Brecksville writer gives nod
to Agatha Christie mystery
There’s a little spoiler alert for readers of Kylie Logan’s new mystery Mayhem at the Orient Express: If you haven’t read the Agatha Christie classic to which its title refers, you might figure out who done it. In Christie’s book, that is. The women of the League of Literary Ladies, which is the name of this new series, may think the parallels will help them solve their own crime, but nothing’s that easy.
The story begins in the South Bass Island court, where the narrator, Bea Cartwright, and her two neighbors are about to get an unusual sentence from the magistrate. The three women have been bickering nonstop since Bea relocated from New York and began renovating a bed-and-breakfast, causing street traffic, which annoys snooty winery owner Kate, whose loud opera music annoys New Agey Chandra, whose marauding cat destroys Bea’s flower beds.
The magistrate’s solution is to sentence the women to what, to them, amounts to hard labor — they have to attend weekly book club meetings, which the local library must hold in order to continue receiving some funding. Finally agreeing to read the Christie book, they keep their meeting as short as possible, each separately intending to decamp to the Orient Express restaurant for some takeout orange-peanut chicken. It is not to be, as they discover the personable owner stabbed to death.
Bea retreats to her B&B, but a freak spring snowstorm puts out the electricity on most of the island, and people gradually drift in for heat and shelter, as Bea owns one of the few places with a generator. Now her two adversaries, strangers and guests are all gathered — and one of them is the murderer.
Mayhem at the Orient Express (304 pages, softcover) costs $7.99 from Berkley. Logan, of Brecksville, will talk about and sign her book, as well as the Pepper Martin comic mystery series she writes under the name Casey Daniels, at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Northwest branch of the Akron-Summit County Public Library, 1720 Shatto Ave.
Author explores family of John Brown
Abolitionist John Brown lost a son in Kansas and two more in his raid on Harpers Ferry, where another was captured. What of the women in his family? Eastern Illinois University history professor Bonnie Laughlin-Schultz provides revealing information about Brown’s wife and daughters in The Tie That Bound Us: The Women of John Brown’s Family and the Legacy of Radical Abolitionism.
With his first wife, Dianthe, whom he married in 1820 in the Congregational Church in Hudson, Brown had seven children, five of whom survived to adulthood. With his second wife, Mary, six of their 13 children survived. It is on Mary and her daughter, Annie, born in Richfield in 1843, that Laughlin-Schultz focuses.
Mary endured extreme hardship as she supported Brown in his efforts, business as well as political matters. Her grief in losing six children, most to dysentery, was devastating, and after Brown was executed she became something of a martyr queen.
Annie, like her half-sister Ruth dedicated to antislavery from an early age, was recruited by her father to act as housekeeper, cook, lookout and, in a sense, a decoy, at the hideout where he gathered men, weapons and ammunition to prepare for the 1859 armory raid. Annie married an alcoholic idler, and spent the rest of her life trying to set the record straight about what happened at the hideout.
Almost a third of the book consists of bibliography, including hundreds of family letters. The Tie that Bound Us (276 pages, hardcover) costs $29.95 from Cornell University Press.
Dover Public Library (525 N. Walnut St.) — Andrew Zimmerman talks about and signs his book We Got Each Other Home: The Story of WWII’s Legendary LST, about Landing Ship Tank 66 used in World War II to deliver troops and cargo, 1 p.m. today.
Stark County District Library (Lake Community branch, 11955 Market Ave. N.) — Lauraine Snelling, California author of Christian-themed fiction, signs her just-released novel Wake the Dawn, about a crisis on the Minnesota-Canadian border, 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Garfield Heights branch, 5400 Transportation Blvd.) — Jim Toman, author of Vintage Cleveland, gives a history presentation and signs his book, 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday.
Root Café (852 West Bath Road, Cuyahoga Falls) — North Lewisberg author Jesse Ellis signs his My Pal Willie storybooks, about an adopted dog, and Kyle Learns Baseball from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday.
Visible Voice (1023 Kenilworth Ave., Cleveland) — Cleveland author Jack Ricchiuto signs Abundant Possibilities: The Power of Presence in an Intentional Life, 6 to 8 p.m. Friday.
Learned Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson) — Kathryn Long discusses and signs her Louisiana-set paranormal mystery Dying to Dream, 1 p.m. Saturday.
— Barbara McIntyre
Special to the Beacon Journal
Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or email@example.com.