Tag Archives: giveaway

Solving Crime Puzzles from Tucson to San Francisco

Destinations: Tucson and San Francisco Bay area

Book: Fracture (2011) by Susan Cummins Miller

Want this book? Find out at the end of this review how you can get an autographed copy.

Susan Cummins Miller’s last book, Fracture,  kept me guessing–and reading–until geologist Frankie McFarlaine and her boyfriend unravel the complex mystery that involves Philo’s family. That would be the boyfriend, oddly-named Philo Dain, a Special Forces kind of guy who runs a top-notch private detective agency in Tucson.

Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park, Tucson

Frankie and Philo are just getting reacquainted after his recent return from Afghanistan when his uncle shows up wanting Philo’s help locating some valuable coins. Philo doesn’t like his Uncle, but because of inheritance, he partly owns the coins, so he agrees.  The uncles’ trophy wife turns up dead and Uncle Derek, a man used to buying whatever he wants–including respect– is the prime suspect.

The plot is too complex to summarize without giving something away. Tension builds and along with the physical threats to our hero and heroine, plenty of puzzle solving is involved. It even gets a bit Ludlum-esque when a rare coin dealer and an academic get involved trying to “decode” a family chess set that turns out to be museum-quality rare.

Meanwhile, Miller paints a realistic picture of her native Tucson, and similarly evocative scenes in a house on a cliff above the foggy San Francisco coast and the family ranch which holds the final clues to the secrets.

San Francisco fog
Photo from Wiki Commons

This review is another follow-up to the 2014 Tucson Festival of Books. See my earlier review of Townie by Andre Debus III.  And where I saw Susan Cummins Miller, here.

Miller’s Frankie McFarlane mystery series started with the the publication in 2002 of Death Assemblage. Since then she has published a total of five Frankie McFarlane mysteries and has finished a sixth–each with a geological reference in the title. Her newest book, out next year, is Chasm, set in the Grand Canyon.

The earlier books emphasized geology–Frankie seemed to stumble on bodies every time she takes students out in the field for research–and the skill set that being a scientist contributes to Frankie the myster-solver. The importance of Frankie’s geology background is dialed down in Fracture, as Frankie shares focus with the adventure-hero Philo. However, she still is independent, resourceful and smart as the dickens. And we do learn a few things about the composition of the earth around San Francisco–and fractures and earthquakes that take place in the ground as well as those that split families.

The characters are vivid  in Fracture. Miller provides us an almost tactile experience of the contrast between sweltering summer Tucson, and cool, damp San Francisco.  This mystery is a keeper.


Tucson Festival of Books
Susan Cummins Miller talks to reader at 2014 TFOB

At the Book Festival, Susan signed a copy of Fracture for me to give to one of my readers.

If you would like to have an exciting (virtual) trip to the Bay area by winning a signed, hardback copy of Fracture, leave a comment below mentioning the word ‘fracture.’  A winner will be chosen at random  on May 20. The book is valued at $30.

Winners must have a United States postal address and must be over 18. There is no limit on the number of entries. See other fine print here.

Notes: The author gave me a copy of the book for review and to use as a giveaway.  My opinions are still my own.  Links here to Amazon allow you to shop easily for this book and others and at the same time support A Traveler’s Library. Thanks.

Book Giveaway Finale

Choosing a Book
Choosing a book

LAST DAY To Choose a Book

I love hearing from new readers of A Traveler’s Library.

I love giving away wonderful books.

I love matching up books with the readers.

****If you subscribed to A Traveler’s Library during June,2013, you are entitled to choose a book from the list I published earlier for the Choose a Book Giveaway.  I hope that you will take your reward for being a loyal reader.

Remember, you must be over 18 and have a United States mailing address. See all rules here.

And send an e-mail to verabadert at gmail.com before midnight tonight (Mountain Standard Time).


Pin Ups: Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, or Harry Potter?

Betty Grable Pin Up
Betty Grable in war timepin up publicity shot from 20th Century Fox

Donning my other hat as “Classic Film Connoisseur” over at Reel Life With Jane, this month I talk about the pin-up girls of World War II.   Come on over and make your choice.

Uncle Sam


The article on pin-ups follows my article last month at Reel Life With Jane about the ways that Hollywood turned to patriotism during the war. If you missed it, check that one out, too.









Harry Potter QuintessentialBut wait a minute, doesn’t that title say something about Harry Potter? Harry Potter as a Pin up? Yes, if you won the Harry Potter poster books drawing this month. And Congratulations to these winners:

Gwyn McVay–Winner of TWO poster books.

Stephen Nettles–Winner of one poster book.

Kristen J. Gough–Winner of one poster book.


Kristen is a faithful reader and Gwyn and Stephen are both new subscribers. See how it pays to be a regular at A Traveler’s Library? You can be one, too. Let me send our discussions of books and movies right to your mailbox. Subscribe to our site with a click.