Gilpin Library Footnotes

Larry Grieco, LibrarianGilpin Library Footnotes
Gilpin County

We start in the sixteenth century this week for a medieval mystery from the pen of James Forrester. In “The Roots of Betrayal,” Catholic herald William Harley, aka Clarenceux, has in his possession a manuscript which has a history of sparking destruction and death. Before he can even begin worrying about what might happen, the manuscript disappears, and likely has been stolen.
He “plunges into a nightmare of suspicion, deception and conspiracy.” With England on the verge of bloody war, Clarenceux realizes the fate of the country, as well as countless lives, are hanging in the balance. Kirkus Reviews wrote, “A whale of a yarn…a winner for any reader who loves historical, action-packed novels.”
Next we move forward to the late nineteenth century and a continuation of the “Oscar Wilde mystery series.” Gyles Brandreth, in “Oscar Wilde and the Murders at Reading Gaol,” brings the playwright back to star in another astonishing detective novel. Wilde, who often teams with colleague Arthur Conan Doyle to solve the most complex of mysteries, finds himself alone to crack the latest case.
The Oscar Wilde of this series, flamboyant as ever, is not unlike Sherlock Holmes himself. As a brilliant detective in his own right, he brings his intellectual prowess to bear on fascinating cases. In 1895, Wilde was sentenced to prison for indecency, and lands in the Reading Gaol. While he is incarcerated, two prison workers die under mysterious circumstances, and Wilde is called upon to identify the culprit, and he’d better work fast or risk becoming the next victim. The Denver Post wrote, “We were completely enchanted.” The Washington Post wrote, “Entertaining and meticulously researched pop fiction.”
Now in the present day comes the new novel by acclaimed author James Carlos Blake. In “The Rules of Wolfe: a Border Noir,” Blake introduces us to a young man from a family of Texas outlaws, gunrunners to be precise, who go back generations in crime. Eddie Gato Wolfe, young and unsatisfied with his minor role in the family business, crosses the border into Mexico and goes to work for a Mexican drug cartel, led by a ruthless killer named La Navaja.
At a party, Wolfe falls for the seductive Miranda, whom he learns too late “belongs to an intimate member of La Navaja’s organization.” The two are forced to flee for their lives, across the Sonora Desert, hoping to cross the border into the United States. La Navaha sends a host of murderous cohorts after them, including the notorious bounty hunter El Martillo. If these bloodthirsty men don’t get them, the brutal desert just might.
Can Wolfe turn to the family he abandoned to help him out of this mess? The Dallas Morning News wrote, “James Carlos Blake is of the Cormac McCarthy/Sam Peckinpah school of storytelling: Make it bloody as hell, but make it beautiful.” Kirkus Reviews wrote, “Blake remains a poet of the damned who writes like an angel.”
We begin a new film series this Saturday, Sept. 7, with “All That Heaven Allows” (1955). Jane Wyman is a repressed wealthy widow and Rock Hudson is the hunky Thoreau-following gardener who loves her in this heartbreakingly beautiful indictment of 1950s small-town America. It’s directed by Douglas Sirk.
Film critic Walter Chaw will be on hand, as always, to introduce the film and discuss it after viewing. The program gets underway at 1 p.m. and is open to the public. Popcorn, cookies, water and ideas are all free, compliments of the Friends of the Library.
Please mark your calendars for the Second annual Gilpin Art Studio tour on Sept. 21 and 22. You are invited to attend the artists’ reception on Friday, Sept 20, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Gilpin County public library. Meet the artists on the tour, enjoy refreshments, see a preview of work from the artists on the tour and pick up your tour map.

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