Oh, Sheila


As February winds to a close, and March lingers there on the horizon, I can’t believe that we are nearly three months into 2018 already. I’ve done quite a bit of writing so far this year; so much so, that in fact, I’ve already written more than I did all of last year. How scary is that? The next few months are going to be a bit on the insane side for me, as I have much to write, the Williams Festival/Saints and Sinners is also coming up quickly, and many many deadlines are looming as well. Which is cool, but stressful. I’m getting a lot done, though, and I am making progress on the goals I set for the  year. I’m not as consistent with the gym and working out as I would like, but I am already on pace to have been to the gym more times this year than last already, and that watershed is coming up soon.

We started watching Altered Carbon on Netflix this week. I’ve seen a lot of people trashing the show on social media; so I didn’t have high hopes going into it, but we’re enjoying it so far. Visually it’s stunning; it sort of reminds me of Blade Runner (which I haven’t seen in over thirty years; should probably rewatch that soon). It’s kind of a cross between sci/fi and a hardboiled detective story; which is part of why I find it intriguing. I also like the lead actor, Joel Kinnaman; I enjoyed him in the American version of The Killing, and you can’t go wrong with James Purefoy. And while there is a lot of nudity, for a change it seems pretty equally distributed between males and females, and they actually show full frontal male, which is extremely unusual. The show has also intrigued me enough to go back and read the books on which the show is based; and I am relatively certain the books are most likely better than the show.

I’m a little behind on the Short Story Project, as I try to wind down the Bouchercon anthology, but I did read “Three Little Words” by Nancy Pickard, from the MWA Anthology Manhattan Mayhem.

Priscilla laughed hysterically when her doctor told her she had only a few weeks to live.

When she saw the shocked dismay on his handsome face, she waved away his worry and kept guffawing like a four-year-old who had just heard the funniest knock-knock joke on earth. And, being a preschool teacher, she knew knock-knock jokes and four-year-olds.

Nancy Pickard is one of my favorite crime writers: her stand-alones, The Virgin of Small Plains and The Scent of Rain and Lightning are two of my favorite crime novels of all time (both are sorely in need of a reread). I also loved her Marie Lightfoot series; Marie being a true-crime writer, so her adventures were always interspersed with excerpts from the book she was writing about the case she was looking into in the book; a book within a book, and it was terribly clever. This short story is evidence of why I enjoy Pickard’s work so much. Poor Priscilla is a wealthy young girl who’s estranged from her family; she creates a bucket list when she finds out she had little time left to live: it consists of three little words, tell the truth. And that’s what she does; she goes around telling everyone the truth, whether they want to hear it or not. Then she is murdered, but why? The story is told from the point of view of her doctor, who is also her friend, and as the story moves on, each sentence makes the plot and mystery of who murdered Priscilla and why even more complicated and layered; this story is definitely a classic.

And now, back to the spice mines.


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