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A RIDDLE WRAPPED IN A MYSTERY INSIDE AN ENIGMA /The Mighty Paladin S7 E5

Garvin’s new novel A Dredging in Swann is an interesting book that rounds out its characters in a small town in North Carolina.  The first couple of chapters are quite staccato but it finds its flow after this point to immense the reader into the workings of this small town.

Lulling the reader into the quiet surrounds of Swann County, we are introduced to a murder that has a more complex reasoning than first envisioned.  Written in the third person, the story jumps back and forth from Seb Creek, the everyman detective who has a military background and Cody, a man with a troubled past.  What starts out as a straight forward murder mystery intertwines itself with the life of Cody extremely successfully.  

The characters are very well balanced and drawn given a three dimensional approach.  Garner has an incredible talent of making these characters varied in their emotional approach which lifts them up beyond the page.  The second and third tier characters have the same emotional depth as the main characters and long after reading the book, they do stay with you for quite some time.

The plot is very complexed but easy to get into.  The juxtaposition between the murder of Leo to the theft of missiles is very well handled and it takes a mastermind to be able to pull this off effectively which Garner does with aplomb.  The plot becomes tangled the more we get into the novel but in the final third, it is pure enjoyment as these get untangled to give a realistic approach to the solving of the crime which sets this apart from most novels of this ilk.

Overall, this is an fascinating read that keeps the reader involved.  I enjoyed learning about the Venus flytrapping, the small town life and the military approach to the proceedings.  The murder mystery of the aspect has a life of its own as we have to uncover the past to work out the present.  I haven’t read the other books in this series and Garner is meticulous to ensure the reader can get just involved and invested without having prior knowledge.  This is an incredible book and one that is enjoyable, involving and entertaining without losing its focus.  Highly recommended.  

The next film on the AFI list is arguably the best film of all time, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. This film was way ahead of its time and received almost no recognition back in 1958. It is currently ranked #9 on the AFI list but ranked #1 on the Sight and Sound critic’s poll of top movies, dethroning Citizen Kane back in 2012. This movie is visually stunning and may be the strongest example of Hitchcock’s perfectionism. This is one of the few movies that I own personally with all of the extras, so I will be doing a deep dive over the next week to point out all of the intricacies that make me love this movie so much. Strap in for the greatest American mystery film (according to me and AFI) and truly enjoy.

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A Story I Did For My English Class.

NOT FINISHED YET BUT IF YOU WANT TO SEE THE FINISHED PRODUCT THEN COMMENT OR LIKE.

This story is about a girl who takes a trip to Scotland and stays at a castle but soon learns that it’s not quite what it seems to be. She has to fight monsters and solve riddles to escape before her last day or she will become another victim to the family.

It’s 1994, you wake up to your alarm buzzing once again. You slept in! You rush to get everything. You hurriedly run to get to your flight on time. “I’m going to miss my flight!” You just barely make it in time and have the feeling that you have forgotten something when you get to your seat. The plane takes off. No going back now.

It’s late when you arrive in Dekmerd, Scotland. You rent a car and drive to Slavey Castle. That is where you are staying. You are driving through the stone gates surrounded by leave-less trees. As you are driving past all the trees and whooing owls you see the castle appearing in the distance. It gets larger and larger as you drive until finally, you reach it. It’s dark, hulking, and matured. You put your vehicle in park and collect your luggage. As you knock on the door an elderly man opens the door. 

“Welcome Ms. Henstein, to Slavey Castle. I am Flemik. We’ve longed for your arrival. Let me show you to your room.” He carries your bags and leads you to your room. It’s large, luxurious, and has old paintings of landscapes.  The windows are large and framed by curtains that flow to the floor. The bed is queen-sized and has an old dark wood frame. Flemik leaves your bags on a cushioned bench at the end-side of your bed. “Dinner will be served at 6:00 o’clock every night in the dining hall,” he says tonelessly. “Thank you,” you reply. 

You can smell the delicious aroma of tasty food as you make your way to the dining hall for dinner. You are greeted by Flemik as you walk in and he shows you to your seat. “Dinner will be served shortly,” he states. You thank him for being such good help and wait for the food.

A few moments later your food arrives. There is so much food. It’s like a feast! “Dinner is served,” Flemik says happily. He takes the top off of your appetizer. He puts an equal amount of it on your plate and says that the main course will come shortly.

A man suddenly comes through the doorway while you are eating and yells at Flemik about some family thing and how the man’s father is dead. You try to look like you aren’t eavesdropping while eating your food but the man looks over at you and asks who you are and why you’re here. You reply with your name, Relina Henstein and inform him of how you are staying here for the few days you are in Scotland.

“I am here on important family matters and would like you to give me some privacy so I can speak to Flemik,” he states. You place your napkin down gently on the table and go to your room. You respect people’s privacy and wishes.

You can slightly hear what they are arguing about and can barely make out any words but you can hear that the man’s name is Winston and his father was murdered yesterday. Apparently, Flemik had worked for him before but quit. Winston is accusing Flemik of having something to do with the murder of his father because Flemik quit on bad terms.

It’s dark, quiet, and the wind is whistling outside. You’re tired. You quit eavesdropping and get some rest since you have been on a plane all day. It’s going to be an adventurous day tomorrow. 

As you wake up, you see the light shining through the window and you hear the birds chirping. You can feel it is going to be a good day. You get dressed and brush your long blonde locks. You can feel the happiness of the animals outside transferring into you and making you even more happy today.

As you make your way downstairs you find a drop of blood at the bottom of the stairs. You see more drops leading to a room with a big, dark, and gloomy door. You open it cautiously. You are surprised to see Winston’s body laying there with chunks of him bitten off and thrown somewhere else.

You run to gather your things from your room. Once, gathered you run down to the front door where Flemik is waiting for you. “You can’t leave. You have seen too much. We mustn’t let you leave. You will go blab to everyone about what you saw and you’ll ruin my family name!” he says sinisterly. As you try to run to the back door another person blocks you from leaving. You have nowhere to go but back into the room where Winston was.

You are too scared to care what might be lurking in the shadows of this room. You run in and slam the door shut. When you turn around facing the shadows of the room you see a gigantic head rise and bright red eyes stare into yours as if to steal the life from you. 

You try to open the door but it is locked. You have nowhere to go now. You HAVE TO face this vicious creature and find a way out. As you are thinking over different plans of what to do at this moment the beast comes sprinting at you. You can see a door behind this ginormous creature. You run to it and while you at running to it the creature chasing you and as you just barely slip through the door you realize this isn’t the end of your time in the castle. 

The only way out of here is to go deeper in and discover the secrets of this castle and find some way to escape. You nervously walk into the next room that the last door leads you to. The door slams shut behind you and you are now in another life or death situation. 

A voice speaks when the door shut. “Welcome Ms. Henstein, to the deadly room of riddles and puzzles. The only way out is to solve all the puzzles and use the clues that the riddles and puzzles give you to find the key and leave through the locked door straight ahead of you.

This is the riddle that you must solve: A couple reported a robbery. The husband told the policeman, that he thinks that the burglar presumably entered the house by breaking through the window, pointing to the broken window glasses on the outside of the house.

The policeman noticed that the inside of the house only a few tiny pieces of window glass particles scattered around near the broken window area and told him that it was not a burglary and no outsider has entered his house through that window. What made the policeman so sure?

“We Were Liars” Review
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The fact that this book had me sobbing like a baby is already the reason I give it 5 stars. Then there’s the fact that this book has a beautiful story and was written so well. I love the map of the island that the author included in the beginning of the book, very helpful when picturing where the characters were at specific times, even if part of the time it may or may not have been a lie. We Were Liars touches very well on the subject of mental illness in the form of PTSD and Temporary Psychosis. I want this book to be made into a movie so badly, I already picture the character “Gat” as being the actor Issak Presley. 

5 out of 5 stars.

Dime Mystery Magazine  v15 #1, August 1937   cover by Graves Gladney

The Giver of Dreadful Life by George Edson

The Devil’s Protégé by George E. Clark

The Maid and the Mummy by Russell Gray

Now I Lay Me Down—to Die! by John H. Knox

Harvest of the Tiny Killer by Wyatt Blassingame

The Seven Arms of Terror by James Francis