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Wednesday, March 29, 2000

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Recipe and books

I stayed home again today but feel much better than yesterday. That's a long way from feeling good. I'm so tired even now. I rode my bike up to the store this morning (1/2 mile), since I really needed some food, and felt like I couldn't even push the pedals on the way back.

I also stacked up my books to take back to the library and realized that I've gone through quite a few mysteries last weekend and this week. Mysteries are so comforting when I'm not up to thinking much, not that they don't tackle tough subjects, but there are good guys and bad guys and usually the good guys win. It's comfort reading.

"Killer Dolphin" by Ngaio Marsh. This was another of her excellent mysteries set in a theatre and with Inspector Alleyn once again a delightful detective. She brings in Shakespeare, the vagaries of the theatre, an Onassis or Hughes type of reclusive very rich person and a cast of eccentric characters.

"Taken to the Cleaners" by Dolores Johnson. This is a new series for me. The protagonist is Mandy Dyer who runs a dry cleaning business and uses her knowledge of dry cleaning to help the handsome, of course, police detective solve the crime. This was a fun, light mystery.

"Harlot's Moon" by Ed Gorman. The detective is an ex-FBI profiler (profilers seem to be quite the thing in mysteries now) who works as a private detective. As a favor to a childhood friend, now a Monsignor in the Catholic Church, he investigates the murder of another priest in a sleezy motel under very scandalous circumstances. He uses unidentified flashback vignettes that are nicely done. The plot is well drawn and I found it interesting as it's set in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and I lived for a few years right down the road in Iowa City. I always enjoy books set in places I've been.

"Collision Bend" by Les Roberts. This mystery is set in Cleveland, which I've only been through, but I still enjoyed it. The protagonist is a private detective called Milan Jacovich who used to be a cop and now is full of angst that he seems to keep loving women who don't want to belong to him for the rest of their lives. Besides that, the plot was very good with nice twists involving newscasters, a romance writer, repressed memory syndrome and prominent people who turn out to be scum. Have you ever noticed how few prominent people in mysteries ever turn out to be nice people?

"Face Down among the Winchester Geese" by Kathy Lynn Emerson. This is an Elizabethan mystery with Susanna, Lady Appleton as the main character. She is a strong, well educated woman with a womanizing husband who prefers his women sweet and stupid. She goes into red light districts and and works with a prostitute to solve the mystery of the murders going back to Queen Mary's time. I enjoyed the historical setting and cheered on Susanna as she tried to find a way between the difficulties for a woman at that time. The plot is interesting and has a nice twist at the end.

"Simple Justice" by John Morgan Wilson. This is an excellent mystery that took me into the world of homosexual life with an investigator who was a promising journalist until scandal and personal tragedies overcame him. It's a good look at the gay world of Hollywood with a wide range of characters, both gay and straight. Many of the characters are a little too typecast but well drawn. Benjamin Justice, the main character, is an excellent character if a little too full of angst for me, but still interesting and, hopefully, he will show up in many more books.

And one recipe: Easy Bean and Rice Rollups

    12 6 in flour tortillas (I prefer corn tortillas)
    15-oz can black beans with liquid
    1 clove garlic, minced (powered works)
    1 tomato, chopped
    1/4 cup chopped onion
    1 to 2 tsp. chili powder to taste
    1/2 tsp ground cumin, or to taste
    1 cup cooked basmati or brown rice

    Warm the torillas in a 200 degree oven or in a microwave.
    In a saucepan, combine beans, bean liquid, garlic tomato, onion, chili powder and cumin. Stil well and simmer until tomato softens, about 5 minutes. Mix in cooked rice.
    Put 2 - 3 tablespoons of mixture on each tortilla, garnish with onions and salsa, and roll up.

Well, that's enough for today. It's back to another nap and, hopefully, back to work tomorrow.

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Biked 1 mile

(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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