest book in each series…..or just read them all.

C. J. Box
The Joe Pickett series began in 2001 with Open Season and continues through sixteen adventures (one per year), with the latest installment titled Off the Grid published earlier in 2016.  If you’re not familiar with Box’s books, Joe Pickett is a conservation officer covering 500 square miles of wilderness for the State of Wyoming.  He’s a family man with a wife and three daughters who are all aware of the danger associated with a job that often takes him to remote locations where he interacts with all kinds of people out of reach of telephone communications.  This particular adventure takes Joe to the Red Desert in southern Wyoming with a group of possible terrorists, some undercover government agents with agendas of their own, and an expert hunter and falconer, Nate Romanowski, who is making a repeat appearance in the series.

Margaret Coel
The Man Who Fell from the Sky by Margaret Coel is the newest installment of the Wind River Mysteries which began in 1995 with the publication of The Eagle Catcher.  Known for her ability to blend history with modern issues and fast-paced action, Coel features two unlikely sleuths, Father John O'Malley, a history scholar and recovering alcoholic assigned to work at the mission on the Arapaho Indian reservation, and Vicky Holden, an attorney who returned to the reservation after ten years in the outside world. Together they tackle a murder that involves Butch Cassidy’s buried loot from the 1890’s, the location of which has been passed down through family lines, along with other secrets that put everyone in danger. If Coel’s western mysteries suit your reading style, watch the library shelves for Winter's Child, slated for release in September 2016.

John Fortunado
Dark Reservations by John Fortunato features Joe Evers, special agent with the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  His battle with alcohol will remind readers of Henning Mankell’s Swedish detective, Kurt Wallander, whose powers of deduction and years of experience on the job are often overshadowed by his drinking habits.  Evers finds himself working on a 20 year-old cold case involving a missing Congressman when an old car full of bullet holes shows up on the Navajo reservation.  He’s assigned to work with Randal Bluehorse, a Navajo Tribal Officer, tying Native American and Federal governments to the mix of mystery.  Add a Congressional candidate related to the victim and the possible theft of Native American artifacts, and you’ve got plenty of intrigue packed into this novel, which won the Tony Hillerman Prize in 2014.

Tony Hillerman / Anne Hillerman
Tony Hillerman’s outstanding western mysteries date back to 1970 beginning with The Blessing Way and ending eighteen books later with The Shape Shifter in 2006.  Then he died and the fate of Lt. Joe Leaphorn was left to the writing skills of his daughter, Anne Hillerman.  Luckily, the Leaphorn and Chee series was continued in 2013 with Spider Woman's Daughter  and Rock with Wings in 2015.  Except for the gap in time, the transition is seamless from one author to the next.  The primary difference in storyline is a shift in focus from Lt. Joe Leaphorn, the original protagonist, to the newly married crime fighting team of Navajo tribal police officers Jim Chee and Bernadette Manuelito.  As Jim and Bernie try to balance married life with their careers in law enforcement, their latest adventure separates them into two investigations that bring contemporary issues to the story; in this case, film makers in Monument Valley, drug runners, and a solar company trying to bend some laws in the New Mexico wilderness.

Craig Johnson
The Highwayman by Craig Johnson is a novella that features Walt Longmire, but is not part of the Longmire series that begins with The Cold Dish in 2004 and continues to the eleventh book, Dry Bones (2015).  New readers will be able to step into western adventure with Longmire and his life-long friend, Henry Standing Bear, who usually adds his Native American skills of observation and contemplation to solve the mystery at hand.  Walt and Henry are called to a Wind River Canyon outpost to investigate intermittent “officer needs assistance” calls in the canyons where radio transmission is spotty at best.  Rosey Wayman, newly assigned to the post, is starting to doubt her sanity because the messages are coming from a patrolman who died   in the 1980’s.  This mystery can’t be solved without looking into the past and confronting the legend of The Highwayman.  Longmire’s office staff and his daughter, with their own side plots, are missing from this more direct storyline, but reappear in An Obvious Fact, the next story in the series, due for publication in September 2016.  The TV series, available in the DVD section, features three full seasons of Robert Taylor as Walt Longmire and Lou Diamond Phillips as Henry Standing Bear..

Lynette Suckow, Reference Desk

Monday, June 20, 2016

British detective movies

Summer’s here and you are probably spending a lot of time outside. However, on rainy or cold days you might want to stay inside, pop some popcorn, and watch a film.

Here are some British detective movie series you can borrow from the library. If you do not reside in Peter White Public Library’s service area, you can try inter-library loaning them through your home library.

The popular series Inspector Morse ran for 33 episodes from 1987-2000. The films are based on the novels by Colin Dexter who appears in a cameo role in all but three episodes. Morse, played by John Thaw, is a crusty and gruff upper-middle-class British snob who enjoys some of the finer things in life including good beer, his red 1960 Jaguar, opera, poetry and crossword puzzles. Morse is an example of the “gentleman detective” like Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes. He differs from these earlier detectives in that Morse is not always right. He is also romantic and sometimes flirts or asks out a coworker or suspect but never finds success in love. Morse uses only his surname. When asked what his first name is, he sometimes replies, “Detective.” He and his trusty partner and friend, Detective Sergeant Robert Lewis, solve murders around the university town of Oxford.
If, by the end of the series, you are hooked on Morse, you can also check out The Making of Morse, The Story of Morse, and Inspector Morse’s Oxford. These DVDs portray the actors and film crew, tour the city of Oxford, and provide the history behind filming this beloved series. We also have the book, The Oxford of Inspector Morse by Bill Leonard.
Colin Dexter so admired John Thaw’s portrayal of Morse that he decided there would be no more Morse stories after the end of the series. The executive producer of Endeavour spent several years convincing Dexter otherwise. Shaun Evans portrays a young Morse in the 1960s after he drops out of university, serves in the Royal Signal Corps, and begins his police career in Oxfordshire. Endeavour works with senior partner DI Fred Thursday. There are a lot of links to the original series, including the presence of John Thaw’s daughter who plays a reporter in the new series, and more Dexter cameo appearances. The prequel appeared in 2012. Seasons 1 and 2 followed in 2013 and 2014. Filming is ongoing.
Inspector Lewis is the welcome return of Morse's former partner, Robbie Lewis, played by Kevin Whately, in a series of his own. Set in Oxford five years after the Morse series concludes, and two years after his wife is killed in a hit-and-run accident, Lewis, now promoted to Detective Inspector, teams up with DS James Hathaway (played by Laurence Fox) to continue investigating Oxford’s intricate murders. Nine seasons were filmed from 2006-2015 at which time Whately announced his retirement after playing Lewis for almost 30 years. PBS has numbered the series a bit differently than the original broadcast. Season 9 will be broadcast this year on PBS as season 8.
For a change of pace, you can watch a female detective at work in the ongoing series Vera. DCI Vera Stanhope (Brenda Blethyn) is tough, untidy, sharp tongued, and as solid as the rocky Northumberland hills in which this series is set. Vera flounders with relationships at work and in her personal life but is totally dedicated to solving murders. Her partner, family man DS Joe Ashworth (David Leon), gets frustrated by Vera’s moody and temperamental ways but deeply respects his boss. The pair is assisted by forensic pathologist Billy Cartwright and DC Kenny Lockhart who sure know how to rile Vera. This brilliantly written and casted series is inspired by Ann Cleeves’ mystery novels. BTW, some of these newer series are subtitled which helps with the various regional British accents.
Silent Witness is a long-running crime thriller (1996-present) featuring a team of forensic pathologists and scientists as they investigate murders. Until 2004, Dr. Samantha Ryan assisted the police in their investigations. Beginning in 2004, Dr. Nikki Alexander becomes the new female forensic pathologist. The first three seasons are set in Cambridge; then the show moves to London. While several characters appear regularly through much of the series, the supporting characters change from season to season. The series’ creator was a former detective on a murder squad. Only a few seasons are available in the United States at this time.
George Gently features Martin Shaw in the lead role of an old-fashioned inspector in Britain’s North-East. Formerly, Gently worked for Scotland Yard, but after the murder of his beloved wife, he moved north to solve one last case. His impulsive and impatient sergeant, John Bacchus (Lee Ingleby), constantly frustrates Gently. The chemistry between them, and the growth of their grudging respect for one another, is a pleasure to watch. Set in the 1960s, the extremely well written and humorous series deals with the social and political changes of the times. The on-going series is adapted from the Inspector Gently novels written by Alan Hunter.
In all of these series, it is not only the crime-solving but the development of the characters and their relationships that captivates viewers. The casting is spot-on and it is fun and sometimes startling to watch an actor play a “goodie” in one series and a “baddie” in an episode of another series. The library owns many movie series. Come on in and check us out.

--Cathy Seblonka, Collection Development Librarian


Monday, June 13, 2016

Donated in memory of a beloved teacher

Peter White Public Library recently received many generous donations given in memory of local beloved teacher and children’s author, Ragene Henry.  The funds were used to purchase a benches for the children’s room atrium and the west entrance atrium as well as numerous middle grade fiction books.  Thank you to the many donors who chose to honor Mrs. Henry’s memory with your thoughtful gifts to the community.  Below are books purchased with the memorial gifts:

Darkstalker (Wings of Fire: Legends) - Tui Sutherland - In the SeaWing kingdom, a young prince learns he is an animus -- capable of wonderful magic that comes with a terrible price.  In the mind of a NightWing dragonet, a thousand futures unfold -- and almost  all of them, she knows, lead to disaster and destruction.   

Dork Diaries 9: Tales from a Not-So-Dorky Drama Queen - Rachel Renee Russell - Nikki's diary is up to the month of April, and springtime is sure to bring more wacky adventures with her friends Chloe, Zoey, and Brandon.

Eva and the New Owl - Rebecca Elliott - Eva wants to be friends with Hailey, the new owl in her class, but when Hailey seems to prefer Lucy's company, Eva starts to feel left out, and even a little jealous of her best friend.

The Firefly Code - Megan Frazer Blakemore - Mori and her friends live a normal life on Firefly Lane in their utopian community, Old Harmonie. In a world this safe and perfect, they've never had to question anything, never had to wonder about how their lives came to be--until a new girl moves in. She's "so" perfect that Mori and her friends are curious.  When Ilana's secret is revealed, the kids on Firefly Lane must decide if it is finally time to start questioning the only world they've ever

The Girl in the Well Is Me – Karen Rivers - Kammie Summers has fallen into a well during a supposed initiation into a popular club.  Now trapped in the dark, waiting to be rescued, Kammie thinks about the best and worst moments of her life so far in this unforgettable story about a bullied girl.

Hippopotamister - John Patrick Green - The zoo isn't what it used to be. It's run down, and Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he'll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise.

The Hour of Magic (Geronimo Stilton and the Kingdom of Fantasy #8) - Geronimo Stilton - I, Geronimo Stilton, was amazed to find myself called back to the Kingdom of Fantasy for another adventure.  Blossom, Queen of the Fairies, needed my help-- time itself was under threat!   Something evil was making the hands of the magical Tick Tock Timepiece spin faster and faster. It was causing Blossom to age at an alarming rate and if she perished, so would the entire Kingdom of Fantasy.

Lily and Dunkin - Donna Gephart - Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy--especially when you're in the
eighth-grade. Norbert Dorfman, nicknamed Dunkin Dorfman, is bipolar and has
just moved from New Jersey.  This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse. One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother
meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.

The Lost Cipher - Michael Oechsle - After the death of his father, Lucas becomes obsessed with the legend of Thomas Jefferson Beale's lost treasure. To save his home, he leads his friends on a dangerous mission into the wilderness to find it.

Mayday - Karen Harrington - Twelve-year-old Wayne Kovok loses his uncle to war and his voice to a plane crash in the same year and must learn to speak up as he navigates relationships with his father, grandfather, and new friend, Denny Rosenblatt.

Nick and Tesla's Solar-Powered Showdown: A Mystery with Sun-Powered Gadgets
You Can Build Yourself
- Bob Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith – Kid inventors Nick and Tesla Holt have outsmarted crooks, spies, and kidnappers.  Now they have to crack their biggest mystery yet: Where the heck are their parents? To outwit the criminal mastermind who’s holding their parents hostage, the twins will need all their brainpower, the help of their eccentric Uncle Newt, and an assortment of homemade solar gadgets.

Other titles purchased in memory of Ragene Henry include:
Platypus Police Squad: Never Say Narwhal – Jarrett Krosoczka
Return to the Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Novel – Melissa de La Cruz
Save Me a Seat – Sarah Weeks
The Scandal – John Grisham
Sea Change: A Toon Graphic – Frank Viva
The Secret Destiny of Pixie Piper – Annabelle Fisher
Silence Is Goldfish – Annabel Pitcher
Six Kids and a Stuffed Cat – Gary Paulsen
Skating with the Statue of Liberty – Susan Lynn Meyer
The Sleepover – Jen Malone
Some Kind of Happiness – Claire Legrand
Somewhere Among – Annie Donwert-Chikamatsu & Sonia Chaghatzbanian
Summer of Lost and Found – Rebecca Behrens
Trouble the Water – Frances O’Roark Dowell
Wolf Hollow – Lauren Wolk
The Brightest Stars of Summer – Leila Howland
A Clatter of Jars – Lisa Graff
The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island – Dana Alison Levy
Fuzzy Baseball – John Steven Gurney

-- Heather Steltenpohl, Development Director

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Art Prints

Did you know that Peter White Public Library has nearly 300 art prints available for the public to borrow? Unlike other items in our collection, borrowed art prints are limited to two (2) at any time and can be borrowed for up to two (2) months. There are no renewals allowed for borrowed art so it’s important to keep a note of when those items are due back to the library, otherwise fines could add up quickly -- the fee for overdue art prints is $1 per day.

The library’s collection of circulating art prints contains work by local and nationally known artists as well as photographs and posters. These art prints are framed and ready to hang in your home or office. All art prints can be found behind the stacks of paperback books on the Main Level of the library.

Here are a few of my favorites from the collection.

Oyster Gatherers of Cancale by John Singer Sargent
This large wood framed art print depicts a blue-sky summer day in which women and children have gathered along the coast of Brittany to begin their search for oysters. The way in which Sargent distributes light throughout the painting is dazzling. An American-born artist, Sargent was known for his impressive portraits of war generals and popular figures of the day. However the Oyster Gatherers of Concale clearly demonstrates that his abilities extended beyond portraiture.

The Flower Carrier by Diego Rivera
This small square art print displays a man on his hands and knees in a bright yellow sombrero while a woman stands behind him adjusting the enormous basket of flowers on his back. Like many of Rivera’s paintings, geometric shapes offer bold and intense contrasts creating a scene which is simple yet strikingly beautiful. This print is perfect for any space you wish to energize with color.

Moving Mallard by Jeff Santti
An elegant black frame and green matting compliment this newer addition to the library circulating art collection. The bright yellow bill and iridescent bottle-green head of the mallard are a striking contrast against the dark lake he glides along. This attractive color photograph is an original donated by the artist and will add instant class to any office or living space.

Babar en Avion by Laurent de Brunhoff
Picking up where his father left off, Laurent de Brunhoff continued writing and illustrating the stories of Babar the Elephant after WWII. Babar en Avion is a large metal-framed illustration of Babar flying a red airplane above his royal elephant family. Imaginative and cheerful, this art print will bring joy to any room.

Wild Rose Marsh by Nita Engle
Peter White Public Library has many watercolor prints by local artist Nita Engle but Wild Rose Marsh is one of the more fantastic and mysterious in the collection. As wild roses and vibrant colors explode across the bottom of the print and white birds take flight above, Engle offers a landscape that free and uninhabited. Like much of Engle’s work, this print will transport you.

Last Light by Mary Demroske
An eerie art print by local artist Mary Demroske, Last Light depicts the deck of the famed Edmund Fitzgerald flooded by a wave. Unlike other depictions of the Edmund Fitzgerald, the sky is only beginning to turn dark, hinting at the devastation to come. 

--Dominic M. Davis, Administrative Assistant