My 90s Club cozy mystery series continues to raise eyebrows. Some readers tell me of the 90- and 100-year-olds they know who do remarkable things like drive long distances, win tennis matches, canoe across lakes, etc.; other readers shake their heads and say they find it hard to believe that anyone in their 90s or 100s is up for anything but a rocking chair or the Alzheimer’s unit.

The 90s Club series concept came from watching a slim attractive, fit woman swim laps at a pool party. Then I learned she was 91 years old. So for the nonbelievers, I add another person to my list of very senior but functioning citizens: Helen Crossley, a former school nurse, who turned 105 in August 2013. She held her nursing license until age 96 and, although legally blind since age 99, she still gets around with and without a walker. (Washington Post, 8-24-2013).

The older I get, the more I hear people fall into line and repeat that sad refrain, “I’m too old.” I’ve heard people in their twenties say, “I’m too old for…” In fact, it seems to me that most popular aphorisms that pass for “wisdom,” are intended to limit and control rather than encourage and support. So I say phooey to all that stuff about what a person can and can’t do at any age.

Just saw a wonderful movie called Quartet, about a group of elderly musicians at the Musicians Retirement Home in England. It’s directed by Dustin Hoffman, stars Maggie Smith and Tom Courtenay and includes cameo appearances by many formerly well-known now retired musicians. A love story develops as these musicians put together a gala to save their home and try to persuade Smith as a troubled opera diva to join three other singers in the Rigoletto quartet. Highly recommended.

Available Dec. 1: The 90s Club & the Whispering Statue, second in this cozy mystery series. This time, Nancy Dickenson and the 90s Club at Whisperwood Retirement Village head south to Fort Lauderdale to rescue one friend and find another. Four attempts to murder Nancy’s long-time confidant Peter Stamboul have failed, but in the placid lifestyle of his retirement condo, who would want to kill Peter and why? Adventurous young Jessica Cantwell took a job as crew on a boat, but when the captain is murdered, she disappears and becomes a “person of interest.” Once again, murder and mayhem stalk Nancy and fellow 90s Club members Louise and George as they race to save Peter and Jessica’s lives and, ultimately, their own.

The Sapper’s Plot, a tough, action-filled mystery-thriller, is the latest book by M.L. Doyle, author of books about “women in combat boots.” Army Master Sergeant Harper is assigned to accompany a TV news team to a remote construction camp in Honduras where U.S. troops are providing engineering support for the project. The TV team is supposedly following one of the construction units on the mission, but Army public affairs suspects the team has another agenda. When the group arrives at the camp, they discover the body of one of the workers buried alive in concrete. Harper takes command of the investigation and fights her way through the cover-up attempts, rigors of rough jungle living, army protocol, and male chauvinism. The descriptive details add much to the realism and mood of the story. This is a fast-paced, gripping read that builds to a thrilling climax and final unmasking of the killer.

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