Drive stick? or Why I love Donald Westlake

No mystery reader is worth their salt if they haven’t read at least two of Donald Westlake’s Dormunder books and two of his Parker books written under the name of Richard Stark. Of course that’s a dirty trick because you won’t be able to read just two.

Donald Westlake (1933 – 2008) was a brilliant author of over one hundred books. Wikipedia says: Donald Westlake was known for the great ingenuity of his plots and the audacity of his gimmicks. His writing and dialogue are lively. His main characters are fully rounded, believable, and clever.”

About Parker:

“Whatever Stark writes, I read. He’s a stylist, a pro, and I thoroughly enjoy his attitude.”—Elmore Leonard

“Richard Stark’s Parker novels … are among the most poised and polished fictions of their time and, in fact, of any time.”—John Banville, Bookforum”—

“Parker is a true treasure. … The master thief is back, along with Richard Stark.”—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review”—

About the Dortmunder books – This is what Westlake has to say:

“Those 4 guys in the late 60’s who attacked a jewel merchant on New York’s West 46th St. on the sidewalk, so they could steal his jewel-filled station wagon, which they abandoned 2 blocks later because none of them could drive a stick shift. Where would I be without such people?” – Donald E. Westlake

But one of my favorite Westlake books ever is a stand-alone. If you pick it up, plan on uncontrollable laughter and staying up all night reading.

And now for something political!

Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) British Prime Minister, confident of Queen Victoria’s and a very clever man. Here are some of the witty politician’s quotes, still applicable today – over 100 years later.

A member of Parliament to Disraeli: “Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.”
“That depends, Sir,” said Disraeli, “whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.”
(Wish Disraeli was in Parliament now. He’s have a thing or two to say. And he would say it well. There is no denying the truth.)

“To tax the community for the advantage of a class is not protection: it is plunder. ”
(Reminds me of the HST. Maybe it would lead to a stronger economy but who’s paying for it? The people at the bottom. The people who can’t afford it.)

“A Conservative Government is an organized hypocrisy.”
(Enough said. Oh, wait. There’s more to say.)

“Conservatism discards Prescription, shrinks from Principle, disavows Progress; having rejected all respect for antiquity, it offers no redress for the present, and makes no preparation for the future. ”
(Ok, maybe now.)

“I must follow the people. Am I not their leader? ”
(Oh to have a leader like that. A true leader. Anyone? Anyone? Are you there?)

“Power has only one duty – to secure the social welfare of the People. ”
(Seems like that has been forgotten)

“Nurture your minds with great thoughts. To believe in the heroic makes heroes. ”
(Alright. We can do this together.)

“Something unpleasant is coming when men are anxious to tell the truth. ”
(Hm. Heard any institutions change their tune lately?)

“Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory. ”
(We’re just making it all up anyways.)

Jest For Fun – April Fools Mystery

Plotting has never been easier. Now I’m using my own book (in process) to help me write mystery cluetrails. Gives a whole new meaning to ‘helping yourself’. Jest For Fun was produced to help raise awareness of the Radium Hot Springs Public Library and was an egg-smashing success!

Crack the Code – Help the FBI

FBI wants help to crack code, solve murder- The FBI has asked for help to decipher a note found in the pocket of Ricky McCormick, discovered slain in a St. Louis field 12 years ago. Check out the entire news article here.

Tit for Tat

A mystery-lover takes his place in the theater for opening night, but his seat is way back in the theater, far from the stage. The man calls an usher over and whispers, ”I just love a good mystery, and I have been anxiously anticipating the opening of this play. However, in order to carefully follow the clues and fully enjoy the play, I have to watch a mystery close up. Look how far away I am! If you can get me a better seat, I’ll give you a handsome tip.”
The usher nods and says he will be back shortly. Looking forward to a large tip, the usher speaks with his co-workers in the box office, hoping to find some closer tickets. With just three minutes left until curtain, he finds an unused ticket at the Will Call window and snatches it up. Returning to the man in the back of the theater, he whispers, ”Follow me.” The usher leads the man down to the second row, and proudly points out the empty seat right in the middle. ”Thanks so much,” says the theatergoer, ”This seat is perfect.” He then hands the usher a quarter.

The usher looks down at the quarter, leans over and whispers, ”The butler did it in the parlor with the candlestick.”