| May 11, 2008
Where better for a writer to turn for inspiration than to reality? This is especially true of the mystery fiction micro-trend in which authors fashion real-life figures into detectives. It's tricky territory because the margin of error is so tiny. For...
| Jun 8, 2008
The icebergs that travel to Labrador are time capsules -- sealed thousands of years ago, when snow fell on Greenland. The snow compressed into glacial ice, white from the trapped air bubbles, these from pre-pollution times.
Today, that glacial ice...
| Oct 4, 2009
Aldous Huxley: "The Devils of Loudun" (HarperPerennial)
In 1643, an entire convent in the small French village of Loudun was apparently possessed by the devil. The convent's charismatic priest was eventually convicted of seducing the nuns in his charge...
| Dec 7, 2009
Character actor in many westerns
Warren Vanderschuit, 79, a character actor who appeared in the John Wayne film "Rooster Cogburn" and dozens of TV westerns and who had an impressive athletic career as a young man in Los Angeles, died...
| Jun 17, 2009
Happy the poet whose life and work remain so well-remembered that his name becomes an adjective.
George Gordon Byron, sixth baron of that title, is certainly a poet who stands in that rarefied company, though it's hard to believe that even the linguistic...
| Sep 13, 2009
'Shadow and substance'
What's the first thing you think about when you hear the words "The Twilight Zone"?
Is it a man in a black suit with a cigarette? Or that cool, lawyerly voice: "Submitted, for your perusal: a Kanamit. Height: a little over 9 feet....
| Dec 20, 2009
Altair Maine said he was so little supervised in his first few years of teaching at North Hollywood High School that he could "easily have shown a movie in class every day and earned tenure nonetheless."
Before second-grade teacher Kimberly Patterson...
| Dec 30, 2009
Sherry cocktails have come a long way from hot sack posset. A custardy Middle Ages concoction of sherry, milk and eggs, popular first in Britain and then the New World, sack posset eventually gave way to the likes of the 19th century Bamboo, a combination...
| Jan 10, 2010
Note: This is the second of a two-part column on the current state of contemporary detective fiction. This month: One of the masters of the form talks about the detective story.
In order to understand and properly appreciate contemporary detective...
| Jan 20, 2010
Robert B. Parker, the best-selling author whose long-running "Spenser" private-eye novels updated the genre of hard-boiled detective fiction in the 1970s, has died. He was 77.
Parker died Monday of a heart attack at his home in Cambridge, Mass., said his...