Saturday, March 2, 2019

Six Degrees of Separation: from The Arsonist to The Indigo Necklace


The Six Degrees of Separation meme is hosted by Kate at booksaremyfavoriteandbest. The idea behind the meme is to start with a book and use common points between two books to end up with links to six other books, forming a chain. Every month she provides the title of a book as the starting point.

The starting point this month is The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper, a non-fiction book about the man who started two fires that let to a bushfire catastrophe in Australia. The book sounds very disturbing, but it is of interest to me because of the devastating wildfires we have had in California in the last year or two.



My first link is to a fiction story about arson on a smaller level, in The Dark Snow and Other Mysteries by Brendan DuBois. One short story in this book is "Fire Burning Bright", about a small town plagued by an arsonist, this time burning down houses, which causes the people in the area to become suspicious and distrustful of their neighbors.


 This leads me to another anthology of short stories, Alfred Hitchcock's Happiness is a Warm Corpse. I collect books with skulls or skeletons on the cover, and this is a great example.


Thinking about Hitchcock leads me one of my favorite films directed and produced by Hitchcock, Vertigo. That film was based on a book written by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac, titled D’entre les morts (1954). The film was set in San Francisco, but the book was set in France and originally written in French.

Another novel I read that was translated from French was Seeking Whom He May Devour by Fred Vargas. This book in the Commissaire Adamsberg series is set in the French Alps. Adamsberg is based in Paris, but in the first two-thirds of this book, the story centers on a group of people residing in the French Alps who are on a quest to stop a murderer.


For the next link, I move on to the Swiss Alps... to Season of Snows and Sins (1971) by Patricia Moyes, one of my favorite authors of mysteries. The story has several narrators, starting with Jane Weston, a sculptor who has moved to a small chalet in the Swiss Alps. She invites Scotland Yard Inspector Henry Tibbett and his wife Emmy to visit at Christmas, since she knows how they love to ski. And then, of course, there is a murder.

My final book in the chain, The Indigo Necklace (1945) by Frances Crane, also features a husband and wife detecting duo. The books in the series  were set in a variety of locations. In this one, Pat and Jean Abbott are living in a rented apartment in an old house in the French Quarter of New Orleans, where Pat is stationed toward the end of World War II.


Next month (April 6, 2019), Six Degrees of Separation will begin with Ali Smith’s award-winning novel, How to be Both.

14 comments:

  1. I really like the way you move the chain along here, Tracy - it's quite clever. And you've brought up some stories I want to read. I've always liked solid short stories, and you've got a good collection there. And I like Hitchcock's films, too.

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    1. Thanks, Margot. Amazing the different directions a chain can go.

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  2. Nice linkages. While Margot focuses on the short stories, it's the books in the Alps, French and Swiss, that catch my eye. And I'm especially interested in the final book, as that's a series with which I'm unfamiliar. What would be a good starting place in it?

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    1. I forgot to say Moyes is one of my very favorites.

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    2. We are in agreement on Moyes, Rick. In the Pat and Jean Abbott books by Frances Crane, I have only read the 7th one, out of 26 books. I have the following one, the Cinnamon Murder, but haven't read it yet. Everyone else I know who has read any of them skipped around so I don't know if order matters, although the stories do progress through time. I have been looking for a copy of the first one, earlier I thought it was hard to find at a decent price but now it looks easier, depending on how much I want to spend.

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  3. I found your chain very interesting - and especially like that you included a couple of volumes of short stories.

    And I don't think I knew that Vertigo was translated from French - so, besides the names of some books for my TBR list, I learned something! ;-)

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    1. Debbie, I am not even sure I knew that the film Vertigo was based on a novel until I learned about the reprint edition published by Pushkin Vertigo. The novel was very interesting, similar story but a lot of differences too.

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  4. Love the cover of the Alfred Hitchcock. Off to investigate Season of Snows and Sins.

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    1. I think you would like Season of Snows and Sins, Cath. It has a complicated plot but I liked it a lot. The first book in the series is also set in the Alps, but I think that one is in the Italian Alps. I want to re-read that one someday.

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  5. I think you're the first blogger I've come across who has also read the Tibbett mysteries by Patricia Moyes. I enjoyed them in my 20s, collected them all, and reread them several times, but for some reason, I haven't gone back to them in over 20 years. I finally let my copies go on to a new reader, a few years ago.

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    1. I'm another blogger who has read the and loves them. Just saying.

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    2. I do love that series by Moyes, Lark, and have only reread a couple of them. Passing them on to a new reader was a great idea. I tried to comment at your blog on both the Six Degrees post and the Top 10 list but the comments did not take. Both of those posts had books by Catherine Aird (whose books I enjoy) and Ellis Peters (I have only read one by that author).

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  6. I had no idea there were so many Frances Crane books - she must have been running out of colours by the end! I have enjoyed those I have read. And, like you, I am a fan of Patricia Moyes.

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    1. I was also surprised at how many books are in the Pat and Jean Abbott books. I recently bought the first two books in the series and I have the one following The Indigo Necklace (The Cinnamon Murder, set in New York). After that I will just hop around and not worry about order.

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