Items tagged with Connecticut

Film: "The Road Taken... The Merritt Parkway”

Please see full event listing for date.

MerrittFilmmaker Lisa Seidenberg will introduce her film The Road Taken... The Merritt Parkway. Built in the dark days of the depression as a public works project, the scenic Merritt Parkway celebrates the 75th anniversary of the opening of its first section from Greenwich to Norwalk. Mixing historical information, personal anecdotes and lots of rarely seen archival material, the film takes a look at the road as a work of art. (2008, 34 mins.)

McManus Room

The Merritt Parkway Turns 75: A History

Please see full event listing for date.

Merritt Parkway Jill Smyth, Executive Director of the Merritt Parkway Conservancy, talks about the history of the Merritt Parkway, whose first section from Greenwich to Norwalk opened 75 years ago this June.

McManus Room
Talks & Readings

Who ya gonna call? Investigating the Paranormal

Please see full event listing for date.

CPRSThe Connecticut Paranormal Research Society, a non-profit organization devoted to helping people with paranormal disturbances and to research the unexplained, speak about their investigative methods and display their best evidence. 

McManus Room
Talks & Readings

Bye bye birdie!

Posted by on Friday, Jul 8, 2011 - 8:33 AM

bad bird coverOne of my greatest delights is when an author I have been following for several years finally starts getting the recognition they deserve.

Connecticut author Chris Knopf is one of those.  His first mystery, The Last Refuge, appeared in 2005.  It is set in Southampton, NY, where Knopf lives part of the year.

His protagonist is Sam Acquillo, a 50-something retired engineer described by Publishers Weekly as “the very epitome of the dropout. An ex-corporation man . . . he lives in his parents' run-down cottage . . . and seems content to drink himself into oblivion.”

Every manner of offbeat character inhabits these pages, and if you spend a fair amount of time at summer beach communities yourself, you might just recognize some of them!read more

Video: Cartoonist Roz Chast

April 12, 2010
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New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast delivered the Malloy Lecture in the Arts in Westport, Conn. on April 12, 2010. In the event jointly presented by the Westport Arts Center and the Westport Public Library, the Brooklyn-born Chast talked of life in the suburbs.

Sudoku showdown

Posted by on Monday, Feb 1, 2010 - 11:55 AM

puzzlelady.jpgJoin us for our first mystery program of the new year. Author Parnell Hall will be discussing his newest entertaining and fun-filled mystery, The Puzzle Lady vs. the Sudoku Lady, on Thursday evening, February 4, at 7:30 pm in the McManus Room ... the perfect warm-up for the Library’s eleventh annual Crossword Puzzle Contest on February 6.

It’s the battle of the century when Minami, the Sudoku Lady, shows up in Bakerhaven, Connecticut, to meet Cora Felton, the Puzzle Lady, whose sudoku books have just edged Minami’s off of the Japanese bestseller list. Before the rivals have a chance to square off, a killer strikes, and a sudoku puzzle is found at the scene of the murder. Now it’s a fight to the finish to see who can unmask the killer.

Nominated for the Edgar, Shamus, and Lefty awards, Hall is an actor, screenwriter, and former private investigator, as well as the author of two popular mystery series.

caper.jpgFans of his Stanley Hastings (New York City actor and private investigator) series will be pleased to hear that there will be a new Hastings mystery, Caper, coming out this July.

Some of you may have experienced Hall’s remarkable wit and humor at last year’s Murder 203.

He will be the Guest of Honor at this year’s Malice Domestic conference, April 30-May 2, in Arlington Virginia.

If you are looking for a bit of levity to get you through your day, take a few minutes to watch Hall’s brilliant YouTube video Kill 'em : A Simple Guide to the Art of Writing Murder Mysteries.

The Puzzle Lady vs. the Sudoku Lady will be available for purchase and signing.

Dominick Dunne (1925–2009)

Posted by on Monday, Dec 7, 2009 - 11:38 AM

dunne cartoon.jpgConnecticut’s own Hartford-born author Dominick Dunne died last August at the age of 83. Dunne’s obsession with crime and justice began with the death of his 22-year-old daughter Dominique in 1982.

John Sweeney, the estranged boyfriend convicted of her strangulation murder, spent fewer than three years in prison. Dunne vented his anger at the legal system in a Vanity Fair essay, Justice: A Father's Account of the Trial of his Daughter's Killer. You can read the entire text on the magazine’s website.

Continuing on as a correspondent for Vanity Fair, Dunne became a fixture at some of the most famous trials of our times – including Claus von Bulow, William Kennedy Smith, the Menendez brothers, O.J. Simpson, Michael Skakel and Phil Spector.

He achieved his widest fame from his reporting of the Simpson murder trial (1994-1995) and later as the host of Dominick Dunne’s Power, Privilege and Justice, a CourtTV program.

When Simpson's acquittal was announced in 1995, Dunne's jaw dropped and the courtroom cameras caught his expression ... it became an iconic image of the reaction of pretty much the rest of the world.

His book Another City Not My Own (1997), which he called novel in the form of a memoir, was based on the Simpson trial and an earlier novel, A Season in Purgatory (1993) mirrored the Skakel case. Skakel was eventually sentenced in 2002 to 20 years to life in the murder of Martha Moxley in 1975. Her body was found beneath a tree on her parents’ property in Greenwich, Connecticut. Dunne was a fixture at the trial and often sparred in the media with Skakel’s relatives.

Last year, Dunne defied his doctor’s orders and flew to Las Vegas to attend Simpson’s kidnapping and robbery trial.

He bristled at one writer's description of him as "Judith Krantz in pants" and preferred to be identified as a crime victim's advocate.

toomuchmoney.jpgDecember 15th will bring the posthumous publication of Too Much Money, a novel based on Dunne's real-life experiences as a society crime writer. Publishers Weekly calls it a showcase for “Dunne's razor wit and furious disdain for those who believe that laws apply to everyone but themselves.”

His New York Times obituary labels him a “Chronicler of Crime” and says that Dunne attributed his success to his being a good listener: “Listening is an underrated skill.”

I realized the power writing has, and it has also helped me deal with my rage,” he said in an interview with the Times in 2000. “It gave me a lifelong commitment not to be afraid to speak out about injustice.”

The Indy Five

Posted by on Monday, Oct 5, 2009 - 8:47 AM

cruelest.jpgThe 40th Bouchercon World Mystery Convention will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, October 15 - 18, 2009. Author Michael Connelly will be the Guest of Honor.

Mystery author Rex Stout was born in nearby Noblesville, Indiana and there are two popular fictional detectives who call Indy home.

Ronald Tierney’s character Dietrich “Deets” Shanahan is a 70-something former Army intelligence officer and semi-retired private investigator, and Connecticut author David Levien’s Frank Behr is an ex-cop private investigator.

boucher1.jpgThe Anthony Awards, named in memory of mystery writer and critic Anthony Boucher, will be given out at a ceremony on Saturday, October 17.

The five Best Novel nominees are Trigger City by Sean Chercover, The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly, Red Knife by William Kent Krueger, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson and The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny.

The Cruelest Month has already won this year’s Agatha Award for Best Novel and is nominated for the Macavity and the Barry awards as well as the Anthony.

better still.jpgLouise Penny is an author that I suggest to readers often and they never come back to me disappointed. The New York Times attributes this success to the “elegance and depth” that she brings to her traditional village mysteries.

Penny’s detective is Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of the Sûreté du Québec, in the village of Three Pines, in southern Quebec. The recently released The Brutal Telling is the fifth title in the series which began in 2005 with Still Life, which won numerous Best First Novel Awards, including the Anthony.

daisies.jpgThis year’s nominees for the Best First Novel Anthony – which is perhaps the most exciting category – include Pushing up Daisies, the first of the Dirty Business mysteries by Connecticut author Rosemary Harris.

Harris’ amateur sleuth Paula Holliday is a 30-ish former TV executive who opens a landscaping-gardening business in fictitious Springfield, Connecticut.

If you would like a chance to meet Rosemary Harris and wish her good luck at Bouchercon, the Usual Suspects discussion group will be sponsoring a get-together with her on Saturday, October 10th at 2 PM at the Lakeside Diner in Stamford, which was the inspiration for Babe’s diner in the series.

There will be coffee and donuts, a free raffle and a good time, for sure. RSVP to me by e-mail or phone at 291-4836.

The stolen generation

Posted by on Monday, Aug 31, 2009 - 8:14 AM

fscotch.jpgF. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda are among the many famous literary figures who have called Westport home, although their stay was brief. The newly-wed couple were here for six-months in 1920 during which time Fitzgerald began writing his second novel, The Beautiful and Damned.

ruse.jpgA stolen manuscript is at the heart of the newly-released The Fitzgerald Ruse, the second title in Mark Castrique’s Blackman-Robertson series.

Former U.S. military CID Chief Warrant officer Sam Blackman and his partner Nakayla Robertson have opened a detective agency in Asheville, North Carolina. Their first client is Ethel Barkley, a charming elderly woman who hires them to retrieve a lockbox that she claims holds a valuable F. Scott Fitzgerald manuscript which she stole from the author in 1935 while he was living at the stately Grove Park Inn.

Sam and Nakayla no sooner retrieve the box – which is sealed with hardened metal bearing the imprint of a swastika – than someone steals it from their office, killing a security guard in the process. There is evidence that the theft may be part of an attempt to maintain the secrecy of a 1930s American fascist organization. Or … it may be payback from rogue Blackwater mercenaries who have a score to settle with Sam.

When Sam revisits Ethel he finds her now somewhat hostile and her subsequent murder raises the stakes.

Publishers Weekly says “Readers will hope to see a lot more of the book's amiable characters, in particular, Sam and Nakayla, whose comfortable banter lends the story much of its charm."

The first book in the series was Blackman’s Coffin (2008), and Library Journal praised the author’s “effortless storytelling.”

handler.jpgA mystery classic associated with Fitzgerald is David Handler’s The Man Who Would Be F. Scott Fitzgerald, which was a 1990 Edgar winner. Handler’s series character, Stewart “Hoagy” Hoag – ghostwriter of celebrity memoirs and reluctant amateur detective – is called in when wildly bestselling first-time novelist Cam Noyes, who is said to write with "a lyrical voice like F. Scott Fitzgerald", has been too busy running with the brat pack to write his long-overdue second book. Hoagy really has his hands full when bodies start piling up faster than manuscript pages.

Want to read a bit of mystery by the man himself? You can view the text of The Mystery of Raymond Mortgage – a short story Fitzgerald wrote in 1909 when he was thirteen years old – online. The story resurfaced some 50 years after its initial publication and was included in the March 1960 issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.

Shocking news

Posted by on Sunday, Jul 26, 2009 - 1:41 PM

There are any number of novels based on true crimes. Dominick Dunne has written a number of these. A Season in Purgatory, based on the murder of Martha Moxley in Greenwich comes first to mind. Literary heavyweight Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song is about Gary Gilmore, who in 1977 became the first person executed in the United States since the reinstitution of the death penalty.

Josephine Tey’s detective Alan Grant re-examines the historical mystery surrounding Richard the III in the perennial 1951 favorite The Daughter of Time.

But perhaps the most revered classic of this genre is James M. Cain’s 1934 novel The Postman Always Rings Twice, based on the sensational 1927 case of Ruth Snyder. Snyder was a Queens, New York, housewife who conspired with her lover to murder her husband so they could collect the insurance money. A photo of Ruth Snyder’s electrocution in the New York Daily News in 1928 shocked the nation.

winnie.jpgEdgar-winning author Megan Abbott has a new novel, Bury Me Deep, inspired by the Infamous "Trunk Murderess" Winnie Ruth Judd. In 1931 Judd was convicted —in a trial also marked by sensationalized newspaper coverage—of the murder of Agnes LeRoi, one of two friends she allegedly killed in mid-October 1931 in Phoenix, Arizona. All three women were interested in the same man. The bodies were shipped in trunks by train from Phoenix to Los Angeles.

Judd was sentenced to be hanged in February of 1933 and sent to Arizona State Prison. The death sentence was repealed and she was sent to Arizona State Mental Hospital. She escaped seven times, often at large for several years at a time, and was eventually released in 1971. She lived until the age of ninety-three.

Abbott’s protagonist Marion Seeley, a young woman abandoned in Phoenix by her doctor husband, finds a job at a medical clinic. She becomes fast friends with Louise, a vivacious nurse, and her roommate, Ginny. Marion is swept up in the exuberant life of the girls, who supplement their scant income by entertaining the town's most powerful men with wild parties. She becomes involved with a local rogue, Joe Lanigan, and when the other women confront Marion about her relationship with Joe, a heated argument leads to murder.

Publishers Weekly promises us a “shocking ending.”

An earlier novel by Abbott, The Song is You (2007), is based on the unsolved October 1949 disappearance of actress Jean Spangler.