Book bag – Philip Kerr and his Bernie Gunther series, tip of the hat to Craig Johnson


If you are an addicted reader, then you have experienced the let down of finishing the final book by an author of a series of books you really love. If the author is still alive, you can hope that more books are coming. If they have passed to the office of the big edior in the sky, then no more are coming.  There are series that I keep on my shelf and reread several ltimes. Rex Stout wrote a long series of detective stories featuring Nero Wolfe and his sidekick, Archie Goodwin.  W.E.B. Griffin wrote his US Army series stretching from 1945 to past the end of the Viet Nam War with stops in occupied Germany, Greece (1948), Algeria, Korea, Congo, and revealed the struggles between the corporate bureacritized Army and the US Air Force in the development of armed helicopters. He also wrote an excellent series about the US marine Corps that started in China just before World War II.  I can’t say I like anywhere near as well his detective series and his contemporary intelligence covert op novels.  I have reread his Army series, the first four novels at least 8 times.

Rereading a favourite book is like sitting down for a long conversation with an old friend you haven’t seen for awhile.

Other series, Patrick O’Brien’s Napoleonic War naval books.

Adam Hall and his series about his spy Quiller.

The Quiller novels as by Adam Hall (AH is the pen name used by Elleston Trevor, you may know him for The Flight of the Phoenix)

There is a narrative trick that Trevor (Hall) uses in the Quiller stories which I have rarely seen used, but he uses it brilliantly.  He puts Quiller in a situation where he is facing death and there is seemingly no way out.  The chapter ends.  You turn the page and begin the next chapter and find Quiller alive and running and the timeline of the novel has jumped ahead thirty minutes or an hour.  And then after a few pages, Trevor brings us back to explain how the heck the spy got out of the kill zone.  A fresh way of using plot tension and release.  Very clever technique.

Not a series but mostly set in and around World War II, novels by Alan Furst.

Goodreads.com recommended to me the author Philip Kerr who specializes in thrillers set before during and after World War II.  To make it work you need to let goodreads know some books you have read and liked.  From that data and from other reader’s likes, it suggest authors you might like. no cost to use goodreads.com

Today began reading further in the second Philip Kerr novel from the library, Hitler’s Peace.  Not the same snappy narration as from Bernie Gunther. Of the Gunther series I have read just one, The Quiet Flame.  It runs in two time tracks: Berlin 1932 as Berlin Homicide Detective Bernie Gunther does is best to do his work as the Nazis struggle to win control of the government, and 1950 as Bernie Gunther who is trying to survive in the political/police power plays in Argentina. Sorry to have repeated my oft committed error of starting a thriller series with a continuing main character in mid stream rather than with the first book and following through.  Kerr, went to law school.  Got a masters degree.  Worked as a copywriter for Saatchi and Saatchi.  Started writing full time in 1989.  He was born in 1959. He has written a popular series of children’s books as well.

I am not sure I would want to immerse myself in the horrific details of the Third Reich to write these novels.  But Kerr’s Gunther series is one of two thriller character series that I have been blessed to find this past year. The other is the Walt Longmire books by Craig Johnson.  The draw for me in these books is their settings, the plot and characters, and the protagonist narrator.  Sometimes when I read thrillers I find the protagonist narrator is unsympathetic, uninteresting, or too thinly drawn.  That is absolutely not true about these two.

So go get some of these books, and put your summer feet up and read.

2147 views US ARMY Rangefinder camera 70mm – Graflex Combat Graphic


In 2002 on a road trip to South Carolina, I stopped off in Fayetteville, NC, to visit the Airborne Museum and took this photograph of this enormous rangefinder camera. It has been viewed over 2100 times in my photostream on flickr.com. Curious what attracts views.

“its a Graflex Combat Graphic – made for the US armed forces and took 70mm film.”

Combat Graflex sometimes referred to as a Combat 70 or Gulliver’s Contax.  Designed by Zeiss Ikon’s Hubert Nerwin. Resembles a Contax II on steroids.  Madfe between 1953 and 1957 and used by the US ARMY SIGNAL CORP up to and including the early years of the Viet Nam War.

Google for more info, but as a start try this: www.geh.org/fm/mees/htmlsrc/mG736700001_ful.h tml

notion, art exhibit, family photographs


 a thought entered my brain and expanded…..a pop culture/hopefully fine art show for October, the month of my 60th birthday

family photographs, a visual history

possible location, Huronia Museum

  • displays of family cameras, some dating from 1930s
  • large enlargements of photographs, some 25
  • small enlargements of photographs, some 50
  • on my father’s side, family photographs go back to 1880
  • a series of my photos taken at Expo 67
  • Expo 67 passports, postcards, brochures, maps, ephereman
  • 3 dimensional objects including flashbulbs, camera manuals,cameras, slide projector, slide trays, photo albums
  • touch screen computer slide shows
  • display of large print poems dealing with the subject of photography
  • possibly widen the image base by including invited family photos from other families
  • include family photographs from the photographic collection of the Huronia Museum