Sunday, October 13, 2013


All those years ago when Sue Grafton started her incomparable mystery series with A is for Alibi, it seemed that I would happily be reading her books indefinitely. The fault with that logic is that the alphabet has only 26 letters, and now that she's published W is for Wasted, THERE ARE ONLY THREE LETTERS LEFT!!!! On the other hand, Woo Hoo!  She still has three books to write!

When a homeless man is found dead on the Santa Teresa beach, the coroner is surprised to find Kinsey Millhone's name and number in his pocket.  She is asked to come in to I.D. the corpse but has no idea who he is.  Never one to leave a mystery unsolved, Kinsey soon finds herself kicking up a hornet's nest of unhappy relatives, shady private eyes and sweaty-palmed drug researchers.  But it is the homeless population of Santa Teresa who add the real depth and color to this story, and Sue Grafton gives them a voice and her respect.

Sue Grafton is a master craftsman of the mystery trade, and she proves it once again with W is for Wasted. This is definitely one of her best.  TBC

The Engagements

Things I did NOT know before I read The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan:

~From 1888 to 2000 De Beers held an effective monopoly in virtually every aspect of the diamond business.

~Up until 1938 the diamond engagement ring was NOT wanted or expected by most brides.  Here in the US only well-off brides-to-be were given diamonds; in Europe it just wasn't the thing to do.

~In 1938 the owners of De Beers hired N. W. Ayer and Son, the then-oldest advertising agency in the US, to help them come up with a plan to promote diamonds in the States, equating them with romantic love. They were very successful. (Understatement)

~The slogan, "A Diamond is Forever", was written in 1947 by Frances Gerety, a young copywriter at Ayer's.  In 2000 it was named the Best Advertising Slogan of the 20th Century by Advertising Age magazine. It is still in use today.

Through four very different stories of love and betrayal, J. Courtney Sullivan has created an intimate tale of diamonds and their very human owners, interweaving the history of the diamond business, advertising and De Beers with brillance and clarity. (See what I did there?!) So, ask yourself: Why do I think diamonds=love? Answer: Because N. W. Ayer & Son told me so. And I can't say I'm sorry they did!  Read The Engagements.  You will LOVE it, and you won't even have to give it a diamond.