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

Friday, September 30, 2016

Digireads comments for September

The hidden agenda behind a courteous reception often gives hope when no satisfactory resolution will be forthcoming. Pleasantries and small talk often hide a deep-seated bias against the person who, though hardly naive, nonetheless presents facts that may act as a trigger to unleash an obstruction that may prove to be insurmountable.

Before the Peace Corps or the N.G.O.'s, volunteers went to Africa to try to ameliorate the conditions under which Boer women and children suffered. For the most part volunteers either paid their way or were sponsored by established charities. The government resisted subsidizing them as they were thought to be too political and therefore disruptive of the government's approach.

The very narrow line between politics and charity is more often honored in the breach. An inadvertent crossing is forgivable; however accusing someone who adamantly respects the line, especially if the purveyor of charity is of the opposite political persuasion, taints the charitable effort. The result of such a political canard often means that those who would contribute to the relief of temporary displacement spurn the charity and thus deprive the unfortunates of needed succor.

War may be like a fever that rises to a crescendo as it runs its course. In that difficult process reputations as well as lives lay wasted as the juggernaut struggles toward its acme. When the fever breaks and the guns fall silent little thought is given by the warring factions to the months of agony just experienced by those who in the current parlance are collateral damage. One of those people so characterized was Emily Hobhouse, a woman whose only goal was to minimize the suffering of Boer women and children. Rather than succumbing to either depression or revenge she rose above being a victim to accept the accolades of a grateful people, not in her own country but in the war torn region of South Africa.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

August Digireads comments

To continue in spite of overwhelming odds is a choice few, if any, are prepared to make. Assessing the utility of continuing and balancing that assessment against a cessation in favor of resting, regrouping and then returning often moves the decision in favor of discontinuing, perhaps to reenter the fray from a more substantial position.

War and natural disasters have similar results for people in the affected zone: loss of life and property as well as a feeling of hopelessness. Picking up the remnants of lives so brutalized is a difficult and time consuming task. Human kindness can often be the difference between despair and renewal.

What is now called "asymmetric warfare," i.e., a modern army versus guerrilla forces doesn't produce victory for either side; rather the result is a protracted loss of life and property. In the midst of such struggles doctors who uphold the Hippocratic Oath treat friend and foe alike.

Scorched earth, collateral damage, death and destruction: all words and phrases that try to describe the misery that war brings to the people of a geographic area. Once begun, the fury of prosecuting the war has no limits until one side breaks under the awful strain.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Comments from July Digireads

All the Africaans-speaking farmers (Boers) wanted was to be left alone to govern themselves, but the great British Empire would have none of it, so the four horsemen of the Apocalypse galloped into the Transvaal and the Orange Free State.

When the cannons boom and the machine guns rattle do soldiers think of martial songs? Probably not, but as they march in lock step to board ships or planes to face the enemy the bands give forth stirring renditions of military music. The citizenry expects it and such goings-on are in sharp contrast to the broken and maimed soldiers who are fortunate enough to live through the waste of lives and treasure that is an integral part of combat.

War intensifies the political calculations made by politicians, bureaucrats and military commanders. Trying to overcome the inertia of those involved in making the calculation is a Herculean task and one that only the strong willed dare attempt.

Leaving home, especially without the approval of those you hold hear and dear, is a challenge to your resources and psyche. The reason for so doing has to be kept uppermost in your mind to maintain the necessary balance.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Digireads, July, August and September

Digireads will spend the next 3 months examining a three-volume roman a clef with Emily Hobhouse as the primary historical character.
In July, Vol 1: Sweet Drop in Africa: Hope.
In August, Vol 2: Sweet Drop in Africa: Charity
In September, Vol 3: Sweet Drop in Africa: Faith.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

New web site

I used Go-daddy as the host for my web site for years, but this year their greed was the final straw. So I terminated my relationship with them, starting a new connection with Ehost. The introductory charge for 4 years of hosting, including a free domain was less than I originally paid with Go-daddy. I didn't want to use the same format that I'd used in the past and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy Ehost's drag and drop site creator is. There is a learning curve with site creator but it's relatively shallow and I was able to design and create the new site with a minimum of hassle. You can see the new site at:

Monday, May 30, 2016

Digireads for June

We’ll have a change of pace for June, reading short stories instead of a novel. The title of the collection is “Rider and other stories.”
Here’s a brief look at each of the stories:
Rider, a rousing tale of a two-wheeler in the dead of winter.
The Princess and the Knight, marriage at its best.
One Last Chance, a look at compulsive gambling.
The Saga of Doggie Zimmerman, an old sea dog who doesn't give a damn.
Heartbreaker, a mother has to give up her child.
One for my Master, night shift on a rice ship.
Casey's Fort Zinderneuf, life mimics art.
Columbia Dig, solving an archeological mystery.
The Ordeal of Jane Manning, survival at all costs.
Raney, occult powers that reshape reality.
Kirby, a vacuum cleaner salesman who makes a strange sale.
Fighter, jealousy in a high-powered jet airplane.
Force of Habit, an almost perfect murder.
The Water, a space odyssey with a twist.
Kenny's Jump, more courage than good sense.
Coming White, conquering an unreasonable fear.
The Deadbeat, a strange kind of revenge.
Jack Be Quick, the peril of being a published writer.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Digireads for May

The next book in line for perusal and discussion is "Looking for Jack: Massacre at Fort Sage 2." Some thoughts: Will Peter Dawes find Jack Rhodes? Will an Irish gang pose more problems for Dawes? What about Hake Madden? Finally, are there any solutions to these problems?

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Check out Thomas Mueller's latest:

Friday, April 1, 2016

Amazon Scout

Amazon Scout has a new program in which you as a reader get to recommend whether they should publish a book. My sequel "Movie World 2" has just been approved and the start date is April 2. Scout allows 30 days for comments before they make a decision to publish. I would appreciate it if you would take the time to check out the campaign and, if so motivated, nominate the book for publication. If Amazon publishes the book you, as a reviewer, will receive a complimentary copy. The link to the campaign is:,

Thanks very much for your participation. I look forward to seeing the response to the campaign.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Rifle

April's digiread is The Rifle. This novel is a post-apocalyptic tale with men in a cabin struggling with the occupants of the valley below. The cabin possesses a lever action rifle. The men in the valley build a catapult. As with most wars death and destruction reign, but there is a glimmer of hope, which is usually all that remains after the shooting stops.

Friday, March 18, 2016


I’ve opened a new discussion group on Facebook called “Digireads.” 

The purpose of this effort will allow readers to get author comments, background, and writing tidbits by reading the books written by William Behr Mueller. 

One book will have the spotlight during the month. So far there has been a good response to the forum with comments by a number of readers. Since all my books are available in the Kindle Owners Lending Library you can borrow the selected book for free. Of course, it would be serendipitous if you were to purchase a book, but that’s for you to decide. If you do buy a copy you will be able to leave a review. Amazon frowns on reviews from non-purchasers. On the other hand you can always make a comment on Digireads. And if you don’t want to have your comment reviewed publicly you can always email it to me and I’ll respond, if appropriate.

You might want to take a look at the page on Facebook to get some idea of what the effort is all about.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


The political process hasn't changed that much since the founding of these United States. As reported in Fred Kaplan’s biography of John Quincy Adams the vitriol, name calling, outright lies and physical violence are much the same as they were a couple of hundred or more years ago. The real difference is that then the rent-a-mob phenom hadn't been invented to exploit the meaning of the First Amendment. Of course, the size of the population compared to Adams’ day is partially to blame for the number of participants that disrupt political events. However, the real culprit in Adam’s eyes is the quest for power that leads to the anger and hatred that makes potential politicians fear for their lives. He was convinced that his enemies (much like his father’s) would do or say anything, true or false, to keep him from having a second term.  If the outcome weren't so vital to the future direction of the country and if he weren’t such a concerned citizen it might have been a case of a pox on both their houses. But, like Adams, we have to face the fact that there will be an occupant of the White House even if he or she is antipodal to our views. Since that is a given we should forget all the negativity and ask what their policies would be. That would be the enlightened way to elicit information that might be helpful to our participation in the republic.