The Cryptic Crossword Caper

It’s here and it’s only $2.99. The price will never be lower.

Mags, recently widowed, has retired to tiny Buck’s Gap off the Big Sur coast, content to work her crosswords and discuss mysteries with her book club. Then she discovers the body of a murder victim, a professional puzzle-maker, and is drawn into the investigation. Soon a glamorous FBI agent arrives in town trying to find some stolen diamonds from a long-ago heist that she thinks may be connected. Mags is happy to help the police chief, but she may have bitten off more than she can chew. Fortunately, she has the Buck’s Gap Women’s Auxiliary by her side.

There are several puzzles in the book which can be worked by the reader, including a hybrid cryptic crossword, a Sudoku, and two cryptograms. These provide clues to the murder. The crossword and Sudoku are available online where they can be worked interactively or downloaded and printed out to be worked on paper. Details on how to do so are available in the Appendix.

A cozy mystery

Total eclipse – why bother?

I totally don’t get this obsession with the upcoming eclipse. Sure, it’s rare, but so what? You can get the exact same experience every night by walking outside. You are in a total eclipse every moonless night between sunset and sunrise. It’s just the Earth that is blocking the sunlight, not the moon.

This cartoon from XKCD sums up my feeling (especially the panel in the lower left corner).

Little Deaths by Emma Flint

Little DeathsLittle Deaths by Emma Flint
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This very weak entry by Flint was plagued by ridiculous characters and unfathomable dialog. Nothing any of them did or said was even slightly plausible. It took forever for the plot to get going, almost 2/3 of the way through the book before the defendant was charged. The trial was replete with errors. Any prosecutor who conducted himself like this one would be disbarred. No judge would allow the kind of conduct depicted and if he did, he would be immediately reversed and probably disciplined. It was even worse than a Soviet show trial. Pete, the reporter, is even more preposterous. Even the book cover is wrong. The main character is a strawberry blond and the cover shows a brunette with only the tiniest amount of red and no blond at all. There was not one conversation in the book that I thought could have occurred. Actual humans don’t talk like that.

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Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz

Trail of the Spellmans (The Spellmans, #5)Trail of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the 3rd Spellman mystery I’ve read (actually listened to) and in my opinion the best. At least half the credit goes to narrator Christina Moore who is a fabulous actress. She does at least a dozen voices and is somehow able to make each one immediately identifiable while still maintaining impeccable comic timing. Izzy, the narrating character, channels Paula Poundstone at times. She is almost reasonable and sane in this fifth installment in the series, a departure in that respect.

There are no murders but there are several mysteries apropos a San Francisco family private eye business. Cheating spouses, helicopter parents, and unexplained behavior by the Spellman clan itself among them. The author makes them all intriguing enough to keep you speculating while you’re laughing at the dialog.

I can pick at a few things as I usually do. For example, Izzy shows someone the Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) in order to point out a Penal Code section. Huh? The Penal Code and CCP are two separate, unrelated codes. Neither one is the same as the Code of Criminal Procedure, either. The few peccadilloes of that nature did not get in the way of the story at all. If you want blood and sex, try something else, but if you enjoy a humorous mystery, this is your ticket.

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Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in CrisisHillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Vance, a Yale law school graduate, grew up in a hillbilly family, moving back and forth from Kentucky to southwest Ohio. This memoir depicts a largely dysfunctional family and greatly dysfunctional societal milieu. The family he describes includes a mother who marries repeatedly only to repeatedly divorce for such things as stealing her husband’s antiques to support a drug habit. His grandmother curses a blue streak, threatens people at gunpoint with some regularity, vandalizes the store where she thinks a clerk disrespected her grandson by asking him not to break a toy, and she’s the best example in the family. To top that, his family seems to be a notch above the rest of hillbilly culture surrounding them. In Chapter 9 especially he lights into the “culture” with a vengeance, describing a violent society of drug addicts, welfare queens, absentee fathers, sluggards who won’t work hard or stay at a good job, hypocritically religious people who don’t go to church or practice Christian values yet are bigoted against those they think aren’t Christian (like President Obama, who is) and so on.

Vance nearly flunked out of high school in his freshman year but began to excel by his senior year. His SAT scores told him he was college material, but he knew he wasn’t ready and entered the marines instead. Clearly he was right about that and the marines did an admirable job of turning him into a responsible adult. He whizzed through Ohio State and made it to Yale, where he recounts some rather amusing stories of how ignorant he was of middle and upper class values and customs in general. He learned there was more than one kind of white wine. That people wore suits to job interviews.

The book is well-written and held my interest throughout, but it had its drawbacks, too. Much of it is condemnatory toward the community from which he came, but he glosses over his own participation in its darker aspects. He includes his family’s constant F-bombs in his quotes and what most Americans would consider filthy, vulgar, hurtful language yet never quotes his younger self as saying anything other than “yes, sir” or “Yes, ma’am.” Yet he obviously had something of a reputation as hell-raiser. He owns up to some irresponsible or just plain stupid conduct but tends to attribute it to the bad start he got in life (which no doubt is largely true), but a lot of it occurred when he was old enough to know better and take responsibility. He mentions that his community and some of his family were bigoted, but avoids describing how they talked in his family. How many N-words and F-bombs did he drop in his day? I won’t bother with listing specific incidents, but I got a very distinct feeling that he wasn’t giving a fair account; his own part of the blame was seldom brought out. He brags more than is seemly about his very remarkable and admirable academic achievements. The book could use a big deflation in the ego department while the author deserves full credit for his bootstrap success.

Before reading the book, I had a rather unfavorable impression of the Appalachian or hillbilly community but also something of a romanticized view of it. I was willing to view it as a bit rough around the edges and a poorly educated lot, but generally hard-working and salt of the earth kind of down-home folks. I love much of their music. After reading this, that naive view is gone. The community he describes is the trashiest of white trash beyond my worse imagining. They are quite literally the deplorables that Hillary Clinton mentioned and who put Donald Trump in the White House. I will never forgive them for that. Although my opinion is based largely on the portrayal in the book, i.e., on the author’s own words, I have the feeling that the author would take offense at my saying it and want to fight me if I said it to his face. He seems to have a love-hate relationship with his roots and a perverse pride in the very values he decries. He still has his hillbilly values at times, it is clear, as he described how close he came to getting out of his car to fight a driver who flipped him the bird. He can insult his own relatives and own people, but if anyone else does it, them’s fightin’ words. Even his dear Mamaw, although among the best part of the culture, doesn’t escape the white trash rubric in my view. I can assure you of one thing: if I had a magic wand and could instantly swap every Appalachian hillbilly for the refugees from those seven Muslim countries in Trump’s travel ban and all those brown-skinned, Spanish-speaking refugees from the other side of the non-existent wall Trump is pretending to build, I would do it in a heartbeat. The welfare rolls would drop 90%, crime would go down 90%, and a few employers at least would come back to Appalachia.

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Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Ordinary GraceOrdinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The narrator of this book, Frank, is a 13-year-old boy in a small town in Minnesota. The year is 1961. Frank’s father is a minister, his sister a musical prodigy like her mother, and his younger brother a stutterer. Although there are several deaths, mostly violent ones, there is no serial killer, no ace detective or FBI agent pursuing anyone. This is a psychological drama masquerading as a mystery. It explores issues of faith, ambition, prejudice, and coming-of-age in a thoughtful way. It is well-written and I recommend it. If my praise seems lukewarm, it is only because the book is slow to start. There’s a great deal of character development and not much action until two-thirds of the way through the book. Even then, action is perhaps the wrong word. Exciting events and suspense might be more accurate. There is a homicide investigation going on, but for hard core mystery fans this is perhaps not the best choice. There was enough foreshadowing that the killer wasn’t difficult to identify a few chapters before the end. The imparted wisdom seemed at times too pat and too preachy, but the intelligence of the writing and the overall well-designed plot make this a worthwhile read.

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Smithsonian Channel disses San Jose

I sent this email to Smithsonian Channel earlier today:

My wife and I are enjoying your Aerial American series but I have one issue with the episode on Northern California. The largest city in Northern California, San Jose, was not mentioned once. I find this astounding. Did you slight the largest city in any of the other state episodes? You mentioned various small towns around San Jose – Cupertino, Los Altos (where we live), Menlo Park, Palo Alto, etc. and ignored the elephant in the “room.” Why? San Jose has a rich history and is arguably the most important city in Northern California, too. As Wikipedia says it is “is the economic, cultural, and political center of Silicon Valley .” It was the state’s first capital (not mentioned in the show). It is the biggest employment center in the region. San Jose was once an agricultural town and bedroom community to San Francisco, but now the reverse is true. More people commute from San Francisco to Silicon Valley than the other way around. The show spent a great deal of time showing near-identical trees all over near-identical mountains and various hamlets yet ignored the country’s 10th largest city. San Jose is or was home to dozens of famous people including many Olympic gold Medalists (Peggy Fleming, Amy Chow, Bruce [now Caitlin] Jenner), NFL stars (Jim Plunkett, Jeff Garcia, Brent Jones, Bill Walsh), political leaders (Cesar Chavez, Norman Mineta), entertainers (Smothers Brothers, Doobie Brothers), artists, writers, scientists, and other notables too numerous to list here. There are many major corporations headquartered in San Jose including Cisco Systems, eBay, and Adobe Systems. It has one of the largest Japantowns in the western world and is one of the largest communities of Vietnamese outside Vietnam. Lick Observatory just outside San Jose was once the largest telescope in the world and has contributed greatly to astronomy. There is much more I could say, but I’m sure you get the point.

Can you provide any explanation for the oversight? It is not exceptionally scenic, I’ll grant you, but it has its landmarks and certainly many other towns and communities you showed were much less scenic (e.g. Steve Jobs’s house). In fact most of the large cities you have shown in other state episodes are less scenic so I won’t take aerial photography as the explanation.

I received this reply:

Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate the courtesy of our fans and viewers who suggest ideas for our use. However, it has become necessary for us to adopt the general policy of not accepting any submissions via email.

Idiots! It wasn’t a suggestion.

Exploring Personal Genomics by Joel Dudley and Konrad Karczewski

Exploring Personal GenomicsExploring Personal Genomics by Joel T Dudley
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

An abysmally written book with a lot of good information. Very little of this book is intelligible to the lay reader, but it covers a wide variety of topics related to genomics including defining various important terms, describing methodology for gene sequencing, legal and privacy issues for personal genomic testing, limitations in the field, genetic genealogy, and so forth. I am not a scientist, but I am quite sure the treatment is too general and simplified for the experts in the field. Still, with some patience and frequent use of the Glossary, you can probably find some information useful to you if you have had your genome sequenced or are thinking about it.

I say it is badly written for many reasons:
1. It is replete with technical jargon, much of which is not defined when first used, thus rendering it almost unreadable to the layperson (although it does have a glossary at the end);
2. It is full of grammar errors. (“… marked the origination the beginning of the …”; “with regards to…”)
3. Many wrong word errors. (“Affect” for “effect”, “infer” for “imply”);
4. The typeface on the many graphics is too small to read (I had to use a magnifying glass in addition to my most powerful reading glasses) and many text inserts are printed on a dark gray background making them difficult to read, too;
5. Many graphics are borrowed from other sources where they were rendered in color, but were printed in the book in black and white, making them useless. For example, on p. 95 there’s a world map covered with pie charts representing the distribution various Y haplogroups, identified using 18 different colors – all of which come out here as various shades of gray.
6. Lastly, and this is not the fault of the authors, it is already outdated.
The book is so full of mistakes like these that the reader cannot be confident the scientific information is accurate. The overall feel is slapdash and unprofessional.

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Susanville geocaching

I haven’t posted in a week because I’ve been up in the Susanville, CA area finding – or, more accurately, hunting – a string of excellent cipher-based geocaches hidden by sujojeepers. I learned that terrain ratings vary quite a bit in different locations. all those 1.5 terrain caches up there would probably be 2.5 or 3 down here in the Bay Area. I was ill-prepared for that. Somehow I had the impression most of them would be grab and go, or close to it. They were not. I trekked through so much dried-weed-strewn area that I had to throw out my socks and shoes at the end. I pulled out hundreds – literally hundreds – of foxtails and stickers that lodged themselves there.

On the plus side, I found more geocaches in a day than ever before, more DNFS, too, and I certainly set a personal record for the most difficulty points found in one day (108). I made a friend into a closer friend, too. I hadn’t geocached with Mike before but I really enjoyed his company, not only in the finding but also in the original puzzle solving. I’m still catching up with things, so I’ll leave it at that.

Higgledy Piggledy

When I was in college, Time Magazine printed a story about the Higgledy Piggledy rhyme form that had just been devised. Read the description in the link to see how it works. That same issue also had an article about Hugh Hefner, the original Playboy (magazine, mansion, clubs, etc.) czar. I still remember the Higgledy Piggledy I sent to Time as a letter to the editor. It was not published. I can publish it now, right here. Lucky you.

Loodity Nudity
Hugh “Playboy” Hefner is
’bout as mature as a
boy of ten years.
Voyeurs and virgins and
priests read his rag just to
see boobs and rears.


Epitaph for a Dead Beat by David Markson

Epitaph For A Dead BeatEpitaph For A Dead Beat by David Markson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book has been paired in a paperback with its predecessor Epitaph for a Tramp & Epitaph for a Dead Beat: The Harry Fannin Detective Novels in paperback form. I reviewed Tramp a few months ago. This one is not quite up to form but still captures the pulp fiction feel, mostly tongue-in-cheek.

Harry Fannin, tough guy private eye, keeps stumbling upon dead bodies, and gets beaten up pretty regularly for it. The setting is Greenwich Village in the 1960s and Markson has fun showing off his familiarity with the authors and celebrities in vogue with the beat generation; he mocks them mercilessly through Harry’s acerbic wit. There is a lot more wordplay in this one than in Tramp. Even the space between Dead and Beat in the title is intentional, since most of the victims were beatniks, not deadbeats. Markson must have been paid by the word, as there was way too much filler – whimsical similes that made no sense, and so forth. “As crazy as a two-headed gnu,” “as quiet as a Robert Frost snowfall,” “It was still easy, like walking off a building.” You get the idea.

I wrote another review, one of The High Window where I extolled the gritty feel of the pre-political correctness days. Chandler’s women were dames, but Fannin’s are chicks, the men cats. Real men wear suits, even if they’re $70 Woolworth varieties. The women that throw themselves at Harry are breathtaking beauties with seam-bursting figures. The others have bodies like ironing boards. Everybody smokes and drinks like the cast of Mad Men. Definitely not PC. I read that these Fannin novels were written for a crime magazine before Markson got published as a serious writer, so being PC would definitely have been a negative for that readership’s demographic. I had a nostalgic twinge reading through this. I’m old enough to remember those days and I knew a few self-styled beatniks. Another sign of the times: Fannin got set upon by character who was described as a mountain. We learn later he was six feet tall and two hundred pounds. In 1960 that would have been a big guy. Today it’s your average 9th grade boy. A few 9th grade girls, too. While this isn’t great literature by a long shot, it was an entertaining enough read.

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Loner by Teddy Wayne

LonerLoner by Teddy Wayne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you scored in the 97th percentile or above on the SAT and took an English Lit class at an elite university, you’ll probably enjoy this book; I’m not sure I can recommend it to anyone else. It is told in the first person by David Federman, a nebbishy virgin from New Jersey who has arrived as a new freshman at Harvard. It is written as though told to Veronica Wells, the rich and stunning fellow freshman object of his affection.

The book’s beginning is almost comically overwritten, so full of imaginative if unlikely similes and metaphors, that one wonders if the author has been saving them all up from his creative writing classes since high school. Sentences are longer than an inaugural address and injected with vocabulary ripped from a championship spelling bee. As I read the prose I felt much like I would watching Joey Chestnut down 73 hot dogs in ten minutes – both disgusted with the excess yet harboring a begrudging admiration. Here’s a sample:

If one were creating the platonic ideal of a woman from scratch, which I could do here, manipulating the facts to serve my narrative agenda, though I’d cleave scrupulously to the truth, she would not necessarily resemble the being that just swept through the common room, whose features I later had time to assess in magnified detail. To begin with: your flaws, a word I sandwich between petrified scare quotes. On the upper third of your forehead connecting your two cerebral hemispheres, a blanched hyphen of a scar.

I challenge you to diagram that first sentence. The book was beginning to take on the air of a self-parody when it started its slow turn into a creepy coming-of-age cliché. David is so obsessed with Veronica (who I think must have been inspired by Archie’s semi-main squeeze namesake) that he begins to date Sarah, Veronica’s roommate. His clumsy, and disturbingly graphic (and definitely unerotic) for my taste, forays into sexual adventure with her were accompanied by his imagining Veronica the whole while. Let’s just say that the book eventually takes a darker turn that, I’ll admit, took me by surprise. The initial overwriting was not unintentional. The cliché was anything but. If sexual grossness is off-putting to you, avoid this, but if you enjoy seeing academia, especially the most pretentious levels, skewered, give this one a read.

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Computer cipher solving – Lesson 10: Genetic algorithms

I’ve discussed hill-climbing and its variants like simulated annealing in earlier lessons. They work well for most cipher types, at least most American Cryptogram Association (ACA) types.However, they don’t always work so well on certain types. For me Myszkowskis fall in that category. Thankfully, I learned about another technique that works better for Mysz ciphers: the genetic algorithm. It tends to improve its solutions more slowly than hill-climbing, but in the end it is usually more reliable.

So how does it work? Just like its name implies. You create a large population and continue to mate the individual members and their offspring until one of the children is the solution. Sounds simple, and from a programming standpoint, it is.

Let’s take the Myszkowski for an example. First, to create the population  you need to know, or assume, a key length. I’ll use 10 for the example. A Myszkowski uses a numeric key that has at least one doubled number (otherwise it would be a columnar, not a Mysz). That means the 10 columns can be keyed by any digit from 1 to 9. I use a data base of 100,000 keys. This may be larger or smaller than the ideal number, but it seems to work. I populate the database with 100,000 random 10-digit numbers using only the digits 1-9. If you want to get fancy and take advantage of Bayes’s Theorem you could weigh the distribution more heavily toward the lower end of that number range. I don’t bother with that, as there is a correcting step later in the algorithm.

Next you start the repeating loop by choosing two of these keys at random. One is arbitrarily chosen as the left (male) parent, and the other right (female) parent. Decipher the ciphertext with each parent, score the output for how well it resembles your target language, and keep track of the scores. Then choose a spot near the middle of of the key length. For key length 10, it should be a number from 4 through 7, say. I’ll use 5 for the example. Take the 5 left key digits of the male and the 5 rightmost digits of the female to make a new, 10-digit key. Decipher with that and score the output. If it scores worse than either parent, discard it and go back to the beginning of the loop to choose two new parents. If it outscores both parents, replace both with the child. If it only outscores one, replace that one with the child, but leave the other parent. Whenever a new best decryption results, display that or save it to a file. Repeat in an endless loop until you’re satisfied with the solution.

That’s pretty much all there is.  I have been told that every so often, just like in real life biology, you need to introduce a random variation – a mutation. My own very limited experiments have not proven this to be true, and in fact it is counterproductive. Perhaps it is more important when the key is longer. The theory is that your original population only contained 100,000 individuals. Yet there are 9^10 possible 10-digit Mysz keys, or almost 3.5 billion. The correct key has only about 1 chance in 3500 of being in that population at first (although there are usually quite a few equivalent keys using other digits). It may not be possible to produce the exact correct key by mixing parents’ genes if none of the parents have the necessary components. So at intervals when you are moving through the loop, in addition to mixing the two parents’ digits, make a random change of one or two digits and test that, keeping it if it improves the score. In effect this step is a form of hill-climbing, but since it is only occasional, not the primary altering step of each cycle, this is a fundamentally different algorithm.  Let me know if you have done any testing and can provide good data on optimization.

If the Mysz period is longer than 11 you have to use letters instead of digits for the keys. For other cipher types, like the Columnar, this method can be used, but you would have to insert an extra step to convert the child keys because there could be duplicate digits or letters. Obviously there are various adaptations that would be necessary for other cipher types, and it would not be suitable for many types at all.

Author rank

Those of you who are self-published or are thinking of self-publishing may find this author rank chart interesting. It shows how well (or badly) various events affect sales. This six months chart shows the sales performance of all my books combined (7 Cliff Knowles mysteries). The comparison is to all Kindle ebooks in the Mysteries and Thrillers categories, both self-published and major publishing house titles. I don’t know how many authors there are in that category, but I know it’s over 100,000.  It’s possible to break down the mystery category farther into Police Procedurals, etc., and of course my rank gets higher in the smaller categories because there are fewer books, but the overall trend is about the same.

I have marked three points where sales spiked. The labels are pretty self-explanatory. The April spike occurred when I lowered the price on all my books to the minimum $2.99 and posted about it on my blog, on various Facebook groups, etc. That spike didn’t last long. The May spike came when I made Cached Out free for a weekend. Amazon only allows that for a limited number of days and only if the book is enrolled in a program they have where it’s exclusive to Amazon (i.e. no iTunes, Barnes & Noble, etc.) I did publicize that through various commercial sites (only free ones this time) as well as the usual Facebook groups and my own mailing list. Surprisingly, that spike has lasted longer. It seems counterintuitive that making a book free increases its sales, but it does. It makes sense about the other books in the series. I’ve noticed that you can’t do that too often, though. Although sales have not stayed all that high after the free promotion, the borrowing of my books through Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime has remained quite high since the promotion, which helps to keep my rank up.

Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton

Dragon TeethDragon Teeth by Michael Crichton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How refreshing to read a thriller without the excessive gore, foul language, and thinly disguised porn. Crichton is in top form in this one, a story based on real-life adventures into the Badlands of Montana and the Dakotas by two paleontologists in the late 1800s. Marsh and Cope were historical figures who made great fossil discoveries, including the first brontosaurus, but whose lives were marred by their vicious competition and slanderous attacks on each other.

The protagonist in this tale is William Johnson, a fictitious student at Yale, who begins as a dissolute layabout of questionable character. He makes an unwise bet with a rival student and then must follow through by accompanying Marsh on his summer expedition west. Needless to say, the trip is filled with excitement and surprises. Crichton is at his best when he combines history, science, and good story-telling. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

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The Dark Room by Jonathan Moore.

The Dark RoomThe Dark Room by Jonathan Moore
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I tried mightily to get into this because I considered Moore’s The Poison Artist to be a five-star read, but it wasn’t worth the effort. It made no sense. As ex-FBI who worked right there in federal plaza where this takes place I’m perhaps overly sensitive to jurisdictional issues, but this one was egregious. A San Francisco police detective is interrupted in a night investigation in Monterey to be flown by helicopter in the middle of the night to SF City Hall over a supposed blackmail letter that had come to the mayor. C’mon, really? The letter arrives during business hours and they wait until the middle of the night and then fly this guy in a helicopter, which lands in front of City Hall in order to be discreet?

Then it seems the FBI is in charge of the case. Why? The letter suggests that four photographs will be made public. They show a woman in apparent distress and she is handcuffed to a bed in one of them. But there is no crime described in the letter or shown in the photos. So far as the photos show, it’s a posed actress. The mayor isn’t in the photos and claims not to know anything about her or the photos. So it’s not even blackmail since there is no threat to reveal a crime. The mayor would have to admit some involvement with a crime or something embarrassing that could ruin him for that to be a crime. Not only that, but it’s only FBI jurisdiction if the crime that will be revealed is a federal crime. If the mayor admitted that he had transported the woman interstate during a kidnapping, or sent child porn in the U.S. mail, for example, and explained that he believed this letter was threatening to reveal that, then you would have FBI jurisdiction, but the FBI would be more interested in the mayor’s crimes than in the blackmail. Use of the mail to send a threat is a federal violation, but that’s Postal Inspectors, not FBI, jurisdiction and this isn’t really a threat. Publicizing a picture of a handcuffed woman isn’t a crime or harmful to the mayor, at least that’s not indicated at this point in the story. I see similar pictures all the time on book covers, movie trailers, and the like. No crime there.

Then the FBI agent tells the detective that identifying the woman is a local matter. What?! If there were FBI jurisdiction, they would take over the whole thing, I guarantee you that. Not only that, but identifying the woman is probably the one thing the FBI would be better at than the SFPD, so that makes no sense. Meanwhile the case the detective was working on when he was yanked off it takes a bizarre and unlikely turn. The whole plot became farcical, so I gave up at that point. Maybe zombies will show up next. Life is too short to waste on stuff like this.

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