Letters to Ed (or in this case, Bruce): Errata; Kudos; Carps; Where’s Waldo, er, Wacek?

From time to time, responses get posted about one blog entry or another of mine, and some of them may never get read, as there is just a small hyperlink connection to comments at the end of each entry. Predictably, the spam filter catches the bulk of the “comments”, thinly veiled promotional material for inexpensive Canadian drugs, entertainment centers (?), grand pianos (??), and other more, um, grown-up dalliances. In between the weeds grow roses, though, and I would like to share a few of those with you (in no particular order). 

Erratum #1:

On October 14, 2009, I published an entry entitled “Otto Penzler and the History of Mystery”, in honor of the publication of his new book, The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives. In preparing the post, I misinterpreted something I read in the intro to the book, and then disseminated this misinformation to the unsuspecting world. Sorry about that. Otto Penzler was kind enough to set me straight, and I would like to pass on his comments: 

Dear Bruce,
Thanks very much for this very generous piece. But you have mixed up two publishing programs at The Mysterious Bookshop. The Christmas story comes out every year around Thanksgiving and is an original story with the requirements you state. There is a separate series, called “Mysterious Profiles,” for which authors wrote biographies/analyses/profiles of their series characters. It is the latter that has been collected in THE LINEUP. The former (17 stories in 17 years) will be collected in a book next year by Vanguard and titled A MYSTERIOUS CHRISTMAS. No need to post this, of course. Thanks again for the kind words. Otto

 Erratum #2: 

On September 2, 2009, I published “Tokyo Vice”, about Jake Adelstein’s book of the same name.  Adelstein, the only American journalist ever to be admitted to the prestigious Tokyo Metropolitan Police Press Club, offered a unique Western look at crime and its fallout in the world’s largest (and by most accounts, safest) city. In reading the promo materials that accompanied the book, I incorrectly noted that he had worked for the State Department study on human trafficking; close, but no cigar. Jake Adelstein responded with the following:

Thank you very much for writing about the book so eloquently.
I should clarify that the US State Department funded the study of human trafficking in Japan but I didn’t work for them directly, although I have happily provided them with relavent materials over the years. There were many reasons why the research was done that way.


Author Tim Hallinan is a frequent responder to this blog, for which I am honored. I have reviewed two of Tim’s books in the past couple of years, The Fourth Watcher and Breathing Water, both of which were great, by the way. You can see the reviews at www.bookpage.com, or excerpts thereof on Tim’s site, www.timothyhallinan.com .  We discovered in one another a mutual interest, bordering on obsession, with strange-flavored KitKat chocolate bars (there have been some 160+ varieties on offer in Japan over the years, including Butter Baked Potato, Roasted Corn, and Cider Pepper… seriously), and in response to his note, below, I sent a small package bearing a couple of the stranger flavors to him last fall : Lemon Vinegar and Apple Vinegar.

Bruce — You gave me the laugh of the week. My wife is a KitKat junkie, and I forwarded to her, and we now toss each other ideas for a new Japanese KitKat flavor practically every time we pass each other in the halls. (This house is too big for us.) My favorite at the moment is the ever-popular Wool Turkey Chip KitKat. Are you going to try the Lemon Vinegar flavor? For us? Please? 

Tim also responded to one of my earliest posts, on the weird, wonderful puns known as “Tom Swifties” (June 13, 2009). 

Oh. Oh. I’d completely forgotten about Swifties. Sometimes time is kind. I can only think of one that’s even halfway worthy of consideration: “That woman ain’t my mother’s mama,” Tom said ungrammatically. I have tried for two days to think of another one, but that’s it. I have labored and brought forth a gnat. These are the humor equivalent of the new chicken-salad KitKats. 


“Richard Duval” wrote: I am a Myron Bolitar fan. His second banana the dealy Win is worth a mention.

Bruce replies: I knew when I wrote this that I was leaving out some of the all-time greats: Paul Drake and Della Street (from Erle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason series); Milo Sturgis (from Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series); Grace Makutsi (from Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series); the list goes on and on. And on. Odds were good I would leave out somebody’s favorite, most likely lots of somebodies’. Heck, I left out some of my favorites, hence the “woefully incomplete” in the title. 

“Cindy” wrote: Do I detect a bit of bias here? There ARE lots of female second bananas, too. 

Bruce replies: Bias? Of course I am biased! It would be disingenuous of me to suggest otherwise. This is because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, as do most women and all smart men, that there are exceptionally few female second bananas, the reason being that women are now and will always be first bananas! 

Where’s Waldo Wacek? 

“Janice” wrote: Hello – I have been desperately searching for Wacek Kozlowski. He knows me and I know would like to get in touch with me. Can anyone connect me with him or give me my contact information so that he can get hold of me??? Thank you so much for your assistance in advance!

 Bruce replies: I haven’t been in touch with Wacek for perhaps a couple of years, as I don’t spend much time in the US nowadays. We sometimes collide, like passing asteroids, when we happen to be in Nashville at the same time, and we always pick up just where we left off. Then we each go off into some other orbit for a couple more years, during which time we are out of contact. So, Wacek, if you are out there reading this, Janice would love to hear from you. So would I.


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