The World of September 29

Good morning bookies. Stand by for news.

London: The headquarters of British publisher Gibson Square, which doubles as the residence for its publisher Martin Rynja, was firebombed Saturday. Gibson Square is planning to publish The Jewel of Medina, a novel about one of the wives of the Prophet Muhammad. It was known to be a dangerous undertaking, Muslim extremists being what they are, but Rynja’s stand was that in a free society, access to literature of all types is mandatory. Here in the USA Random House had plans to publish the book, but bowed to pressure.

Gainesville, FL: Last Tuesday English born professor for the University of Florida, William Woodruff, died aged 92. Late in life he became a surprise best-selling author with his biography of growing up in a working class England that has long since vanished. “The Road to Nab End: A Lancashire Childhood” and its sequel made him a hero and home and known around the world.

Teaneck, NJ: Russian emigre historian Marc Raeff died on Sept. 20th. Born in Moscow in 1923, he and his family somehow made it out of Stalin’s brutal USSR in time for Raeff to serve in the US Army during World War II. So long, GI.

Washington, D.C.: Last Saturday, Jenna and Laura Bush read to an audience of children from their first book together, Read All About It, during the National Book Festival, the national celebration of books founded by Mrs. Bush. When it became obvious that a number of kids could not see the pictures in the book, the ladies organized a march to the front of the tent so the youngsters could see better, no doubt making the Secret Service very nervous. Bravo, ladies!

In the category of ‘Ooohh, this sounds good’: Bob Wittman, who founded the FBI Art Recovery Team and was its only undercover agent, has retired and signed to pen a book about his operations, tentatively entitled In Pursuit of the Priceless. That’s the kind of thing that sounds like a great way to pass a long winter’s night.

The Los Angeles area reporter for this blog, who also doubles as the creator, editor and inspiration for the site where some of my reviews have appeared, www.iloveamysterynewsletter.com, reports that Stephen Hunter was at a small book fair in West Hollywood yesterday. Hunter, you may recall, is the author of the Earl and Bob Lee Swagger (Bob the Nailer) thriller series. I’m currently reading his newest, Night of Thunder, so I was glad to here that he has finally retired and is now writing full time. Lucky him, lucky us!

Sally, the genius behind ILAM, send this bit about the panel of mystery writers at yesterday’s fair: “it was a good group on Stephen Hunter’s panel. Brett Battles and
Brent Ghelfi, Susan Arnout Smith and Evan Kilgore. Latter is unfamiliar to
me but he really kept things moving and was very well prepared. Anyway,
Brett has been to Bouchercon and was trying to tell Brent what to expect
since he only ever went to Anchorage which had to have been way less well
attended. They’ll both be in Baltimore so I’m going to check in with them
there. Anyway, news. Harley Jane Kozak has a new book in her series coming
in March. Stephen M. Thomas (Criminal Paradise) has his second (Criminal
Karma) coming in, I think, February.”

For you bookies who don’t know, Bouchercon is the largest mystery convention in the world. Named for famed editor Anthony Boucher, it travels the country each year, this year being in Baltimore. Man, would BBG like to be there for that.

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