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Archive for February, 2021

Nonfiction Review and Mini Interview – “More Than One Life” by Richard Salmon

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021


More Than One Life by Richard Salmon

Review and Interview by Diane G. (icesk8tr)


This book is huge at almost 600 pages long, and weighs over 3 pounds, but it is a very interesting story. If you have ever wondered what it was like in South Africa during Apartheid from the viewpoint of someone who lived there, this is for you.

The story is all about the life of Richard Salmon, from when he was a boy growing up in South Africa. This boy had dreams of being at sea, and new adventures. He ended up getting his wish, and traveled on cargo ships. During this time he also was interested in judo and other martial arts. His training in the martial arts is a story in itself and very impressive!! He traveled to train with so many masters and was able to master great things in many disciplines. During all of this he met his wife who was with him through all the changes and adventures in his life! They had 2 sons who also were along in their adventures as they moved from one country to the next. They took many interesting trips and moved from South Africa to the US, and moved to different states in the US, back to Africa, back to the US, and then once again back to South Africa! Each time taking along their possessions in huge crates that were carefully packed.

The impressive thing to me in this book is the way they were able to come back from disasters in their life, stay strong and together through all of it and continue along their way. They were able to come up with new ideas and careers along their paths. They did great things with their martial arts school, leadership schools, awareness programs, environmental education foundation, and planning and organizing safaris. They met some amazing people along the way, and made some lifelong friends. They had some amazing safaris and some good stories from them are also in the book.

Their 2 sons still live in Georgia, and go to visit them in South Africa. They are also very impressive and successful in their businesses, one working in construction, and the other a very talented musician in the duo Surrender Hill. (Check them out, they are amazing!)

I was able to talk to Richard and ask him a few questions about the book and here are the questions and answers:

Q. What inspired you to write this book?

A. Firstly, because of our rather extensive, challenging and unusual life’s journey, I wanted to leave the story as part of our family history for the future generations that follow and to all others that might read our story, to just show what is possible in life with thought, effort and determination and a little courage thrown in..

Q. How long did it take to write the book?

A. On and off, 12 years.

Q. You have lived many places across the globe. Besides South Africa where did you enjoy it the most?

A. Estes Park, Colorado, we absolutely loved living in the splendor of the Rockies.

Q. Do you think your martial arts training helped you deal with things that went wrong during your journey?

A. I have to believe that it was the ethical and spiritual guidance of the Great Masters I was privileged to share time with, combined with the many years of self-discipline in training. Together this gave me the strength at times when needed and even more so, I always knew there was the strength and support of Dot being by my side.

Q. What is your secret in having a good relationship between the two of you?

A. Beside the ‘The love of my life” which is the reason so often given and which it Is for us, I believe further, it’s two words, Respect and Trust.




This book was published in South Africa and it may not be easy to find a copy here in the US, but it is well worth it if you can!




Mystery Monday Review – High Tide

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

High Tide by P. M. Hubbard

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

This 1971 suspense novel was the writer’s tenth novel so it reads like the work of a confident, experienced writer that knows exactly how he wants to tell the story.

Peter Curtis is our first-person narrator. A cultured guy but not an intellectual, Peter hints that he is big and strong enough to be a commando but never dared take the training because he feared with violent skills coupled with his temper he’d be a danger to himself and others. He can usually keep his temper in “dingy kennel” of his mind but when provoked he’s not beyond killing. In fact, the novel opens upon his release from the Big House where he was sentenced to four years for accidentally killing a guy with his bare hands.

The provocation? The vic ran over Curtis’ Labrador.

Curtis does not face the money problems we assume an ex-con would have. So with the dream of buying a sailing boat to cruise the west coast of the Sceptered Isle for a couple of months, he’s driving in the south of England by night and sleeping by day in cheap hotels.

The plot twists when Curtis meets a henchman of the man he killed over the Labby. Then Curtis gets the feeling he is being followed. After adventures with a mysterious girl, Curtis ends up on a Cornish coastal town. Near a hiply designed but deserted farmhouse, he also meets the personification of “still waters run deep” in the form of the wife of a local novelist who writes nautical stories like Patrick O’Brian.

Hubbard also published poetry so he has a keen ear for sounds and a keen eye for details. He effectively evokes the dreary town of Leremouth, with its relentless tides and hazardous quicksand. As a Great Lakes guy, I can recommend this novel as a fine example of the nautical mystery, as enjoyable as Down among the Dead Men by Patricia Moyes, The Sailcloth Shroud by Charles Williams or the immortal The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers.







Mystery Monday Review – The Widow’s Cruise

Monday, February 8th, 2021

The Widow’s Cruise by Nicholas Blake

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)

Set on a ship’s cruise to the Greek islands, this 1959 mystery stars series PI Nigel Strangeways and his live-in GF Clare Massinger, a sculptress like Judith Appleby. They witness an odd situation involving a classics mistress recovering from a breakdown; her rich flashy widowed sister; a loosely educated classicist who is a popularizer and thus a scourge to the scholarly classicist; a flighty selfish school-girl who used to be taught by classicist; her twin brother; a sleazy busybody Brit; a know-all little girl, and a macho-man Greek tour guide who speaks American English.

The set-up is a bit long but things move faster with the disappearance and death of a merry widow’s ugly-duckling sister the classicist and another grisly killing. Aside from the grisliness, another challenging piece of the book is the 17-year-old schoolgirl wanting “experience” from the popularizer who is twice her age. Such bold aspects do not a cozy make. This outing is not as scary as The Corpse in the Snowman or The Beast Must Die; more on the level of The Dreadful Hollow or the first one A Question of Proof.

Nicholas Blake was the penname of Cecil Day-Lewis, classics professor and the Poet Laureate of the UK from 1968 until his death in 1972. Obviously, the vocabulary is literate, carefully chosen, and engaging for us world-weary readers that expect the prose in mysteries to be flat and workmanlike at best. Blake/Day-Lewis creates convincing characters, all with attitudes and motivations that are consistent, plausible and sometimes unsettling. He is especially acute depicting children and youths, probably because he was a teacher for a time. The background scenes of the cruise on the Med are well-done, so this appeals to readers who are a little tired of the country houses of the usual golden-age mystery. Strangeways takes it all the way to the twisted and surprising ending.




Mystery Monday Review – Hide and Seek

Monday, February 1st, 2021

Hide and Seek by Wilke Collins

Review by Matt B. (BuffaloSavage)


First published in 1854, this is an early suspense novel of the writer of the still read The Woman in White and The Moonstone. In Hide and Seek, a deaf and mute girl is rescued from exploitation under the big top. To minimize the risk of carnies kidnapping her back, her adopted father hides her origins under the cover of a modest middle-class family life. But her security and a family secret are threatened by a surly figure from the past, seeking the truth of the girl’s circus origins and bent on revenge.

Always clever and inventive, Collins also shows a kind tender side as he introduces us readers to the quiet life of a unsuccessful artist who has endearingly opted for a career of painting portraits of family members, dogs, and horses of crude manufacturers in order to provide comforts for his bedridden wife. This lovely couple has adopted the afflicted young girl. The murky origins of the girl are revealed as the surly stranger gets on her trail.

Of course, the probability of thrilling events happening in this world is quite low, but one always trusts Collins to carry our interest through admittedly long-winded sections or coincidences that in another writer (Dickens in Oliver Twist, say) would make us jaded readers snort in indignation. At only 29 years of age, in only his third novel, Collins got a handle on what he was doing as a writer.

Unusually for a novelist of that time, Collins sets up a person with a disability as a main character, drawing on John Kitto’s deafness memoir The Lost Senses. Moreover, the character is happy, able to establish relationships with others, helpful to an invalid in the house and ambitious for a career of her own. She is never an object of pity, though she does star in some sorrowful scenes. What helps, of course, is that she is a beautiful as a Pre-Raphelite Madonna.

The other remarkable point in this novel is Collins’ comic sense. Collins could see humor in situations such as the drunken son sneaking back into his father’s house or the incompetent artist boring his audience with contradictory explications of the symbolism in his clichéd paintings. I’m probably overstating this, but I find Collins’ humor much easier to take than Dickens’ facetiousness.