Booksellers and Book Buyers

DATELINE: Dying Art of Dying Breed

Readers Anonymous?

The vast opinion nowadays is that book collecting is a form of dust collecting. And, this little doc tells us something about the sellers and the buyers. Author Fran Leibowitz provides some cogent and hilarious commentary in The Booksellers.

Taking a look behind the scenes of New York’s lively bookseller market may be less than pleasant, however interesting. This little documentary gives us some monitoring of a business that was stable for 150 years—until the PC and Internet changed everything.

The Booksellerstakes a pulse of intellectual America. It needs more oxygen than Trump.

As someone who has a library with a couple of thousand books, I know that I am a dinosaur. Most friends have no books in their homes, and don’t VHS tapes either because they don’t own a player.

Book owners are often academic types who have piles of books from years of teaching college. In fact, many booksellers were former academics who left teaching because they’d rather read than deal with people.

So the vast number of bookdealers in this film own cats, live in dusty apartments with books from floor to ceiling. They complain that the Internet has taken joy from collecting: they used to look for a book for 20 years that no one will buy, and they put on a shelf for the rest of their lives.

Personal book collecting is a dying art, or dying obsession. Most books that are collectible (like Ian Fleming 1steditions go for $100,000).  So, collectors are now looking at autographs and manuscripts, movie scripts and other paper documents. 

The film dabbles in a dozen New York sellers, like the Argosy Bookstore and the three sisters who run it.

Sellers still hold fairs, and interesting people show up. However there are now only 20% of the number of bookstores in New York than years ago (now about 75). Big chain stores are also dying because of Internet sales. And, a small group of obsessed types are opening tiny specialty bookstores here and there.

The film focuses finally on women (the true readers of the era) as taking over whatever is left of the business and collecting.

The art is not dead: but most of the collectors will be soon.

  Machine That Made Us? Really?

DATELINE: Gutenberg, Not McLuhan 

Docudrama re-enactment from 1880s, not real scene.

A quaint British documentary made over a dozen years ago thrusts the premise at us that the Gutenberg Press is the most important invention of civilization. Hmm, we are skeptical as usual.

As host and presenter Stephen Fry notes, it may be more important than the car, the computer, or other accoutrements of the latest centuries. The little one-hour film The Machine That Made Us never mentions Marshall McLuhan, which is a shame.

Fry is a bibliophile, which is to say he loves books, though that is hardly historical or cultural expertise. He is also an excellent actor and charming as  host for a travelogue and investigation into Johannes Gutenberg and his invention.

There are no pictures or illos of Gutenberg or his press. One early image from Albrecht Durer of a press is 50 years later. So, all pictures and lithographs are actually re-enactments imagined, just like in today’s so-called documentaries.

There are those, however, who’d point out that books are fading fast. That includes authors who find that their sales are now comprised mostly of e-books. We print out of nostalgia for the most part.

Nobody really wants dust-collecting libraries in their homes or even in their universities. When Fry walks down miles of stacks of books, we think the cost of protecting them (miles and miles of books) is staggering. You could probably fit them all in a file cabinet of Kindles.

Fry is no technocrat—and he leaves the making of an original press to a woodworker, and the making of the actual letters to another metallurgist. Since it would take a few years to make one page of letters to print up a Bible, they send to America for pre-made, and use their one “E” in the print block.

Vellum too would mean the death of hundreds of cows, so paper is made the old-fashioned way of 1439 and it is cloth bits into pulp. You make Bible pages between the Black Death that gripped your pressings with old clothes.

There are only a handful of the original Bibles left from Guttenberg’s endeavor—and he never made money from publishing. That fell to his creditors. And, the beautiful illustrations in the margins were always hand-done anyhow.

It is fascinating to watch, but a tad dull—and we never see them actually bind a book or stich it together. When Fry thumbs through one of the surviving books in cotton gloves, you fear he might sneeze on the book and let water vapor take its course.

Norman Mailer: American Something or Other

DATELINE: Great Writers?

Norman, is that you?

We confess that we never had much regard for Norman Mailer during his lifetime. He was an Ernest Hemingway wannabe without style or class. He was the Nixon of writers.  He reveled in the cult of personality over writing talent. However, there was no denying he was a writer: he never wavered in writing novels, journalism, history, biography, and social commentary.

Unlike many writers, he was prolific and constant in his commitment. He loved writing from his days at Harvard and like Gore Vidal, he might have gone off track now and then as an actor, film director, or even candidate for political office. He always returned to writing.

He used his fame and fortune as a writer to open every door he could: he had six wives and a passel of children. He had the buzz off money that most people envy. He could tell anyone, big or small, famous or infamous, to go to hell. He did it his way. His success with The Naked and The Dead made him rich and famous, but he was a critical target after that. He became an insulting drunkard.

In a world where you might admire talent or special ability, he never thought much of any of it. He said and did what he wanted. He was independent and might stick a fork in a snarling lion if it behooved him. He stabbed his second wife, nearly killing her, and faked insanity and begged her not to press charges. What a tool.

Gore Vidal could berate him to face and he shrugged it off. He would bait a Dick Cavett audience and sneer back at their hostility. He was larger than life.

Should we admire him now that he was been gone 20 years or so? He wrote marvelous books on Marilyn and Oswald that stand up to researchers still.

He won a couple of Pulitzers for taking on capital punishment and the Vietnam War. He was fearless and cocky. We never liked him, but in his dotage we have come to recognize our own dotage. It does not change that he was reprehensible.

Author, Author: Go Away!

DATELINE: Unwanted Gifts

 Latest Affront to Gifting.

A friend kindly scoffed at me for a bad habit.

He claimed how I had a tendency to give away gifts to people who did not necessarily want them. He was referring to my bad habit to bestow a copy of one of my books to people who have been nice to me.

I usually inscribe them with thanks for some generic kindness. It is, I am told, not appreciated because I have given people something that they cannot repay or reciprocate.

Well, okay. I realize that not everyone can write a book and return a copy to me in standoff fashion. However, I thought that providing a free, gratis copy of a personal creation would qualify as an act of generosity, not as a slap with my velvet glove.

However, my friend argues that it is not that at all: it is a brazen show of ego.

Well, you can knock me over with a dust-jacket. I would never have thought that giving a personal gift would be construed as an act of selfishness. In fact, I always thought the creative process was something to be shared.

Alas, if you share it with those who have no appreciation, no interest, or no good manners, the writer of a book may well deserve to have the gift accepted without thanks or acknowledgement.

I often note that I give away my book as a token of my gratitude and not as homework assignment. I will not quiz the recipient on the book’s message or contents. If I did, we know the result would be a failing grade. We’ve seen enough of that in the nation’s body politic.

As a resolution, I have now promised my old friend that I will be more circumspect in sharing my books. Never give a page away that is not requested, or at least has some kind of interest expressed by another. It means I will save money on copies and postage.

It is an age when reading is a chore, not a pleasure, and the disrespected writer is a prophet without honor in any country.

 

Dr. William Russo is too prolific for his own good, and he has written many movie history books and biographies.

 

 

Best Agatha Christie Bio

DATELINE:  Mystery Maven

You have to delve into the Britbox archives to find the 1990 biography of Agatha Christie done a dozen years after her passing. The thinking at the time was that she was a surprise to have her popularity survive her death.

Indeed, one interviewed critic dared to say he thought she had great staying power and would keep her fame and interest alive well into the 21stcentury. Imagine that!

This is, perhaps, a highly intelligent portrait called An Unfinished Portrait.It is based on the title of one of her nom de plumeworks that passed unheralded for years. Her furtile and creative mind is boggling.

This delightful film is narrated by Joan Hickson (who played Miss Marple several times) and features appearances by David Suchet (the definitive Hercule).

Using archival interviews with the grand Dame, you have an understated genteel woman who fairly much is dumb-founded when an interviewer asks her if she likes crime. She retorts, she likes detectives and puzzles.

She worked as a pharmacist during World War One, and learned all about poisons. The documentary uses words from her novels that parallel her personal feelings and biographical events.

IN one creative period from the 1920s to 1950, Dame Agatha wrote about 35 classical titles, all still known. Several include plays like The Mousetrap  or Witness for the Prosecution.

 

We could list 30 titles here that you’d recognize.

 

The film is unflinching in examining her strange, staged disappearance in 1926 that cast a murder charge over her philandering husband, Col. Christie. She set him up, or so it appears. She later married an archaeologist, 14 years her junior, who gave her many plot ideas.

Miss Marple was based on her grandmother, and Dame Agatha always maintained good manners in her personal life and in her storylines. She just enjoyed giving people a good mystery to figure out: chess on an entertainment level.

What a refreshing look at the great mystery writer.

Shatner & Shakespeare on Oak Island

DATELINE: Shatner Returns to Treasure Hunt

 Cold Day in November!

We know how much everyone enjoyed William Shatner on Oak Island, but he must have also enjoyed it because he has come back for the final night of season 7.

His theory is worthy of the UnXplained,and we fully concur with him.

There is a fairly sharp start that indicates that Shakespeare may have been borderline literate: his father and mother were illiterate and only middle-class. His own education was fair, not royal and not comprehensive.

So, Shatner takes some relish in debunking the Bard and suggesting the real writer was a man with credentials, like Sir Francis Bacon, member of the Elizabethan court. There may even be several authors, as Shatner hints.

Cyphers in the original folio have intrigued researchers that there is something that matches Nolan’s Cross on Oak Island. In fact, Bacon was connected to Knights Templar through Rosiecrucians—and he may have known of the secret vaults on Oak Island—and chose to bury his Shakespeare originals there.

One can find that The Tempest may be confessional in terms of Bacon burying “my booke.”  If overlaid on the final page of The Tempest, you find a spot that would correspond to the Eye of the Swamp on the Island.

We were amused when Rick Lagina called Bacon the Michelangelo of his day: if history is correct, they were almost contemporaries as Michelangelo’s death crossed the date of Bacon’s birth. Technically, he was right.

Parchment was found over 160 feet below the earth. Bookbinding material was found near the Money Pit deep down.

Even the Laginas seemed intrigued that Shakespeare’s first folio is there.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump as Movie Critic &/or Norma Desmond

 DATELINE: Old Time Movies!

At a campaign rally this week, Donald Trump showed another facet of his koo-koo bird presidency. He started attacking Hollywood’s Oscar choice of The Parasitefor best picture. It seems he does not care for South Korea’s movie industry.

 

If it had been made in North Korea, he might have been more tolerant. Perhaps he just has an intolerance for parasites, or movies that attack and ridicule rich people.

We firmly believe that Trump never watched The Parasitebecause of its subtitles. We all know that he is a dyslexic reader and has trouble with big words and fast scrolling of verbiage. His own notes are large block letter words that are monosyllabic.

However, he did cite 1950’s Sunset Boulevard as his idea of a great movie. We presume his followers have never seen it, and young people would never watch a black & white movie.

You may not recall the Billy Wilder-Charlie Brackett movie from 1950. It was a dark satire extravaganza about the dissolution of a silent screen siren.

Gloria Swanson took the role that Garbo refused and said the immortal words of Norma Desmond who is accused of once being big in movies: “I am still big. It’s the pictures that got small.”

Trump may well paraphrase the famous line: “I am big. It’s the White House that got small.”

You know that Trump is always ready for his close-up—and in fact, demands it every day. He is about ready to have the police and men in white coats come and take him away, just like poor old Norma Desmond.

 

Ossurworld’s William Russo just published a book on producer Charles Brackett who made Sunset Boulevard. It’s title is TITANIC’S FORGOTTEN MOVIE, available in softcover or ebook for smart readers.

Ancient Aliens Starts 15 Season

DATELINE: Nanny Midol or Nan Midal?

You never know when there will be a new season of Ancient Aliens.It looks like the swallows have returned to Capistrano, and Season 15 begins with a visit to Nanny Midol.

No, this little islet built on corral reefs won’t cramp your style.

Leave it the show to find the eighth wonder of the world that no one ever heard of. The Venice of the Pacific was first spotted by American pilots in World War II. It is a series of enormous basalt walls built on coral in the middle of the ocean, far from anything, like even a primitive civilization. Its name is Nan Madol, and our intrepid explorers are Giorgio and David Childress (looking like a crisp tortilla from the sun).

They dismiss regular scientists again and insist that the area was built with tons of stone before the Great Pyramid. And, they have a point. It hardly looks like people on bamboo rafts could carry 15-ton rocks, but no one knows when it was built, some think 1000 years ago.

Micronesian officials think it was people from outer space. That’s one way to inspire Giorgio to make the trip. It is an amazing place, for sure, and the US government has done recent LiDar surveys.  Gone are the days of digging up vegetation to get to the bottom. However, they learn there is a second city a hundred feet below this, which had to be built 12,000 years ago before the last ice age.

We love it when they claim these electro-magnetic lava rocks are man-made by aliens.

What is most surprising is that Trump didn’t cut the Lidar budget. Maybe next year. One scientist, Dr. Henry Burton, sheepishly listens to extra-terrestrial theories to what he cannot explain.

We don’t know how soon the luxury hotels will go up nearby, but it won’t take long now that Ancient Aliens has put it on the map. It is doubtful because locals will not stay overnight in the area: too many ghostly demons.

There is still no explanation why History Channel has moved this show to the Twilight Zone timeslot on its weekly schedule.

Tom in a Tunnel, Sees the Light

DATELINE: Where is he?

 Lost in Art?

Whenever we have a chance to opine about metaphor, count us in.

Tom Brady posted a tunnel of himself, in civilian clothes, in a black and silver tunnel in an unknown park runway.

His wife is a model, but Brady is not.

He is house-hunting and taking his son around to check out schools in Nashville, Tennessee, today. That is hardly where he will retire. That is hardly where his wife wants to be, and his son loves hockey. We know that Tom talked to coaches in New England about hockey, of which he was ignorant, but doing a crash course to keep up with his son.

There is not much hockey in Vegas.

Retirement communities in Nashville and Vegas are popular, but Brady wants to play a few more seasons.

Ah, metaphor! No metaphor is perfect. But they are powerful tools to understand the world.

No one has mentioned Kobe and Tom. Has the death of a superstar ball player had an impact on his thinking? Yes, but not to the point of leaving the game apparently. He simply will go to a team where he can spend more time with his family—not training callow youth in how to play.

It is not the tunnel of death, nor the tunnel of love, where you are surrounded by those you know—especially at the end where you are at heaven’s gate. No, there is no welcome committee here, no wagon of goodies for his delectation.

Tom is a man who owes no one and will consult no one. This is his life alone.

Rachel Carson of Silent Spring

DATELINE: DDT & Radiation Conjoin

  Carson Takes Them ON!

American Experience presented another brilliant and important biography a few years ago: on Rachel Louise Carson, who saw the horror and dangers of DDT in the years before World War II.

A reclusivse, scholarly woman years ahead of the curve, she started off by calling herself R.L. Carson because she thought a genderless male would be received better in a science field as writer.

She was unable to complete her Ph.D. in biology, owing to family responsibilities, and also suffered a set-back when Reader’s Digestrejected her warning about the poisonous chemical, DDT. After all, killing mosquitos and ticks was more important than any health issue.

Carson was horrified when the US government sprayed DDT down the pants of Italians after the war to kill lice. Some even sprayed it on their food to prove it could be digested.

She also began to see a parallel to radiation poisoning from fall-out after H-bomb testing. Yet, a better world through chemistry was America’s mantra. You even had Nixon and Kennedy eating tainted cranberries during the 1960 campaign to show how business owned government.

The lonely woman who lived mostly an internal life without close friends, loved the ocean, lived on the shores of Maine and worked at Woods Hole. She managed to place two best-sellers at the same time on theTimes best-seller list.

Silent Spring was not initially well-received: perhaps it was American hubris, or disdain for scholarly women, but Carson was dedicated and knew what she had to warn the world.

In one of the first corporate targets, every major chemical company went after her with one of the earliest attacks by media publicity. Their unfair and bizarre defense of pesticides is today horrifying.

Rachel Carson still is the patron saint of climate abuse—and still is hated by the political money-grubbers.

 

 

 

 

 

Third-Eye Spies: Remote Viewers

DATELINE: Alphabet Soup, NSA, CIA, DIA, KGB

The CIA declassified 70,000 top secret items recently on its 25-year program on Remote Viewing. Third Eye Spiesis a documentary film about a controversial subject, even today, let alone the 1970s.

After it was learned that the Soviets were actively seeking a psychic weapon in the Cold War arsenal as a 1970s spy mission, to create an bureau of paranormal viewers who could “see” anyplace in the world that was needed to give reports to the United States. The CIA, at first, merely wanted to discredit the subject, but found it could not.

There is more than ideomotor at work in the universe, Horatio.

Jimmy Carter, then president in 1979, learned of one psychic who located a missing plane that the Air Force recon could not find. She gave latitudes and longitude to its exact location. It convinced everyone.

Before that, a group of physicists (Russell Targ, Pat Price, Kit Green, and Ingo Swann) were members of Sanford Research Institute, the foremost research group in the country. They kept their autonomy and refused to join MK-Ultra, the CIA LSD program of the era.

Their experiments had to be kept secret for fear that government funding would be ceased if such a “crackpot” notion were to become known in Congress.

No one dares to speak the name “séance” because it would have sent chills into the program and ended any serious study of parapsychology. But what you had was a group of gifted people conducting seances (without contacting dead people), at least for the record.

Swann, a gay man, was the purest of all the psychics and mediums. Not only was he a painter of mystical art works, but he could look anywhere in the universe. He reported there were rings around Jupiter years before they were discovered. It is called paraphysics nowadays—that there are rules of universal and natural law that are trans-dimensional.

Dr. Pat Price, the best of the clairvoyants, died under mysterious circumstance in Las Vegas in 1975, but it was swept under the rug: surprise. He was able to find Patty Hearst when the FBI came to him—and two years after his death, they learned that he had described a Soviet nuclear device to shoot down American satellites.

One of their contacts at CIA was often referred to as the American Mengele, Dr. Sid Gottlieb who ran the most covert LSD and medical experiments then done. And, surprise of surprises, Uri Geller, famous entertainer, worked as a double-agent for several governments, providing literal insights.

This film cannot be viewed normally, as it is clear that disinformation and discredit is heaped everywhere by former KGB agents and the CIA, which have reason to obfuscate the results. In the United States, Robert Gates leads the big bonehead opposition. On the other hand, mystical astronaut Edgar Mitchell found answers in new perspectives.

Once again, we have a look at a paranormal, or paraphysical world, that fails to take into consideration communicate with trans-dimensional beings, whether they are space aliens, or dead people.

Remote Viewing has enough problems without tying its wagon to seance.

 

 

 

 

 

One Hour on the Decks of Titanic!

DATELINE: Seance on a Saturday PM

carol and orb Kadrolsha with orb (Richard?) next to bookrack!

When your home is haunted by one of the victims of the Titanic, and you are on a first-name basis with that spirit, you may find yourself engaged in strange activities.

So, we came to have a séance on a Saturday afternoon that would try to reach Richard White, a 21-year old college student who died on April 15, 1912. He has been following me for some time, and he was likely responsible for my discovery of his old family estate not far from his grave.

On an August day, we finally arranged the first séance to reach him. Like Arthur Conan Doyle or W.T. Stead, notable 19th century spiritualists, we were about to embark on a great adventure.

To help with this was foremost spiritualist and healer, Kadrolsha Ona Carole, who is known professionally as the Queen of the Paranormal.

Also to join us in my study were long-time ghost hunters Susan Allen, Karen Raymond, and Eric Metzler. They have visited my home often and helped me communicate with the spirits around me. Primarily, this is Richard, a student with a penchant for spending time with a retired professor: Dr. William Russo.

The Queen of Paranormal told us we would conduct a professional investigation, not the usual hand-holding, table-tipping that often occurs in Hollywood movies.

As a first timer, I had a bit of nerves: we set up an antique round table for five, each with a white candle on a red tablecloth. There would be sage to cleanse the air and block out the entrances. There would be bread, home-made, natural.

Our contact, Kadrolsha is fairly active in media—with graphic novels, TV and movie tie-ins. She is a stunning blond woman, tall and with a healer’s kindness. She did not engage in fancy chants to set us up: but did a silent prayer and touched each of us on the head to open up.

Many times I had told Richard through divining rods that I did not want to see him on Titanic and felt he was cheated by life. So, I felt some protection. Only later did we find an orb in a corner photo of our session. My belief is that Richard stood next to a bookrack where my work Chess-Mate from Titanic detailed his life.

What happened shocked me, and it was unexpected: we felt the rock of ship in distress. Many of us were freezing cold and shaking to and fro. I was actually warm, and grew flush, but Eric was profusely sweating and overheated: it was a description that survivors gave of Richard’s father who seemed to suffer a heart attack on deck.

As for me, I felt my hands and arms involuntarily raising off my lap—as if buoyant by water. Yet, I was never cold, but in a stunned state at the reactions of the others at our little circular table.

Our hostess, Kadrolsha also felt choked with heart pains—but Sue was most affected, having visions of a woman forced to separate from her husband who was not allowed on the lifeboat.

Her panic grew exponentially and consoling her was nearly impossible. Kadrolsha recognized this, and she brought us back after a harrowing hour aboard a sinking luxury liner.

This experience lasted an hour, though it felt much quicker and sudden. Once the spell was broken, we felt a great relief: recordings taken will document the time aboard the ship at our table.

Should we try this again? I am wary: for a day after I suffered paranormal hangover, tired and headachey. No bad spirits took up residence in my home, thanks to Richard. Yet, I never again want to be on a Titanic deck, even in a hypnotic trance of a séance.

Dr. William Russo has written three books on his Titanic connections:  Tales of a Titanic Family, Chess-mate from Titanic, and Titanic Mysteries on Mill Circle. All are available on Amazon.com in print and in ebook format.

 

 

 

Titanic 2 in the News

DATELINE:  Now, Voyager!

Percival on Titanic deck Percival White, Titanic deck, 1912.

Another billionaire is challenging the world with his money.

This time it is an Australian known as Clive Palmer who decided in 2012, on the 100th anniversary, to build a duplicate of the original unsinkable catastrophe, Titanic, and let it set sail under the Blue Flag Liners.

Delays can never be put aside, but the latest press releases are touting the ship as nearly ready to go out to sea in 2022. The ship will leave from Dubai for New York.

It may be an expensive voyage: first-class compartments may go for $100,000 for a few days of fun. The former owner of our home was one of the victims in 1912: Richard White died on Titanic as his college graduation present went awry.

Now Mr. Palmer plans to honor victims like Richard with an expensive, but safe, re-enactment. The ship is scheduled to sail right over the sunken wreck of the original ship, which should irritate enough paranormal spirits to evoke more than a few chills aboard Titanic 2.

This one will be modern, with plenty of lifeboats, and such unheard of items as wi-fi, tv, and re-enforced hulls. The lower decks where the hoi polloi will bunk for about $500 to $900 will be completely contemporary. The replicas start with D-deck.

The upper segments will be totally copied from original with restaurants, menus, and bistro areas, in ship-shape a la 1912.

We might be willing to go along for the trip and offer the passengers (about 2000) and crew (about 900) a lesson in history. As we have three books about Titanic and lecture on college campuses in New England, we could be persuaded to give a series of presentations aboard Titanic 2, to prove that the trip is meant to honor the victims, not to cash in on their tragedy. By providing historical background through an academic lecture, this will negate charges of “classless” cashing in that some news reports circulated.

If Mr. Palmer or ranker.com or AVIC wants to call on this expertise to fend off paranormal anger, we are ready and willing to discuss premonitions in 1912 of disaster and post-sunken spirit visits from various victims.

But, for heaven’s sake, don’t call us “a re-enactor.”

Dr. William Russo, Professor Emeritus, is author of three books on Titanic, including a paranormal history. He regularly presents and lectures around New England colleges on the topic. He is available to join the Titanic II voyage! His books include Tales of a Titanic Family, Chess-Mate from Titanic, and recently, Titanic Mysteries on Mill Circle. Percival White was born and lived at Mill Circle.

Titanic Mysteries on Mill Circle

DATELINE:   Paranormal Book on Titanic!

new kindle mystery cover Richard White (picture from college yearbook).

When you live in a haunted house and create an enchanted library, you may end up with some paranormal mysteries to explain.

That is the premise of William Russo’s latest book about the spirit of a Titanic victim who shows his host both devotion and protection.

You may question why a college student who died on the Titanic would follow a retired college professor, but the overriding sense of being haunted is not demonic according to a new book about Titanic Mysteries on Mill Circle.

Psychics hint that there may be a reincarnation involved, or merely crossed wires of time and space. Whatever the cause, the effect is exhilarating:  messages and orbs fly all over the library. Russo’s path to his spirit guest crossed the lines of attending the same high school, but fifty years apart, and being members of the school chess team.

Whether you can accept DVDs thrown off shelves and other bizarre coincidences as regular daily activity, there is something definitely happening beyond normal. 

Dr. William Russo often contends that where he lives, the normal is paranormal. You may become convinced along with him.

A long-time skeptic of occult and paranormal, Russo cannot fight the barrage of evidence in his own home’s library that he has now turned over to a victim of the Titanic.

Richard Frazar White has taken up residence here and happily accepts his library as a gift. When he was a young man in 1912, he was a budding intellectual who spent time at his Aunt Julia’s library at Waikiki (the largest private library on the Hawaiian Islands in 1900). He is photographed, at the end of his life, two days before Titanic sinks, in the First-Class Reading Room of the grand ship.

And now, he has taken possession of a memorial library dedicated to him. Included in the volume are the weird anecdotes about Richard White’s ties to the art world, how Russo found Richard’s 1912 Bowdoin Bugle Yearbook, and how the orbs and noises of the library respond to his every request.

Other haunted people contact him with their own tales of connections to Richard, including a young lawyer from Brazil who was an exchange student at Bowdoin.

You may not believe it, but you cannot turn away from this page-turner.

Now available in soft-cover and e-book format on Amazon. Titanic Mysteries on Mill Circle is the final volume of the Mill Circle series, and the third volume of the continuing tales of the Titanic by the author!

William Russo’s other works include: Tales of a Titanic Family, Chess-Mate from Titanic.    Dr. Russo will teach a course on Titanic: a Local History at the CALL Program at Keene State College in the Fall term. He also will give a guest lecture at Monty Tech Continuing Education program in Fitchburg, MA, in October.

Truly Miss Marple: Rutherford Murders?

DATELINE:  Murder Most Foul!

Dames Margaret & Agatha

Dames Margaret Rutherford & Agatha Christie!

A little British documentary about character actress Margaret Rutherford is shocking, surprising, and ultimately saddening. If you have forgotten her dotty old ladies, she was the first movie Miss Marple.

The film has the overwhelming title: Truly Miss Marple: the Curious Case of Margaret Rutherford. The actress died in 1972 after a rapid decline in health at the height of her popularity

Agatha Christie was appalled at the folly of turning her aged detective into an eccentric comic actress, but they later enjoyed each other—to the degree that Christie dedicated The Mirror Crack’d to Rutherford.

Her acting career did not fully reach success until after age 40: she was always the costar, whether it was for John Gielgud or Edith Evans. When success came, she played old ladies who were NOT battle-axes. It was an unkind comment by interviewers. Dame Margaret was always a gentle figure of fun.

Her biggest break came with Noel Coward in Blithe Spirit, a role she almost refused because she thought it might demean spiritualists (as she was a believer).

Her indomitable English grand dames gave way in old age to the Christie character, though Margaret hated the word “Murder” in the titles of the four grand Miss Marple movies. There was a reason for her sensitivity: her father murdered her grandfather, and later, likely as a result, her mother committed suicide.

Yet, Rutherford herself was the ultimate woman of kind hearts and coronets. If there was a downside, it was her growing periods of depression. It was a losing battle, especially when dementia added to her woes.

She briefly went to Hollywood with Burton and Taylor in The VIPs and won an Oscar as a supporting actress. The Oscar disappeared after her death, stolen and on the black market, sold by a conniving housekeeper.

Miss Marple’s little murder mystery movies remain delightful, owing to Rutherford’s charismatic personality.