Monthly Archives: April 2018

The Book Whisperer Ruminates On When One Should Give Up On A Book

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As an English major, I have done a great deal of required reading. Most of it I enjoyed; if I didn’t like an assigned reading, I still completed it because it was necessary. At times, I even changed my mind about a poem, story, or essay by the time I reached the end – and that change worked both ways. In retirement, I am not required to finish a book, even for a book club, if I choose not to continue.

What occasions this reflection on finishing a book? I am in a book club I joined last fall and have enjoyed a great deal. In the first series of books, the group read memoirs I never would have chosen myself. I learned from them and enjoyed them even if some of the writing was a bit uneven. The memoirs were all by Oklahomans. I learned about people I would not have known otherwise.

The meetings for that book club continued this spring with five mysteries. I have enjoyed all but the last one and that’s the book that caused me to reflect on whether to finish a book or to continue reading beyond my point of interest or caring. I decided in favor of stopping because I have an every-growing list of books I wish to read. The second mitigating factor in my decision is that I cannot attend the discussion of the book in question anyway because of a conflict in my schedule.

As a result, I have put the book down after reading 104 out of 232 pages. I gave myself permission to stop reading. In talking with my friend Sally Bright, retired English teacher, who is also in the book club, she commended my decision to stop especially since I cannot attend the discussion. Now, I have Sally’s permission to quit reading the book too! We are unanimous in this decision!

Several years ago, famous librarian and book reviewer Nancy Pearl spoke in Tulsa. At the end of her talk, she took questions from the audience. Someone asked her how she decided whether to continue reading or to stop since people send her hundreds of books hoping she will review them. I liked her method of deciding when to stop reading if she does not like a book. She may not actually use it, but it makes a great story. Nancy Pearl said to subtract your age from 100 and read that many pages before deciding whether to continue. By using that method, by the time you are 100, you can judge a book by its cover.

Sadie Trombetta’s article “10 Signs You Should Give Up On A book You’re In the Middle of (No, Really, It’s OK)” provides readers with ten signs not to ignore if a book is not engaging. She illustrates the article with pertinent pictures. Another blog suggests that one should read 50 pages before abandoning a book. Still another says if you have tried to read the book three times and kept putting it down each time, it is time to abandon the attempt. Read her article at this link: https://www.bustle.com/articles/137119-10-signs-you-should-give-up-on-a-book-youre-in-the-middle-of-no-really.

The stack of books below represent those waiting for us. Perhaps your titles differ from these titles here, but you know the stack I mean!

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Perhaps you are the reader who perseveres to the end regardless of interest and enthusiasm for a book. If that method works for you, then more power! For others, choosing to abandon a book makes better sense when that great read is within hand.

The Book Whisperer Reviews The House by the Lake

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Thomas Harding, great-grandson of Alfred and Henny Alexander, German Jews, who built the house by the lake, researched his family’s summer home. In searching out the home’s history, he delved into “murder, espionage, de-Nazification trials and simple family drama.” Malcom Forbes in the Star Tribune, concluded in his review that “at the end of [Harding’s] masterful tale, we understand more about Germany’s difficult past and appreciate what makes a house a home.” In fact the subtitle of The House by the Lake is “One House, Five Families, and a Hundred Years of German History.”

Alfred Alexander was a medical doctor with a thriving practice in Berlin. He decided a summer home in the village of GroB Glienicke on Grob Glienicke See would provide a respite from Berlin for his family. The children could swim in the lake, play in the nearby woods, and spend time outdoors in the sunshine.

Otto Wollank owned the large estate where the Alexanders built their summer home. Wollank had done a great deal to turn the estate into a modern, productive enterprise. In college, he learned scientific methods to apply to farming. He used pesticides and fertilizers which increased his yield. He pasteurized his milk and opened a chain of shops in Berlin where he sold the milk. Then he created a brickworks factory which employed people of the village. In addition, he planted a large vineyard.

Wollank, concerned for his workers, even built a nursery for his workers’ children. Later, he added a kindergarten and school. Wollank prospered. By 1926, Wollank had suffered losses, some due to WWI and then a later crop failure. In order to recover, he decided to offer leases on some of the property by the lake to families for summer homes. WWI brought hard times to Wollank and his enterprises; he rebounded a bit, but other problems occurred, causing a downturn in his finances.

Wollank decided to lease some of his property by the lake to well-to-do citizens of Berlin so they could build summer homes. In 1927, Dr. Alexander was one of the first to lease the property and to build a Sommerhaus by the lake. The Alexanders intended to vacation in the home during the summer, so the house had little insulation and only a minimal heating system.

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The Alexanders enjoyed the lake house and the countryside. Bella and Elsie, the older daughters had the blue room for their own; it had pulldown beds to give the room more space when the beds were not in use. Hanns and Paul, the twin boys, received the smallest bedroom with bunkbeds.

Bella married Harold Sussmann and they had gone to England. As Hitler made more and more pronouncements against the Jewish people, Sussmann encouraged Dr. Alexander to flee Germany. At first, Dr. Alexander was reluctant; he thought his position and his being well-known as a doctor would protect him. At last, however, he did take the family to England to join his daughter and son-in-law. By this time, Elsie had married Erich Hirschowitz; in England, they changed their name to Harding. Thomas Harding, author of the book, is their grandson.

Elsie’s fond memories of the house by the lake inspired Harding to find the house and then to research its past, thus resulting in the saving of the house for the historic register.

In his research, Harding discovers the other families who lived in the house until it was left empty and trashed by drug users. Following the Alexanders, the Meisel family lived there. Will and Eliza Meisel leased the house. Meisel was a widely known music property manager and promoter. Thomas follows Meisel’s rise and fall during WWII and after.

The Fuhrmanns next lived in a portion of the home as caretakers. They included Ella Rutz and Erich Fuhrmann with their children Heideraud and Lothar. Wolfgang Kuhne and his wife Ingeborg lived in the house longer than anyone else, but they did not own it.

In 1993, Thomas Harding takes his grandmother Elsie to see the house which is in great disrepair. She reminisced about the good times the family spent in the house and at the lake.

Thomas Harding is fulfilling his grandmother’s dream of being a journalist. He has written stories for the Financial Times, the Sunday Times, the Washington Post, Spiegel and the Guardian.  He wrote Hanns and Rudolf, a Sunday Times bestseller, winner of the JQ-Wingate Prize and a Costa Biography Award nominee.

Watch a video of pictures of the house and its inhabitants at his link: https://www.thomasharding.com/video-1/.

Read more about Thomas Hardin and his work including his blog on his Web site: https://www.thomasharding.com/.

The Book Whisperer Tackles Two Memoirs

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Today, the Book Whisperer tackles two memoirs: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah and Educated by Tara Westover. Both books recount growing up in vastly different circumstances, equally difficult circumstances and dissimilar family support. Trevor Noah, born 20 Feb 1984, and Tara Westover, born September 1986, both experienced violence and danger within the home and out.

Trevor Noah’s father Robert is of Swiss German ancestry, White, in other words; his mother is Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, of Xhosa ancestry, or Black under apartheid. Under South African laws of the time, a relationship between interracial couples was against the law. Called the Immorality Act of 1927, such relationships between Whites and Blacks could result in four or five years of prison. This law did not change until 1985, a year after Trevor Noah was born. Thus, the title for his memoir, Born A Crime, seems appropriate.

Even after the law is repealed, change does not take place overnight. Noah’s mother was still subject to harassment from many different areas. She took precautions to keep herself and Noah safe. For most of his early life, Noah had to stay inside because being found in a Black neighborhood could have resulted in his being taken away from his mother. Danger was an ever-present reality.

Like his mother, Noah learns languages which helps him in often dangerous situations. He overhears some young Zulu men observing him and saying they are going to mug him, so he begins speaking to them in Zulu. After their surprise, they accept him as one of them and do not mug him. Noah tells of other encounters with other groups; when he begins speaking their language, he is safe again.

Trevor Noah tells of his abusive step-father who eventually shoots Patricia Noah even though the two are separated. She survives the violent attack, but she is in critical condition. Trevor Noah rushes to the hospital and discovers the hospital wants to send her to the charity hospital because she has no insurance. A few months earlier, she has canceled her insurance because she reasons “I have not needed it.” Trevor Noah presses his credit card into the nurse’s hands and implores her to help his mother. The nurse tells him the cost can be astronomical, but he insists he does not care. He fears that moving her will create more problems or even cause her death.

As he tells his own story, Noah explains the various ways the South African government kept people apart and how the laws pitted groups of people against one another. Early in the book, Noah writes: “The genius of apartheid was convincing people who were the overwhelming majority to turn on each other. Apart hate, is what it was. You separate people into groups and make them hate one another so you can run them all.”

Noah’s story is funny, sad, dangerous, and well worth reading. He gives honest accounts of his mischievousness as a boy; in fact, some of his exploits are dangerous, not simply mischievous. After spending much of his early life hidden away, Noah finds liberation when the tyrannical white rule ended. That did not mean that life became easy for him or his mother, but he was no longer in danger of being taken away from her or for her being jailed. That freedom came with other dangers when his mother married Abel who became a drunk and an abuser. Trevor Noah explains how he watched his step-father in order to stay safe from beatings.

Throughout the story, the strong relationship between mother and son shines through. Patricia Noah is a courageous, strong woman who instilled in her son those same qualities. Michiko Kakutani in The New York Times describes Born a Crime as “[A] compelling new memoir . . . By turns alarming, sad and funny, [Trevor Noah’s] book provides a harrowing look, through the prism of Mr. Noah’s family, at life in South Africa under apartheid. . .. Born a Crime is not just an unnerving account of growing up in South Africa under apartheid, but a love letter to the author’s remarkable mother.”

In an interview in The Guardian, Tara Westover told the reporter “You can love someone and still choose to say goodbye to them, and you could miss someone every day and still be glad they’re not in your life.” That pronouncement is a good way to begin a look at Educated by Tara Westover.

Westover grew up in Idaho on Buck’s Mountain; her father called the mountain “the Indian Princess.” Westover who never sat in a classroom of any kind until she was seventeen and enrolled at Brigham Young University has gone on to earn a Ph.D. from Trinity College, Cambridge.

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In Educated, Westover describes growing up as the youngest child of seven in a Mormon family with her father growing more and more suspicious of the government and anyone who did not believe as he did. Canning peaches, stockpiling weapons, and pulling further and further away from society marked Westover’s growing up.

Her father recognized no dangers for himself or his family. Readers will be amazed, saddened, concerned, and fearful for the ten-year-old Tara as her father enlisted her help in his scrap metal business. He treated her as if she were an adult man, capable of handling sharp, irregular pieces of metal he loaded into the back of a truck. As Tara stood in the bed of the truck, her father dumped the first load. A sharp piece of metal pierced her leg; instinctively, she jumped up and fell out of the truck onto the ground below.

When her father saw her on the ground, her leg bleeding from the severe cut, he ripped off the sleeve of his shirt and wrapped it around her wound. Then he told her to run to the house and let your mother put her herbs onto the wound.

Westover’s father becomes more and more suspicious of others; only his first three children have birth certificates. Westover explained her father’s reasoning about the lack of birth certificates: “Dad worries that the Government will force us to go [to school] but it can’t because it doesn’t know about us. Four of my parents’ seven children don’t have birth certificates. We have no medical records because we were born at home and have never seen a doctor or a nurse.”

Only when an older brother wanted to get a driver’s license in order to drive a truck to earn money did the father relent see the need for getting “delayed birth certificates” for the remining children. Oddly, the parents do not know exactly when their children were born. They know the year, but they remained uncertain about the day and sometimes the month. Tara was born in September, but her mother and grandmother disagreed on the exact date, so Tara finally chose a date for herself for official documents.

Tara’s mother is supposed to be home schooling the children. Her teaching methods consisted of giving them books and letting them wander off to other parts of the house. Tara told of returning to her mother with a math book in her hand and saying, “I did 50 pages of math.” Her mother responded with, “You could never go that fast in a classroom.” Little did mother know that Tara simply flipped through the pages of the book.

Very soon, all pretense of home schooling evaporated. The children helped around the house, yard, and with the father’s scrap metal business. Obviously, in such a dangerous business, people got hurt. Tara’s father always expected his wife to take care of any injuries and illnesses with her herbs and tinctures.

Mr. Westover suspended his beliefs if it meant the family could make money. For example, he pushed his wife to become a midwife even though she had no training and could have been in serious trouble if anything had ever gone wrong in a birth. Mrs. Westover had a phone installed so women could call her when they went into labor; Mr. Westover could allow that Government intervention just as he had allowed his children to get birth certificates finally if it meant they could work to earn money for the family.

Tara Westover knowing no other life believed her father and wanted to comply with his beliefs and demands. Then her brother Tyler announces he is going to college. Tara’s life started changing at that point, though the change takes place slowly and often with backward steps as well as forward ones.

Readers will wonder how the children managed to survive the dangers their father imposed because he simply did not recognize danger. He thought God would protect them. Even when brother Shawn suffered a head wound from a motorcycle accident, the father wanted Shawn brought home for the mother to care for him instead of taking him to a hospital. Tara defied her father and took Shawn to the hospital herself.

Tara defied her father in other ways, but then she would feel she had done wrong and try to be the dutiful daughter he expected. Tyler wanted Tara to go to college too, so he encouraged her to leave the family home. Because of Tyler’s advice, she did enroll at Brigham Young when she was seventeen.

Tara believes her father is bi-polar, but, of course, he has never been diagnosed. Shawn may suffer from the same disorder, or his violent tendencies may stem from several head injuries including an open head-wound from the motorcycle crash.

Westover’s Educated and Noah’s Born a Crime are both books worth reading. They show readers lives from separate continents, but each with its own dangers and rewards.

Tara Westover’s Web site provides more information on her life: https://tarawestover.com/.

The Book Whisperer Discovers a New Sleuth

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For fans interested in a new female sleuth series in an exotic locale, look no further than Mario Giordano’s heroine Isolde Oberreiter, formerly of Munich now living in the small town of Torre Archirafi, Sicily. Poldi, sixty and widowed, has decided to move to Sicily where she will “drink herself comfortably to death with a sea view.” Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions is the first book of this new series. Book two, will be published in the spring of 2019: Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna.

While Giordano has written a number of books, Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions is his first published in English. Like his heroine, Mario Giordano grew up in Munich; he now lives in Cologne. Poldi is German, but she married Giuseppe, Peppe, in Germany. Peppe was part of a large Sicilian family which had emigrated in the 1920s to Munich. Although Poldi calls herself a widow, she actually divorces Peppe because of his boozing and womanizing; in his illness following the divorce, Poldi cares for Peppe. His death leaves her depressed, hence the desire to move to Sicily and drink herself to death.

Naturally, Poldi’s plan meets some resistance, not only from Peppe’s three sisters who have married and moved back to Sicily, but also from Poldi herself because she has too much life in her. For readers of M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin, Poldi will be a new addition to the sixty-year-old female sleuth genre. Poldi is no Miss Marple, make no mistake, but she has the same dogged determination to see a case through to the end.

Poldi’s nephew narrates the story based on what Auntie Poldi tells him on his frequent visits from Munich to stay at Poldi’s on the top floor of her house in Torre Archirafi. The unnamed nephew, a would-be novelist, is easily persuaded to visit often and stay with Auntie Poldi while he works on his novel. Poldi finds a home in Torre Archirafi that delights her because “the ice is thick enough.” To Poldi, that phrase means the house emits positive energy: “great vibes, really pure, positive energy.”

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Poldi finds Torre Archirafi full of interesting and sometimes eccentric characters. Instead of the serene and peaceful life Poldi expects to live in Torre Archirafi, she quickly becomes involved in the mysterious disappearance of Valentino Candela, a local young handyman who has done some work on Poldi’s house. When Valentino does not show up at an appointed time, Poldi is not too worried, but three days later, she becomes concerned and starts asking questions about Valentino.

Then early one morning, Poldi is drawn to the nearby beach where she finds Valentino’s body. As the daughter of a former homicide chief inspector in Munich, Poldi immediately recognizes some clues. Valentino has been murdered elsewhere and the body dropped on the beach. Poldi goes through his pockets and finds some grains of red sand, a bit of change, and a shard of porcelain tile, but no cell phone.

In her distress, Poldi calls both the local police and the state police who both show up; the two entities do not like or trust one another, so a fight ensues over who will take the case. Finally, Chief Inspector Vito Montana, of the state police, becomes the man in charge. Poldi is also immediately attracted to Montana and checks to see if he is wearing a wedding ring.

The Times Literary Supplement describes Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions as a “masterly treat [that] will transport you to the rocky shores of Toree Archirafi, to a Sicily full of quirky characters, scorching days, and velvety nights, alongside a protagonist who’s as fiery as the Sicilian sun.”

Of course, Chief Inspector Montana warns Poldi to stay out of the investigation; we all know that is not going to happen. Poldi does share what she learns in her investigation with Montana as well as sharing dinner, wine, and her bed. She expects him to be equally as generous as what he is learning in his investigation. The two do come to loggerheads over Poldi’s continuing interference as Montana sees it.

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Poldi is a heroine of note, and I look forward to the next installment with her and Montana.

Read about Mario Giordano at the Bitter Lemon publishing site: https://www.bitterlemonpress.com/blogs/authors/90764550-mario-giordano.

A terrific site for more information about books and authors is the Public Library Association’s site, Public Libraries Online. At this link on the Public Libraries Online site, read an interview with Mario Giordano: http://publiclibrariesonline.org/2018/03/mario/.

 

 

The Book Whisperer Reviews an All-Time Favorite: Flavia de Luce

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My colleague Don Mathieson, a physics major, and I, an English major, share the pleasures of reading. We also enjoy many of the same books. Several of those include long-running series such as those by Alexander McCall Smith, Spencer Quinn, and Alan Bradley and more recently Donis Casey. Alan Bradley’s main character is Flavia de Luce, a particularly saucy twelve-year-old interested in chemistry and solving murders. The ninth book in Bradley’s series is The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place. Readers will recognize the title as a line from Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress”: “The grave’s a fine and private place/But none, I think, do there embrace.” Poetry plays a part in the story later as well.

With her knowledge of chemistry, poisons, in particular, Flavia de Luce has become quite an accomplished sleuth. She is still living at family manor Buckshaw with Feely and Daffy, her older sisters, and Dogger, who has been her father’s devoted manservant as well as Flavia’s accomplice. I will not be spoiling any of the plot to tell readers that Flavia’s dear father has died, leaving the family in sorrow and turmoil. Aunt Felicity has decreed that Feely will marry her fiancé Dieter Schrantz, Daffy will go to Oxford to read English, and Flavia will go to London until Aunt Felicity “could decide what to do with me.” Aunt Felicity’s most horrifying declaration is that beloved Buckshaw will be sold.

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Flavia is quite upset by these pronouncements since Buckshaw belongs to HER. For a distraction, Dogger suggests that he take the three girls on a river trip. There on the river, Flavia and Dogger’s next adventure in sleuthing begins when Flavia snags a body floating in the river.

Flavia is simply trailing her hand in the water when she encounters something solid; she quickly determines it is a human body. The body turns out to be Orlando Whitbread, an actor and local villager. Sadly, Orlando’s father, Canon Whitbread has been hanged several years earlier for murdering three elderly ladies: Grace Willoughby, Grace Harcourt, and Anne Gray, all members of his congregation.  Could Orlando’s death have something to do with his father? Or is another story afoot?

Suddenly, Flavia has Orlando’s death to occupy her. When Dogger pulls the body onto the bank, Flavia immediately examines it, even pressing on the torso to get some fluid from the mouth on her handkerchief so she can test it for poisons. Soon, though, the local policeman arrives and pushes everyone away. Still, Flavia has enough to start her investigation, including a scrap of paper she finds in Orlando’s pocket.

Will Flavia’s investigations lead her into danger? In this death investigation, she is not on her familiar home turf, but in another village. The local constable does call Inspector Hewitt in Flavia’s hometown, so Flavia’s previous exploits in helping solve murders there is well-known by now. Of course, the local inspector has no respect for Flavia and her intelligence and warns her to stay out of his way.

Obviously, Flavia would not be Flavia if she obeys! Luckily, too, she has the faithful Dogger who shares her knowledge of poisons and her interest in solving crime. He is ever-watchful of Flavia and often helps her out of tight spots and frequent danger.

Oddly, Daffy teams up with Flavia for part of the sleuthing when Daffy learns Mrs. Palmer, the innkeeper, has published a book of poems, The Mussel Box, and she is being blackmailed because of some of the content of the poems. Does the blackmail also figure into Orlando’s death? Flavia and Daffy sneak into Mrs. Palmer’s room and find the book of poems hidden on top of the four-poster bed, dusty from being hidden away.

The unlikely collaboration between the two sisters continues as Daffy reads some of the poems and explains the meanings to Flavia. Flavia reasons she may have to rethink her previous disdain of poetry. Perhaps clues are embedded in the poetry.

As the investigation heats up, Flavia meets Hob Nightingale, a young boy who has been taking aerial photographs by attaching his camera to his kite. Flavia thinks the developed pictures may reveal clues about Orlando’s death.  She persuades Hob to allow her to go with him to get the film developed.

Death, actors, a circus, aerial photographs, and poetry all become important parts of Flavia’s investigation. Even Feely and Dieter work to save Flavia after undertaker Nightingale puts her into a coffin and nails it shut in his mortuary. Who murdered the three ladies? Why was Canon Whitbread hanged for the murders? What does Orlando’s death have to do with previous murders, if anything? Flavia and Dogger stay on the case until they resolve all of the issues.

Will Aunt Felicity have her way and sell Buckshaw, taking Flavia off to London? Again, readers, no need to worry. Kirkus Review praises The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place: “Bradley’s unquenchable heroine brings ‘the most complicated case I had ever come across’ to a highly satisfying conclusion, with the promise of still brighter days ahead.” We will be looking forward to book ten. At the conclusion of The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place, Flavia unveils a plaque to be placed on the gate at Buckshaw:

Arthur W. Dogger & Associates

Discreet Investigations.

Alan Bradley has received numerous awards for his Flavia series: Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award for the first book, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. That book also won an Agatha Award, the Barry Award, the Dilys Award, the Arthur Ellis Award, the Maccavity Award, and the Spotted Owl Award. In addition to the Flavia series, Bradley has published many children’s stories, short stories, and lifestyle and arts columns in newspapers.

Read more about Alan Bradley and his work at his Web site: http://alanbradleyauthor.com/.

The Book Whisperer Reviews a Tulsa Favorite

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William Bernhardt received his first rejection letter at age eleven when he sent a poem to Highlights Magazine. He wrote about the Oklahoma Land Run. That rejection letter did not deter Bernhardt from continuing to write and to submit his work. He tells readers that he realized that the submissions were not good, but Bernhardt has learned over time how to correct those problems in his writing. Now, he has over twenty published novels along with poetry and nonfiction advice on writing. In the Ben Kincaid, Tulsa attorney series, there are 19 books, starting with Primary Justice in 1991 and ending with Justice Returns in 2017.

Capitol Offense, number eighteen in the Ben Kincaid series, shows Ben and his wife/law partner Christina McCall at their best. The two attorneys work smoothly together, each showing his/her own strengths to help the client in the best way possible even if the client is a bit hard to like and possibly a murderer like Dennis Thomas is charged.

Complicating the defense of Dr. Dennis Thomas, University of Tulsa English professor is the fact that Dennis has threatened the now dead police officer, Detective Sentz in front of others and on several occasions. When Detective Sentz is found dead in a hotel room stakeout and Dennis Thomas is unconscious on top of the gun which has killed Sentz, many people draw the conclusion that Thomas is guilty of murder.

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DA David Gillerman, who will soon be running for re-election, leads the legal team prosecuting Thomas. Ben Kincaid, recently appointed US senator from OK and back from Washington, D.C., is also facing an election campaign. How will his defending Dennis Thomas, accused of murdering a police officer affect Kincaid’s upcoming senate campaign? Kincaid is too principled to worry about the effect on his senate campaign; he focuses attention on helping Thomas.

The story begins when Thomas’s wife Joslyn Thomas, oncology physician, does not come home one night. That evening, Dennis tries looking for her himself without any luck. The next day, he goes to the Tulsa police station where he is directed to Detective Sentz to make his missing person’s report. Sentz refuses to write up a report, send out a team, or even a notice of the fact that Joslyn is missing. He contends that adults can disappear if they wish. Dennis knows Joslyn would not simply leave; she is a responsible doctor with patients who depend upon her. Dennis becomes more and more agitated over the lack of action in searching for Joslyn. Also, Dennis sees out of the corner of his eye a person who appears to be directing Sentz to ignore the missing person’s report, but Dennis cannot quite see who that person is. This fact will become important at the end of the story; the person’s identity when revealed at the end will shock the readers.

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Kincaid brings in his expert witness, a psychologist who has been treating Dennis Thomas. However, each time Kincaid and McCall score an effective point in Dennis’s favor, the DA counters with more damning evidence against Thomas.

Why are the officers staked out at a Tulsa hotel? How does Dennis find Sentz in the hotel, especially if this stakeout is top secret? What kind of sting operation is underway? What causes Dennis to blackout completely and not come around for two hours after the murder is discovered even though Dennis has been transported to the hospital? These are all questions readers will have.

William Bernhardt has an extensive Web site at this link: http://www.williambernhardt.com/. As part of that site, readers can check out Bernhardt’s blog here: http://www.williambernhardt.com/redsneakerwriters/.

Watch a YouTube video in which Bernhardt describes what it is like to write a legal brief: https://youtu.be/RLKY5cWv0hg.