I’ll make you love the scribe’s job more than you love your own mother. I’ll make its beauties obvious to you, for it is the greatest of all professions, and there is none like it in all the land…See, there is no worker without an ovrseer except for the scribe, who is always his own boss. Therefore, if you can learn to write, it will be far better for you than ll the other careers which I have listed before you, each one of which is more wretched than the last.
–Egyptian Middle Kingdom scribal propaganda, ca. 2000 B.C.
(from Joyce Tyldesley’s Daughters of Isis)
Yeah, I would have taken that job.
Research, ah, research. If historical personages had not lived such fascinating lives and if writers did not write so fascinatingly about them, I would be far more productive. To wit, an illustration from What Life Was Like on the Banks of the Nile (Time-Life Books, 1996).
I don’t know that I would have fit right in but for sure as a woman I would have been a lot more comfortable in Egypt than I would have been in Rome, where women stayed home with the spinning, couldn’t pick their own husbands, couldn’t divorce, didn’t get the children if the husband up and left, didn’t receive alimony, and couldn’t own or operate their own businesses. In Egypt, a woman of that time could do all those things, and more.
My hero, Tetisheri? Well, let’s just say she does more.
Less Than a Treason (Head of Zeus, 9781786695697) receives a STARRED review in the May 1, 2017 issue.
When Aleut PI Kate Shugak is shot in the chest at close range, trooper Jim Chopin, her lover, is wracked with guilt for not killing her assailant sooner. [redacted, spoilers] When human bones are found near her retreat, Kate returns to Niniltna, where most locals thought she was dead, and resumes working. [redacted, spoilers, don’t bother with a FOIA request] Starting a Kate Shugak book is like going somewhere everybody knows your name, given the warmth and familiarity of the Niniltna cast, even to readers new to the series. The twenty-first series installment, this sequel to Bad Blood (2013) maintains Stabenow’s reputation for concise prose, pithy dialogue, full bodied characters, and intriguing plotting. Crime fiction doesn’t get much better than this.
— Michele Leber
May 6, 2017
Or it was on Monday. Reproduced here in full for your pre-ordering pleasure.
Edgar-winner Stabenow’s richly nuanced, highly entertaining 21st Kate Shugak mystery (after 2013’s Bad Blood) finds the Alaskan PI, who’s recovering from a gunshot wound she suffered months before, enjoying her solitude at her isolated cabin at the foot of the Quilak Mountains when some unwelcome visitors, who call themselves “orienteers,” pass by. One of them, a woman whose looks remind Kate of Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, seeks Kate’s aid after she tumbles off a ridge—and falls on a heap of human bones. The intrepid Kate packs up the scanty remains, which a variety of animals have picked clean, and heads for the nearest town. Soon a woman hires Kate to find her missing husband, and the plot goes off in some surprising directions from there. The book is sprinkled with wit, studded with exquisite descriptions of the rugged landscape, and filled with opinionated and endearing characters, including reality TV show producers, park rangers, geologists, and barkeeps. The dialogue is smart, authentic, and reminiscent of Elmore Leonard, had he trained his shrewdly ironic eye on the wilds of Alaska rather than the seamier side of Detroit. A line from a Robert Frost poem provided the title. (May)
And for those who prefer their books in print…
Kate21 selfie. With author.
…I’ll be signing the hardcover edition
at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore
on May 6th.
Click here for directions.
And if you can’t make it in person, click here to order your very own copy.
The PP gang know how to stick on a stamp.
Ordering info for bookstores and libraries:
A bit of news that arrived in my inbox after the RR went out:
Tantor Media will be publishing the audio version
of Less Than a Treason, and yes, before you ask,
Marguerite Gavin will be narrating.
You’ll have the buy link as soon as I do.
Warning: Spoilers spoken here.
It’s the Super Cub. Has to be. It’s basic transportation in Bush Alaska and in Kate19 it is also the murder weapon. (And even if you took all that away, there is that fabulous Head of Zeus cover above. Although if you’re taking off from an unfrozen lake you really should be on floats, not skis.)
This is my Dad in his Super Cub, Five-Zero-Papa, also known as The Hem’roid, because that’s what the Super Cub gives you when you spend a lot of time in the air in one. Dad was 6’4″ tall so he didn’t really climb into The Hem’roid so much as he put it on. If you were riding behind him, forget about seeing anything ahead, but he was always great about flying circles around anything he spotted that he knew you’d want to see out the side window, a black bear sow trying frantically to push her three cubs up a tree to get them away from the big bad airplane making noise overhead, two grizzlies slapping salmon out of the Theodore River, five moose sitting close together in a MatSu willow thicket, saving energy until the snow melted and the willow budded and there would be something for them to eat again.
If you’re an Alaskan pilot (more than 1 out of 100 of us are, have to be, 99 percent of the state has no roads) and you have a Super Cub there is almost nowhere you can’t land and almost no amount or kind of freight you can’t carry. I once saw a Super Cub take off down Seldovia Bay with 4X8 sheets of plywood strapped to both floats. Although Dad did quit hunting moose when he got The Hem’roid, because you can fit a whole caribou into the back of a Super Cub, whereas hauling out a moose takes more than one trip. Even as big an asshole as he was, Finn Grant was no dummy when it came to planes. Neither was his killer.
Thanks to Arlene for her great comment on cellphones and Ginger’s on the M4, but Megan and Susan have it this month.
The 21st Kate Shugak novel, coming May 6, 2017.