The Queen Investigates

When I was about twelve years old, I wanted to marry Charles, Prince of Wales, who was eighteen. I wrote him a letter, telling him about my plans for his future, and received a signed picture in return, which I stuck in a drawer.  It wasn’t that I had a crush on him—as far asContinue reading “The Queen Investigates”

A Deeply Moving Darkness

In an earlier post on Belinda Bauer’s terrific mystery Snap, I mentioned how much I enjoy adult novels with realistically portrayed children. Another brilliant example is Heather Young’s The Distant Dead (2020) . The story, set in a small desert town in Nevada, is told by three characters: Jake Sanchez, a volunteer fireman and driverContinue reading “A Deeply Moving Darkness”

An Evening with Donna Leon

My March 12 post mentioned Donna Leon’s latest book, Transient Desires, her thirtieth in thirty years. I’ve always enjoyed her mysteries, and her Commissario of Police, Guido Brunetti, is my idea of a perfect hero: a clever, compassionate and literate man with an interesting family. This past Wednesday evening Ms. Leon was here in Bern,Continue reading “An Evening with Donna Leon”

Books We Grow Into

There’s a column in the New York Times called “By the Book,” in which successful writers—or famous people who have written a book, which isn’t quite the same thing—answer questions about their reading habits. If my friend Donna reads an example she particularly likes, she cuts it out and shares it with me over coffee.Continue reading “Books We Grow Into”

Newly Discovered: Belinda Bauer

I am a sucker for books with kids as heroes.  Not smartass kids, not stagy kids—just kids. Maybe I never quite outgrew my favorite children’s books, or maybe my affection for Jem, Scout and Dill from To Kill a Mockingbird has had too strong an influence on me.  In any case, if you, too, likeContinue reading “Newly Discovered: Belinda Bauer”

Living with Guilt

In 1976, an American, Judith Guest, published a 263-page debut novel called Ordinary People. Robert Redford made it into a movie with Donald Sutherland in 1980, and it won the Oscar for Best Picture. I read the novel and saw the movie and was moved to tears by both of them. Of course, I stillContinue reading “Living with Guilt”

Brunetti under the Matterhorn

Although it’s mid-March and Bern’s parks are full of daffodils, Zermatt, home of the Matterhorn, is still white with snow. A posh ski resort disguised as a village, Zermatt is in Valais or Wallis, depending on whether you are in the French- or German-speaking part of the canton. Zermatt is 1620 meters above sea level. FromContinue reading “Brunetti under the Matterhorn”