The New Year started off well enough, but by a week into 2015 I was already in the middle of some difficulties. My beloved feline companion of 17 years got very ill and died. That was bad enough to set me back a while. Added to that, however, we had an ice storm, and my wife slipped on said ice and broke her foot. Later that week I took a series of particularly shady hits in a dek hockey game and ended up with some soft tissue damage and some bruised ribs. With all of these things happening, I wasn’t living my normal routine (including running, which has become like medicine for me). There are a few things that have helped me immensely. Of course, I’m talking about old metal records and cozy mysteries.
It’s no secret that I love cozy mysteries. See HERE and HERE. The books that I’ve been into early this year are the “kind-of-cozy” books by Jane Langton. They are a bit rougher around the edges than most cozy titles, especially concerning graphic language. That said, the way that Langton tells stories is engaging and entertaining. Emily Dickinson Is Dead is a great example of that. The way that the narrative winds back and forth weaving the lives of the characters together is quite remarkable. Plus, if you have a soft spot for literature (as I do) the book is filled with bits from Dickinson’s poems. A Transcendental Murder didn’t engage me quite as much, but it has a similar approach and a great connection to Emerson and Thoreau.
I also got into Carol Miller’s Murder and Moonshine. This is an interesting beginning to a series set in rural southwestern Virginia. Daisy is a waitress at the local diner and gets to hear all the local gossip. When a reclusive old man shows up there one day and drops dead a few minutes later, Daisy finds herself in the middle of a case involving local law, moonshiners, the ATF and, of course, her famous peach cobbler.
What goes well with a nice cozy mystery better than some classic metal? Early Metallica has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. Ride the Lightning has been in rotation. (Listen to “Creeping Death” on repeat you ask? Yes, please!) Likewise, Master of Puppets has been getting some well-deserved attention. (Put on “Disposable Heroes” and try to mosh around your living room – then, if you’re anything like me, you remember you have bruised ribs and ease yourself back to the couch and the heating pad).
Round it out with a bit of Celtic Frost … To Mega Therion, to be specific. Turn up “(Beyond the) North Winds” as a cold, icy gale blows outside and be reminded that, in the face of broken, busted-up bodies, and the death of our friends, we still woke up today, and have a chance to live, love, read books and listen to music. Add the classic Black Metal by Venom, and you have a fitting soundtrack for anything the winter can throw at you.
who is currently ensconced on his couch, cozy in hand, metal on in the background, and a heating pad on his ribs