Books On The Half-Shell: A Quahog Chases Culture

For some time now, I’ve been considering starting a new blog.
My first blog, Quahog, was, for me at least, satisfying to write, and apparently relatively well liked.
Then came the stalking.

What decided me to start up again, after over two years of terror, was the following:
1. I am a positive thinker. And with corona virus out there threatening us all, I needed a place to laugh.
2. This weekend, we had another robbery at our apartment.
A lot of things that were of little value, but precious to us were stolen. Or destroyed (How do you write a police report containing the words “a small squirrel barbecuing at a grill decked in holly from our first Christmas together?”)

And to make it worse, four finished books of mine, a fifth I am revising, and a sixth nearly finished, were stolen from my computer.

And so, I decided to make this first “back at the ranch” entry, unfortunately for you as readers, a list of the books I have finished, and were stolen, and those that are planned, and I hope to finish before I join that great bucket collector in the sky.

And so, for those of you who have stuck with me this far, here it is:
A list of my once and future book titles.
With, for the first time, my copyright:

all books listed on this page, are copyrighted by me: Lin Driscoll-Heinz (writing as Kate Dunham)

And should the list thing not be your thing, the next blog entry, here at quahog, will definitely be about life in Gutenberg.

While a parallel blog, Books On The Half-Shell, will definitely be about literature, music, and just about anything quirky enough to interest my scientist husband and I.
I hope you will come back.
Or go there.
Thank you.

So here it is.
The proud “parent” showing off the offspring. Well not really, but still, here are….
(** means finished books, * is more than half done)

The Harriot Books:
When Harriot, teaching assistant and bane of the German department of a large university, in the city of Oz, and scientist boyfriend Govinda, a mathematician, renaissance man type, and Celtic German, or maybe not, on the run from the IRA, IRS, CIA, and several mafias, for… well, that comes out in chapter two.
Book One,
Of course,

**1. “You can’t Have A Murder In Oz.”
And since this book is about Govinda’s attempts to help four friends, part of a cult, that wants to be ready when the Sirians land,
And thus is building a spaceship,
For the CIA, but, of course, really for…
Did I mentions there are murders? And diamonds? And eccentrics? The entire faculty of a certain university in the pacific northwest, three mafias, fake archeological relics, a psychic, Oh, and of course, a wild chase on a horse? Named Harald?

**2. In “You can’t Have A Murder In Oz At Christmas,”
It is Christmas.
In Oz.
And Govinda is wiring Santa,
And his sleigh,
To light up and slide down the space needle, when…
All the lights go off,
And the electricity is out,
Leaving Govinda and his elvish helpers hanging from the tower, literally,
As the museum is robbed.  Which they are blamed for.
And so, the entire group is forced to collect Harriot.  From the oxcart of a cult. dressed in Easter Bunny and Giant Egg costumes- it is symbolic, they feel, and flee.
And to help out with flying fish, save a politician named Sarah Palin, avert an attempt to destroy the celestial seasonings tea corporation, stop fake news, and professors (male) in cheerleader’s costumes, and save a troop of leprechauns. Who are… Oh well, just read the book.

**3. “You can’t Have A Murder In Oz In St. Louis.”
Harriot, underpaid, overworked, and in dire need of money, to pay the rent, and eat in the same month, takes on a job as a literary story-teller. Also called an Irish-American story-teller. Or scop.
And so, she tells her story.
To the Emerald City Tobogganing and Blood Donors’ Book Society- The Ectoplasma Boos.
An absolutely, ‘one hundred percent true, story, I’ll tell you which part of the hundred fifty percent that is later’ about how she was hired by the Pedder Lung society, to glorify the role of the pirates in the American Civil war.
And this year, the topic of the, did I mention it was highly paid, lecture for the Pedder Lungs, was Judy Garland.
Yes, Judy Garland.
She of the ruby slippers.
And Toto.
But can she find a connection to pirates?
And will Harriot, and Govinda survive a summer in the St. Louis heat, be able to re-wire the Laclede haunted house, solve the murder of the tax inspector tied to a barrel of fake 1776 whiskey,
find the magical Judy connection, and…
end up dancing? Under a Pirate moon?

4. You can’t Have A Murder In Oz In London
Wherein Harriot tells the Ectoplasma Boos “Harriot’s, That’s moi, latest adventures- In London.”Where Harriot, the real one, cash from an advance on her next year’s Pedder Lung Lecture in hand, is all set to merely play the rabid tourist, off to see what the Beatles swinging sixties London looked like.
At least until she discovers that: Govinda has sold her library lectures to a real publisher even, one who is in London for a genuine, overfilled, star-studded, book packed mystery convention.
Taking place in, due to a minor bit of computer hacking terror, or maybe just a new and soon to be gone assistant, the same hotel facilities, at the same time, as:
the aforementioned Bouchercon, the Dr. Who convention, and, of course, the international alumni of Hogwarts. In costume.
And with all those costumes, and all of their literary problems,
Will our heroes survive?
Will they solve the murders?
And will they ever find an empty bathroom, what with all of those costumes and make-up?
Tune in soon to find out.
The Antoine Becker Books:
Each of these humorous books about a small town consists of two frame stories, each describing the small town of Bretzelbach, in the German Rhineland, and its eccentric populace, and twelve central stories, one for each month, and each one containing a more than bizarre crime, finally leading up to murder.

**1. Antoine Becker And The Bretzelbach Murders
From radish poisoning, to stolen accordions, historical birthdays, grand theft asparagus, and,
of course, the heroic Walpurga night drunken glee club soup pot race, Kommissar Antoine Becker keeps the peace. And sometimes even his cool.

**2. “Antoine Becker And The Twelve Murder Vacation.”
The same Kommissar, the same humorous small town stories, but this time, set, in the entire Rhineland. From a Roman fort, to the film set of “The Name of the Rose,” and from the stolen bones of a local highwayman to murder by vengeful swans, Antoine’s twelve murder vacation is definitely not the usual policeman’s holiday.

3. “Antoine Becker and the Twelve Days of Christmas.”
How absurd can Christmas be? Join Antoine and the town of Bretzelbach to find out.

4. “Antoine Becker meets Kaipo Kiehm.”
Antoine is sent on a policeman’s exchange- to Hawaii.
The Lizzie Books:
A young graduate student in music makes a living conducting any “gig” she can get her hands on, from a passion play, to opera, jazz, outdoor theater, a men’s glee club, a mardi gras chorus, barbershop, an academic music fraternity, a living calendar, Morris dancers, etc. Humor, quirky eccentrics, bizarre exotic situations, and a cute male friend guaranteed. Oh, and bizarre humorous murders.

**1. Lizzie And “The Lamb That Was Slain.”
At Pentecost, a thousand year old Cathedral in Bretzelbach Germany, plays host to a passion play. With fights about not historicity vs politically correctness, submerged centuries-old hate, and every form of feminism a small town can produce, from science, to Wicca, to toads on the altar, Lizzie isn’t sure until the final moment if she, and all the members of the cast, will survive.

*2. Lizzie And “That Other Mozart Opera.”
The fourth of July, in Roulettenburg Germany, is the opening night for “The Magic Flute.” With a cast of half amateur, half pro, belly dancers instead of a chorus, a fire, a flood, and a dishwasher as the dragon, will Lizzie be able to handle hysterics, divas, the dog “shut up Fritz,” injured singers, and cast members with drugs and cult problems? And opening night is only three days away.

3. Lizzie And “The Wine Queen’s Corso Murders.”
August in Castel Germany proves hot for Lizzie, in more ways than one. From jazz to blues to light theater, with ecology, big business, and politics versus the wine industry thrown in for a laugh, will Lizzie manage to make it off the boat in one piece? And can she get out of her “flying harness” in time to stay alive?

4. Lizzie And “The Case Of The Murders Most Haggis.”
In September, The Scottish Highlands provides Lizzie with a joyous chance to make music at a writers‘ convention. Can death, stalking, and a haggis be far behind?

5. Lizzie And “A Most Gem-dandy Murder.”
In October Lizzie is invited to sing at a jazz festival in a gem-cutting town in the Hunsruck mountains, the German equivalent of America’s beautiful Blue Ridge mountains. Then the ‘other’ English queen and two ‘other’ popes arrive, in need of new jeweled vestments. Enter the FBI, The CIA, MI5, The Swiss guards, a blind sheriff and his wife….And Lizzie.

6. Lizzy And “The Death of The ‘Charlemagne’s Garden Gnomes.’”
In November, Lizzie is called to one of Charlemagne’s Castles, where she is to conduct a traditional men’s glee club, a group of more that slightly off-key gardeners with a very long list of historical issues, from the five hundred year old wooden carving of the castle they wear as their emblem, to the thousand year old mystery of just who slept when with whom. And Lizzie, the only “non-cousin” has to solve the mystery.

7. Lizzie And “The Eight Brocades Murders.”
Eight Qi Gong exercises, eight battling choirs, and eight classic mystery novels help Lizzie stop a series of murders. And conduct a Christmas Concert. Or do they?

8. Lizzie And “The Curious Swiss Maths Murders.”
Early December finds Lizzie traveling to French-speaking Switzerland to conduct a mathematicians’ music fraternity in the ‘The Historical Celebration Of The Scalding Soup Cauldron.’

9. Lizzie And “The Death of The Living Advent Calendar’s Coo-coo.”
In Late December, a convent in the mountains outside Bretzelbach is the setting for Lizzie’s church music licensing exam. But also for a small money-making side trip to do the music for a “living calendar,” and then on to visit some than eccentric and their unfortunately, more than slightly murderous, acquaintances.

10. Lizzie and “The Murders at St. Margrit in the Fields.”
January in Bretzelbach brings Lizzie a chance to help dedicate a new the museum in the town’s recently discovered crypt of the eleven thousand virgins. But will the battling church hierarchy, the weather, and the finding of a few not so historical bodies ever let her finally do her job?

11. Lizzie And “The The Prince Carnival’s Regiment Murders.”
In February, Bretzelbach’s traditional Prince Carnival’s Mardi Gras Parade turns murderous, as Lizzie struggles with dead acoustics, and even deader music. And then choir members start turning up dead.

12. Lizzie and “The Most Murderous Morris Dancers.”
It is March, and Lizzie, with the help of Matt and Sarah, is off to the Isle of Guernsey, to finally get the vacation she so much needs. And since her sole task will be to help Matt’s math department hold a staid, sedate conference, with a bit of classical music for relaxation, and since they are alone on an island….
Can Agatha Christie type shenanigans be far behind?

13. Lizzie And “The Murderous Hessian Honey’s Barbershop Review.”
It is April in Roulettenburg, and Lizzie, known for her good concert nerves, has been hired to trim a barbershop choir for competition. However…
Dead notes, dead mikes, dead looking animals on costumes, maybe. But dead singers? Lizzie has to go into top gear to save the golden pitch pipe. And the rest of her choir.

14. Lizzie And “The Murder Of A Tudor Printer’s Female Assistant..”
In May, while researching the first printed music texts in London, Lizzie discovers an ancient murder. When the female assistant of a famous court printer decides to try her hand at hawking illegally printed theater songs, and, of course, illegal political propaganda at the court of Henry VIII, can dead bodies be far behind?

15. Lizzie And “The The St John’s Day Murders.”
It is June again in Bretzelbach, and the revival of “a quaint fifteenth century initiation ritual for young printers’ devils, meant to draw tourists, unfortunately also ends up drawing blood.

16. Lizzie And “The Midsummer Knight’s Murders.”
In July, a summer music course in the mountains ends with the presentation of a murderous Operetta.

17. Lizzie And “The Liborius Murders.”
In August, quirky saints, peacocks, and high mayhem are on the bill at the annual, celebrity-packed, festival of St. Liborius.

18. Lizzie And “The Murders On A Mostly Silent Night.”
It is December, and, in the time of joy, all of the main Lizzie characters come together for one last time. Or is it?

All books listed above: copyright Lin Driscoll-Heinz writing as Kate Dunham

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