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News

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics

LA Council race adds 3 new faces to city politics


The Town Crier chronicled the first election of Los Altos City Council incumbent Jarrett Fishpaw in 2010 and documented the Los Altos candidacy of Jean Mordo, who volunteered as a longtime public servant in Los Altos Hills before moving to the flat...

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Schools

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system

St. Simon launches web-based learning management system


Courtesy of St. Simon Parish School
St. Simon fifth-grader Matthew Cummins uses a laptop in class last week. The school’s cloud-based Schoology system boosts organization and collaboration.

Families at St. Simon Parish School in Los Altos laun...

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Community

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'

Los Altos to celebrate 100 years of library use with 'Centennial Faire'


Town Crier File Photo
The Los Altos main library is among the more popular branches in the county library district system, set to celebrate 100 years.

In 1914, Babe Ruth made his debut with the Boston Red Sox, wages hit $5 per day, the first ste...

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Sports

Eagles eye another stellar season

Eagles eye another stellar season


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Los Altos High outside hitter Carmen Annevelink, right, goes for the kill Thursday against Palo Alto, as teammates Sarah Tritschler, left, and Lulu Kishton prepare to play defense. The Eagles won the match in straight ga...

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Comment

Torok, Walter, Dave for MVLA board: Editorial

There’s really nothing major you can criticize about the Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District. It offers a diverse array of effective programs for all types of students. Its instructors, with few exceptions, are outstanding.

Howe...

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Special Sections

'Funabout' Fiat

'Funabout' Fiat


Photos courtesy of Fiat
The 2014 Fiat 500e uses 29 kilowatt-hours per 100 miles, which the engineers claim is the equivalent of 116 mpg of gas use. It has a sticker price of $33,095.

If you believe in climate change, would love to see alternat...

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Business

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground

App developer eyes First Friday as testing ground


Ted Fagenson

An East Bay app developer is testing his newest creation in downtown Los Altos.

Ted Fagenson, co-founder of Skrownge (pronounced “scrounge”), told the Town Crier that he’s beta testing his mobile gaming app this week ...

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Books

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween

From story to bookstore: Local journey highlights Halloween


Courtesy of Dee Ellmann
Jenny Hurwick self-published her picture book last month after decades of storytelling.

During her years working as a teacher and a Los Altos mom, Jenny Hurwick loved to tell stories. One tale she crafted for her son just se...

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People

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

VINCENT (TIM) MURPHY JR.

July 27, 1953 – August 12, 2014

Native Los Altan died Medford, OR. Graduated Bellarmine Prep. Married Josephine Domino, 1950. Licensed Auto Mechanic, Private Pilot, skilled Computer Scientist. Tim “could fix anything”. Afflicted with cancer 2001. ...

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Travel

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup

Taking a Turkey trek: Winging it during the World Cup


Rich Robertson/Special to the Town Crier
The sun sets over the Aegean Sea in Bodrum, Turkey, left.

Tours that whisk you from Istanbul to Bodrum in 11 days are as plentiful as souvenir hawkers in Turkey, but traveling from the Blue Mosque to Topkapi ...

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Stepping Out

'Gypsy' on its way out

'Gypsy' on its way out


Chris Berger/Special to the Town Crier
Alison Koch of Los Altos plays Dainty June in “Gypsy.”

This is the final weekend to catch the Sunnyvale Community Players production of “Gypsy” at the Sunnyvale Theatre. The musical is slated to close Sund...

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Spiritual Life

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry

Ugandan pastor visits U.S. to raise support for children's ministry


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Herman Lukwago educates children in Uganda.

Imagine life if your father had 25 children and you were raised in poverty in rural Uganda.

Now imagine that you and your siblings were orphaned at an early age and you ass...

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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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