An Appreciation of Jane Langton by Nancy Shaw

Jane Langton

Jane Langton died last month, just short of her 96th birthday. Through 18 mysteries, her characters Homer and Mary Kelly studied transcendentalism while solving crimes. Langton wrote about the power of nature, art, and kindness. Her protagonists were often besotted with the natural world, or with art, while her villains and comically-awful annoyers were out of harmony with those worlds.

Though Langton hid clues and unveiled solutions, as the genre requires, her voice and presentations were utterly distinctive. She stitched plots together with quirky observations. A World War II-era University of Michigan alumna who studied astronomy and art history, Langton had prodigious powers of invention and spun plot complications from nuggets such as soil chemistry, the water table under a Boston church, and a flooded town under a reservoir. Her line drawings of the settings accompany most of the series, and the settings are integral to the stories. read more

Jess Montgomery: The Widows

Jess Montgomery’s debut is our selection for our January book of the month.  Set in 1920’s Ohio, it’s set in a tiny mining community and loosely based on the lives of the first female sheriff and Mother Jones.  Highlighting the harsh existence of the miners – mostly focused on women – the twining narrative follows the sherrif as she investigates the shooting death of her husband.  Unforgettable.  Purchase a copy on our store page, and check back each month for a highlighted title.  Ms. Montgomery will join our book club on February 21.  Contact us for details. read more

Christmas Reading!

Get your Christmas read on by browsing through our selection of very gently used titles, assorted hardcovers, trade paperbacks and mass markets,  This is the time of year to cozy up in front of the fire with a holiday book in hand.   Just click on the online store tab and go to the store page.  Happy reading!

Edward Keyes: The Michigan Murders

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5.500

This is one of the best selling books through our years as an open store.  A true account of the murders that took place in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor between 1967-69, and the story of how the killer was caught.  This is a used copy with spine creases and a stain on the bottom edge, but still perfectly readable.  $5.50.

Candace Robb: A Murdered Peace

The third in Candace Robb’s Kate Clifford series, set in 1400 York, finds much has changed in Kate’s world.  Kate, a widow who had been shackled by her late husband’s debts, has at last paid them off.  She’s a happy mother to her wards – two of them her late husband’s illegitimate children – but she loves all three of her children, one of them saved from the streets of York, equally.  Her household is a bustling and happy one.

As the book opens, a friend appears of her doorstep in a snowstorm, requesting shelter.  Kate unthinkingly takes her in and only on reflection realizes the danger of taking in a woman who may be regarded at the worst as a traitor, at the least as a fugitive and corpse thief.  The woman, Lady Kirkby, has witnessed the beheading of her husband during an uprising in nearby Cirencester. read more