Friday, June 13, 2014

A peak into The Seventh Sinner and A Perfect Red

Sigh. Still not back up to speed, but I am working on it. I finally have a few things working at work, so perhaps that will cheer me up. 

For Book Beginnings on Friday, hosted by Rose City Reader I have the first Jacqueline Kirby book The Seventh Sinner by Elizabeth Peters. I love these books - they are a comfort re-read for me when I am sick or feeling down.

Jean would never forget her first encounter with Jacqueline Kirby. It was years before she was could think about it without blushing all over. An acquaintance which begins with assault and battery, however inadvertent, can hardly be termed auspicious. 

As much as I enjoy the rest of the books with Jacqueline, this first book holds a special place in my heart. I have always wanted another book to find out what happens to Jean, and Michael, and the other 'sinners' - even Dana. Oh well.

For non-fiction, here is a bit from page 1 of A Perfect Red: Empire, Espionage and the Quest for the Color of Desire by Amy Butler Greenfield.

Humans see the world in a cascade of color, with eyes that can distinguish any single shade from more than a million others. As a species, we prize color and attach great significance to it. Yet few colors mean as much to us as red. Proof of our attachment lies in many of the world's languages, English among them. We roll out the red carpet, catch crooks red-handed, and dread getting caught in red tape. We stop at red lights, ignore red herrings and celebrate red-letter days.

Getting deeper into the books, for The Friday 56 hosted at Freda's Voice page 56 of The Seventh Sinner gives us ...

"I don't want you butting in," Andy said. "You can't keep quiet when somebody else talks about archaeology."

"Not when they make mistakes I can't keep quiet."

"I," said Andy, "never make mistakes. Tell you what. If you keep your mouth shut you can come along when we go to San Sebastiano. I made an appointment for the twenty-ninth."

"That's a deal."

"That gives you time to read up on the subject," Andy said, grinning.

 This means that we have to have a picture of San Sebastiano and the catacombs! San Sebastiano ad Catacumbas (Saint Sebastian at the Catacombs), also known as San Sebastiano fuori le mura (Saint Sebastian outside the walls), is a basilica in Rome and one of the seven pilgrimage churches (at least up until 2000 when Pope John Paul II swapped in Santuario della Madonna del Divino Amore for Saint Sebastian's for some reason). It is located along the Via Appia Antica and according to tradition, the catacombs were temporarily used as the burial place of Saints Peter and Paul. More about the church is at

Saint Sebastian

But, the reason our titular 'Sinners' were visiting was not to see the church, but to see the catacombs beneath, which might actually be the original catacombs - where the name comes from - as that area in ancient times was originally called catacumbas, from Greek  'katà kymbas', meaning 'near the hollow' referring to a stone quarry located there.

They visited by candlelight, which would have been a much different experience.

 From page 56 of A Perfect Red ...

Some Aztec tribute items, such as quetzal feathers, were of little value in the post-Conquest world. Others, however, were the sorts of goods that Spaniards could readily appreciate, such as gold, slaves, pearls, honey, and eggs.

Cochineal, by rights, should have been in this second, more valuable group. Like most military men of the era, the conquistadors treated red cloth as a symbol of courage under fire. Even in the frontier outposts of the New World they paid top dollar for fine fabrics colored with the best red dyes. 

This is cochineal -
yes - the bugs here - that is what we are talking about.

Mush them and you get this ...

carmine red!  (picture source)


  1. You chose two very interesting books. I have read everything by Elizabeth Peters and really enjoyed them all. I think Legend in Green Velvet might be my favorite. I hope things at work settle down. Happy reading!

  2. Excellent post! I love the pictures, especially the ones relating to A Perfect Red. Both books sound interesting.
    Here's the link to my Friday post: STELLA IN STILETTOS.

  3. Wonderful 56! Happy Reading!

    Here is my Book Beginning post!!


    Here is my Friday 56 post!!

  4. Great post. I read Elizabeth Peters other series but not this one.

  5. What a cool post. I really liked The Seventh Sinner until I got to the 56 parts of it and you showed us what some of those things meant.

    Happy weekend!

    1. Oh dear - what put you off ? The book is quite a good one.

  6. Gosh, it's been years since I read The Seventh Sinner. I need to get my big Jacqueline Kirby omnibus and reread it.

  7. Your posts are fascinating. I can't imagine walking through the catacombs with just a candle for lighting. St. Sebastian is the saint for what? Did I miss it? Thanks for putting these posts together.


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