Thu09182014

News

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates

Meet the Mountain View City Council candidates


Nine candidates have filed to run for three open seats on the Mountain View City Council in the Nov. 4 election – none of them incumbents. The Town Crier asked them to introduce themselves to readers in the following Q&A format. We knew the...

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Schools

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects

LASD committee looks to rank campus improvement projects


Traci Newell/Town Crier
The Los Altos School District’s newly expanded Facilities Advisory Committee met for the first time last week. The 28-member committee’s first task is to prioritize campus improvement projects.

The Los Altos Scho...

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Community

Sports

New-look Lancers find their footing

New-look Lancers find their footing


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Jenna Adams, left, and Carly Deale attempt to bump the ball Friday night. The juniors combined for 28 kills.

This year’s St. Francis High girls volleyball team faintly resembles last season’s squad ...

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Special Sections

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay

MV Whisman teachers cite low pay


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
An estimated 75 supporters of higher teacher pay turned out for the Sept. 4 Mountain View Whisman School District board meeting.

Teachers, trustees and administrators are recovering from a dramatic Mountain View Whism...

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Business

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho

Skin rejuvenation studio joins Rancho


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Esthetician Marjan Kashi showcases one of the treatment rooms at her new studio, Pure Serenity Skincare at Rancho Shopping Center. Kashi provides services including microdermabrasion and various light and heat energy the...

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Books

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation

A woman's perspective on the Greatest Generation


During World War II, Virgilia Short Witzel, a young mother and U.S. Navy officer’s wife, grappled on the home front in Menlo Park with wartime rationing, shortages and loneliness. During the ensuing Cold War, she experienced adventure and misadventur...

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People

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

JERALD (JERRY) NELSON CHRISTIANSEN

Resident of San Jose and Los Altos, California

July 21, 1931 to August 4, 2014

Born in Arimo, Idaho, to Jerald Emmett and Rebecca Henderson Nelson Christiansen. Raised in Davis and Riverside, California, with summers in Downey, Idaho, and in Loga...

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Travel

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska

LA photographer spends a night with cranes – and moose – in Alaska


Sandy Powell/Special to the Town Crier
Los Altos resident and bird photographer Sandy Powell recently visited Homer, Alaska, to photograph Sandhill cranes, below. While there, Powell also encountered moose, left.

Los Altos resident Sandy Powell, a...

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Stepping Out

Pear puts on a pair of plays

Pear puts on a pair of plays


J. Smith/Special to the Town Crier
Dan Kapler (as Teddy) and Betsy Kruse Craig (Trish) star in Pear Avenue Theatre’s “House.”

The Pear Avenue Theatre production of two interlocking comedies by Alan Ayckbourn – “House&...

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Spiritual Life

Back to Church Sunday offers opportunity to recommit

The children in Los Altos are back to school, and I can still hear parents cheering. Summer is officially over, even if the calendar doesn’t quite think so.

Parents have attended Back to School nights to meet their children’s teachers. B...

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Magazine

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living

Los Altos Hills home showcases resort-inspired living


Courtesy of Spectrum Interior Design
In place of a more traditional fireplace, this modern living room features a linear-flame firebox that emits heat while offering a sculpturelike design element.

After traveling the world and visiting a host...

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Georges latest high-quality mystery proves entertaining


Those who need an entertaining book to keep them intellectually occupied indoors on these cold winters nights are in luck.

At slightly more 700 pages, Elizabeth George’s latest in her Inspector Lynley series, “Just One Evil Act” (Penguin Group, 2013), will certainly fill the bill for those who enjoy high-quality mysteries.

It impresses me that George, an American, captures the language and setting of England so well in her best-selling series – and half of “Just One Evil Act” is set in central Italy in the charming town of Lucca.

Readers of the Inspector Lynley book – and they are legion – will be pleased to learn that “Just One Evil Act” focuses on Detective Inspector Barbara Havers, the Lieutenant Columbo of the British police force. (Remember the rumpled role that Peter Falk played on television?) In earlier books, Havers, Lord Lynley’s constant partner, seemed to exist largely as a contrast to his lordship. Havers is certainly not upper class, not, we are led to believe, particularly good-looking and dresses remarkably poorly at all times. Nevertheless, she is a brave and dedicated policewoman who has assisted Lynley in solving numerous high-profile cases.

But detective Havers profoundly rebels against authority, a trait that has gotten her into trouble in past novels. In “Just One Evil Act,” she takes her defiance to extremes and goes rather berserk when her neighbor’s child is kidnapped in Italy. This makes for much entertaining drama both in London and in Italy. Even Lord Lynley, her faithful defender, finds that he can no longer countenance Havers’ willingness to step over the line again and again in her defense of her neighbor and his missing child.

This is a greatly entertaining novel featuring many surprises and a healthy dose of the rich character development readers have come to expect from George. In a twist that I have seen in several recent books, George offers a good smattering of Italian when our protagonists visit Italy, none of which is translated for readers. But, to be fair, the story is still completely understandable given the context. My only quibble is that some of the denouements are highly improbable, which rather diminishes the overall plausibility of the plot.

“Just One Evil Act” would be a great selection for any book club that enjoys a good mystery or solid work of fiction, given enough lead-time for such a long book. Readers should find it refreshing to devour a modern mystery with little violence that relies instead on the richness of the characters and their internal struggles.

Leslie Ashmore is a longtime Mountain View resident who belongs to two book clubs.

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