You know it is August when we only have two events in a week. Alas, they are both on the same day. First up is the great J.A. Jance, who is coming to the Loos Room of Milwaukee Public Library’s Centennial Hall, located at 733 North Eighth Street, and the starting time is 6:30 pm. The appearance is for her new Joanna Brady novel, Remains of Innocence. It starts in Massachusetts, where a woman cleaning out her mom’s old house finds a fortune in cash, and continues when a friend of Brady is found dead in a limestone cavern.
Some mystery writers have more than one series going at once, but Jance juggles three. In addition to Sherriff Brady, there’s Seattle homicide detective J.P. Beaumont, former television journalist turned Arizona-based sleuth Allison Reynolds, and Brendan Walker, a retired homicide detective whose cases often feature Native American themes. Regarding her newest Brady mystery, Publishers Weekly reports that “as the dual story lines crisscross and the body count mounts, Jance hits her stride with a suspenseful plot that will keep readers flipping pages until the surprising, if overly convoluted finale.” Sorry, PW, it ain’t fun if there isn’t a little complication.
The library would love you to register for this event at (414) 286-3011.
Then at 7 pm, Jeff Miller, the author of Scoop: Notes from a Small Ice Cream Shop, is in conversation with Mitch Teich of WUWM’s Lake Effect, all at Purple Door Ice Cream, 205 S. Second Street, in Walker’s Point. Of the book, Rosemary Herbert of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes: Readers will be glad Miller did not turn back. In a volume destined to be the summer read of the year for Hayward townies and summer folk, as well as anyone who’s dreamed of making a daring life change, he serves up a good-humored (editor’s note: get it?) account of the pair’s transformation of West’s Hayward Dairy into a crowd-pleasing emporium of ice cream and the mansion into the fabulously decorated, acclaimed bed and breakfast called McCormick House Inn.”
Of the event, I can only say that the Purple Door space is not that large, and there aren’t that many chairs, so we’re likely to fill up quickly. But honestly, how can you not at least try to have an ice cream memoir in an ice cream parlor. I can't say what exactly will be in their dipping cabinet on Tuesday, but right now, some of the featured flavors are absinthe, whiskey, garam masala, basil, ginger (I had this over the weekend) and cream cheese, as well as more traditional offerings, such as chocolate, vanilla, mint chip, and banana peanut butter. Yes, when you're talking about basil ice cream, banana peanut butter sounds positively retro.
Next Monday, August 18, we rejoin Mitch Teich back at Boswell for another event co-sponsored by WUWM and Lake Effect. This time Mr. Teich will be in conversation with Dan Epstein, author of Stars and Strikes: Baseball and America in the Bicentennial Summer of ’76. Chris Vognar in The Dallas Morning News reports that the book “spotlights arguably the craziest year in a decade of Major League looniness. Maverick owners Bill Beeck and Ted Turner upset the old guard with a torrent of promotions to distract their lousy teams…Free agency was about to change the league’s economics forever, shifting the balance of power from owners to players. Hair was long. Punk was rocking. Disco was thumping.” Epstein devotes a chapter to each month of the year.
And here's a great interview with Dan Epstein in Sporting News, conducted by Justin McGuire. He really gets to the vital importance of the year. "SN: I was delighted to see The Bad News Bears, my favorite baseball movie, featured prominently in the book. Why do think the film is an important part of the story of baseball in 1976?
DE: The Bad News Bears is really the quintessential '70s baseball film: the lead character is a bum, the kids all swear like sailors (or actually, real kids), feminism and mistrust of authority play major roles in the story, and the ending is neither particularly happy nor uplifting. While it was perhaps just coincidental that the film came out at the start of the 1976 season, it really did seem to tap into the same scrappy, rebellious vibe that was coursing through the game in ‘76."
If that isn’t enough for you, just wait till September. Your head will spin!