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Saturday, September 28, 2013


I recently had a brilliant insight into mysteries (fictional).

I'm allowed to say brilliant. This is my blog, after all, and I've been an avid fan since I read Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes as a child and Hercule Poirot as a young adult I am an avid lover of mysteries. In a bookstore or library, I head for the shelves of mysteries. On television, mysteries form the core of my favorite dramas. Comedies, too, if you count shows like Monk and Psych.

So here it comes:

Sherlock Holmes is to Hercule Poirot as CSI is to Criminal Minds.

Holmes is the father of detective work, a master of deducing facts from physical clues. A century later, more or less, CSI broke new ground on television by detailing the scientific methods used by contemporary police forces to catch criminals.

Hercule Poirot and Agatha Christie's other creation, Miss Marple, solved cases by a different method. Both would interrogate suspects. Poirot would put his "little gray cells" to work. Miss Marple would recognize "types," comparing suspects to people she knew in St. Mary's Mead.

Criminal Minds works a lot like Christie's characters. Their goal is to understand the psyche of the "unsub," determining what "type" of serial killer works that way. A St. Mary's Mead full of serial killers, if you will.

Sometimes a show has both. In Castle, for instance, best selling mystery author Rick Castle states, "I am highly paid to think like a bad guy." His insight into predicting a criminal's next steps make him a valuable asset. Kate Beckett, of course, is the hard-boiled, by the book, detective--looking for real clues.

Biology vs. psychology. Evidence vs. interviews. In today's judicial system, physical evidence carries more weight. It's not enough to know who committed a crime; the DA's have to prove it.

Do you cop shows on television? How would you classify your favorites? Hmm, here's a few. . .

Perception: Dr. Daniel Pierce is a schizophrenic university professor whose illness gives insight into crimes. Sounds a bit like profiling rather than forensics.

Rizzoli & Isles: Although the show is more about the relationship between two strong women, Dr. Isles is very much a evidence-first medical examiner.

Bones: Classic of forensics (Brennan) vs. profiling/people skills (Booth)

The Mentalist: Patrick Jayne's ability to "read" people made him successful as a fake psychic--and as a police consultant. Definitely profiling.

Oh, yes, mysteries that I read? That could take a chapter. :)

I'd love to hear your thoughts. . . how would you classify your favorite fictional detectives, in print or film?

P.S. I've been sick the last couple of weeks. I'm baaaack.

Sunday, September 15, 2013


I started trying to write a post for this week. A subject that excites me, even.

But . . . my mind doesn't want to wrap itself around the words and wrestle them to the page. I'm fighting a respiratory infection and I drainage-clogged, medicine-befuddled, and downright achy.

So I will give myself a pass this week, wish all my fellow ACFW-ers a blast at conference, and hopefully return better than ever last week.

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God's hand for that person. Don't tell your neighbor "Maybe some other time" or "Try me tomorrow" when the money's right there in your pocket. Proverbs 3:27-28. MSG

I'm a hugger. Are you? Workshops at my last employer included unwanted hugging as a form of "sexual harrassment," so I have learned to ask.

But, oh, how I long for that touch. No wonder the kisses of the man who stole my heart earlier this year tingled me from head to toe.

The nurses and aides, on a few rare, time-wasting occasions, have stayed with me. Massaging my aching legs and neck. Wiping sweat from my head and brow when night sweats rule. A hug.

And of course, there are other residents. No one has yet refused a hug when offered. The hugs are awkward; connecting with both of us in wheelchairs doesn't come easily. But both of us cling, almost with an air of desperation, hungry for that human touch.

On those occasions, my hands are very much God's hands and arms, hoping His love flows through me and wraps my friend.

A hug is the easiest way for me to help another person. Time doesn't come so easily. Nor does patience.

I chose a different dining room, so I wouldn't get stuck with a lady who repeats the same question every five minutes (reading a wall placque and asking what it means.) She's sweet, most of the time, just forgetful.

So yesterday, when she said, "I miss talking with you. We used to laugh about fun times we had."

Guilt slammed me. I should be willing to spend more time with her. The "money" needed--time--is right there on the wall, as the clock ticks away.

Who in your life that can benefit from your hands today?

Is there someone who only wants your time?

P.S. I got a new contract for three more Maple Notch books! Praise God with me.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


After my bedrest for a pressure sore, I changed my routine. I stay in my room except for the noon meal and an occasional activity (when we have them). I get up later and return to bed (not to sleep) earlier. And I changed dining rooms, to spend my primary social time with people who can carry on a conversation. God reminded me that I can't encourage fellow residents if I don't spend time with them.

I'm getting more work done. I don't feel as isolated as I did when surrounded by residents with dementia.But, I'm missing my colorful friends. I need more stories of my songbirds and mutterers and other, newer friends.

This week I have eaten at different tables, getting to know different people. And rediscovered--

Friends. Companions. Kindred spirits.

The youngest member of our company (late twenties, but paralyzed) recently moved into the room next to mine. I am used to her loud voice and demanding spirit. However, she has been very quiet. She says she lays in bed, not watching television, just getting more and more depressed. I see her faults (and I'm sure she sees mine), but I'm in a position to be a friend. And that's what I offer. I love her. She loves me. She called me her mom, because her own mother refuses to visit.

I realized, when things don't go our way, or we don't like the latest rule, we both get angry. She projects her anger outward (and gets into trouble). I stuff it inward, and get depressed. But we both struggle with anger about our situation. I have been in shoes similar to hers. She cares for me, and in turn, I feel validated because she cherishes me.

Today I sat at a different table. A man I have never spoken with a great deal immediately started talking to me. "I knew, as soon as I met you, that you are a nice person. You never have a mean word to say against anyone else."

What a kind thing to say. I told him my first memory of him. At a Bingo game, he was on a winning streak. But because he can keep up with the numbers--because he is black--because he won about five times that day--vicious rumors started that he was cheating. I didn't tell him that. I'm sure he knows. But he laughed at the memory.

And then he shared Paul's testimony that he had learned to be content. He cheered me by not quoting the obvious verses from that same chapter--Philippians 3--that I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me and that God will supply all my needs. The secret lies not in what I have, but in my attitude about what I have.

Fellow travelers on the road to Somewhere.