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Sunday, June 25, 2000

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Mall thoughts

The mall is full of white sound. There's the echos of all the people cancelling each other out, leaving only a murmer and rhythm against the sound of the fountain. There is always this sound in malls. The streams of people merge and separate as they pursue their own routes. There are plants everywhere, always in the best condition, giving a feel of a garden with the sun shining through the skylights. I've even seen birds peerched on the metal holding the glass and wondered how they got in and whether they will ever get out.

It's all artificial, but then so are small town main streets. They are both constructed for the purpose of making money. The difference between the main street and the mall is that we have more choice in a mall and the weather is controlled. In an Arizona summer cool shopping is a plus. Most people aren't carrying anything so maybe they are here for a place to walk out of the heat also.

The mall is clean and we don't have to do the cleaning. There's color and movement to lighten our spirits and put us in the mood to buy but it only mesmerizes me as I sit on the second floor looking over the fountain and tables and the flow of people on the first floor. If I take my glasses off there's just a flow of color with vague figues moving around. I do this when I go to the symphony. It's really cool with the golden glow of the instruments against the black clothes they wear. It helps to have bad eyesight also.

Besides going to the mall the walk I also meant to clean house this weekend but instead I read mysteries. I finished three but I started more, I just couldn't finish them. Among them was an Amelia Peabody mystery about Egypt and archeology. I love archeology and strong women but someone the self righteous tone of the Amelia's first person narration always grates on me. So she's wonderful and her kid and husband are brilliant and precocious, there's no reason to be so smug about it. I do wish I liked this series but I only managed to get through the first one and while a good book, that was more than enough.

"Murder Follows Money" by Lora Roberts was a light hearted mystery that involved an arrogant cookbook writer on a book tour. The main protagonist is Liz Sullivan, who was first met living in a VW Van in the first book I read in this series, and now has a house in Palo Alto next to that of her boyfriend, policeman Paul Drake. The plot is ok with a little twist at the end, though not quite the twist I expected. A relaxing book.

"A Gift of Sanctuary" by Candace Robb follows Owen Archer as he returns to Wales to bring back some archers for the Duke of Lancaster and escort his father-in-law, Sir Robert D'Arby, on a pilgrimage to St Davids. The date is 1370 and with them is Geoffrey Chaucer to inspect fortifications for the Duke and pick up material for his poems. This is well done historical series and Wales is a welcome change from England which shows the very volatile and shifting political alliances of the border lands as well as the eternal human foibles. I enjoyed it very much.

"Queen's Ransom" by Iona Buckley is another in the series about Ursula Blanchard, a Lady of the Presence Chamber and a spy, set during the early years of Queen Elizabeth I reign. This is another good historical series in which the protagonist is torn between her loyalty to England and protestantism, and her love for her husband who is French and a catholic. The plot is not predictable and the antagonisms and fanaticisms of the various factions are well drawn. It left me with the question of how the series will continue since . . . I did enjoy the previous books also so I hope something happens.

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(c) Rachel Aschmann 2000.
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