If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Monday, September 11, 2017

What's on Your Bookshelf? The Book I Can't Throw Away

by Shari Randall

Last week, I blogged about perennially popular mystery series, and this week I found on my bookshelf a relic of my own mystery reading youth. Yes, that is a copy of The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook: Authentic Detective Methods for Solving Mysteries – the 1972 printing of the 1959 original. Why didn’t I have a Nancy Drew Detective Handbook? Did one exist back then? Apologies to fans of Frank and Joe, but I read the Hardy Boys only when I couldn’t get my hands on a Nancy Drew.

Why haven’t I put this book in a yard sale? Well, whenever I crack it open, I fall under its spell. Once more I am an 8-year-old in pigtails who thinks it is entirely possible for two nosy teenagers and their accident prone chum Chet to bring down an international crime syndicate. Besides the fond memories and delicious sense of possibility, there are gems in this book, tips for detectives of all ages, and unintentional laughs for all.
What makes this book so irresistible? First, there’s The Handbook’s style. The Handbook crackles with adolescent male
energy, tough guy lingo, and a noir sensibility. The Joe Friday approach delivers facts to wannabe detectives like a .45 delivers lead.

Second, what a trove of information! Among the tips it offers are (TSA take note) directions for pat downs, schematics for one-, two- and three-man surveillance, a dictionary of legal terminology and criminal slang (“Dive: a place of poor reputation”) and directions for making moulage. If you don’t know moulage, I highly recommend this book. 

"Do Not Pat While Searching"
Though many of the procedures have been rendered moot by modern technology, and one must no longer carry change for the phone booth in the corner of the drugstore soda shop, spending just five minutes with The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook makes you feel that you can trail a perp, pat him down, and make that collar with the confidence of a teenage detective.
Happily - or sadly - you can find your own copy of the Handbook on Amazon for $.01 plus $3 shipping, but the trip down memory lane is priceless.

What’s the weirdest book on your book shelf? Why do you keep it?


KM Rockwood said...

What a fun book! Definitely worth hanging onto.

I think Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys were the beginning of a love of mystery fiction for many of us.

Margaret Turkevich said...

What would Nancy do? I suppose that could be my mantra. I worry that my protagonist is "too Nancy" at certain points.

I have a five hundred page tome, published in 1885, first owned by a woman who then gave it to my great aunt in 1900, Queenly Women Crowned and Uncrowned. Biographical sketches from Martha Washington and Elizabeth I to missionary heroine Ann Hasseltine Judson, with "elegant steel engravings."

Judging from its excellent condition, it was a parlor table display piece. I wonder if my grandmother and her two sisters found inspiration from it. They all went to college and the two sisters had careers.

Shari Randall said...

Hi KM - I agree that Nancy and the Hardy boys played a huge part in my mystery addiction. But I also remember Nate the Great books - does anyone else? And Encyclopedia Brown! I could go on....

Shari Randall said...

Hi Margaret - I'd love to see Queenly Women. What a peek into the past.
When I started writing my series, I thought my protagonist would be Nancy through and through, since I adored her for so many years. To my surprise, she turned out to be Trixie Belden instead! Surprised me, for sure.

Warren Bull said...

I love old mystery books. I wouldn't throw any of mine away.

Ramona said...

I have an old copy of the children's book The Secret Language. I might ask to be buried with it. When you love a book, you love a book.

Grace Topping said...

Fun blog, Shari. I still have copies of the Navy training manuals I was given in 1970 when I joined the Navy. They serve absolutely no purpose except nostalgia. But each time I go to put them out for recycle, I can't bring myself to do it. Monetary value, probably absolutely none. But lots of sentimental value. Perhaps they would be of value to a military museum.

E. B. Davis said...

The weirdest book is one titled, Do Penguins Have Knees, a book of weird science facts. The one I won't get rid of? My childhood volume of A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Lewis Stephenson.

E. B. Davis said...

Of course, I spelled Stevenson wrong! My way is the Scottish way!

Shari Randall said...

Hi Warren, I'm with you!

Hi Ramona, There's no explaining that crazy love we have for particular books.

Hi Grace, Those books represent an important part and time of your life. I'd hold on to them, too.

Hi E. B., Do penguins have knees? Inquiring minds want to know!

E. B. Davis said...

Yes, Shari. Penguins do have knees. They are covered in feathers so no one can see them!

Shari Randall said...

EB, Thank you! Mystery solved!

Julie Tollefson said...

I have a very hard time removing books from our shelves, but my favorites are a couple of old Nancy Drews (1950s-ish versions(?), blue-green tweed covers), Donna Parker On Her Own and Donna Parker At Cherrydale, and at least one Bobbsey Twins. All of them belonged to my mom and her sisters.