Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for July 13th, 2012

Just Reviewed Osborn’s First Two “Displaced Detective” Novels at SBR

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Tonight’s new review at Shiny Book Review is for Stephanie Osborn’s first two books in her Displaced Detective series about Sherlock Holmes as brought into the modern day via modern physics.  These are fun reads, but more to the point, they’re faithful to the spirit of Holmes in milieu and mythos.  Osborn came up with a great way to start her series by using modern-day physics along with the “World as Myth” concept as delineated by Robert A. Heinlein; the two together explain how Holmes could be a real person, and then how it came to be that Osborn’s hyperspatial physicist, Skye Chadwick, was able to rescue Holmes before he ended up dead at Reichenbach Falls.

These are really fun reads that make good sense in context.  The mysteries Holmes solves are appropriately complex (yes, I said that at SBR, too, but it’s a phrase I don’t get to use much, thus the repetition), Holmes’s abilities seem realistic (for him), and the halting romance that grows between Holmes and Chadwick is worth the price of admission all by itself.

But do expect there to be a romance, especially in the second book, and do expect it to be PG-13.  This makes sense in context, and it’s something I applauded in my review — but some Holmes-o-philes may not wish to see their hero in love.  (If so, the more fool, they.  Osborn does a great job showing how these two extremely brilliant people could and did fall in love, and it works, plot-wise.  To great effect.)

Seriously.  Go read my review of these two fine books, THE CASE OF THE DISPLACED DETECTIVE: THE ARRIVAL and THE CASE OF THE DISPLACED DETECTIVE: AT SPEED.  Then go buy the books already.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 13, 2012 at 11:36 pm

July 2012 Odds and Ends

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I’ve had a number of comments recently about various things, but none of them have reached the level of a full blog post.  So here goes with the latest edition of Odds and Ends.

First, I’m taking the summer off from watching television.  This is the main reason I haven’t written about the fourth season of “Drop Dead Diva,” despite all the hits I’ve had on my review of the season three finale.  I do know that Fred the angel is off the show and there’s a new angel there instead — an impossibly gorgeous male who, sight unseen, bothers me.  But that’s the only thing I’ve really gathered, aside from the fact that Kim Kardashian seems to have a recurring role this season.

Second, the Wisconsin GOP has, quite predictably, slammed the District 21 state Senate election, all because Democrat John Lehman won over R Van Wanggaard.   Rep. Robin Vos (R-Rochester) has led a number of prominent Rs in proclaiming that the Racine elections had “numerous errors” and that supposedly, Racine County must get its act together before the November elections — all because we had the temerity to throw out our one-year Senator when the rest of the state held the course.

I have no problem with former Senator Wanggaard saying “I shall return!” as if he’s a modern-day incarnation of General Douglas MacArthur, because he’s a politician and that’s what politicians of either party tend to say.  (Maybe not quite so stridently as Wanggaard.  But then again, as the only R to go down on June 5, 2012, I suppose he must feel terrible.)  Nor am I upset with Wanggaard for asking for a recount, pointing out various issues he and his staff have been alerted to, etc. — he’s a politician, so he has to say those things.  And considering he lost by less than 2% of the vote, I suppose that’s his right.

My problem remains with the Wisconsin GOP as a whole; they didn’t slam Waukesha County in 2011 when there were massive problems there — problems that make the City and County of Racine’s issues look extremely small in comparison — because those problems benefitted them. 

So, if an election goes the Rs way, even if there are terrible and systemic problems with a County Clerk like Waukesha’s Kathy Nickolaus, the Rs are OK with it.  But if the election goes the way of the Ds, the Rs aren’t standing for it, even though whatever problems Racine had were due to an overwhelmingly high turnout (the highest on record for any election, including Presidential elections), nothing more.  That’s why the WI GOP’s stance regarding Racine County’s recall election smacks of sour grapes as well as political expediency;  I remain unimpressed.

Third, what on Earth does the United States House of Representatives, led by Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner, think they’re doing taking vote after vote to repeal Obama’s national health care plan?  (Especially as they know, just as the rest of us do, that the US Senate will never go along with them.)  Here we are in a jobless recovery; the economy, overall, is terrible.  We need jobs, we need more economic development, and we need it right now.  Yet they’d rather waste our time, and our taxpayer dollars, by taking these unnecessary votes.  This is political grandstanding and it should not be tolerated.  Period!

Fourth, are the Milwaukee Brewers going to get any better this year?  And will Zack Greinke stay a part of the team?  Stay tuned.

Fifth, and finally, the summer is a bad time for me.  It’s not just my asthma, or other associated summertime health woes, which have been exacerbated as we’re having one of the hottest, driest summers on record in SE Wisconsin.  It’s that I have a number of important dates on the calendar that I observe — my wedding anniversary.  My late husband’s birthday (even though he didn’t observe it).  Etc. — and the fact that I must observe them alone, always alone, is a trial.

Look.  I despise the fact that I’m a widow.  (Very few people will come right out and say this, but I will.)  If I had the power, my husband would be alive right now and I’d not be typing out these words.  But I’m human, mortal, fallible, all that, and I don’t have that power. 

What I do every day is to try to find some meaning, some purpose, in whatever remains of my life.  I continue to write (as you see).  I continue to edit.  I play my instruments.  I compose music when I have the time, energy, and ideas.  I talk with my friends, as I’m able . . . all the things I have to do in order to continue to stay alive in any sense.

But of course it’s difficult to be without the love of my life.  I’d be lying if I said anything else.

And that difficulty is made much worse because the person who understood me best since that time is also dead — my good friend Jeff, whom I’ve discussed many times on this blog.   That I haven’t been able, as of yet, to go to Colorado and make any peace whatsoever with his passing has assuredly not helped.

I know it doesn’t matter — would never matter — to Jeff where I mourn.  But it would help me to go there and visit the places he told me about.  Which is why at some point I will go there; it’s just a matter of when.  Let us hope that down the line, I will find enough work at a good rate of remuneration, so I can finally take that trip.

Written by Barb Caffrey

July 13, 2012 at 10:10 am