Thursday, March 26, 2020

Nancy Drew Hardy Boys Super Mystery: Dead on Arrival

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Super Mystery: Dead On Arrival

Dead On Arrival is a Super Mystery that was written in 1995. It capitalizes on the popularity of "Emergency" style tv shows involving Emergency Medical Technicians and combines it with the horror genre of body snatching. Bodies are being stolen from rescue squad ambulances and Frank and Joe Hardy have been asked by Chief McGinnis of River Heights to go undercover to try to foil the thieves.  In River Heights, they are staying at Nancy Drew's house and enjoying Hannah Gruen's cooking, while Nancy and Ned try to enjoy a candlelight dinner on their own.
Bess and George are away with their parents on vacation, so they do not make an appearance in this story, instead, we have Brenda Carlton. Brenda is an investigative reporter and a rival to Nancy. Brenda comes to Nancy to get her help in finding a missing reporter named Pam Harter. They need to find out what Pam was investigating and hopefully find her before it is too late. Brenda is a spoiled, annoying version of Penny Parker. Her father owns the newspaper and she just puts her nose into everyone's business, jumps to conclusions and throws her weight around with no consideration of consequences.
This book contains all sorts of clues as to the location of River Heights.  Pam Harter dates an architect who lives in Chicago. When Pam is found dead at a construction site that her boyfriend was working on in River Heights, he becomes a prime suspect.  Blaine, the boyfriend, was supposedly waiting on Pam at a restaurant in Chicago at the time of the murder. We find out that it is an hour and a half drive from River Heights to Chicago.  At another point in the story, after Nancy and Ned have been investigating at the restaurant in Chicago, it was only 2 hours later that they arrived at her house in River Heights.
They discover that Pam was investigating Margaret Cavallo, a state representative who is considering running for governor.  Cavallo's brother was one of the bodies stolen from a rescue squad ambulance after he died in a car crash.  So now the body snatching and the murder of Pam Harter are related.
Both Nancy and Ned and Frank and Joe Hardy get chloroformed by the bad guys. Frank and Joe try to rescue Nancy and Ned, but also get captured. Can Brenda Carlton, the obnoxious nosy reporter save the day? I will let you read the book and find out.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Fishing

In these days when you are supposed to keep your distance from other folks, I think fishing is a great way to pass the time. Even if you are on a pier with other folks, you can maintain your distance. Unfortunately, Wrightsville Beach has closed all beach access until March 31st.

The first postcard is a reproduction of a photograph from 1911 from Arcadia Publishing. The second postcard is what I consider a generic postcard of the time of a Big Fish...hard to tell if it is an actual spot on Wrightsville Beach and it is not used, so I have no message on the back and no postmark. The last postcard is from Johnnie Mercer's Fishing Pier --On the back it says, "For the best in fishing--especially Sheepshead, Blues, Drum, Mullet, Mackerel and Pompano. Tackle, Souvenirs and Refreshments shop at the Pier. Well lighted for night fishing. "

Monday, March 16, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Boat Racing

Two postcards representing the popularity of boat racing at Wrightsville beach from Canoe Races in 1912 to motorboats in the 1940's

On the back of the Canoe Racing postcard, the person says that they will be going out in a boat like that the next day!

Monday, March 09, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Arriving at the Beach

Both of these postcards represent the approach to Wrightsville Beach from Wilmington, NC.  The second one says on the back "One of North Carolina's splendid highways, from Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach skirts the mainland for two miles or more, and then extends directly along the beach for a considerable distance. Wrightsville Beach is a splendid island resort, eight miles east of Wilmington. "

Monday, March 02, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Surf

The Surf Postcard is from 1910 and the Lady in the Surf is a reproduction of a photo from 1937 made into a postcard by Arcadia publications. And the last postcard is from 1975

Friday, February 28, 2020

February 2020 Books I read

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng I enjoyed it, very good about a Chinese-American family torn apart by the death of one daughter.
No I Don't want to join a Book Club by Virginia Ironside fun book highly recommend
True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey Australian gangster (much like our Billy the Kid) Ned Kelly and his family are the subject of this book, written as if it is coming from his diaries.
Decluttering at the Speed of  Life by Dana White (library) good book about wrapping your head around decluttering. Some nice to actually do it.
Institute by Stephen King (library) I really liked this one, much better than some of his other stuff recently. Special kids being taken from their families and used by a secret government agency.
The Wild One by Nick Petrie (library) The latest Peter Ash novel. This one is set in Iceland. Terrific.
Innocent Victims by Minette Walters two novellas read if you are a fan of Minette Walters
The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo (library) dysfunctional family drama, I am getting a little tired of these books, so did not enjoy this one as much as I might have if I was in another mindset.
Wild and Crazy Guys by Nick De Semlyen (library) look at the 1980's comedy masters from SNL and SCTV. Very good --I am a huge fan of that era of comedy.
And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander (library) Romance and mystery set in the late 1800's. I enjoyed it thought it was fun.
1222 by Anne Holt (library) good mystery.  Like murder on the orient express in Norway
The Dinosaur Artist by Paige Williams (library) loved it. But y'all know I'm on a paleontology kick.   About a guy who allegedly steals dinosaur fossils and sells to private collectors.  I found it fascinating.   It's a true story
Front Page Girls by Jean Marie Lutes (library) the story of the beginnings and evolution of female journalists. I enjoyed it and learned a lot
Blood Child and other stories by Octavia Butler (library) very good some sci-fi and she explains her process and intentions after each story, so very enjoyable for that.
The Story of Sushi by Trevor Corson thanks to Krista for recommending this one! I really liked it. If you are already squeamish about eating raw fish, it probably will not convince you!! But for fans of sushi, it is a very enjoyable read.
Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (library) really enjoyed this book, but it made me cry. It is about a Junvenile facility for boys in Florida and specifically about the black boys who went there. Based on true stories, this is a fictionalized account.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Silver Moon

Both of these postcards could be generic beach scenes, but both of these are used and were sent in 1948 and 1943 from Wrightsville, Beach, NC (and they have Wrightsville Beach printed on the front of the cards)  These are some of my favorites of my beach postcards and as a teenager, I was often out on the beach at night watching the moon and the phosphorescence.

The second card "moonlight tints the surf with silver"  was sent by a serviceman from Camp Davis, so it was FREE to send and it was the one sent in 1943--in the message he tells his friend that if he does not write back to him, when he comes home he will beat him up!! LOL

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Super Mysteries in Mexico

South of the Border into Mexico!

Supermysteries,  Passport to Danger and Copper Canyon Conspiracy were both written in 1994 and they both take Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys over our southern border and into Mexico to solve some mysteries. This was back in the day when you only needed a driver's license to visit Mexico.

In Passport to Danger, Nancy and Bess are in San Miguel de Allende helping friends of Aunt Eloise who have an art school. The mystery is that the art school seems to be the source of fake green cards that are being circulated in the area. Nancy must find the forger.  In this book, Frank and Joe are on vacation and visiting Mexico City friends who own an art gallery in that city.  There is a little Bess bashing, when she is eating chips and salsa and they mention that she is always trying to lose 5 pounds.  The Mexican Police tell Nancy Drew to not interfere because this is a serious police investigation and very dangerous.  Nancy, Bess and Joe are held at gunpoint while the bad guy confesses all.  But, Nancy, Frank and Joe all fight the bad guys and Nancy uses a judo kick to subdue him!

Copper Canyon Conspiracy starts in Tucson, AZ with Nancy, George and the Hardys at the Cactus Marathon. George and Joe are participating and they all meet some amazing runners from Mexico,the Tarahumara Indians who run barefoot.  They are world famous for being amazing endurance runners.  The Tarahumara are also trying to protect their home land in the Mexican Copper Canyon from being deforested.  The Mexican Police are not as well represented in this book. They are shown taking bribes.  We are told that Frank is a pilot and he knows the Amtrak 1-800 number by heart!  The best message from this book, "When you are someone's friend you have to stand up for their rights, even if that means suffering for it."

I was pleasantly surprised to like BOTH of these books. They had the Hardys and Nancy Drew on equal footing as detectives and they let the girls and the boys work together to solve the mysteries and fight the bad guys with neither having an obvious advantage. Romance took a back burner, although there is this quote from Passport to Danger, "somehow Bess always managed to find just the right amount of romance wherever she went."  There were a lot of great descriptions of Mexico and Mexican cities! I am ready to take a trip south of the border!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Today

Here are two of the few modern, present day postcards that I have of Wrightsville Beach, NC

View from the Bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway

The Causeway crossing over Banks Channel to Wrightsville Beach

Monday, February 10, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Blockade Runner Hotel

In 1964 The Blockade Runner Hotel was built on the site of the Old Ocean Terrace Hotel (which had burned down in 1955)  I learned to sail on a sunfish at Wrightsville Beach just like in these photos of the boats in front of the hotel 

Monday, February 03, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Ocean Terrace Hotel

The Ocean Terrace Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1955, at the time, it was the largest hotel on Wrightsville Beach. The site is now occupied by The Blockade Runner Hotel.

Friday, January 31, 2020

January 2020 Books I read

Catherwood by Marly Youmans the fictional story of a lady in 1676 America (the new world) who gets lost in the wilderness and how she survives.
The 39 Steps by John Buchan a spy story circa WWI
Flotsametrics and the floating world by Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Eric Scigliano Living in Seattle and beachcombing, you find crazy things sometimes. This scientist studies how things move in the oceans. Fascinating.
Winter Grave by Helene Turston (library) swedish thriller with a complex protagonist.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (library) I did not think it was an "edge of your seat" read. It is a psychological drama more than a thriller in my opinion.
Wheat Belly by William Davis (library) great book about the gluten-free thing. Lots of great information.
Richard Potter by John A. Hodgson (library) The true history of America's first black celebrity 200 years ago in the early 1800's Richard Potter was the most popular entertainer in America.
Miss Zukas and the Raven's Dance by Jo Dereske I love this series of mysteries set in the PNW with a librarian protagonist.
Off the Beaten Page by Terri Peterson Smith (library) A travel book with suggestions on where to go with a Literary Theme.
Normal People by Sally Rooney (library) thought it was kind of sad, sort of dysfunctional relationship between a boy and a girl thru High School and College.
Prairie Fever by Michael Parker (library) 2 sisters in early 1900's Oklahoma and the man that comes between them.
The Dental Diet by Dr. Steven Lin (library) great book again about how our modern diet is bad for us...processed foods, too much grain etc.
Oxygen by Carol Cassella an anesthesiologist has a child die during surgery and faces a malpractice suit. Set in Seattle (attention Grays Anatomy fans!!)
McTeague by Frank Norris just rereading this classic, I first read it as a teenager, my Dad had recommended it to me about the same time I was reading stuff like American Tragedy by Dreiser and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.. It is set in San Francisco, so has some great atmosphere of that city.
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (library) Great book about aging and death and how it is dealt with in the USA particularly. nonfiction
Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald (library) If you liked Somewhere in Time or The Age of Adaline or The Time Travelers Wife, you might want to check this one out too. Interesting idea about time travel and loving someone who is out of your time.
While I am Falling by Laura Moriarty (library) story of a girl in college whose life falls apart as her parents are divorcing. Very good. I recommend.
The Man Who Invented Christmas by Les Standiford (library) Basically the story of the writing of A Christmas Carol by Dickens. I liked the history of how Christmas was celebrated and also the biography details about Dickens.
The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (audiobook) I really love this book and I caught different stuff during the listening of it.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Watersports

Wrightsville Beach is separated from the mainland by the Intracoastal Waterway and Banks Channel, so there are lots of places for protected boating, sailing, water-skiing, canoeing, kayaking, swimming (and now stand up paddle boarding)

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys Super Mysteries Secrets of the Nile

There are 36 Super Mystery Books, so I still have more to read and review!

Secrets of the Nile 1995

Frank Hardy calls Nancy Drew and asks for her help. He wants her and Bess to join him and Joe in Egypt. They will need to pose as newlyweds! Someone from the State Department has contacted Frank and Joe and asked them to take the place of newlywed brothers who have been threatened with kidnapping by a terrorist group.  The Addisons are one of the richest families in New York and the State Department is going to make fake passports for the Hardys and track the couples in an attempt to foil the terrorist kidnappers.

Of course, Nancy and Bess go along and they quickly grab a flight from Chicago to New York to meet up with the Hardys and continue on to Cairo. Immediately on arrival in Egypt, their rooms are ransacked. When they try to contact the State Department, there is no record of the agent who contacted them  and there is nothing to show that they are working for the government! Either they are disavowed like some Mission Impossible Ethan Hunt OR they have been set up.  They discover that the Addison brothers are not even married and all clues point to the entire trip being a set up, but for what? And so much money was spent, first class tickets, spending money, new wardrobes for the guys and the girls, what could be so important to justify all this expenditure just to get the Hardys and Nancy Drew to come to Cairo?

Nancy and Bess meet a woman who is trying to find her daughter.  Reminds me of Not Without My Daughter (which was a movie in 1991).  The American woman suspects that her ex-husband who is Egyptian has kidnapped their daughter and brought her to Egypt. Nancy and Bess decide to help her find her daughter.   Frank and Joe get into a knife fight and are arrested. Joe breaks into a warehouse using a credit card to jimmy a door lock. Nancy gets knocked unconscious.  They are threatened twice to stop investigating why they were brought to Egypt.

Nancy is always prepared and manages to have a McGyver handbag, which has a flashlight when needed, scissors when needed etc.  Nancy and Joe work together to defuse a bomb. There is a lot of romance between Nancy and Frank, since they are pretending to be newlyweds and often have to act like they are married. But in the end, they agree that they actually love other people and are just great friends.

I enjoyed the travelogue aspect of the Secrets of the Nile. The fact that the bad guys brought the Hardys and Nancy Drew to Egypt and then they threaten them and don't want them in Egypt is pretty ludicrous to me. This has happened in other Supermysteries where the bad guys are the people who actually bring the detectives into the story. I do not understand. Why?  The two mysteries, the "not without my daughter" story line and the "kidnapping terrorist" story line of course come together in the end and are intertwined.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Station One

These postcards are of views from Station One. An electric trolley operated to Wrightsville Beach for many years. Many place names today, Station One Condos, Trolley Stop hot dogs, and more,  represent this part of Wrightsville Beach's history.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Generic

 First off in my Wrightsville Beach postcard collection are what I consider generic cards. These cards could be for any beach from Maine to Florida but they either have Wrightsville Beach written on them or like the first card with the child, they were mailed from Wrightsville Beach, so that sort of proves that this card was bought and mailed from that location. Even though from the subject matter, these cards could be for any beach. I will also say that the vast majority of my postcard collection are cards that were never mailed, so I have many that do not have postmarks which sometimes makes it hard to figure out what year they are from, but I like the challenge of figuring that out from the style of card and other clues in the photos on the cards.

Monday, January 06, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach, NC: Framed

Okay, so I am going to try something really weird this year. This year in 2020 I am going to highlight only postcards from one place. I have collected postcards from Wrightsville Beach, NC ever since I lived there in the 1980's. So I have a huge box of Wrightsville Beach postcards and even last year, I started trying to get some more recent postcards of this town. Which turned out to be surprisingly difficult. For several reasons, number one, postcards are just not that popular anymore, so folks are less likely to create them and/or sell them. Number two, it seems like Wrightsville Beach does not want to promote itself as a vacation destination anymore. They are basically saying, we have enough people who come here already, so you really do not need to know anything more about us!!  So anyway, 2020 will the the year of Wrightsville Beach. I will start off with this example of how I took postcards and framed them to put on my wall.

You might see some of these cards again in later posts, because I often do have multiples of certain scenes (I really love those antique night scene cards)

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

Books I read in December 2019

The Dig by John Preston (library) fictional account about a real archaeological dig in England on the eve of WWII. I really liked it, but then I am obsessed with archaeology and paleontology lately.
The Spellman Files  by Lisa Lutz (audiobook) This was the latest book going in my car, very enjoyable. I am a fan of this series of books about the dysfunctional  Spellman family of detectives
The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson (library) This is obviously a genre now! This is the third book I have read lately about senior folks getting out and about and into trouble. ("A Man Called Ove" and "An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good" the other two)  Very enjoyable.
Before and After The Incredible Real-life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society by Judy Pace Christie (library) very poignant stories about the real orphans who inspired the fictional book "Before We were Yours" by Lisa Wingate.
The Lucky Hat Mine by J. v. L. Bell A really fun read about a mail order bride to a mining town in Colorado. Romance, Mystery and a bit of history too. A nice set of book club questions at the end also.
The Day the World Ended at Little Big Horn by Joseph M. Marshall III The history of Little Big Horn from the point of view of the Indians. Highly recommend especially if you like history.
Twisted Prey by John Sandford I like to take paperback books like this with me when I travel to Europe because I can just leave them behind when I am done with them.
Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell essays by Sarah Vowell. I love her stuff and really enjoy rereading them again.
I'm Off Then by Hape Kerkeling   A book about a German guy walking the Camino de Santiago. If you are a fan of the camino, then read it, but otherwise, I don't think it has general appeal.
Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules edited by David Sedaris a collection of short stories collected by David Sedaris. Lots of good ones by great authors like Flannery O'Connor and Dorothy Parker.
Blue Moon by Lee Child (library) the most recent Jack Reacher novel. During his travels, Reacher helps an elderly couple with their medical bills in a town that is split by rival Ukrainian and Albanian gangs.
Bold Spirit by Linda Lawrence Hunt the story of a woman who walked from Washington State to New York in 1896 very good, I highly recommend. Especially poignant about the stories from our families that get lost. Talk to your relatives NOW and find out as many stories you can about your family. This incredible story was almost lost forever.
The Man from the Train by Bill James (library) if you like those Cold Case Files TV shows where they take a crime from 20 years ago and try to solve it now with all our new DNA etc. Then this is the book for you. Crimes from 100 years ago!! They do research and find a link between them and discover that a serial killer was to blame. One man for many many murders. Highly Highly recommend. I really enjoyed it.
Talking to Strangers by Malcom Gladwell (library) As someone who has to deal with the public and talk to and explain things to people who are under a lot of stress, I found this book extremely interesting. Lots of great examples of how we do not understand other people's points of view.