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News

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage

Council hosts study session on downtown parking garage


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Los Altos City Council continues to explore options to address parking constraints in the downtown triangle.

The Los Altos City Council last week held the first of two study sessions to discuss the potential construct...

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Schools

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner

LAHS Science and Technology Week features medical examiner


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
A Los Altos High School student learns how to use robotic surgical equipment at the school’s Science and Technology Week event last year. Students can also attend hands-on presentations at this year’s event, w...

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Community

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display

Ahoy, matey: Pirate Manor ramps up Halloween display


Town Crier File Photo
Pirate Manor is once again scheduled to arrive in the front yard of Dane and Jill Glasgow’s home on Manor Way in Los Altos, just in time for Halloween.

Although not the Walking Dead, pirate skeletons have been brought to li...

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Sports

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans

Lancers rule the pool against Spartans


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
St. Francis High’s Eric Reitmeir launches the ball over Mountain View High driver David Niehaus (2) and goalie Kenny Tang. The host Lancers won Friday’s non-league game 9-3.

There wasn’t a lot on the line Friday when ...

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Comment

Reeder, Fung for El Camino HCD: Editorial

The good news for the El Camino Healthcare District (formerly the El Camino Hospital District, for those still getting used to the new name) is that there is a contested election Nov. 4 for the district’s board of directors. Three candidates are runn...

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Special Sections

Plant-based diet offers benefits

Plant-based diet offers benefits


Photo by Ramya Krishna
Los Altos resident Nandini Krishna prepares a meat-free dish According to author Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr., M.D., a plant-based diet can help prevent cancer.

Shirley Okita of Los Altos has found that adhering to a mostly plant...

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Business

New shop offers haute couture for girls

New shop offers haute couture for girls


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Girls @ Los Altos at 239 State St. offers clothing lines such as Nellystella as well as toys and other items for girls.

Cecilia Chen opened The Girls @ Los Altos as a tribute to the party dress. Whether it’s for...

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Books

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book

Helping kids catch a few Zs: Local dental hygienist pens meditative bedtime book


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Mimi Sommers, who works at a Los Altos dentist’s office, recently wrote a children’s book.

A local dental hygienist recently published a book that aims to ease parents and children during a sometimes anxious e...

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People

BARBARA DARLING MERIDETH

1946-2014

Born in Palo Alto, raised in Los Altos, retired in southern Oregon. Survived by Peter James Merideth, sons Matthew, Jacob and John Merideth, the loves of her life.

She was a housewife who took great pride in her home, her surroundings and...

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Travel

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors

Falling leaves: Four places in California to see autumn colors


Courtesy of Castello di Amorosa
Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, above, boasts a beautiful setting for viewing fall’s colors – and sampling the vineyard’s wines.

Yes, Virginia, there is fall in California.

The colors pop out in...

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Stepping Out

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn

'Sleepy Hollow' awakens at Bus Barn



Los Altos Youth Theatre’s production of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a musical based on Washington Irving’s classic story, is set to run through Nov. 2 at Bus Barn Theater. The cast comprises 27 young actors, directed by Cindy Powell. Courtesy o...

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Spiritual Life

Magazine

Local events add color to autumn calendar

Local events add color to autumn calendar


Van Houtte/town crier Visitors make their way through the Children’s Alley.

As Los Altos’ signature Chinese Pistache trees exchange their summer green for vibrant hues of yellow, orange and red in the fall, an abundance of local events also ad...

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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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