Monday, February 27, 2017

February Digireads comments on "Ishmael's Quest"

After years on the beach, Ishmael lands the second-in-command berth on the ship Pilgrim, a hide ship that needs to be converted to a whaler.
The master, Captain Strunk and the syndicate backing the voyage to hunt Moby Dick have chosen Ishmael since he was the only survivor of the ship Pequod, which was destroyed by the great white whale.
Nantuckers want nothing to do with signing aboard Pilgrim so the crew is catch-as-catch-can, and Ishmael hopes such a happenstance is not an omen of bad tidings to come.
Pilgrim leaves Nantucket with a chief harpooner that has never struck a whale, an educated landlubber who's never been to sea and a captain who will not man a boat to chase leviathan.
Even the successful killing of a right whale does not bring more than a temporary respite to Ishmael's dark thoughts about finding Moby Dick and confronting the rogue whale.
Will Pilgrim withstand all the rigors of sailing after its quarry? Will Captain Strunk forgo demon rum to perform his duty? Will Baha's secret be revealed? Pilgrim sails on as these questions are yet to be answered.,

Pilgrim calls at St. Helena. Captain Strunk exhibits his penchant for calling on islands to reprovision and, at the same time, removes any temptation for the crew to jump ship.
Ned Hanford, ever curious, seeks the lodging Napoleon Bonaparte used during his exile. Unknown to him he's broken a cardinal ship's rule: only the captain can give permission for sight seeing. He receives five lashes for his infraction.
Ishmael has discovered one of Baha's secrets and knowing that she is female becomes attracted to her. He struggles with his feelings because to show them would put her in danger from the crew.
Pilgrim sails on and calls at the port of Colombo. The crew is given a four-hour liberty. Hanford and McDonough do not return within the four-hour curfew and Hanford has to pay the price with another more severe punishment. Strunk gives McDonough a pass because punishing an officer would diminish the crew's respect for his authority and could, in his eyes, lead to mutiny.
Once clear of Colombo Pilgrim sails for the frigid water of the Antarctic. A whale is spotted and two boats are launched to give chase. The whale destroys Ishmael's boat and McDonough's boat is lost in rescuing Ishmael and his crew.
Captain Strunk decides the ship will call at Van Dieman's Land, again another island to prevent any potential ship jumping.

Pilgrim drops anchor in Hobarton. The crew is given shore leave and Ishmael seeks a replacement carpenter.
Nesbitt plots a sexual encounter with Ned Hanford. It does not happen.
Ishmael and Baha have a sexual encounter that does happen.
After leaving Hobarton Nesbitt tells Hanford that Baha is a woman. Hanford doesn't believe him. Baha tells Hanford the truth.
Nesbitt is revealed as the informer about McDonough and Hanford being tardy on the return from Colombo. They punish him by keelhauling.
Pilgrim receives the lone survivor from Rachel, the ship that rescued Ishmael after Pequod was sunk by Moby Dick.
Pilgrim sails into the horse latitudes and is becalmed for days. The crew mans the boats to tow the ship, but little headway is made.
Another ship, Winslow, comes to Pilgrim's aid with much needed water.
At last the ship has the possibility of tracking Moby Dick in the Philippine Sea.

At last Pilgrim sights Moby Dick. The crew is not prepared to be the hunted as the rogue whale speeds toward the ship. A pod of females and young save Pilgrim from the same fate as Pequod.
Pilgrim sights another whaler, Junior, after its encounter with Moby Dick. Captain Strunk visits Junior's captain. Junior's crew crosses to have a gam with Pilgrim's crew.
Ishmael hides Baha in the captain's cabin but to no avail as Nesbitt presents evidence to Junior's crew that a woman is on board. Junior's crew is intent on finding the woman.
After successfully removing the threat to Baha Pilgrim finds itself amidst another storm.
As the storm abates Moby Dick is sighted again. He is wary so the ship is forced to continue
to track the rogue whale.
Finally the ship is in position to lower the boats with the crew eager to engage in what they think will be the ultimate battle with Moby Dick.
One reader stated that the final fifty pages of the novel were as good as it gets for adventure and excitement.

I hope as you read those fifty pages you agree with his assessment.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Celestial Moon: January Digireads comments

An early morning earthquake, two competitive tong bosses, an aunt and uncle murdered and a kidnapping. San Francisco is awash in Chinatown crime.
Peter Dawes is at loose ends with a new office and no clients. Captain Breen, the corrupt police chief, provides Dawes with a commission to find out what he can about the problems with the tongs in Chinatown. Breen tells Dawes that any intelligence he can ferret out about Oyster Mike Hagerty would only add to his compensation.
Ai Shun, the girl kidnapped from her fiance and the marriage she anticipated is sent to New York City where she entrances the painter Albert Pinkham Ryder.
Will all these disparate elements affect Peter Dawes? We'll have to read on to find out.

Murder most foul as the Bard of Avon would say of the death of a thousand cuts discovered in San Francisco's Chinatown.
The murder did not alleviate the depressed spirit of Ai Shun's fiance. He sent an all points bulletin to Chinatowns near and far to try to recover her. The bulletin was to have unexpected results.
Albert Pinkham Ryder's painting of Ai Shun was stolen by Albert's unwanted servant Junjie.
Albert's brother William retains a Pinkerton operative to find Junjie. The Pinkerton deduces that Junjie has fled New York City and the operative follows the chinaman west.
Meanwhile, Dawes returns to Susanville to mediate a dispute between Hake Madden and Steele the gun drummer regarding a pair of pistols.
Outside of Susanville, the Tulelakers have it in for Dawes for killing their kin during the shootout at Soot Kilgore's place.
What will be the outcome of all these story elements? Again we'll have to read on to find out.

Peter Dawes returns to Susanville on what he thinks will be a straightforward mediation between Hake Madden and Steele, the gun drummer. What Dawes experiences in a life or death situation is far removed from his original task.
Meanwhile, Dennis Kearney hatches a plot against the house servants of both Dawes and Maudie Simpson to show the rest of the city what could happen to their Chinese servants.
The election for mayor shows how the movers and shakers feel about the proposed constitution barring Chinese immigrants.
Albert Ryder finds that Bingwhen Choi has the painting of Ai Shun. Contemporaneously his brother Albert finds Ai Shun.
The story is headed for a conclusion that might well fit the description of a mystery shielded by an enigma all wrapped in a conundrum.

Albert Ryder shows he's more than just a painter with his successful location and rescue of Ai Shun.
Meanwhile, Changpu Chang has a nefarious plan for Peter Dawes at the same time that Bingwen Choi calls upon Oyster Mike Hagerty to ensure protection for Dawes.
William Ryder accompanies Ai Shun to San Francisco after having saved her from Junjie in Council Bluffs. They are on their way to conclude the bargain with Choi and retrieve Albert's painting.
In a dense fog Dawes is attacked and wounded by knife wielding assailants. He is saved by men who tell him he can thank Oyster Mike.
Ai Shun is returned to Choi and the painting is returned to William Ryder.
Dawes tells Maudie Simpson that his client list has dropped to zero once again. She says she may have something for him.
Before she can retain his services one of Dawes' past clients gives Dawes a commission that will require him to go to Bodie, which coincidentally is the title of the next Peter Dawes investigation.

Friday, December 30, 2016

December Digireads comments on Murder on the California Zephyr

In the prolog we meet an assassin with a "contract," but all we know about the contract is that "the game's afoot" as Sherlock would say.
A trip on the California Zephyr will be won by one of the crews that work in Ammunition Supply, one of the departments in Herlong, a defense outpost in the northern California desert.
As the men on the ammunition crews work to get the most "tonnage" to win the trip the Zephyr leaves Chicago with three passengers that have some connection with Herlong. What that connection is remains to be seen.

A gaggle of Herlong characters look forward to and finally board the Zephyr. Mark has been relieved of having to kill Dude Shibeley as he and Dude's wife board the Zephyr.
Harry Witmore, the assassin, uses his false FBI credential to send a message he hopes will allow his confederates to mount a diversion that will give him the chance to execute his contract on Smith/Wiggington.
And then there's the revenge that Shorty Cummings wants to take on Jones.
Will any of the killings take place on the train? We'll have to read on for the answer(s).

Some of the mystery surrounding Whitmore has been resolved, but not in the way he foresaw.
Mark Sheffield appears to have fulfilled Helen's desire to be rid of her husband.
The ongoing needling that Shorty lays on Wine is relentless. As he torments Wine for his use of "improved Spanish" Shorty plots to get his revenge on Jones for the death of Shorty's cousin at the hands of a Jones' relative.
Smith/Wiggington appears to have been relieved of the threat on his life. His view of the threat might be a reinforcement of the adage that "it seems too good to be true."
Are there more twists to the story? We'll have to finish the last quarter of the book for the answer.

Shorty's plot to take revenge on Brett Jones takes an unexpected twist.
Ballard, the conductor, is beset with one problem after another. It may well turn out to be the worst trip he's ever taken on the Zephyr.
Elaine Higgins retains her secret and begins to enjoy the train ride. She will be surprised and not pleasantly when the train arrives in Sacramento.
Ben Cranna, Mr. C.Z., is appalled and amused by the events that have caused Ballard so much heartburn.
The Herlong crews enjoy the scenery, the food and the ride. They appear to be the clientele the operators had in mind when they amalgamated their routes to form the California Zephyr.
This trip on the Zephyr will be one that all the riders will remember, some more enjoyably than others.

Monday, November 28, 2016

November Digireads for Duel at Sea II

The aftermath of Frank Berg's fight with the German raider is the essence of the two-edged sword: relief at being rescued, shock and anger at the death of Trudi Campbell.
In the meantime, Kurt Stein receives his next U-boat command with a new first watch officer. His mission to transport agents to the United States chafes at his dedication to give payback to the allies for the death of his wife.
Another duel at sea between Berg and Stein appears inevitable.

Frank Berg and George Winter see the modified Liberty ship that will be Berg's new command.
Meanwhile, Kurt Stein delivers the German agents to the fishing boat that will take them ashore. Their mission is to try to find out anything they can about the US Navy's new anti-submarine weapon.
One half of the new anti-submarine weapon is the Liberty ship the other is a well equipped Naval blimp. Frank Berg tours the huge blimp hangar at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station. He sees a WAVE that bears a striking resemblance to Trudi Campbell. In fact, her name is Anne Campbell, but she doesn't believe she's related to Trudi.
What lies ahead for Frank Berg and Anne Campbell? What will Kurt Stein's wolf pack mean for Berg and Winter? What will become of the German spies? All questions we hope will be answered as the story unfolds.

Frank Berg clears himself and George Winter with Naval Intelligence regarding their knowledge and possible relationship with the two spies who gave a performance at the Christmas gala.
Meanwhile, Kurt Stein torpedoes and sinks a tanker off the southern coast of the U.S.
The modified Liberty ship Charles Maguffin sets sail along with a U.S. Navy blimp.
The Maguffin is attacked by a U-boat killing the forward gun crew. Rather than using a torpedo the submarine uses its deck gun to damage Maguffin. The blimp crew uses its FIDO weapon to severely damage and ultimately sink the U-boat.
Berg orders his crew to pick up the German survivors. Maguffin returns to port to have its damage repaired.
What's next for Berg and the ship?

Frank Berg thought he'd successfully tamped down any further inquiry into his or George Winter's potential ties to the German spies. The FBI wasn't as convinced as Naval Intelligence.
Meanwhile Kurt Stein has to procure a new water distiller and then await the order from Submarine High Command as to what his wolf pack should do.
Frank Berg and George Winter along with the electronic experts and the blimp crew venture out to give the TRACC system another combat test.
Kurt Stein is finally left as the last member of his wolf pack to intercept Charles Maguffin with the intent of capturing the new secret antisubmarine weapon.
In the ensuing battle, Maguffin is critically disabled, Berg is wounded and Kurt Stein scuttles his U-boat after allowing his crew to leave and become prisoners of war.

Is Frank Berg finished with his naval duty? We'll have to wait to find out in Duel at Sea III.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Persian Pickle Club

Ever wanted to know how women in the Midwest coped with the Great Depression of the 1930’s? If so, then Sandra Dallas’ book will satisfy part of your curiosity.

Centered around a more or less weekly quilting “bee,” The Persian Pickle Club details the lives and times of the women who take pleasure in piecing and quilting in the Kansas town of Harveyville.

If you wish to read  my complete comments on this book, as well as comments on 64 other books then you can find all of them in "Book Blogs," available on Amazon in either softcover or digital:

Sunday, October 30, 2016

October comments on "The Book of Astaroth"

During the reading of "The Book of Astaroth" we learned enough about Sam Grimes’ background, work history and world view to show us that he’d profited from the sexual revolution of the sixties. He’d also found that somewhere in his mind or genome lurked the potential to murder. Like us Sam never discovered whether it had to do with Astaroth, the book, his own incessant repetition of the phrases from the book or some internal fault in his makeup. Sadly he never questioned the reality of his experience and that lack places him squarely with others who live the unexamined life.

Sam Grimes appears to make inadvertently bad decisions. A perfect example was his going to see Sally and Sari after his experimental college attempt to raise Astaroth. His need or perhaps desire to experience a two-fer with the women led to unintended consequences in the form of a detective asking him about the last time he saw Sari alive. Another load for him to carry while trying to prepare for the master’s exam. He doesn’t know whether she was really alive when he left and neither do we.

Was it suicide or was it murder? After the gruesome happening in the university cafeteria, Sam has to confront a horror in The Barn, another university venue. He thinks about his experimental college class. Did the student's death have something to do with the illustration Sam requested? More questions than answers as the story progresses.

One has to wonder where Sam Grimes was prior to his stint at the university. That question arises from his obvious enthrallment with the results of the sexual revolution. In the current academic environment he would probably face criminal charges or at the very least be banished from the campus and lose his teaching assistanceship. And where did his enthusiasm for primates come from? We'll have to read on to see whether our questions will be answered

Sunday, October 16, 2016


an alle deutschen Leser, danke