What I'm Reading Now: 12 May 15

Finally, a chance to read.

The wild beasts of Wuhan - Ian Hamilton
The risk of darkness - Susan Hill
Worth more dead - Ann Rule (true crime)
Mindhunter - John Douglas and Mark Olshaker (memoir)

I finished the wild beasts of Wuhan after a two-week hiatus. It didn't suffer from the wait. Wild beasts is the third Ava Lee novel (the first one was The water rat of Wanchai, reviewed here). Ava Lee keeps getting hit by cases, one after the other, and this one takes her into difficult territory. It starts with one of her business partner's Chinese connections, who has been defrauded by an art dealer. Ava understands bad debt, and collecting on it; the art world is terra incognita, and she is not used to being lost. Her pursuit of the suspect paintings takes her Denmark, London, and New York, and Uncle's and Ava's clients are not always content to let Ava handle things her own way... Another very good book, with some tidbits of Ava's always-interesting family and home life worked in around the edges. I'm now awaiting the fourth book (and the second, but that's already on order at the library...)

The third Simon Serrailler crime novel, The risk of darkness, finishes the missing-child story that began in The pure in heart (reviewed here). It also throws a few loops Simon's way, as things change within his family, his workplace, and within himself. Simon is not necessarily the most likeable of people, but as a character, he stays with you, and you do understand him and like him anyway. Susan Hill has a gift for putting crime in context; you see and feel the horrible aftermath of violence and death, without that easy but unrealistic resilience of some fictional mystery characters. This series keeps getting better.

Worth more dead is an Ann Rule crime files volume (number 10); it's a collection of true crime cases, all around the theme that the killer in each case believed the victim was worth more dead than alive. I won't say much more than that Ann Rule is the best true-crime writer I've read.

Mindhunter is either true crime or memoir, or possibly somewhere in-between. John Douglas was one of the pioneers of criminal profiling in the FBI. Mindhunter is his story of how he got there and some of his cases. I admit to skimming over some of his how-I-got-there chapters, but it was an interesting read nonetheless.

May 12

Last year when our plum tree was in full bloom, we spotted a Cape May Warbler flitting around among the blossoms.  We sat and watched him for a few hours. Now the tree is again in full bloom, but this year we have to content ourselves with a few butterflies and bumblebees around the blossoms. 

Yesterday I was pruning the raspberries - not a very pleasant task - but while I was at it, the brown thrasher was singing to me.  His song is varied and he can mimic a number of different birds.  I can now recognize his song by the fact that it is varied, and that he repeats each phrase. 


Another  thing happened the other day.  We heard the drumming noise of a woodpecker.  It was a yellowshafted flicker, using the neighbour's playhouse as a drum.  He kept this up for some time.  I think he was just making noise.

The wood ducks have been checking out our cottonwood tree as a potential home.  It seems that they again have decided to build elsewhere.

I sold my car

After 7 years I've sold my car. It's kind of weird, I've owned the most conspicuos car in Canada, and now I'm driving a beige sedan. I've really enjoyed owning and driving this car, and I've talked to a lot of people because of it. I was also involved in the smart car club in Winnipeg and met some great people. I think this was quite possibly the most enjoyable car I've owned, but at the same time it was also the most frustrating. Everything about this car was done differently than every other car. I will miss it.

smart car

My beautiful car at it's best.



May 9

The migrating sparrows seem to be on the move. Today we saw only one or two white throated or white crowned sparrows. There are few Harris sparrows around yet.
The grackles remain active around the feeders, and as I m writing this, there is Downy woodpecker at the feeder.
The mourning dove appears to be building nest (such as it is) in the spruce tree just outside our window.
We,ve sighted and heard the Eurasian collared dove several times on our walk through the village. The last time was in the area of the Ens Heriage Homestead. It night be nesting thre.
We ve had a few goldfinches around. At noon today were more of them. At one point I saw 8 or10 at one time.
Now we re waiting for the orioles and the swallows.