This crime story set in Tokyo and translated from the original Japanese is a clever twist on the usual whodunit murder mystery. Rather than the reader guessing who is responsible for the murder—you know that in the early pages—the author introduces a mind game between two geniuses, one a mathematician trying to protect the culprit and the other a physicist assisting the police in solving the crime. Mathematical puzzling is key to this battle of wits, but one doesn’t have to be a mathematician to appreciate the elegance of this device as the drama unfolds. A great crime story for those who prefer intellectual teases to violence or fast-paced thrills.
My friend and former colleague, Ambassador Capricia Penavic Marshall, has written a compelling book about why diplomacy matters more than ever in a world riven by division and discord. A former White House Social Secretary in the Clinton Administration and Chief of Protocol for the U.S. under President Obama, Marshall has planned and executed some of the toughest and most sensitive diplomatic events undertaken by the past two Democratic presidents. She argues here that protocol is a universal language of global diplomacy, necessary to bring leaders and countries together so that they can negotiate effectively. Marshall also makes the case that understanding rules of protocol can help all of us in our own lives, whether handling issues at work or resolving family disputes. The best thing about Protocol: Marshall is an exceptional story-teller, and the stories she tells are informative, educational, and entertaining!
I fell in love with this elegantly-written book from the moment I began reading an advance copy several months ago. Whether or not you are a classical music expert, it is worth joining LaFarge on a wonderful journey that begins with her personal experiences as an amateur pianist and goes on to illuminate Chopin as a man and composer, explain the technological evolution of the piano, and offer a modern-day appreciation of Chopin’s music in shaping history and culture over the past few centuries. A review in The New York Times calls Chasing Chopin a “charming and loving new book.” Making the reading experience even richer is that Lafarge has assembled a wonderful companion website, www.whychopin.com with links to relevant pieces of music that can be listened to chapter by chapter.