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News

"Brown is the new green," says local water district


Lina Broydo/Special to the Town Crier
Are downtown Los Altos flower pots getting too much water? The Santa Clara Valley Water District plans to hire “water cops” to discourage overwatering.

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is spending nearl...

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Schools

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers

Foothill camps prepare local students for STEM careers


Photos Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Middle school students make robotic hands using 3-D printers during a STEM Summer Camp at Foothill College.

From designing roller coasters to developing biodegradable plastics, high school students received an i...

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Community

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women

Local entrepreneur opens home to Afghan and Rwandan women


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Businesswomen Joan Mazimhaka of Rwanda, third from left, and Fakhria Ibrahimi of Afghanistan, in orange, traveled to the U.S. with a 26-woman delegation through the Peace Through Business program.

Employees scoop ice ...

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Comment

Moving on: The Rockey Road

Just over a month ago, we decided to put our house on the market. My husband and I had been tossing around the idea of moving back to the area where we grew up, which is only approximately 40 minutes from here. Of course, Los Altos is a great place t...

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Business

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday

Halo heads to Los Altos: Blow-dry bar founder opens new First Street location Monday


ElLie Van Houtte/ Town Crier
Armed with blow dryers, Halo founder Rosemary Camposano, left, and store manager Nikki Thomas prepare for the blow-dry bar’s grand opening on First Street Monday.

A blow-dry bar is set to open downtown Monday, and i...

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Books

"Frozen in Time" chronicles harrowing WWII rescue attempts


Many readers can’t resist a true-life adventure story, especially those that shine a spotlight on people who exhibit supreme courage in the face of adversity and end up surviving – or not – against the odds.

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People

DR. ALFRED HUGHES

Long time Los Altos resident, Dr. Alfred Hughes, died May 1st after a long illness. Dr. Hughes was born in 1927 in Maspeth, NY. He served in the US Army from 1945-6, attended Brooklyn Polytechnic University, then graduated from Reed College in Portla...

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Travel

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway

Travel Tidbit: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers spa getaway


Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton
The Ritz-Carlton in Lake Tahoe offers fall getaway packages that include spa treatments and yoga classes.

Fall in North Lake Tahoe boasts crisp mornings and opportunities to spend quality time in the mountains. Specially ...

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Stepping Out

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn

'Wizard' winds down at Bus Barn


Town Crier file photo
Local actors rehearse a scene from “The Wizard of Oz.”

Los Altos Youth Theatre and Los Altos Stage Company’s collaborative production of “The Wizard of Oz” is slated to close Sunday at Bus Barn Theater, 97 Hillview Ave.

T...

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Spiritual Life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life

Stanford University appoints new dean for religious life


Shaw

Stanford University named the Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, its new dean for religious life.

Provost John Etchemendy announced Shaw’s appointment July 21, adding that she also will join the faculty in...

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Magazine

Festival features fun for everyone

Festival features fun for everyone


TOWN CRIER FILE PHOTO
The Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival boasts more than 375 craft and arts booths.

This weekend’s 35th annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival promises to be jam-packed with fun activities for just about everyone. The eve...

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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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