“Broken English” By P.L. Gaus A Joy To Read

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The second in the series of murder mysteries set in Holmes County, Ohio and the wonders of Amish Country was a true joy to read.  Broken English by P.L. Gaus fit the tone of the first novel with a gripping and believable plot, intertwined with local charm and developing characters that are easy to relate to, and care about.

I suspect many people like to have several books going at the same time.  For me I have a history book or biography underway while also a work of fiction is sitting along the bed for late-night reading.  The charm of the works by Gaus is they paint such detail and depth to everything from clothes to home furnishings.  There is a mental image conveyed through words that make the book visual in ways that most authors have no ability to achieve.   By the time the action is set to play out the reader has a very good sense of the how everything looks as the characters make the pages turn.

If you have not read one of these books yet, please do yourself a favor and pick one up soon.

The peaceful town of Millersburg, Ohio, in the heart of Ohio’s Amish country, is rocked by the vicious murder of one of its citizens at the hands of an ex-convict. When a local reporter covering the story ends up dead as well, with the convict already behind bars, suspicion falls on David Hawkins, father of the first victim. But Hawkins is nowhere to be found, not even among the protective Amish colony that had taken him in as one of its own regardless of his shadowy past.
Following on the critical and popular success of his first book, mystery writer P. L. Gaus again brings us a moral and legal conundrum as Professor Michael Branden, Sheriff Bruce Robertson, and Pastor Cal Troyer set out to uncover the truth that seems so elusive in their otherwise quiet corner of the world.
Along the way, Gaus paints a unique portrait of the relationship between the Amish and the “English” cultures as seen from the inside. Against this backdrop, Broken English is a tale of honor, deception, and revenge, where circumstances and the search for justice test the mettle of the closest of friends and reveal the desperate measures of the strongest of foes.

The Economist Cover: No Way To Run A Country

As always the much-respected words from The Economist need to be read, and heeded.

What can be done? In the short term, House Republicans need to get their priorities straight. They should pass a clean budget resolution without trying to refight old battles over Obamacare. They should also vote to raise the debt ceiling (or better yet, abolish it). If Obamacare really does turn out to be a flop and Republicans win the presidency and the Senate in 2016, they can repeal it through the normal legislative process.

In the longer term, America needs to tackle polarisation. The problem is especially acute in the House, because many states let politicians draw their own electoral maps. Unsurprisingly, they tend to draw ultra-safe districts for themselves. This means that a typical congressman has no fear of losing a general election but is terrified of a primary challenge. Many therefore pander to extremists on their own side rather than forging sensible centrist deals with the other. This is no way to run a country. Electoral reforms, such as letting independent commissions draw district boundaries, would not suddenly make America governable, but they would help. It is time for less cliff-hanging, and more common sense.

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Saturday Song: Happy 88th Birthday To The Grand Ole Opry

George Hay never sang a single song or plucked a single tune, but he exerted an immense influence on the development of country music as an entertainment form. Hay was the founder of the “Grand Ole Opry,” when in 1925 the informal showcase of country and western talent started coming together for the industry’s signature program. Listeners across America were introduced to country music by way of the powerful WSM Radio signal in Nashville.  The longest running radio show survives to this day on its parent station.  Hay, who called himself the “Solemn O Judge,” saw radio as an important medium for the popularization of rural music.  Although the Opry became increasingly glamorous and professional over the years, it has never lost the intimate “barn dance” quality Hay sought to preserve.

Today we celebrate the Opry’s birthday with some classic performances from the famed circle center-stage.