Tuesday, November 21, 2023



Holding Court                    

By Alan Miller

ISBN: 9781950743919

A 2022 release from

Calumet Editions


               Here’s a relatively rare kind of government corruption story. It requires a good understanding of the most procedurally obscure of our federal institutions, the Supreme Court of the United States. The author definitely has that, as well as conditionally strong perceptions of some of the more established norms of D.C. society and its social conflicts.

               The kidnapping of an associate justice, his brazen, action-filled rescue and the odd murder of a member of the staff of the Court all play into some nasty maneuvering around a soon-to-be-announced end-of-term decision.

               Several well-drawn characters from inside and outside law enforcement play pivotal roles in the resolution of the conflict, the pace is admirable and the surprising blend of a number of roles add to the spice of the story which nicely and precisely concludes as one might expect of a positive novel.

Wednesday, November 15, 2023



The Girl in Duluth

Sigurd Brown

ISBN: 9780578338767

EBOOK: 9780578338774

A 2022 release


Here is a thoughtful, carefully structured, moving story of a girl from Northern Minnesota who encounters life in most of its variables, from the very low to some soaring highs. June lives in a tiny shrinking community near the Canadian border. She’s eighteen in a cold January, nearing the end of her high school years with no concrete plans for the future. She works part time for a local newspaper editor, lives in a miserable small apartment with her mother and worries a lot about the rest of her family, and her friends.

Tonya, June’s mother, is not married and her relationships with a number of people are sketchy and transitory at best. She has a tendency to disappear for days at a time and June is almost never informed as to her mother’s whereabouts or schedule. Fortunately for June, she has three anchors; her high school friend, Zee, an older friend of her mother, Frank, and her uncle Aaron. But Aaron lives in Minneapolis, a very long way south.

This well-written novel takes June and those around her through a number of small and large crises, craftily described in the language and character of this bright, aware teen-ager who is under pressure from many sides to descend into chaos. That she is able to resist forms the core of the narrative, even when her powerful curiosity to learn more about her mother’s life threatens to upend her for good.

Her search for a stable life is well-thought out and she develops in a logical and creative manner, even through her outrageous encounter with a young prostitute in Duluth.

The narrative evokes the landscape and the weather in appropriate ways and the emotional upheavals are nicely fashioned. The novel is powerful, moving and subtly raises a number of important questions. A thoroughly engaging  story, from an observant, creative author.

Monday, November 13, 2023


Sunday, November 12, 2023, Modigliani Quartet, displaying four beautiful and outstanding Italian instruments, forcefully demonstrated why they have such a strong reputation for string quartet music interpretation. Performing in the local Music In The Park series at the local Saint Anthony Park United Church of Christ, the quartet offered a fine program with works by Mozart, Elise Bertrand, Hugo Wolf, Puccini, Verdi and an encore by Schubert.

The concert Sunday afternoon illustrated the current theme of the quartet, Italian Apart from demonstrating the lasting significance of the compositions, the Paris-based quartet also aptly reminded classical music fans of the durability of excellent compositions like this program, plus the longevity of truly talented groups of musicians. The Modigliani Quartet is celebrating its twentieth year in 2023. They will delight audiences in many places across the world in 2024, including Zurich, Los Angeles, Brussels, Cologne, Istanbul and Monaco.