My closest friends know I’m a history junkie in addition to being a mystery and crime junkie. I’ve read widely within the mystery genre and will admit to several favorite authors. Authors vary as dinstinctly as do one’s closest friends; one chooses them for the unique qualities they bring to a relationship.
When I read, I like the book I choose to match my mood, thoughts, interests, etc. There are times I enjoy reading some “fluff,” whether it’s a romance story or just an easy page-turner. When I want my mind to be challenged, I have some favorite authors of psychological thrillers that I read. I could go on and on but won’t.
As a student of history, I enjoy reading Linda Fairstein’s books for what they teach me about Manhattan and its environs. Since I only live a few hours north of NYC, I have been a frequent visitor since childhood. Yet, there is so much I don’t know and have never seen. At the school where I teach, there is an elective offered called “The History of New York City”. I would love to take the class. But with my own teaching schedule I have barely enough left in the tank every day to drive home safely.
Linda Fairstein to the rescue. In my Detective Fiction elective we are currently reading Fairstein’s The Dead House. Fairstein crafts fabulous characters, a must for me to enjoy any literature. Those characters in turn have interesting and challenging lives. Plus they get to run all over NYC, and beyond, investigating heinous sex crimes. The Dead House features Roosevelt Island, aka Blackwells Island. As I read, I feel I am investigating right along with Alexandra Cooper as we walk by the ruins of the Smallpox Hospital. It gives me pause to think about all of the poor people who were sent to languish there. I could go on and on but I won’t.
I’ve tried in vain to connect with Ms. Fairstein. My new dream outing is to go to a Yankees game with Linda and my high school buddy Neal Shapiro. The conversation would be stimulating and the laughs abundant. But I would settle for having Linda do a Skype session with my students. Because I am a public school teacher, I cannot offer remuneration. But as the Mastercard commercials say, the experience for my students would be “priceless.” How about it, Linda?