Saturday, February 22, 2020

O Nation, My Nation!

N.C. Wyeth "O Captain, My Captain"

As some of you may have gathered, I like to tinker with classic poems, sometimes for fun, sometimes to crystalize my thoughts on a troubling or complex circumstance. This past week led me back to Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and his “O Captain, My Captain!” 1865 mourning tribute to the loss of our Captain, President Abraham Lincoln. 

I like that template,
As we wait,
To meet with fate,

Walt Whitman

O Nation! my Nation! I fear we’ve come undone,
Our land’s confronted every threat, with pride, brave deeds and fun,
As men revered, for deeds so clear, led people all exulting,
But narrow eyes did bring to heel, our land of faith and caring;
                         Burdening its heart
                             With foreboding pain and dread,
                               While all the world endures the lies,
                                  Not yet cold and dead.

O Nation! my Nation! rise up and face the hells;
Rise up—for you the time has come—for you there’s no untils,
For you no more the ribald tweets—for you they must be ending,
For you they call, the huddled masses, their trusting faces turning;
                         Hear Nation! dear saviour!
                            We turn to you instead!
                               To save the dream about to wreck,
                                 Not yet cold and dead.

Our Nation needs an answer, to many lips so shrill,
As many souls who suffer harm, in battles all uphill,
Are turned against those safe and sound, with worries near to none,
By false fearful tales, that once brought dire victory not won;
                         Come together, confront the hells!
                            End the reign of dread,
                               Of our Nation steeped in lies,
                                  Not yet cold and dead.

Here’s the Original

O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the bleeding drops of red,
                               Where on the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
                         Here Captain! dear father!
                            This arm beneath your head!
                               It is some dream that on the deck,
                                 You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
                         Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
                            But I with mournful tread,
                               Walk the deck my Captain lies,
                                  Fallen cold and dead.


Jeff's 2020 Speaking Engagements and Signings (in formation):

Friday, March 13, 10:15AM
San Diego, CA
LEFT COAST CRIME—San Diego Marriott Mission Valley—(Sierra 5-6)
Moderating “Tipping the Scales: The criminal justice system,” with Teresa Burrell, Keenan Powell, L.F. Robertson, and Karen Stefano.

Saturday, March 14, 2:45PM
San Diego, CA
LEFT COAST CRIME—San Diego Marriott Mission Valley—(Rio Vista F-H)
Panelist, “Murder Goes Global: International Mysteries and Thrillers,” with Annamaria Alfieri, Ana Manwaring, and Greg Randall, moderated by Jane Stillwater.

Monday, March 16, 2020, 11AM-2PM
Saddlebrooke, Arizona 85739
30th Anniversary Authors Luncheon
SaddleBrooke Clubhouse
40010 S. Ridgeview Blvd.
Author Speaking and Signing

Thursday, June 4--Sunday, June 7, 2020
CRIMEFEST—Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel
Panels yet to be announced 

Thursday, October 15—Sunday, October 18
Panels yet to be announced

Friday, February 21, 2020

The Glamour Of Television

On Monday I got an email asking me if I was free the following day to do some filming and could I call them back. It was a very noisy clinic  and the girl on the other end sounded as if she was doing aerobics  in a wind tunnel at JFK, so I think I might have misheard.  I looked at the diary, it was a busy day at work that day  but I was free the following day after 1pm and the BBC is in Glasgow, they wanted me there for half one. That  was doable.

I said yes, then I realised they were talking about the BBC as in the 'B' C, the B being for British so not BBC Scotland . And I was wanted in Aberdeen. Cold, cold Aberdeen.

Aberdeen is  very beautiful, everything is this cold, grey granite stone.

Fluffy boot town.

That’s a good four hour drive  away. So there was a hasty re arrangement of the Tuesday clinic, a late night at work on that Monday then up at 6 to drive up to Aberdeen, dropping off a very confused dog at an equally confused 84 year old on the way.

There was very hasty printing off of the notes they had sent me. We stopped at Peggy Scotts half way up for breakfast where I  made notes from the notes and for three hours, I was quite expert of James The 6th And 1st and his misogynistic  war against witches in 1595.


One the drive there was sun, rain, snow, blizzard,  fog, more snow , more rain. We were in Aberdeen before the locusts and plague arrived.

                                       The stained glass of the museum archive

At the reception of the council, I  joined the runner Scott who I had met before. His bag was full of sandwiches and water that had been requested by the rest of the crew. Then Phil Astley the archivist, came down to get us as  we needed to walk through some locked doors and we were trusted to do this alone.  Phil was lovely, a quiet academic man who was passionate about his subject, old books and records up the achieve room, books looked out ready on little stands for us to peer over- witchcraft,  the penal records, and how naughty Aberdonians were given the choice ; be flogged on a monthly basis in the town square for ‘a period of time’  or go to the plantations  in the USA.  

                                             Dame Mary Beard, a real professional!                                                                                                          (unlike yours truly)

I was appearing on the Front Row Late, a cultural show ( yes I know, not really my natural thing - culture! ) with academic Dame Mary Beard.  I was supposed to be chipping in about the societal issues of the female as she inhabits the crime novel, or something like that. I had a wee talk prepared things I wanted to say but didn’t say any of that. I found the exhibits we were looking at too fascinating.

I didn't say anything about anything I had read in the notes.

Mug shots of people who  looked 60, and were  23.  One woman's societal  issues were that she had been raped, was emaciated, pregnant and the baby died, so she was charged with killing her child, or not allowing it to thrive.  Her defence council made a good case, the judge was sympathetic so she only got five years.

 Five years for  basically being a victim.


The archives were incredibly interesting, I found myself covering the lower faces of the mug shots, looking at their eyes. Some were troubled, some were defiant, some were ‘oh here we go again’. One was … well her expression....? What was it?  A pretty young girl, found living with a man who was married to somebody else…. Her face was  unfathomable, as if she had a trick up her sleeve and she was going to get off as soon as she had stopped posing the long time of the camera exposure. Mary and I both commented on it.

It took  two hours to film something that will take up 5 minutes on the programme, probably less than a minute of me.

Which might be a blessing!
                                  I rather like this picture. I'll let you ponder what actually is!

We looked at each item chatted, moved the mics, clapped to restart  filming,  looked at more things, specs on specs on for continuity, more looking,  pointing,  pretending to talk to each other,  say what we had for breakfast. We walked in, we walked out the from, through the jail gate and the safety vault door, we nodded, we looked interested, we said various lines  again to one camera and then to the other.

 All the time the flagstone floor was chilling my body from the bottom up.

We left Aberdeen at 4, was back home at 8….  Cold,  frozen to the bone, glad to see the slightly warmer rain of Glasgow.   

Oh and Mary was very interested  in my fact that so much crime fiction is read in cold countries. So she's no away to read some bloke called Michael Stanley,as she had been reading about him on this 
very  blog.

Caro Ramsay 21/02/2020

Thursday, February 20, 2020

RIP Joseph Shabalala

Stanley - Thursday

Joseph Shabalala
I grew up next to a golf course in Johannesburg. An enduring memory of those times is lying in bed at night listening  to singing and often drumming coming from the sleeping quarters of the caddies--all black of course. These voices were distant, but still distinct.

Similarly, whenever there were road works and digging was required, there would be groups of black workers singing in a call-and-response style. The leader would sing sing a line and the rest of the group would respond. Often this occurred in time with the swinging of the picks or shovels.

I never understood what was being sung, largely because the education of white kids in those days didn't include learning a language of any of the majority groups in the country. To this day, I resent the fact that I didn't grow up learning Zulu or Xhosa. Given the choice, I would have chosen Zulu. It is a beautiful language with many onomatopoeic words. For example, the word for scooter is isithuthuthu (pronounced isitututu). There is a game reserve in KwaZuu Natal province named Hluhluwe. The hl sound is similar to the ll sound in Welsh - put your tongue on the back of your front teeth and exhale. The sound comes from the edge of the tongue. Try saying Hluhluwe. It means the rustling of the reeds.

Back to the main story!

The a cappella singing by the caddies and road workers crept into my soul, not only the style, but also the rhythms, uniquely African.

It is not surprising, given how common this style of singing was, that formal groups formed to sing it. And it is not surprising, too, that groups starting competing.

Here's a clip of the importance of these competitions to the community.

This style of singing is called isicathamiya, pronounced isi c utu mee ya (with the c a dental click and the u as in up). 

Here's a clip of isicathamiya in everyday life.

Very few people have not heard of Ladysmith Black Mambaso, the isicathamiya or a cappella group from KwaZuku Natal in South Africa. It was founded by Joseph Shabalala, who died last week.

Bhekizizwe Joseph Siphatimandla Mxoveni Mshengu Bigboy Shabalala, as he was named at birth in 1941, started his first isicathamiya group, Ezimnyama ("The Black Ones"), in 1959 after a choir he was in refused to sing any of the songs he composed. 

In a series of dreams in 1960, in which he saw a group dressed in robes singing a different type of a cappella song, he changed the group to be able to create the sound he had heard. It started winning many of the competitions, so he changed the name to Ladysmith Black Mambaso -- Ladysmith after the town in which he was born and Mambaso meaning axe, symbolising the fact that they were cutting down all opposition at the competitions. 

The group was quite successful in South Africa, cutting and selling a number of records.

The break-out moment came in 1986, when Paul Simon arrived in South Africa to record Graceland. He and Shabalala collaborated and co-wrote Homeless, which put the group on the map worldwide. You can listen to it here.

And you can listen to Diamonds on the soles of her shoes here with Simon singing with Ladysmith Black Mambaso.

The froup went from strength to strength eventually being nominated for many Grammys and winning two.

This is one of my favourites - Wentomb'unecala.

Shabalala's life was full of successes, but also tragedies. In 1991, Joseph's brother and fellow  group member, Headman Shabalala, was killed by an off-duty white security guard in what was thought to be a racial murder. In 2002, Joseph's wife of 30 years, Nellie, was shot and killed by a black assailant outside the couple's home. A man was tried and found guilty, but one of Shabalala's sons was found not guilty of paying the perpetrator to murder his stepmother.

Then, in 2004, when Joseph's brother, Ben Shabalala, was shot and killed by an unknown assailant whilst driving his two children to school. In 2006, Joseph's brother Jockey (his only brother remaining in the group), died of natural causes at his home in Ladysmith, South Africa. 

When Shabalala retired in 2014, his youngest son, Thamsanqa, took over as leader.

A very humble man, Shabalala brought calm and happiness to millions around the world. Certainly, his music resonates at my core.

Rest in Peace.

Upcoming events

Knysna Literary Festival 

  • Friday, March 6 at 1300, Knysna, South Africa
  • Becoming an Author: Michael Sears, Stanley Trollip, Jeremy Boraine

Crimefest – Bristol, England

  • June 4 to June 7, Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel
  • Details to come.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

My afternoon with assassins

It’s frightening but I think I’d make a good professional assassin. Until I almost killed a sniper.

Most people take the RER C train from Paris to visit the Sun King’s chateau at Versailles. I took it and got off at Satory, the following stop, headquarters of the GIGN, the elite police tactical unit of the French National Gendarmerie. Marc, a member of the GIGN, had invited me for coffee at a cafe by the train station. I wasn’t sure why we met here, what I’d learn or if this would be ‘it’. 
A friend in the Paris Homicide police force set this up insisting ‘you should meet him and see where he works’. That morning, the weather - a cloudless June day - the tree-lined streets beckoned and my sandals broke. So I wore terribly not chic flip flops trés Americaine and Marc, surprisingly wore jeans and T-shirt. ‘No photos’ he said, ‘but ask me what you’d like to know’. This meeting had been set up on the fly, very last minute so I confessed my ignorance of what work Marc’s unit did. Somehow I must have passed the test, seemed harmless and ignorant enough, that he said ‘let’s go and I’ll show you.’

So off we drove in his Renault towards Satory’s outskirts to the GIGN hq which is a military base, site of their helipad, barracks and training facilities. Marc’s tour of his work place was off the cuff, seat of the pants and for rule conscious military French stellar and unique - so what I saw was arbitrary and what he showed me selective. How could this happen? Lucky for me, this visit happened a few months before 9/11. This could never happen now with tight security in place. Marc owed my friend a favour, felt curious, gotten off work early that afternoon had time and wanted to show off his elite unit. Right place, right time and the stars aligned. 
Marc introduced me to his squadron leader, the authority and chain of command to introduce a visitor on base. If there was a protocol to follow for a secure military base, it felt loose. 
I discovered that the GIGN are the cowboys, risk takers which you’d need to be to do this kind of work. I learned the GIGN specialise in counter terrorism, special weapons, assault tactics, hostage rescue, VIP protection, paratroop and water operation. The day was quiet and the unit on call were training in another area. That’s when I met a sniper and almost killed a paratrooper at the firing range. Déde, the paratrooper, was a big bear of a man. Huge, dark haired, Gallic nose and with remarkable patience at the firing range. That is until I just about shot him.
The informal firing range, set in an old airplane hangar, held targets. But it was dark, smelled of hay. No one wore eye protection or ear guards. Maybe this was a firing range simulating a real life situation, I wondered. Before I knew it Marc and Déde were offering me a choice of pistols - a Manhurin which all GIGN are issued or a Sig Sauer that the Paris police now use. Decisions. My flip-flops felt every ejected bullet casing on the concrete floor. Not the footwear for a firing range. Had I shot before? Of course but I gave vague details. In reality it had been once with friends at a shooting range near the SF airport.
With Marc and Déde on either side, I steadied my stance, extended my arm, locked on target. Shot. What a kick to my shoulder and hand. Of course, as an amateur I had no control. Tried again and again. Why couldn’t I hit near the target?
Upset I turned to ask Déde what was I doing wrong. Before I could speak, he jumped on me, covered my body as Marc did and grabbed the gun from my hand. Which by the way had been pointing at Déde.
They apologized and so did I, profusely. They must have been regretting giving an amateur a gun. I’d been on the ground, out of commission before I knew what happened. And I’m glad. 
If I’m ever in a hostage situation I want Déde in my corner. Postscript: when I returned home and unpacked my roller bag, my husband noticed my flip-flops and asked if this was a new style. New style? Covering the rubber soles of my pink flip-flops were embedded bullet casings from the firing range at Satory. These had gotten through airport security - your tax dollars at work (:
Cara - Tuesday

Sunday, February 16, 2020

You Can Help Save the Earth

Annamaria on a Crusade

Great thanks to Michael for his encouraging and hugely informative post this past Thursday.  If you haven't read it, you can find here his words about some important counter climate-change strides.  His theme is that while governments may be recalcitrant, individuals and corporations are inventing ways to work against the rising tides.  I want to piggyback on this  subject, which—like Michael—I believe is the most important issue before us as human beings.

Michael focused on plastic as one of the major pollutants so I will start there.  When I first learned about the mass of plastic floating on the Pacific Ocean, I became so alarmed that I turned into a warrior against plastic.  My enemy is all those innocent-looking zip-lock bags, easily portable bottles of water, and yogurt containers.  Here are the facts, as of March 2018, about the that floating mass:

The giant accumulation of plastic called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch contains at least 79,000 tons of discarded plastic, covering an area of about 617,800 square miles (1.6 million square kilometers), according to a study published in Scientific Reports.

It's probably larger now, two years later! 

For perspective, this mass is larger than all but the 17 largest countries on earth.  According to National Geographic Magazine, some of the that mass will biodegrade in 450 years.  The rest will last FOREVER.

The most daunting (and for me personally disgusting) fact about plastic is that micro beads of it have been found in human breast milk.  If this doesn’t scare the begeezes out of you, I don’t know what would.

What can we do?  isn't it obvious?  We need to move as fast as possible toward 100% biodegradable packaging materials.  Europe is doing a much better job of this than the USA.  I started working on this post in Italy, where plastic bags for carrying food purchases are, by law, biodegradable. 

Until our country comes to its senses, those of us who live in the USA and other backward countries can at least buy products that are packaged in cardboard—dishwasher detergent and raisins for instance.  And soap in bars that comes wrapped in paper will get you just as clean as the liquid stuff in plastic bottles.

There are alternatives to plastic film and baggies for storing leftovers.  And we can get your takeaway from places that package our lunch in cardboard cartons instead of plastic containers.  I could go on and on, but you get the idea.  

Michale’s blog made a point of the amount of water and energy that goes into recycling.  I’d like to focus on the energy issue in another important way.  

Even if it is generated through solar panels, wasting electricity is economically and environmentally insane.  In the US, just about 100% of hotels and apartment buildings have hallway lights that are burning 24/7.  In Italy, and I imagine other European countries as well, the norms are aimed at curbing overconsumption of electricity.   Lights in hallways are wired to motion detectors.  If someone is walking by the lights go on.  Otherwise the place is dark.  In hotel rooms, lights automatically go off when you take your key from its little slot as you leave the room.  No waste. 

Speaking of waste, in the US, there is also the insanity of indoor temperature settings.  Typically, thermostats are set at 74 degrees F in winter and 68 degrees in summer.  One has to wear a sweater to feel comfortable indoors in summer and to strip off layers to keep from overheating in winter.  I recently heard a climate-change denier on the radio, pooh-poohing the potential benefits of electric cars because, he said, “The power grid in the United States does not have enough capacity to charge all those automobiles.”  I wonder how that prediction would fare, if all those hallway lights went on only when someone needed them, and those temperature settings were reversed: in winter 68, when we are wearing winter clothes.  And 74 in summer.  If 74 is comfortable in winter, why is it too hot in summer?

Changing the habits of a nation is a daunting task, but ordinary people make environmental decisions everyday.  We can decide what kind of car to drive.  Or better yet, to use mass transit.  One by one we can start to reduce our own consumption and waste production, especially when it comes to using plastics and power.  We can choose food gown locally.  Or set our own thermostats at rational levels.    We can keep or precious planet in mind when we decide what to buy at the supermarket and what kind of bag we use to tote our purchases home.  We can try to influence others to join the fight.

We can become a climate activists.  Write letters, attend rallies, make speeches, and make noise about this issue.  Vote only for politicians who give solving climate change a high priority.  When a corporation acts insensitively, or public officials make wrong decisions, we can stop buying their products or shopping in their stores.  We can write to corporate CEOs, store owners, board chairmen, politicos and tell them that we are boycotting them for their behavior.

Are these actions guaranteed to solve the problem.  No.  Of course not.  But we must try.

My father, who died twelve years ago, wept when he thought about the mess humans were making of the Earth.  “My generation,” he said, in tears, “is leaving the world so much worse off than we found it.”  He felt personally guilty about that.  So do I.

Some people’s religion tells them that there will be a Last Judgment—a time when the saved will be separated from the damned.  I think the people of this planet need to stage a Next to the Last Judgment.  We need to start damning those who do not see the crisis.  And especially those who, for their own personal gains, ignore it.

This sacred planet is the home we all share.  This is a trite statement, as is the title of this blog.  BUT.  What other battle cries might we adopt at this juncture.  Can we look at deaf and dumb politicians and say, "We who are about to die salute you."  Shall we eat, drink, and be merry? 

 We can continue to act like a virus infecting our planet, crawling all over it, acting like we are in charge.  Climate change looks to me like Earth's immune system sending the forces of wind, flooding, fire, and drought (the real four horsemen of the Apocalypse) to delivery a grim message.

Save the planet is not the real issue, of course.  The Earth will still be here, even if we go on abusing its and ignore its warnings.  It, as an ecosystem, will continue to fight back.  If humans, as a species, fail to heed the dire warnings of our living home, it will kill us.  The same way any living organism's immune system destroys an infection.

We are marvelous.  Whether you think we are the creation of an intelligent God or the result of a series of splendid accidents, we are a wonder species.  Wouldn't it be great if we were also smart enough to save ourselves.  I hope we are.

Traveling the Tokaido . . . in Miniature

-- Susan, every Other Sunday

The Tōkaidō, or "East Sea Road" was one of the five great highways that linked the major political and commercial centers of Japan. Although the route itself was officially named and established during the early 17th century, many of the travel roads that later became the Tōkaidō had existed, and been used by travelers, for centuries.

One of the 53 Stations of the Tokaido, woodblock print by Utagawa Hiroshige (1797-1858)

A journey from the starting point of the Tōkaidō  (at Nihonbashi, in Edo) to its southern terminus in Kyoto would have taken 2-3 weeks during the heyday of the route (and in good weather). 53 official post towns lined the route--places where weary travelers could stop for tea, a meal, or a place to spend the night. Fresh horses and porters were also available for rent.

The Tōkaidō has inspired a variety of art--from famous prints by artists like Hiroshige and Kunisada to music and short stories. But one of the most interesting tributes to the famous travel road lies far to the south, in Kumamoto City on the island of Kyushu.

Suizenji Jojuen - the Tōkaidō in miniature

In the early 17th century, not long after the formal creation of the travel road, Hosokawa Tadatoshi, the Daimyō (feudal lord) of Kumamoto constructed a massive traditional garden designed to pay homage to the 53 stations of the Tōkaidō.

Nihonbashi, in Edo - the official starting point of the Tōkaidō (Print by Utagawa Hiroshige)

Jojuen's version of the Nihonbashi

The garden was originally designed as a private garden and retreat. Later, other members of the Hosokawa family constructed Izumi Shrine, a Shinto shrine on the garden grounds that pays homage to the Hosokawa clan.

Izumi Shrine

Today, the garden is open to the public and has been designated a National Historic Site of Scenic Beauty.

The stations of the Tōkaidō remain recognizable - particularly the "coastline" (created by a man-made lake)

The Japanese coast in miniature

... and a miniature Fuji that bears a striking resemblance to its famous full-sized counterpart.


Fuji from the Tōkaidō (Hiroshige Print)

The garden is also home to a grove of lovely Ume (plum / Japanese apricot) trees, whose brilliant, fluffy blossoms herald the approach of spring . . .

The Ume say spring is coming...

. . . and some exceedingly friendly (and well-fed) pigeons, who are happy to make you acquaintance if you purchase pigeon food (or fish food - they're not picky) from one of the vendors along the path.

Pardon me . . . Do you have any Gray Poupon?

The park is a beautiful example of Japanese garden architecture, as well as a unique way to experience the Tōkaidō. Much of the original travel road now lies beneath the concrete and steel of the Shinkansen or Japanese Highway 1, making Suizen-ji Jojuen one of the few places where Japan's most famous travel road remains alive and well . . . if somewhat smaller in scale than it was before.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Congratulations to Guest Blogger Robert McCabe

Photo of Robert McCabe by Vasiliki Eleftheriou


Once again Murder is Everywhere has shown to have its collective finger on the pulse of what’s happening in our literary locales.  In this case, I must admit it’s a serendipitous moment, because seven months ago, when I introduced American Photographer Robert McCabe to our readers as a guest blogger, I had no idea that the Greek government would grant him honorary citizenship—one month after conferring the same honor on American actor Tom Hanks.

Here’s a link to Bob’s July 20, 2019 post, containing examples of his extraordinary skills.  For those interested in learning more about this gifted artist and remarkable man, the following is taken from Greece’s Ekathimeri coverage of Greece's consul general in Boston, Stratos Efthymiou, awarding Bob honorary Greek citizenship for his service to the country. 
Greece's Consul General Efthymiou and Robert McCabe

Every Greek photography lover knows McCabe’s work. He visited the country for the first time in the 1950s when he was a student at the University of Princeton. He fell in love and started taking photographs of everything he saw: the islands, archaeological sites and monuments, landscapes and people. It was a time when the country was untouched by tourism and largely undeveloped, when hospitality was still genuine and pure, when the lives of many people in far-flung parts lived pretty much the same way as their forefathers centuries before.

McCabe became an ambassador for Greece’s charms, showing the world what made him fall in love with the country so deeply in exhibitions and publications. His marriage to a Greek, Dina, his companion in life and art, just made that love stronger.

He has also supported a number of Greek-American educational institutions, including Athens College, the Gennadius Library and the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. McCabe’s family has even bought and restored the residence in Beacon Hill, Boston of Samuel Gridley Howe, a respected philhellene who fought for the Greeks in the War of Independence in 1824.

Furthermore, McCabe has undertaken a number of initiatives that show his support for the country, including the donation of 35 photographs to the Boston Consulate.

The greatest gift the American photographer has given Greece, however, is sharing his point of view of the country, the way he captured with such respect and admiration ancient sites like Epidaurus and the Acropolis before their restoration, but also humble pictures of day-to-day life, including wooden fishing boats, barber shops and tavernas, presenting scenes of a country that is almost lost today.

His most recent projects include a wonderful coffee-table book on the Strofades Monastery on an islet off the coast of the Ionian island of Zakynthos that was damaged in an earthquake in 2018, a book on the holiday island of Mykonos and another on Santorini before the devastating 1956 earthquake, which just came off the press and will be available in Greece and the US in a few weeks’ time.



Jeff's 2020 Speaking Engagements and Signings (in formation):

Friday, March 13, 10:15AM
San Diego, CA
LEFT COAST CRIME—San Diego Marriott Mission Valley—(Sierra 5-6)
Moderating “Tipping the Scales: The criminal justice system,” with Teresa Burrell, Keenan Powell, L.F. Robertson, and Karen Stefano.

Saturday, March 14, 2:45PM
San Diego, CA
LEFT COAST CRIME—San Diego Marriott Mission Valley—(Rio Vista F-H)
Panelist, “Murder Goes Global: International Mysteries and Thrillers,” with Annamaria Alfieri, Ana Manwaring, and Greg Randall, moderated by Jane Stillwater.

Monday, March 16, 2020, 11AM-2PM
Saddlebrooke, Arizona 85739
30th Anniversary Authors Luncheon
SaddleBrooke Clubhouse
40010 S. Ridgeview Blvd.
Author Speaking and Signing

Thursday, June 4--Sunday, June 7, 2020
CRIMEFEST—Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel
Panels yet to be announced 

Thursday, October 15—Sunday, October 18
Panels yet to be announced

Friday, February 14, 2020

Grand Turk

Christopher  Columbus may have discovered the island group of the Turks and Caicos Islands in 1492, but there is a strong argument that Ponce de Leon got there first.

By first I mean after the Taino Indians, then the Lucayans, before and after and no doubt in between as well!

By the 1700’s settlers had arrived on Grand Turk from Bermuda and they really established the salt trade on the island. The American Revolution then brought about another wave of immigration, mostly loyalists, who considered the island a place that might be amenable to them  for the maintenance  of the plantation owner lifestyle.

The island has been controlled by the  Spanish, the French and the British, then the Bahamas directly,   and then Jamaica  and then back to Bahamas therefore becoming a British overseas territory in 1973.

The thing I found fascinating about the place was the diamonds. Many of them. Expensive but seemingly very good value to due  to some strange tax status.

Near  the jetty there is a small outdoor museum, a celebration of the close relationship between the island and NASA. Several  astronauts including  John Glenn and Scott Carpenter  were brought onshore to the island after splashing down in the Atlantic after their space missions.

Here's a wee flaneur around Grand Turk.

I've seen worse views than this.

A Grand Turk welcome.

 It was quiet!

( It's plastic and sticking out the sand!)

Population of Grand Turk about 4000. Guests on this boat who went ashore =3500. Guests on board the cruise ship that parked behind it = 3500.

The diamond shops did a very good trade!

Caro Ramsay 14th Feb 2020