Baum on Books

Book Review: Moonflower Murders

Aug 28, 2020

British author and screenwriter Anthony Horowitz, is best known to American audiences  through his popular PBS series Foyle’s War and Midsommer Murders.  He’s now out with a new mystery novel.   It’s the sequel to his popular work, Magpie Murders.   And it’s a doozy!

  Scott Turow’s been called the king of legal thriller writers – with 30 million books in print, many made into memorable movies, but as his latest work shows, The Last Trial, he should be called a “novelist.” In the old-fashioned, big theme sense of the word. His books -- suspenseful, complex, filled with heady content and dramatic exchanges –are always timely, and none more so than The Last Trial, given the race to discover a vaccine against Covid-19. 


Still high on the list of the world’s 100 best novels, Joseph Conrad’s haunting “Heart of Darkness” continues to fascinate, mystify, and attract adaptors. Although Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 award-winning film “Apocalypse Now,” starring Marlon Brando is, arguably, the most imaginative of the lot—moving Conrad’s brooding and inscrutable Congo tale to Vietnam—the 1902 novella inspired earlier films (Boris Karloff as the charismatic Kurtz in 1958, John Malkovich in 1993). “Heart of Darkness” has also been turned into radio dramas, theatre pieces, even an opera.

Book Review: 'Tombstone'

Jun 25, 2020

You know the expression, attributed to Aristotle—the whole being greater than, or different from, the sum of its parts—meaning that the way individual items combine can often affect the overall result. In the case of journalist and best-selling author Tom Clavin’s latest historical exploration of the Wild West called “Tombstone,” readers should pay attention to the parts.

No way you’re not going to keep reading a book with this opening line: “The captain wore a see-through dress.” Especially when the title of the book is “Scandal on Plum Island” and the author, Marian Lindberg, a journalist and attorney, notes on the cover that it’s a true story. This historical account, however, is not about conspirators’ favorite subject, germ warfare, on this windswept island in Gardiners Bay that’s still closed to the public, but about allegations of  homosexuality against a commanding officer, when Plum Island housed an army base in 1914.