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At the Scene, November 2011                        Solving the mystery of what to read next!
In this Issue
Anne Perry on Dante's Inferno
Overheard
The Blond Leading the Blond Review
NEW2011 MS Sale
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November Greetings
Anne Perry reflects on Dante's Inferno, Jayne Ormerod's Blond Leading the Blond web exclusive review, holiday gift ideas, and One for the Money at the movies!

Who Stole Grandma's Million-Dollar Pumpkin Pie?
November kid pick: When Alex Parakeet's secret pie recipe is stolen, he and fellow 11-year-old sleuth Yasmeen Popp race to find the thief, recover the recipe, and save the day.

 

Hello everyone!

 

As I write this, Holiday Issue #122 is just getting ready to go to print for late-November newsstands.

 

You can look forward to a conversation with Marcia Muller, creator of the groundbreaking female private eye Sharon McCone. Margaret Maron describes the fateful meeting of her two detectives, Sigrid Harald and Deborah Knott, and we consider the UK series Garrow's Law which was based on a real-life 18th-century barrister sometimes called the 'Robin Hood of the Old Bailey." Also Jon L. Breen rounds up the year's best legal thrillers, and Lawrence Block continues his informal memoirs in "The Murders in Memory Lane." 

 

Plus, there's the next installment of our book collecting series, a whole slew of great new book, DVD, audiobook, and other reviews, and, of course, the annual Mystery Scene Gift Guide, a stockingful of fun ideas for your crime and mystery lover.

 

Here's one of our favorites, with more great picks to come.

 

$9.99  Knife Fridge Magnet, ThinkGeek.com 
Stick it to your fridge!
 
Knife Fridge Magnet, ThinkGeek.com
 
Best wishes,
Kate Stine
Editor

 

 
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Anthony Horowitz  
Anne Perry on Dante's Inferno
We are not punished for our sins, but by them  
Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri in a 14th century painting attributed to Giotto, in the chapel of the Bargello Palace in Florence.

 

The book whose philosophy has held me more than any other is Dante's  Inferno, written around 1310. I read 

it haltingly in Italian, and with speed and joy in English (preferably the Dorothy L. Sayers translation, with captions and fascinating footnotes). There is passion and music in it, wit, character, and imagination 

to equal that of any sci-fi or horror story. And the plot carries you forward at a hectic pace, always wondering what next.

 

Why do I care? We spend our lives fascinated with mankind, and with the quest to understand good and evil. Dante encapsulates the soul of it in his vision showing how we are not punished for our sins, but by them. It is not an external thing visited upon us by God, or fate. It is an internal change we have wrought in ourselves. Each bad choice diminishes us in a particular way, just as each good one adds to us.

 

His classification of sins is most thought-provoking. Lightest are the sins of the Leopard - those of incontinence. In the middle are the sins of the Lion - those of violence. Deepest are the Sins of the Wolf - those of fraud, deceit and betrayal - a capacity peculiar to man.

 

Among these lowest are flatterers (debasing the means of communication between individuals): forgers (destroying the means of trade); propagandists (polluting all trust and belief between peoples). Pollution of the earth we now understand and condemn as damaging the very world we live in, and therefore all life. Who else grasped that in 1300?

 

For sheer enjoyment - and perhaps a touch of "schadenfreude," there are the grotesque punishments so exquisitely fitting the crimes - e.g., the lustful swept along by violent winds, never allowed to rest; thieves who now cannot possess even their own bodily forms and are forever changing. It gives the term "poetic justice" a whole new meaning.

 

And there is the beauty. In that terrible place you still see Christ "walking the waters of Styx with unwet feet."

 

Every time I return to it I am caught up in the power of Dante's imagination and made to think again "Am I turning myself into who I really want to be? If I saw my acts without the comfortable mask of self-delusion, would I still want them to be part of me?"  Thank you, Dante Alighieri.

 

  



Anne Perry's latest
book is A Christmas Homecoming (Ballantine, October 2011).  www.anneperry.net

"Writers on Reading" is a special ongoing Mystery Scene series available as a first look exclusive to our newsletter subscribers. 
 
Mystery Scene Hangman  

Overheard 

 

One for the Money, 2012

 

"There are some men who enter a woman's life and screw it up forever. Joseph Morelli did this to me - not forever, but periodically.

 

 

- Lingerie buyer-turned-bounty hunter Stephanie Plum,

reflecting on her tangled past with Trenton cop Joe Morelli

in One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (1994). 

 

 Lionsgate will release the film adaptation of One for the Money in January 2012, starring Katherine Heigl as Stephanie, Jason O'Mara (above) as Morelli, and Daniel Sunjata as the inscrutable bounty hunter Ranger. 

 

 

The Blond Leading the Blond
A golden-haired detecting duo lead Jayne Ormerod's debut
 

The Blond Leading the Blond by Jayne Ormerod The Blond Leading the Blond 

by Jayne Ormerod

Avalon Books, October 2011, $23.95 

 

Ellery Tinsdale is a 40-something third-grade teacher with gray-blond hair who tops out at 6 feet and 200 pounds. Samantha Greene is a petite firecracker with a pile of cascading platinum curls that barely reach Ellery's earlobe. 

 

Together, this unlikely pair kicks off a madcap new series in the Chick Thrill genre, from new author Jayne Ormerod.

 

Check out Mystery Scene's web exclusive review of The Blond Leading the Blond, as well as other special web content online at MysterySceneMag.com.

 

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