A Literary Mystery Tale…

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“Alcohol is a misunderstood vitamin.” — P.G. Wodehouse

It’s always a good call to be diverted from life by the comic brilliance of P.G. Wodehouse and his creations, the bumbling Bertie Wooster and his inventive valet Jeeves. Now is a particularly stellar moment. Ben Schott, the author of the bestselling collection of trivia Schott’s Original Miscellany, got the blessings of the P.G. Wodehouse estate to write an inventive new spy novel using Wooster’s characters, Jeeves and the King of Clubs (“an incomparable honour to follow in the patent-leather footsteps of the greatest English-language humorist.”) And an unlikely royal last week boosted sales of the quintessentially Brit series: Empress Michiko of Japan revealed that upon her upon her husband’s abdication next year, she eagerly plans to indulge in her stockpile of Jeeves books. The remarks caused a “Wooster Frenzy,” spiking sales from 100 books nationwide to clamoring for thousands. …

July 12, 1986. Detective Steven McDonald and his partner were on foot patrol, undercover, in New York’s Central Park when they confronted Shavod Jones and two friends about some random bicycle theft. Jones pulled out a revolver and shot McDonald at close range three times. The senseless, brutal act left his victim, 29, paralyzed from the neck down, a condition that lasted three decades until his recent death at 59.

In a super-human display of compassion — and belief in redemption — McDonald forgave the shooter after the baptism of his newborn son at the Roman Catholic chapel in the Bellevue Hospital. McDonald was on a respirator. His wife, Patti Ann, read the statement: “I’m sometimes angry at the teen-age boy who shot me. But more often I feel sorry for him. I only hope that he can turn his life into helping and not hurting people. …

Here’s how I ended up in the parking lot of a strip mall in Texas, opening the trunk to unload three rifles…

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Antiquated laptops. Toxic friends. Christmas tree tinsel. Add heirloom rifles to the list of stuff next to impossible to get out of your life responsibly.

The rifles in question came from my grandfather, a corporate executive, who loved to hunt. His avocation was writing detailed, countless guides identifying duck species for Field & Stream. …


mary billard

Lapsed Writer. Fan of Lady Glencora Palliser, Charlotte Curtis, Alan Page.

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