Riebling provided an abundance of information on how Pope Pius XII provided assistance and support for the German Resistance to the Nazis.
Had any of the plots succeeded in assassinating Hitler and installing a new government the Pope was ready to publicly assist peace negotiations.
Most remarkable was the story of a German Catholic hero, Josef Muller, a Bavarian lawyer who plotted against Hitler and was a courier between Germany and the Vatican. There is a great spy story to be written using Muller as inspiration.
I had not known of his proficiency in languages, especially German, and his significant employment in British Intelligence until I read the book.
The discussions on how he wrote his books were fascinating with the depths of his research impressive.
I continue to believe it will be the definitive biography of Le Carre for this generation.
While his primary vocation was editing fiction for the magazine his avocation has been covering baseball for over 50 years. As someone who has written a sports column while carrying on the practice of law I can appreciate the duality of his life.
In This Old Man are essays about himself, baseball and miscellaneous topics of interest. Sprinkled here and there are haikus.
Angell is remarkable for the grace of his prose. His words flow across the pages.
He faithfully follows the dictum of his stepfather, E.B. White, to "be clear" in his writing.
Jack McClelland from the Canadian publisher, McClelland & Stuart, was very much in the public eye for over 40 years as a publisher after World War II.
Yet what made him unique was wide and varied and pungent correspondence with his authors.
You have to love a man who would write to one of Canada's leading poets, Irving Layton, as follows:
Are you really all that bloody insecure? I could vomit. Let’s get
a few things straight and on the record ……Another thing I
should tell you, old friend, is that the most important thing that
your poetry accomplished in this country is to make poetry
respectably unrespectable. Of if you prefer, unrespectably
respectable. Poetry in Canada used to be in the hands of old
ladies and the odd gifted human being like Bliss Carman ….
While the mystery in Tundra Kill is well done it is the character of Alaskan Governor, Helen "Wheels" Mercer, who makes the book one of my Most Interesting books:
Active masked his astonishment as she swept into the room,
complete with the Helly-Hansen parka, the rectangle glasses,
the weapons-grade cheekbones, and a cloud of the famous
perfume, though he couldn’t remember what it was called. And
the calf-length high-heel boots – what was the brand?
Mercer was clearly inspired by former real life Alaskan governor, Sarah Palin. Mercer dominates Tundra Kill.
As she is a real northerner I was able to post a photo of Palin in a bright red parka.
Greaves follows their lives through the first third of the 20th Century culminating in the highly publicized trial of Luciano in New York City that made Dewey famous.
The book reached Most Interesting for two reasons.
First, the book used actual excerpts from the transcript of the trial. Dewey's cross-examination of Luciano demonstrated the folly of Luciano refusing Levy's recommendation he not testify at the trial alleging he was the mastermind of prostitution in New York.
Second, Levy was a powerful example of a non-flamboyant very successful criminal defence lawyer. I admit bias in favour of an unassuming skilful litigator.
Life was already bleak in Mouse Bluffs from the economic effects of the Depression. Adding drought and dust storms left many in despair.
What drew me to the book was the story of the author. Knowing she was dying of cancer Blondal voluntarily left her husband and children to spend three intense months writing the book. She died soon after knowing it would be published.