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In spite of freezing temperatures, the 10 horse Johnson outboard kicked off on the second pull. While the motor warmed up, I put the bird banding supply box in the aluminum Jon boat along with a pair of binoculars and a boat paddle. I pulled away from the dock and unscrewed the drain plug so…

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 Crime fiction writers have complete control over their material. They can create dialogue, see into characters’ minds, plant clues and red herrings, and tie things up in a neat bundle by the book’s end. They can also delete whatever isn’t working or add what might be missing after the first…

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The “Six Tudor Queens” project begun by novelist and historian Allison Weir comes to its conclusion with this final volume, “Katharine Parr: The Sixth Wife,” a novel about the last wife of England's King Henry VIII. The series began years ago with a thick volume telling the life and unhappy …

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The premise of Catherine Raven's irresistible book “Fox & I: An Uncommon Friendship” is what a cynical Hollywood operator might call “pure gold.” Raven, a National Park ranger, builds herself an off-the-grid house deep in the remote wilderness of Montana, where she can read and enjoy sol…

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There are several thousand points of interest held in public trust for Americans to enjoy but few of them inspire so much interest, loyalty, and sheer affection as the Appalachian Trail (AT). Completed in 1937, it stretches for over 2,000 miles through 14 states, from Mount Katahdin in Maine…

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Big Canoe is located on the southwestern flank of Oglethorpe Mountain, which forms the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Blue Ridge is one of the classic mountain ranges of the world. Its southern part is composed of some of the oldest exposed rock on this planet ranging fro…

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Edward Rutherford’s historical fictions have won him a wide reading audience and that audience knows their patterns: they are Michener-style productions, taking some enormous setting—all of England, all of London, all Russia—and fleshing it out over a thousand pages and many generations of c…

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The residents of Big Canoe probably don’t know just how fortunate they are to have the physical facilities that they’ve grown accustom to in Big Canoe. Take Lake Petit for example. If the dam and the lake had to be constructed today, it would run into the millions. Did you know that when it …

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To be honest, I never would have created the Big Canoe Historical Society Facebook group if there had been any significant history written about Big Canoe. It concerned me that there was no organized effort in place to keep the history of our great community easily available and preserved. C…

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The drive to refuge headquarters on the low-tide beach had been a pleasant one. After making a turn into the dunes on our entrance “road” into headquarters, I paused at the crest to enjoy the view. The vast Atlantic stretched to the Eastern horizon. Westward lay Back Bay Wildlife Refuge’s op…

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 Gale force winds are common in coastal areas, so when the winds picked up that afternoon, and continued all night, I didn’t think it all that much out of the ordinary. Just another northeaster, even if it was a strong one.

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Whenever Back Bay froze over, heavy winds or a thaw usually broke up the ice within a week or two. This freeze, however, turned out to be more tenacious.  It had lasted almost a month, and waterfowl were dying of starvation in substantial numbers. 

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One of my favorite crime writers was Andrea Camilleri, who died in July of 2019 at age ninety-four. His Inspector Montalbano series, set in Sicily, was the subject of a previous column. Camilleri’s books were full of wit, violence, and a deep knowledge of human nature. His death, and the pro…

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It seems to me that production of detective stories on so large a scale, and by writers whose immediate reward is small and whose need of critical praise is almost nil, would not be possible at all if the job took any talent.

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 The lifeblood of any publishing year is novelty, in all its forms. The endless parade of books on bookstore display tables all calls out to prospective buyers with the same call: new, new, new! The newest novels, the newest histories, the newest biographies taking advantage of the newest so…