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#CF Rex Stout

CF: crime and thrillers, both of which

have been granted something of a literary pass in recent years.

Popular formule: male protagonist has some personal issues

Nero Wolfe …never leaves the house to investigate a crime!

NW: orchid fancying ‘enfant terrible’

NW: eccentric/maverick who doesn’t follow the rules

NW: drinks beer and saves the bottle caps (why?)

NW: sidekick = Archie Goodwin optimistic-cynical dogsbody

I enjoyed this book….many suspects have secrets that create

unexpected twists and turns in the plot!

Feedback @Tracy Bitter Tea and Mystery

Tracy, I’m having great fun discovering all the crime fiction can offer! Fer-de-Lance by Rex Stout did not disappoint!! I’ve never really ready many CF…thinking I have to rend NF (politics, news) or classics. But there is an art to creating a riveting plot, false clues, believable characters and snappy dialogue! The humor Agatha Christie inserts in Hercule Poirot novels is delightful. I feel like a kid with a box of candy…open he cover and which one shall I choose now? You will see I’m often prowling around your blog (archive) and and loving 2013 From CF to Film and the ABC of CF. My reviews are short b/c I know there are so many experts who can supply us with insightful comments. I’m just happy to enjoy the experience “riding on your CF coattails!”


#Non-fiction Carol Leonnig

No one does research like The Washington Post’s investigative

journalist Carol Leonnig.

She never disappoints!

This is a eye-opening account of the rise and fall of the Secret Service

…from JFK to Trump.

Some sections were less interesting than others

due to my knowledge of the events during Nixon and Clinton’s era.

There are still some very interesting ‘tidbits’ to discover!

Personally…I never knew that Secret Service agents

were out ‘hard’ boozing the night before they were to protect JFK in Dallas.


The US President Joe Biden in now on his first foreign trip to UK

for G7 meeting.

I’m watching the images of the Secret Service closely

and with respect for what they do.

Great read (published May 2021) for the non-fiction lovers!


#Non-fiction Ronan Farrow

Catch and Kill (Ronan Farrow) …is his bombshell exposé (Oct 2017)

about serial abusers and a cabal of powerful interests

hell-bent on covering up the truth, at any cost

from Hollywood to Washington and beyond.

The main focus is on Harvey Weinstien

….and his sexual abuse of many young women.

Riveting to read how Farrow’s article was blocked by NBC News.

Farrow was spied upon by ex Mossad operatives and he finally

published the article in the brave magazine The New Yorker.

Weinstein? powerful man…but still brought to his knees by the truth!

If you love details…this is your book.

If you just “want the facts”

then I’d recommend reading Ronan Farrow’s article

dd. 10 October 2017 in The New Yorker.

So whatever your preference…the book/article is worth reading!

Catch and Kill: Fast-burning page turner,

I couldn’t put it down

…intelligent #InvestigativeJournalism.


#CF William Shaw

The book started out with a very clever “hook”

that keeps the reader guessing!

Subplot ‘birdwatching with young 15 yr girl’ (daughter of copper)

was a too drawn out.

Listening to a Gen Z teenager complain

about her school does not drive the plot at all!

I felt the flashbacks to “The Troubles” in No Ireland

at times broke the flow of the mystery at hand.

All in all a good read….but not great.

I enjoyed Agatha Christie’s “Mrs. Mcginty’s Dead” much more!

She is still #QueenOfMystery!


#CF Agatha Christie

I don’t read many CF books.

Real CF aficionados mention that this is NOT

Agatha Christie’s best work.

Well, I am in for a treat!

I thought this book was wonderful….

…and if it was not her best book

…I’m looking forward to more of Ms Christie’s




#AWW2021 Reaching Tin River

It’s hard to dislike this book b/c 
I admire Thea Astley as a writer
…but it is hard to defend it.

Ms Astely’s first novels were dazzling….
filled with autobiographical tidbits and
a dense almost poetic style.

“Reachng Tin River” was her last novel
and she felt pressured to produce a novel
every 2 years..or you’re dead meat.

Ms Astely wrote 5 drafts of this book and
I am afraid that was not enough to create a 
book I will long remember. On the contrary
…I’ll forget this one after today.


#Poetry The Lost Arabs

  1. I struggled with this collection.
  2. I admired just 23% of the poems.
  3. When Sakr wrote about his family, ancestors…
  4. he reached me emotionally.
  5. Favorite poem was “Chances”.
  6. When Sakr spoke with “no holds barred”
  7. (he does not exercise any form of self-censor)
  8. ...I felt only his rage, anger and frustration.
  9. I felt the first 20 poems were written by a completely
  10. different poet than the rest of the poems.
  11. A collection is written over the course of years (2017-2018)
  12. …so the world and mind of a poet is dynamic….
  13. and that can change his creative vision.
  14. Sakr’s voice is unique
  15. …but I don’t know if everyone will enjoy is writing!
  16. #MixedReactions


#Poetry Fire Front

  1. Poetry is personal. Period. End of review!
  2. This anthology of Blak Australian writing is impressive.
  3. I read 53 poems.
  4. about each poet before opening the poem.
  5. Each poem was a gift tied up with a ribbon
  6. …never knew what I was going to get.
  7. 38% of the poems were excellent…
  8. Favorite? It has to be Melanie Mununggurr – Williams
  9. 2018 SLAM champion.
  10. You can enjoy her poem “I Run”… on You Tube.
  11. I was speechless, so beautiful!
  1. I almost forgot to mention the introduction by editor
  2. Alison Whittaker…don’t miss it!
  3. She reveals that poets are holders of the “fire”.
  4. Each poet has his or her own style to let the language “burn”.
  5. Title: Fire Front
  6. — how the fire (poetry) keeps moving responsibly
  7. — with the threat of reckoning….and the offer of restoration.
  8. #MustRead anthology
  9. …you won’t regret it!

#Non-fiction The Betrayal

  1. Scathing exposé of the ‘bungled actions’
  2. of USA….during the Vietnam War.
  3. The Powers that Be threatened W. Corson with court martial
  4. if he proceeded to publish this book in 1968.
  5. This book brought back many memories.
  6. I was just as stunned as many in USA in 1960s with the
  7. daily reports from Vietnam and the body count
  8. while watching Walter Cronkite CBS evening news.
  9. ….I am speechless…truly speechless.

  1. Ch 1-4 back round information about struggles in Indochina 1950-60s.
  2. Generals Thieu, Ky, Loan.
  3. Remember Gen Loan in the iconic execution photo by Eddie Adams?
  4. Gen. Loan was head of the National Police and made Himmler’s Gestapo look
  5. like the board of overseeres in a Quaker church!
  6. Ch 5 great explanation about the Vietcong
  7. …organization, recruitment, reasons for its success and what to do about it.
  8. The book looses its punch in chapters 6-10
  9. …too many stats that did not interest me.

  1. Corson closes the book with 2 great chapters….
  2. Ch 11- Birdwatching in Vietnam
  3. Visitors such as …congressmen, managers, LBJ’s cronies,
  4. scientists, defense undersecretary…
  5. the author compares them with birds
  6. …vultures, magpies, parrots, dodo, owls, woodpeckers etc.
  7. They all turn war into a spectator sport.
  8. Ch 12 – To Stay, or Not to Stay?
  9. Corson highlights problems and possible remedies.
  10. #MustRead …..
  11. for anyone who still wants to
  12. make sense of the Alice in Wonderland politics of Vietnam.

#Short Stories Raymond Carver

  1. Love and Marriage
  2. Estranged couples
  3. Adultery
  4. Influence of Alcohol
  5. Male bonding during hunting trips
  6. …these were the main themes in this collection.
  7. 17 stories and I only lked 4! (23 %)
  8. There were a few stories about friendship
  9. …older couples during  an evening playing bingo
  10. …and a confessional conversation between a father and son.
  11. #HugeDisappointment
  12. I recommend Carver’s collection Cathedral (1983)
  13. that was a great series of short stories!