It never rains, but it pours in Portland, Oregon. At least that’s how it seems to Detective Galen Young. The police are already busy with several high-profile crimes, including the abduction of a four-year-old girl from a local shopping mall, when another person goes missing.
Robert Armlin, the Opinion Page editor for the Oregon Sentinel was last seen exercising at his local fitness club on Saturday afternoon, and his frantic wife alerts the police about his failure to return home that evening. Detective Young quickly exhausts any possible leads into the editor’s disappearance, so he delves into Mr. Armlin’s prior newspaper columns to gain insights into his personality and to discover any enemies Armlin may have made through his opinion pieces. There are many who disagree with the editor’s viewpoint, and they are not shy about letting him know it. In the midst of the investigation, Detective Young’s family is struck by a personal tragedy that leaves the detective struggling to balance the demands of work and home.
Little progress is being made in the cases of the missing editor and the kidnapped girl when an unexpected connection between the two is revealed that leaves Galen and his colleagues scrambling for answers.
A stagnant case suddenly comes back to life when Robert Armlin’s cell phone shows up on the body of a Portland vagrant. Armlin, the missing Oregon Sentinel opinion page editor who was presumed to have met a bad end, becomes once again one of detective Galen Young’s primary assignments. The appearance of a ransom note only serves to increase the Portland Police Bureau’s suspicions that Armlin may still be alive but in danger.
At the same time, Galen becomes enmeshed in complications arising from a routine missing persons case. Erin Roberts was reported missing but returned home to her husband after a brief but failed affair. The news a short time later of her death from a rainy night hit-and-run comes as an unexpected shock to the detective. Nothing strikes him as suspicious about her death, however, until Galen happens to read her obituary. A single out-of-place sentence leads the detective on a search for Erin’s suspected killer – along a twisted and increasingly perilous trail.
His approaching mandatory retirement age from the Bureau, his own health, and caring for his incarcerated daughter’s sons are difficult enough, but Portland’s street demonstrations over George Floyd’s death, the global pandemic, and the detective’s unravelling home life only serve to further exacerbate problems for detective Galen Young.
Be advised: The Obituary Page is a standalone sequel to The Opinion Page but contains spoilers to that earlier mystery.
A luthier in Bern, Switzerland is asked to repair a Patent Office clerk’s violin which has inexplicably lost its tone. This chance meeting in 1904 begins the friendship of two very different people – the one immersed in his physical craft on a daily basis, and the other obsessed with key problems facing the world of physics at the dawn of the 20th century.
The book is set in the months leading up to Albert Einstein’s “Miracle Year” when he published four ground-breaking scientific articles. During this period, Albert is busy with his day-to-day workload at the Patent Office and is a new parent; however, his mental experiments in physics are always at the forefront of his thoughts. The luthier, Carl, is struggling with a heavy workload, a long-distance marriage, and increasing dissatisfaction with his routine job. The two are also friends with the musician and budding artist, Paul Klee. Somehow, Carl and Albert manage time for music and play together in a local quintet. Carl also becomes involved in the mystery of a valuable violin bow that strangely appears in the hands of a local student and discovers its connection to Albert’s violin.
Just as rice is unable to grow in the British Isles, Srinivasa Ramanujan struggled to survive in Cambridge; the mathematical genius may have eventually gained the recognition he desired but, removed from his Hindu religion, tradition, and culture, he suffered in his personal life.
A devout Brahmin from rural Tamil Nadu, India, Ramanujan traveled to the cold, industrial, Christian modernity of England a few months prior to the outbreak of World War I. Once in Cambridge, Ramanujan was befriended by his sponsor and mentor G.H. Hardy who was Ramanujan’s opposite: Hardy, a classically trained and celebrated mathematician, and Ramanujan, a self-taught savant inspired by his goddess Namagiri Amman. In England, Ramanujan faced estrangement from his family and culture, deteriorating health, struggles for recognition by his peers, and periods of physical isolation due to illness. But he also had friends including the North family who provide a fictional window into daily life in turn-of-the-century Britain.
A historical fiction, The Language of Equals, is told from Srinivasa Ramanujan’s perspective and portrays his religious devotion, his passion for mathematics, and the every-day culture of his homeland as recollected during his encounters with British society in Cambridge, England under the dark cloud of WWI.
Whatever became of Prospero’s enchanted staff after he snapped it in two and buried it ‘certain fathoms in the earth’ in Shakespeare’s play The Tempest?
It was only a prop in a play, after all, so why was the staff now appearing to Martin Ropers? Martin had returned to a Greek island, trying to rekindle the spark that led to his highly successful first novel written in the ‘70s, but shortly into his trip he’d discovered the ancient staff and immediately lapsed into a coma. He would soon awaken to the persistent image in only one eye of a desolate island–where he grasps the staff.
Back home in Montana, Martin's situation takes a Shakespearean turn when he’s stranded in his house with neighbors seeking shelter from a mysterious wildfire that has erupted on the ridge just above them. His troubles deepen when he must contend with a painful, life-threatening condition within his brain and, to make matters worse, his literary agent and close friend has announced that she’s cutting her ties with him. Martin needs just one more successful book to turn his life around, but his damaged brain–and the staff–seem to have other plans.