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Sunday, 8 August 2004
Evolution's Rainbow - by Joan Roughgarden
Topic: Books - Mystery
Joan Roughgarden is a transgendered woman. Ok, she used to be a man, or, at least, had a man's body. I think this is a very interesting and important book but I did get confused as to what people were when she was talking. She started with showing the many sexual and gender types in animals and then leads into the many types of sexual and gender types and expressions in humans. Part of this is the many types of genetic diversity in humans that isn't really talked about.

I've always thought that sexuality was on a continuum but it seems to be more like a tree. I also never really considered that there was a difference between gender orientation and sexual orientation. She brings up the cloning and genetic manipulation and how so often this is also a part of trying to make people be "right", "perfect", "the way they are suppose to be".

This is an excellent book.

Posted by rachela at 10:15 PM MDT
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With Intent to Kill - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
After getting home I spent the rest of the day doing a little cleaning and finishing up books that I had started. Here's two of them and I have more to go. I have such a bad habit of starting too many books at once and then not being able to finish some of them so I'm trying to finish them.

This is the 19th Lt. Luis Mendoza mystery. It starts with Higgins' own daughter's birth, though he couldn't be happier having his two step children, the children of Dwyer who was shot down in a bank. Meantime the detectives of LAPD Homicide are keeping busy.

A man is shot while walking his dog. A policeman is shot when pulling a car over for a traffic violation. A young lady is found strangled by the railroad tracks which turns into an interesting mystery. A telephone lineman is shot by a paranoid householder. They are sure a candy maker has just killed for the third time and may get away with it again.

Posted by rachela at 9:44 PM MDT
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Friday, 6 August 2004
Schooled to Kill - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
This is the 17th Lieutenant Luis Mendoza mystery. Yes, I am reading them all again, if I can find them, though not in order. An eight year old girl is raped and left in Elysian Park and all the detectives look at their own children more protectively. I thought it was interesting that the girl's teacher allowed to her walk home alone six blocks to pick up a book she had forgotten to bring. This was written 1969 and now, 2004, it would be unthinkable for an eight year old to walk six blocks by themselves much less be allowed to by a teacher. It's rather sad really. I doubt there are any less children being abused since if you are a sicko, you'll find a way.

A guy comes into the station to report that a total stranger has asked if he wants to kill someone for money. A body is found in the trunk of a car that has been parked in a neighborhood for a couple days. A lady is found dead in a Union Station restroom from a bungled abortion. A man goes starts shooting at people in the street from his house. The usual craziness of humanity.

At home Luis, a confirmed cat person, is confronted by an English sheepdog that stowed away in his wife's car. Their four cats, and Luis, are not happy but the dog loves them and along with Alison refuses to send the dog to the pound to be killed.

Posted by rachela at 8:08 PM MDT
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Monday, 2 August 2004
No Holiday for Crime - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
This is the 20th Lieutenant Luis Mendoza mystery. The officers of Homicide are now part of Robbery/Homicide and they are learning to cope with new duties and getting to know the members of Robbery that have been transferred over. It's also Christmas and crime really does not have a holiday.

One of the new officers is a woman, Policewoman Wanda Larsen, and they don't know what to do with her. As you can see this was written a while ago, 1973 to be exact. Evidently they never consider that she might go out on a call, though in later books she finally makes them let her go. The other officers are keeping their fingers crossed that they aren't picked in the lottery to babysit the Rose Parade.

A young lady is found on the grounds of the Science Museum. She was on her way home to Utah, for Christmas, from Santa Barbara and no one knows why she wandered off from the Greyhound station during a layover. A rash of low haul burglaries hits one area, but no one knows how the burlar always knows the people will be gone. A cleaning man is found stabbed to death in a building that is closing for the Christmas Break. Trucks full of liquor and high end food are being hijaked.

Detective Jason Grace and his wife finally cut through the paperwork to adopt the baby found during a murder several months before. Luis and Alison try to straighten out the mixture of English and Spanish spoken by their three year old twins, but a try at Celtic stories doesn't help.

Posted by rachela at 9:05 PM MDT
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Monday, 19 July 2004
Crime on Their Hands - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
This is the 17th Luis Mendoza mystery. They are hard to talk about as they are about the same thing but I enjoy watching the detectives as they interact and their families grow up. Luis and Alison are delightful characters, Luis with his intuition and Alison with her creativity. Luis, a hispanic who grew up in the slums of LA only to find out his grandfather was sitting on millions, after he'd grown attached to his job and Alison a red haired Scot-Irish lady who had grown up in Mexico who manages to gather together a menagerie of animals and people. In this book they find a stray dog. Actually he finds them when he stows away in Alison's car and she and Mairi, their housekeeper, try to save a mockingbird who got into some tar.

The detectives at LAPD homicide have the usual spate of crimes with, always, an unusual one or two to pique Mendoza's interest. I do enjoy reading these books. I'm not sure why.

Posted by rachela at 9:14 PM MDT
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Appearances of Death - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
This is the 25th Luis Mendoza mystery. Lieutenant Mendoza and his detectives have their hands full, as usual. A nurse is kidnapped late at night while leaving the hospital. An elderly woman, dressed in her finest, is found bludgeoned to death in a phone booth late at night near downtown. A gunman with a stammer is hitting all night stores. A car salesman is shot dead in his showroom office. An elderly couple is poisoned with mouse poison. The usual list of inhumanity towards each other. The interplay of the detectives and they see again the underside of the human race and grumble about why they stay at the unappreciated job.

Luis is also trying to keep his wife, Alison, who is pregnant from running around looking for a house to hold them, their children and all their cats. She finds just the place.

Posted by rachela at 9:04 PM MDT
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Saturday, 17 July 2004
Felony at Random - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
This is the 27th Lieutenant Luis Mendoza mystery. A girl disappears at the Museum of Natural History and all the detectives at the LAPD Homicide division feel the shiver that always comes when a child disappears. Another child disappeared not long before from her house and has never been found.

While busy looking for the missing children they get an anonymous letter that a lady who they thought had died from drinking too much was murdered and that she wasn't the first one. A policeman is shot in his own home. An innocent man is anonymously accused of a crime and the detectives find out he's been accused again and again over the last few years which has caused him quite a bit of trouble. Elderly people on a small block start dying. All in all a full plate for the detectives.

Luis's wife Alison has their third child, Luisa, and is busy with the new (?) 100 year old winery she's renovating for them.

Posted by rachela at 9:19 PM MDT
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Sunday, 11 July 2004
Deuces Wild - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
This is the 22nd Lieutenant Luis Mendoza mystery. The cops at LAPD homicide are busy enough with the usual stupidity and crime when Mendoza's four year old twins disappear. They don't know if it's some pervert, someone Luis arrested with a grudge or a kidnapper after some of Luis's millions.

While the FBI waits for a call and checks out leads the detectives at LAPD are looking too and Mendoza is following up his hunches. They have other things to do also and are asked to look out for some crazies coming down from Sacramento as well as the regular routine that still keeps going.

One of the reasons I like this series is that you follow the detectives and their families also. Not in detail but bits and pieces of their lives are woven into the story and you see tham as real people. It's hard to give a good review of the books since they are all about the usual police routine but they are interesting.

Posted by rachela at 4:13 PM MDT
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Cold Trail - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
This is the 26th Lieutenant Luis Mendoza series. A body is found under an abandoned building and it belongs to a woman who disappeared five years before and had no reason to be in the run down area. Mendoza's hunches are needed to solve the case. The detectives are also busy with a cop who is shot, an elderly women found dead in a Goodwill bin and a store owner beaten to death. Before they tie up the lose ends they find a good hearted hooker and a secret way to avoid freeways.

Grace and his wife are thinking of adopting another child.Alison, Luis's wife, is busy with renovations to the 100 year old winery they bought and very pregnant.

Posted by rachela at 4:05 PM MDT
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Sunday, 4 July 2004
Coffin Corner - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
This is the 11th book in the Luis Mendoza series and one of my favorites. A proprietor is found dead in her used everything store and Lieutenant Luis Mendoza and his fellow homicide cops find themselves caught up in a truly bizzare mystery. Eliza McCann is found dead in her store and the detectives follow the trail to an old 80 room hotel that her family and some "friends" live in. Her family, the McLaughlins, were very rich till the depression. When their father died they found all the money was gone and all they had left was the hotel. They all moved in and with various odd undertakings, including being an undertaker, they had survived till the 60s becoming more eccentric, living in their little enclave in what was now a very low rent area of Los Angeles.

The detectives can't decide if they are just egotistical and bizzare or murderers as they interview the surviving members of the family and their "guests", an excon, a somewhat befuddled lady who is still waiting for her fiancee to come back from the first world war, a monkey, a goat, an astrologer and a 40 year old, mentally impaired newsboy.

They are also busy trying to decide if a young lady committed suicide or was murdered and looking for whoever deliberately ran over a police officer. Higgins looks for ways to help Mary Dwyer, the widow of a policeman, and Mendoza gratefully goes back to his wife, twin children and several cats when he can.

Posted by rachela at 10:43 AM MDT
Updated: Sunday, 4 July 2004 10:45 AM MDT
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Monday, 28 June 2004
The Death Bringers - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
This is the seventh Luis Mendoza mystery according to the list I have but I think they have the 7th, 8th and 9th switched. In this one Hackett is still recovering in the hospital and the LAPD homicide division is understaffed anyway. A bank robber is disappearing when leaving the banks and willing to shoot anyone who tries to stop him.

They still have the other cases such as a young man beaten and killed in a service station and a young girl shot in her living room when there is no one who could have done it. A fellow detective is killed and suddenly everything becomes very personal.

Posted by rachela at 9:54 PM MDT
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Mark of Murder - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
With Mairi to watch the twins Alison finally gets Luis to go on a cruise, where he still finds a criminal, a professional gambler using a crooked deck. They get a wire that Hackett is near death and head back to figure out why someone tried to send Hackett off a cliff.

Luis and the other detectives try to untangle a very high class abortion mill and find a slasher who is killing people with a knife, while hoping that Hackett lives. This is the eighth Luis Mendoza mystery and the detectives do their job and we learn about their lives.

Posted by rachela at 9:38 PM MDT
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Root of all Evil - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
This is the ninth Luis Mendoza book. A lady is found dead who had grown up rich and found on her parents death there was no money. She was willing to try most things to get money and the LAPD homicide division wonders where she'd getting it. The chase leads Mendoza to Arizona and a surprising reason.

Mendoza is probably glad to be away for a couple nights as the twins are babies and driving them crazy.

Posted by rachela at 9:22 PM MDT
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Murder Most Strange - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
This is the thirty second book in the Luis Mendoza series. The LAPD robbery/homicide division has their usual spate of stupid crimes. There's an all american rapist, a dead senator under strange circumstances, a homicide/suicide and other mysteries that keep Lieutenant Mendoza's department busy.

Mendoza's twins are getting ready for first grade and they've moved into a large hacienda. Higgins little girl is two years old and Galeano is getting married to a former murder suspect.

Posted by rachela at 9:06 PM MDT
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Sunday, 13 June 2004
Streets of Death - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
This is the 24th Luis Mendoza mystery, written in 1976. Lieutenant Mendoza and his robbery/homicide crew have three "pretty" boys beating up and robbing senior citizens, for little money so it's probably more for fun. When the priest from the mission church, where Mendoza goes (after spending too many years convinced he didn't need God) get's beaten unconscious, the Lieutenant gets even more upset.

A cripple disappears from an upstairs apartment with no elevator but leaves his wheelchair behind. All the detectives but Galeano think Marta, the "widow" did it, though they can't figure out how. Galeano is convinced of her innocence but also doesn't have an answer.

A retired citizen is found dead in his home, old ladies are being raped by a polite rapist and a shop owner is beaten to death in her store. Mendoza, Hackett, Higgins, Galeano and the other detectives are stretched to work on these and other crimes. With Mendoza's four year old twins full of energy, his wife Alison wiped out by morning sickness and talking of needing a larger home for the new baby, Luis has more than enough on his plate both at home and work.

Posted by rachela at 3:01 PM MDT
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Sunday, 6 June 2004
Spring of Violence - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
This is the 24th Luis Mendoza mystery. Some tropical fish are stolen, a little white haired lady is robbing banks, there are a rash of boys on bicycles being run down and other crimes take up the time of the officers in the Robbery/Homicide Division of the Los Angeles Police Department. Often the solution is as sad as the crime.

At home Mendoza and Alison's twins are four years old and learning to read with McGuffeys Readers, Piggott and Prudence get a fish tank, Higgins is happy to have his two step children and now a baby of his own, and others.

Posted by rachela at 5:49 PM MDT
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Louisa and the Missing Heiress - by Anna Maclean
Topic: Books - Mystery
This is the first book in a series of adventures that Louisa May Alcott supposedly had before she became famous with her Little Women and Little Men books. She's at home with her parents Abigail (Abba) and Branson Alcott. Money is tight as her father is a utopian and totally impractical and Abba, Louisa and her sisters do all the work and try to bring in some money. She is excited at seeing a friend who has recently returned from a year honeymoon in Europe. Dorothy (Dot), but Dot gets to the meeting late and is acting funny. By the next day she's dead and Louisa is determined to find out who killed her, and she does.

The mystery is good but not spectacular, but I enjoyed the comments about society, money and the hard lot of women back then. We do not understand how hard it was for women in the 1800s. Louisa helps at a home for unwed mothers and the scenes there are heart rending because the women don't really have anything to go back to since they are totally ruined by getting pregnant even though most of them were raped and the rest seduced by the promise of love. Yep that's like today.

Comments are made about the utopian commune they lived in for a while where the men discussed the philosophy of free living while the women worked 15 hours a days trying to keep everyone fed and clothed on a farm. I remember this about the 60s communes. I even remember one of the "leaders" saying the all the chicks could leave the room because the men had important things to discuss. Right!

Her father also was a vegetarian and wouldn't allow them to eat any meat or have anything woolen, which in a period when there was no central heat, was a real hardship. The Alcotts are a stop on the underground railroad and this I agree with. It was an extremely dangerous thing to be doing.

All in all it was an interesting book and I look forward to the next, not so much for the mystery itself as for the insight into the times not long before the Civil War.

Posted by rachela at 5:42 PM MDT
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Del Shannon finds
Topic: Books - Mystery
While at Bookmans today I found four Del Shannon books so it was good shopping. There's another Bookmans closer but I hadn't had any luck there. I've also been casually looking for books by Charles Williams but have been having no luck at all. The only place I can even check them out is at the University of Arizona library.

Posted by rachela at 5:05 PM MDT
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Friday, 4 June 2004
Knave of Hearts - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
This is the fourth book of the Luis Mendoza series and starts out with Hackett married to Angel but Luis dumping Alison with a very loud argument. Things go from bad to worse as evidence surfaces that shows they sent the wrong person the the gas chamber for a rape/murder. Soon the detectives are finding more and more cases that fit with the first case and realize they have a vicious rapist/murderer running around.

Under the bright scrutiny of the press they fight against time to find out who is the rapist and stop him from killing anyone else. At the end it comes much too close to home for comfort.

Posted by rachela at 7:48 PM MDT
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Extra Kill - by Dell Shannon
Topic: Books - Mystery
The second book in the series is The Ace of Spades which I read recently. Extra Kill is the third book.

A police officer is killed and some young punks are arrested not far away. A young cop that was at the scene has the courage to talk to Lieutenant Mendoza and explain why he thinks they arrested the wrong people. This starts an investigation that goes from a cult scam to a past her prime actress.

Hackett meets his future wife and Luis and Alison continue their relationship.

Posted by rachela at 7:44 PM MDT
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