Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What are the Best Mystery Novels of the Past 25 Years?


Over 25 years have passed since 1990 when the Crime Writers' Association of Britain compiled their list of the 100 Best Mystery Novels. It has been 20 years since the Mystery Writers of America undertook a similar effort. These lists, which included several entries that are short story collections, have been commented on and analyzed in past posts.

The lists.
Analyses.


This post presents the question: What novels of recent years are worthy to be included on a list of the best mystery novels? Combined, the 1990 and 1995 lists contained 156 novels spanning approximately 130 years. Therefore, it seems reasonable to add at least one novel for each year. How to narrow down a list to 26 entries? 


Below are the main competitors. I have unfairly included only one novel per author and even with this limitation the number swells rapidly to over fifty. 

One of the greater points of contention is why I chose a particular volume to represent an author's work. I did have a method, albeit a flawed one. I looked for the highest ratings on Goodreads among the top vote-getters for a particular author. Other times, I included the first in a series because that work defined them.

I tried to keep this list impersonal. I have read approximately half of these and could not judge those I did not read, and I did include several which were popular, but not my favorites.


Automatic Inclusions:

  • The Firm by John Grisham (1991)
  •  Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Moseley (1990)
These two are the sole mysteries on the MWA list that were published too late to be considered for the CWA list.



The Juggernauts.

Often when a book is too successful, it invites scorn. Other times it is worthy of every sale.
(This list, along with the others, is alphabetical by author)

  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (2002)
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (2012)
  • Millennium series (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. . .) by Stieg Larssen (2005-2007)
  • The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (2002)
  • Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (2001) Although lesser known than the above choices, this is the second best-selling novel in the history of Spain, after Don Quixote, and one of the top 90 best-selling books (not just novels) of all time.

People's Choice.

Other quality works that were immensely popular or are representative of best-selling authors.
  • The Alienist by Caleb Carr (1994)
  • Worth Dying For by Lee Child (2010)
  • Tell No One by Harlan Coben (2001)
  • All That Remains by Patricia Cornwell (1992)
  • The Cold Moon by Jeffery Deaver  (2006)
  • One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (1994)
  • In the Woods by Tana French (2007)
  • Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins (2015)
  • Kiss The Girls by James Patterson (1995)
  • The Cabinet of Curiosities by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child (2002)
  • Buried Prey by John Sandford (2011)
  • The #1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith (1998)


Other Acknowledged Masters.

My intent for this group is to include representative works from others who are acknowledged as the best in the field. Some of these could qualify as people's choice above while others peaked below the bestseller lists.
  • Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by MC Beaton (1992)
  • The Glass Rainbow by James Lee Burke (2010)
  • Loves Music, Loves to Dance by Mary Higgins Clark (1992)
  • The Black Echo by Michael Connelly (1992)
  • The Chatham School Affair by Thomas H. Cook (1996)
  • L.A. Confidential by James Ellroy (1990)
  • M is for Malice by Sue Grafton (1996)
  • Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg (1992)
  • Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (2003)
  • The Last Detective by Peter Lovesey (1991)
  • No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy (2005)
  • The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø, Don Bartlett (2000)
  • The Judas Child by Carol O'Connell  (1998)
  • 1974 by David Peace (1999)
  • Right As Rain by George Pelecanos (2001)
  • A Trick of the Light by Louise Penny (2011)
  • Clock Watchers by Richard Price (1992)
  • A Simple Plan by Scott Smith (1993)
  • The Secret History by Donna Tartt (1992)
  • Affinity by Sarah Waters  (1999)

Masters in the Later Parts of their Careers.

Although most of these authors were included on the MWA and CWA lists, they continued to put out memorable works.
  • The Cat Who Came to Breakfast by Lilian Jackson Braun (1994)
  • To the Hilt by Dick Francis (1996)
  • The Private Patient by P.D. James (2008)
  • The Constant Gardener by John le Carré (2000)
  • Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard (1990)
  • Body Work by Sara Paretsky (2010)
  • Night Passage by Robert B Parker (1997)
  • Anna's Book by Barbara Vine (1993)

 

Mixed-Genre.

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (2003)
  • Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris (2001)
  • The City and the City by China Mieville (2009)
  • Naked In Death by JD Robb (1995)

If Non-Fiction is Considered.
  • Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story by John Berendt (1994)
  • And the Sea Will Tell by Vincent Bugliosi (1991)
  • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (2003)
  • Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon (1991)

MWJ

The Mystery Writers of Japan did update their list of best Western mystery novels in 2012. Below are the choices that were published after the 1990 cut-off of the CWA list. Many of these are already listed above.

  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown  (2003)
  • The Chatham School Affair by Thomas H. Cook  (1996)
  • The Bone Collector by Jeffery Deaver  (1997)
  • The Cold Moon by Jeffery Deaver  (2006)
  • White Jazz by James Ellroy (1992)
  • Point of Impact  by Stephen Hunter  (1993)
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro  (2005)
  • Millennium series by Stieg Larsson  (2005-2007)
  • Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon  (1991)
  • The Judas Child by Carol O'Connell  (1998)
  • The Big Blowdown  by George Pelecanos (1996)
  • Flicker  by Theodore Roszak (1991)
  • A Simple Plan by Scott Smith (1993)
  • Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (2008)
  • Fingersmith by Sarah Waters (2002)
  • Affinity by Sarah Waters  (1999)
  • A Cool Breeze on the Underground by Don Winslow (1991)
  • The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow (2005)
If you do consider two or more entries from worthy authors (as did MWJ), this combination of lists could grow into 100 mystery novels in the past 26 years.

A Predator's Game, now available, Rook's Page Publishing.

A Predator's Game is available in soft-cover and ebook editions through Amazon and other online retailers.
 -----------------------
Nikola Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Henry H. Holmes are all characters in my thriller, A Predator's Game.

Back page blurb of A Predator's Game.

Manhattan, 1896.

When the author Arthur Conan Doyle meets Nikola Tesla he finds a tall, thin genius with a photographic memory and a keen eye, and recognizes in the eccentric inventor the embodiment of his creation, Sherlock. Together, they team up to take on an "evil Holmes." Multi-murderer Dr. Henry H. Holmes has escaped execution and is unleashing a reign of terror upon the metropolis. Set in the late nineteenth century in a world of modern marvels, danger and invention, Conan Doyle and Tesla engage the madman in a deadly game of wits.

Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. Its sequel, set in 1890s Manhattan and titled A Predator's Game, will be available from Rook's Page Publishing, March 30, 2016. It features Nikola Tesla as detective.


His recent mystery, Never Kill A Friend, is available from Ransom Note Press. His epic poem, Two Mistakes, recently won second place in the Margaret Reid/Tom Howard Poetry Competition. He can be contacted at mdhillortiz@gmail.com.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tesla Versus Einstein



Tesla's Battle with Einstein

"Too bad, Sir Isaac, they dimmed your renown
And turned your great science upside down.
Now a long-haired crank, Einstein by name,
Puts on your high teaching all the blame.
Says: matter and force are transmutable
And wrong the laws you thought immutable."

Fragments of Olympian Gossip
Nikola Tesla, poet, September 1934


    Nikola Tesla was perhaps the greatest inventor in the golden age of invention which took place at the end of the 19th century. Merely considering two of his inventions, the AC generator and motor spawned a century of progress, spurring the creation of the modern city and commerce as we know it. Although at the cutting edge of science through the 1890s, Tesla rejected many twentieth century scientific discoveries including relativity.

    In spite of the fact that Tesla was among the most important inventors involved in the development of radio, Tesla dismissed the findings of Heinrich Hertz, rejecting the idea of electromagnetic waves being transmitted through the air or empty space. Tesla claimed light transmission and electromagnetic waves were the same as sound transmission: vibrations of a substance. Radio waves, he contended, traveled through the earth. In line with many 19th century scientists, Tesla believed a gas called "ether" filled outer space.

    In a 1929 interview he said, "I had maintained for many years before that such a medium as supposed could not exist, and that we must rather accept the view that all space is filled with a gaseous substance. On repeating the Hertz experiments, with much improved and very powerful apparatus, I satisfied myself that what he had observed was nothing else but effects of longitudinal waves in a gaseous medium, that is to say, waves, propagated by alternate compression and expansion. He had observed waves in the ether much of the nature of sound waves in the air1."

    According to Tesla, in space, someone could hear your screams—and the noise traveled quite rapidly. Ether allowed sound to move as quickly as light. "This means that the velocity of the sound waves propagated through the ether is about 300,000 times greater than that of the sound waves in air, which travel at approximately 1,085 feet a second. Consequently the speed in ether is 900,000 x 1,085 feet, or 186,000 miles, and that is the speed of light2."

    Tesla claimed to have propagated waves at speeds much faster than light. "Stating that the Einstein theory is erroneous in many respects, Dr. Tesla stated as early as 1900, in his patent 787,412, that the current of his radio-power transmitter passed over the surface of the earth with a speed of 292,830 miles a second3."

    Tesla took this even further. As reported in a 1935 New York Times article:
    "He [Tesla] described relativity as "a beggar wrapped in purple whom ignorant people take for a king."

    In support of his statement he cited a number of experiments he had conducted, he said, as far back as 1896 on the cosmic ray. He has measured cosmic ray velocities from Antarus, he said, which he found to be fifty times greater than the speed of light, thus demolishing, he contended, one of the basic pillars of the structure of relativity, according to which there can be no speed greater than that of light4.

    Tesla also disagreed with the Einstein's fundamental finding that energy is matter (e = mc2). "I have disintegrated atoms in my experiments with a high potential vacuum tube I brought out in 1896 which I consider one of my best inventions. ... But as to atomic energy, my experimental observations have shown that the process of disintegration is not accompanied by a liberation of such energy as might be expected from the present theories5."

    Tesla was recognized for his life achievements in a gala 75th birthday celebration. This made the cover of Time Magazine along with a feature article. In that article, Tesla explained he was working on "...an explanation based upon pure mathematics of certain things which Professor Einstein has also attempted to explain. My conclusions in certain respects differ from and to that extent tend to disprove the Einstein Theory. My explanations of natural phenomena are not so involved as his. They are simpler, and when I am ready to make a full announcement it will be seen that I have proved my conclusions6." As with many of Tesla's late-life promises, nothing was forthcoming.

    In that interview, Tesla reiterated his dismissal of mass equaling energy. "I shattered atoms again and again. But no appreciable energy was released7."

    Among those sending him letters of congratulations was Albert Einstein. In a terse two-sentence greeting which seemed to diminish Tesla's accomplishments, he said, "Dear Mr. Tesla, I am delighted to hear of your 75th birthday and the celebration of your work as a successful pioneer in the field of high-frequency currents which allowed the wonderful development of this field of technology. I congratulate you on the great successes of your life's work. Albert Einstein8."

    So what did Einstein think of Tesla's claims? Einstein was accustomed to criticism. In response to a 1931 pamphlet titled "100 Authors Against Einstein," he said, "If I were wrong, then one would have been enough9." Over a century has passed since the theory of general relativity was put forward and there have been regular attacks against it, followed by quick retreats.

    In the early twentieth century, long-held orthodoxies were overturned and the universe was found to be much more complex than previously recognized. In the realm of invention and engineering Tesla was without peer. Tesla failed in his battle with Einstein because he fought on Einstein's turf: pure science. In twentieth century science, Tesla had become a stranger lost in a new world10.

References

1. Nikola Tesla Tells of New Radio Theories. Does Not Believe in Hertz Waves and Heaviside Layer, Interview Discloses. New York Herald Tribune Sept. 22, 1929, pp. 1, 29.

2. ibid.

3. No High-Speed Limit, Says Tesla. The Literary Digest Nov. 7, 1931.

4. Tesla, 79, Promises to Transmit Force. Scientist on Birthday Reveals Scheme to Send Mechanical Energy All Over World Would Even Guide Ships. Assails Theory of Relativity as Work of Metaphysicians and not Scientific. New York Times. July 11, 1935, p. 23.

5. Radio Power will Revolutionize the World by Nikola Tesla as Told to Alfred Albelli. Modern Mechanix and Inventions. July 1934

6. Nikola Tesla at 75. Time Magazine, July 20, 1931.

7. ibid

8. A photo of the original letter in German is presented at the Nikola Tesla Society website.
http://www.teslasociety.com/einsteinletter.jpg

9. As cited in: A Brief History of Time (10th ed.), Hawking, Stephen (1998). Bantam Books. page 193.

10. End note. There are those who still advocate the concept of ether. Some have tried to modernize the theory, others cling to the archaic principles. For some it has become a means of rationalizing modern perpetual motion machines.

-----------------------
Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Henry H. Holmes are all characters in my forthcoming thriller, A Predator's Game, Rook's Page Publishing, March 30, 2016.

Back page blurb of A Predator's Game (advance copy, subject to change).

Manhattan, 1896.

When the author Arthur Conan Doyle meets Nikola Tesla he finds a tall, thin genius with a photographic memory and a keen eye, and recognizes in the eccentric inventor the embodiment of his creation, Sherlock. Together, they team up to take on an "evil Holmes." Multi-murderer Dr. Henry H. Holmes has escaped execution and is unleashing a reign of terror upon the metropolis. Set in the late nineteenth century in a world of modern marvels, danger and invention, Conan Doyle and Tesla engage the madman in a deadly game of wits.

Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. Its sequel, set in 1890s Manhattan and titled A Predator's Game, will be available from Rook's Page Publishing, March 30, 2016. It features Nikola Tesla as detective.


His recent mystery, Never Kill A Friend, is available from Ransom Note Press. His epic poem, Two Mistakes, recently won second place in the Margaret Reid/Tom Howard Poetry Competition. He can be contacted at mdhillortiz@gmail.com.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Was Nikola Tesla Gay?

My reflexive response to this question is: get a life. This is a puerile inquiry that seeks to pigeonhole a person rather than understand him.

A more considered answer might be: Tesla is an important historical figure and who we are as a people is an important question. So, let's go there.

I will address this matter by looking at the broad issues of whether there is evidence of his sexual attraction to men or evidence of his acting upon this attraction.

Tesla was a lifelong bachelor with no known romantic interests, male or female, attached to him. He did maintain friendships with both men and women with more of the closer relationships being with men^1. 


There are two competing arguments which may apply to Tesla.

First, there is the Elton John argument. In the liner notes of a 1970s album, he explained the reason why he was not associated with women: his career made him too busy. Applying this standard to Tesla, we say his protestations of being too busy for a relationship were a cover-up.

Second, there is the Duke Ellington argument. He wrote an autobiography titled, "Music Is My Mistress." In one anecdote, he explains to his wife-to-be that even though they would be married, music would always be his true love. In applying (and extending) this standard to Tesla, his passion for his work crowded out his sexual nature. Invention was his sole mistress. 


(continued below)

This post is part of an ongoing series on the inventor Nikola Tesla. Some of the more popular posts are:
An Introduction to Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla Vs. Sherlock Holmes 
Nikola Tesla Vs. Adrian Monk 


Katharine Johnson, longtime platonic friend of Nikola Tesla.

From an 1896 New York Herald interview:

"I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of his brain unfolding to success, as he watches some crucial experiment prove that through months of waiting and hoping he has been in the right. Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything."


He is asked, "Do you believe in marriage. Mr. Tesla, for persons of artistic temperament?"

"For an artist, yes; for a musician, yes; for a writer, yes; but for an inventor, no. The first three must gain inspiration from a woman's influence and be led by their love to finer achievement, but an inventor has so intense a nature with so much in it of wild, passionate quality, that in giving himself to a woman he might love, he would give everything, and so take everything from his chosen field. . . . It's a pity, too, for sometimes we feel so lonely.^2"


Nearly three decades later, Tesla gave an interview which formed a feature story titled, "Mr. Tesla Explains Why He Will Never Marry.^3" The interviewer had an annoying habit of adding commentary to most every quote from Tesla. Indeed, a word count finds one thousand words for Tesla, one thousand for the reporter. Tesla never addresses the subject of marriage, but does bemoan the current state of womanhood.

"I had always thought of woman as possessing those delicate qualities of mind and soul that made her in these respects far superior to man. I had put her on a lofty pedestal, figuratively speaking, and ranked her in certain important attributes considerably higher than man. I worshiped at the feet of the creature I had raised to this height, and, like every true worshiper, I felt myself unworthy of the object of my worship.

"But all this was in the past. Now the soft-voiced gentle woman of my reverent worship has all but vanished. In her place has come the woman who thinks that her chief success in life lies in making herself as much as possible like man
in dress, voice and actions, in sports and achievements of every kind.^3"

This viewpoint stands in stark contrast to an interview published in Colliers taking place just three years later in which the "new" woman is held in high esteem, even awe.


"This struggle of the human female toward sex equality will end in a new sex order, with the female as superior. The modern woman, who anticipates in merely superficial phenomena the advancement of her sex, is but a surface symptom of something deeper and more potent fermenting in the bosom of the race.

"It is not in the shallow physical imitation of men that women will assert first their equality and later their superiority, but in the awakening of the intellect of women.^4"


There is also this note: Tesla told a reporter in 1927, "I have never touched a woman. As a student, and while vacationing at my parents' home in Lika, I fell in love with one girl. She was tall, beautiful and had extraordinary understandable eyes."^5

In the above quote I find an aspect of Tesla that is at once charming and fascinating. He was startlingly frank about his vulnerabilities. Would another leading figure confess to never having touched a woman? Would another put on record the stories of his nervous breakdowns?

My favorite biography of Tesla was written by W. Bernard Carlson. He does the best job of demythologizing Tesla by showing how his work was incremental and collaborative. He addressed Tesla's sexual orientation while although offered little substance. One piece of innuendo surrounded a friendship with Richmond P. Hobson, a war hero, who wrote in a note:


"Now my dear fellow, if you are doing nothing for the next 3/4 of an hour come over a short tete a tete—I feel I have not seen half enough of you on this visit and I have so much to talk with you about . . . Devotedly yours, Richmond."^6



Richmond P. Hobson, 1898

Carlson also relates this conversation attributed to two members of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, Richard Sogge and Leland Anderson which is stated to have taken place in 1956:

"You know it is a good thing that the institute is honoring Tesla in this way—it will go a long way toward diminishing his reputation for voyeurism which was embarrassing the older members. The stories of Tesla's sexual episodes were at one time the talk of the Institute. . ." ^7

Voyeurism might make sense: Tesla had an extreme dread of germs and human contact and this as much as any other reason might have explained his lack of intimate relationships.

My verdict is that it is unlikely that Tesla had any physical relationships. As to whether he might have been attracted to men in a sexual way, there are hints, but there is too little information to make a solid determination.


References:

1. Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age, W. Bernard Carlson. Princeton University Press, 2013. p. 237-243.

2. New York Herald interview. As reprinted in the Indianapolis Journal, June 19, 1896, p.3.

3. Mr. Tesla Explains Why He Will Never Marry. Galveston Daily News, Galveston, TX, p.  23. August 10, 1924.

4. When Woman Is Boss. An interview with Nikola Tesla by John B. Kennedy. Colliers, January 30, 1926.

5. Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age, W. Bernard Carlson. Princeton University Press, 2013. p. 239.

6. ibid, p. 242.

7. ibid, p. 240.

-----------------------
 


Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Henry H. Holmes are all characters in my thriller, A Predator's Game, Rook's Page Publishing.

A Predator's Game is available in soft-cover and ebook editions through Amazon and other online retailers. 
Back page blurb.

Manhattan, 1896.

When the author Arthur Conan Doyle meets Nikola Tesla he finds a tall, thin genius with a photographic memory and a keen eye, and recognizes in the eccentric inventor the embodiment of his creation, Sherlock. Together, they team up to take on an "evil Holmes." Multi-murderer Dr. Henry H. Holmes has escaped execution and is unleashing a reign of terror upon the metropolis. Set in the late nineteenth century in a world of modern marvels, danger and invention, Conan Doyle and Tesla engage the madman in a deadly game of wits.

Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. Its sequel, set in 1890s Manhattan and titled A Predator's Game, is available from Rook's Page Publishing. It features Nikola Tesla as detective.


His recent mystery, Never Kill A Friend, is available from Ransom Note Press. His epic poem, Two Mistakes, recently won second place in the Margaret Reid/Tom Howard Poetry Competition. He can be contacted at mdhillortiz@gmail.com.

Health Tips From Nikola Tesla

    Nikola Tesla maintained an exacting regimen of specific foods and very little sleep. He was a vegetarian, although not a vegan. Tea and coffee were evils while alcohol was the elixir of life. His advice and warnings about health matters hold a quaint charm.

    Meat is another food which he never touches, Dr. Tesla explained. Two quarts of milk a day provide him with all the proteins and calories he needs to remain alive, he said. Although as a rule he does not retire until 5:30 o'clock every morning, he gets up about 10 A. M. and feels full of energy.
    Between sips of the warm milk, he eyed the newspaper folk with their Scotch and sodas and confided that if he had not given up drinking alcohol with the enactment of Prohibition he would live to be 150 years old.
    "As it is, I believe my abstinence from alcohol during the latter part of my life has lopped off fifteen years from my life, and now I expect to live only 135 years," he remarked, "Alcohol is the elixir of life, but when this country passed the Prohibition Law I felt that as a patriotic American I should stop drinking whisky. I have not touched it since."
 

     -From: Tesla, 80, Reveals New Power Device. Says His Wireless Invention Will Gird the Earth With Energy for Industry. New York Times. July 11, 1936.

    In another interview, Tesla expanded on his vegetarian diet, described even more astringent sleep requirements and praised the virtues of taking an electrical bath.

    His diet is simple. He lives chiefly on vegetables, cereals and milk. The menu includes onions, spinach, celery, carrots, lettuce, with potatoes occasionally. Whites of eggs and milk complete the diet. There is no meat on his vegetable plate. He never smokes or tastes tea, coffee, alcoholic beverages or any other stimulant.
    "I sleep about one and one-half hours a night," the inventor says. "I think that is enough for any man. When I was young I needed more sleep. But age doesn't require so much. There are so many things to do I do not want to spend time sleeping needlessly. In my family all were poor sleepers. Time spent in sleep is lost time, we always felt."
    "But what is giving me more fun than anything I have done for a long, long time," Dr. Tesla explains, "is an electric bath which I hope to have ready for general use very soon.
    "It doesn't require much room. There is a platform on which the person stands. He turns on the current. Instantly all foreign material such as dust, dandruff, scales on the skin and microbes is thrown off from the body. The nerves, too, are exhilarated and strengthened. The 'bath' is excellent for medical as well as for cleaning purposes.


     -From: Dr. Tesla Visions the End of Aircraft in War. Every Week Magazine, Oct. 21, 1934.



Chewing gum was evil.

     In Tesla's autobiography he speaks of the physiological effects of coffee, tea and gum.

    [Coffee and tea] These delicious beverages superexcite and gradually exhaust the fine fibers of the brain. They also interfere seriously with arterial circulation and should be enjoyed all the more sparingly as their deleterious effects are slow and imperceptible. Tobacco, on the other hand, is conducive to easy and pleasant thinking and detracts from the intensity and concentration necessary to all original and vigorous effort of the intellect.

    Chewing gum is helpful for a short while but soon drains the glandular system and inflicts irreparable damage, not to speak of the revulsion it creates.


    -From: My Inventions, The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla, compiled by Ben Johnston, Experimenter Publishing Company, Inc., copyright 1919.


------------------
Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Henry H. Holmes are all characters in my forthcoming thriller, A Predator's Game, Rook's Page Publishing, March 30, 2016.

Back page blurb of A Predator's Game (advance copy, subject to change).

Manhattan, 1896.

When the author Arthur Conan Doyle meets Nikola Tesla he finds a tall, thin genius with a photographic memory and a keen eye, and recognizes in the eccentric inventor the embodiment of his creation, Sherlock. Together, they team up to take on an "evil Holmes." Multi-murderer Dr. Henry H. Holmes has escaped execution and is unleashing a reign of terror upon the metropolis. Set in the late nineteenth century in a world of modern marvels, danger and invention, Conan Doyle and Tesla engage the madman in a deadly game of wits.

Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. Its sequel, set in 1890s Manhattan and titled A Predator's Game, will be available from Rook's Page Publishing, March 30, 2016. It features Nikola Tesla as detective.


His recent mystery, Never Kill A Friend, is available from Ransom Note Press. His epic poem, Two Mistakes, recently won second place in the Margaret Reid/Tom Howard Poetry Competition. He can be contacted at mdhillortiz@gmail.com.


The above post was re-written and expanded from one I prepared two and one half years ago.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Tesla: The Basics

I've written a number of posts related to my research into the life of Nikola Tesla. Although many may be visiting my blog because of their prior interest in Tesla, others may not be familiar with him. So I decided to write a standard post of introduction to the man and his work.

Who Was Nikola Tesla? 

    In late nineteenth century America, when rival inventors sought to reshape the world, Serbian immigrant Nikola Tesla was king. Six foot six inches tall and lean,  he had a photographic memory. In some aspects he lived a life as ascetic as a monk, eschewing women, coffee and tea, tobacco and chewing gum working himself to the point of repeated nervous breakdowns.

    Going head to head, Tesla vanquished Edison and established the format for the generation and transmission of electricity that is still in use today. He fought Marconi over the authorship of the radio, finally winning in the Supreme Court.

    He created a variety of seminal inventions garnering hundreds of patents. In a 1947 tribute article in the journal Science, he was credited with:

    Alternating current generators.

    The electric motor.
    The radio.

    The remote control.
   
    The effusive article also credits him with being the inventor of radar, broadcasting and fax machines, creations that were conceptualized but not fashioned (or patented) by him. He made early contributions to X-rays (before Roentgen), lighting and hydroelectric power.


    While every mature invention is the combined work of many, Tesla was remarkable in his ability to envision the final product. Others started inventions, Tesla finished them, and beyond that, he could imagine their place in a world a century in the future—he combined the best of Thomas Edison and Jules Verne. When radio was in its infancy, he described connecting the world, not just with sound, but with images, exchanging information. He imagined the world wide web with access to information on a hand-held device.

    Tesla was also notorious for pursuing quixotic inventions including those involving the transmission of lightning and the creation of earthquakes. He became obsessed with ending war forever. He proposed a device for recording human thought.

    As he grew older he became more and more eccentric, his business failures and his collection of phobias drove him into seclusion. Ultimately, he imagined himself a machine, an automaton run by the will of the universe.

    He died in debt, nearly forgotten. His papers were seized by the U.S. government out of fear of what secrets they might hold.

    Decades after his death, his reputation has undergone a resurgence. His uncompromising genius, his brilliant visions of the future, and even his madness are now celebrated.


Tesla, the thinking man
Nikola Tesla, The Thinking Man

-----------------
Reference: Accomplishments of Nikola Tesla. Kenneth M. Swezey. Science, May 16, 1948, pp. 1147-59


End note:  The name Tesla is Serbian for "adze," a chopping and digging instrument. Tesla was the sharpest tool in the shed. 
------------------

Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Henry H. Holmes are all characters in my forthcoming thriller, A Predator's Game, Rook's Page Publishing.
A Predator's Game is available in soft-cover and ebook editions through Amazon and other online retailers.

Back page blurb.

Manhattan, 1896.

When the author Arthur Conan Doyle meets Nikola Tesla he finds a tall, thin genius with a photographic memory and a keen eye, and recognizes in the eccentric inventor the embodiment of his creation, Sherlock. Together, they team up to take on an "evil Holmes." Multi-murderer Dr. Henry H. Holmes has escaped execution and is unleashing a reign of terror upon the metropolis. Set in the late nineteenth century in a world of modern marvels, danger and invention, Conan Doyle and Tesla engage the madman in a deadly game of wits.

Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. Its sequel, set in 1890s Manhattan and titled A Predator's Game, will be available from Rook's Page Publishing, March 30, 2016. It features Nikola Tesla as detective.


His recent mystery, Never Kill A Friend, is available from Ransom Note Press. His epic poem, Two Mistakes, recently won second place in the Margaret Reid/Tom Howard Poetry Competition. He can be contacted at mdhillortiz@gmail.com.


The above post was re-written and expanded from one I prepared two and one half years ago.

Nikola Tesla Versus Adrian Monk



Tesla Vs. Monk 

    The fictional character Adrian Monk as portrayed by Tony Shalhoub, was a freelance crime consultant and former homicide detective with the San Francisco police. He appeared in 125 episodes of the program Monk which originally aired from 2002 to 20091.

    Nikola Tesla was the greatest inventor of the 19th century. Over the years, Tesla has become an even more fictional character, a geek God. A basic introduction to his life is provided here.

    Both Monk and Tesla were geniuses. Monk directed his genius to solving crimes, one at a time. Tesla set as his goal the improvement of the lives of all humanity. Both were obsessive-compulsive with numerous phobias.

Nikola Tesla

    With Tesla it is difficult to sort out reality from his legend. Often phobias ascribed to him are lumped together as though all of these continued for the whole of his life. In a passage from My Inventions, Tesla describes obsessions he felt as a child.
During that period I contracted many strange likes, dislikes and habits, some of which I can trace to external impressions, while others are unaccountable.
  • I had a violent aversion to the earrings of women, but other ornaments, such as bracelets, pleased me more or less according to design.
  • The sight of a pearl would almost give me a fit, but I was fascinated with the glitter of crystals, or objects with sharp edges and plane surfaces.
  • I would not touch the hair of other people except, perhaps, at the point of a revolver.
  • I would get a fever by looking at a peach, and if a piece of camphor was anywhere in the house it caused me the keenest discomfort2.
He indicates that some of those obsessions have passed, saying "Even now I am not insensible to some of these upsetting impulses2." He then goes on to describe current obsessions.
When I drop little squares of paper in a dish filled with liquid, I always sense a peculiar and awful taste in my mouth. I counted my steps in my walks and calculated the cubical contents of soup plates, coffee cups and pieces of food - otherwise my meal was unenjoyable. All repeated acts or operations I performed had to be divisible by three, and if I missed, I felt impelled to do it over again, even if it took hours2.

    Other obsessions, irrational dislikes or phobias attributed to Tesla include:

Germs.
Needed exactly eighteen cloth napkins in order to dine3.
Fat women, unstylish clothing on women4.
Maybugs and all insects5.
Tesla believed the number thirteen was lucky.

Adrian Monk
 


    In the episode, "Mr. Monk and the Daredevil," Adrian Monk declared he possessed 312 phobias6. Not all of these are listed over the course of his show and some that are mentioned overlap with others.

Those phobias which were itemized are7:

Uncleanliness: Dust, dirt, slime, spitting, touching.
Health-related: Germs, death, birth, infections, vomiting.
Danger: Risk, tsunamis, fire, lightning.
Foods and Liquids: Milk, mushrooms, egg whites, milk creamer, mixed vegetables, decaffeinated coffee, tap water.
Animals: Bees, hornets, cats, snakes, dogs, frogs, ladybugs, monkeys, mice, rats, possums, rabbits, tigers, spiders.
People: Dentists, crowds, lepers, naked people.
Objects: Needles, elevators, hailstones, round things, puppets, underwear, multi-colored pills, charcoal.
Locations: Elevators, tunnels, caves, rivers, glaciers, enclosed spaces, nature, "places."
General and common phobias: Fear of fear, imperfection, darkness, heights, noise, public speaking.
Miscellaneous: Bees in blenders, soccer riots, faces, clouds, wind, rodeos.

Tony Shalhoub as That Guy

Like Peter Falk, Tony Shalhoub provided audiences with memorable supporting roles for years until he was cast as an iconic detective. Here are three of his earlier outings.


Jack Jeebs in Men In Black: the alien who can regrow his head.

Manu in Frasier, The Focus Group. Frasier accidentally burns down Manu's newsstand while trying to find out why Manu doesn't like him.


Dr. Alexander Minion (the original Minion!) in the Spy Kids series.

----------------------

Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Henry H. Holmes are all characters in my forthcoming thriller, A Predator's Game, Rook's Page Publishing, March 30, 2016.

Back page blurb of A Predator's Game (advance copy, subject to change).

Manhattan, 1896.

When the author Arthur Conan Doyle meets Nikola Tesla he finds a tall, thin genius with a photographic memory and a keen eye, and recognizes in the eccentric inventor the embodiment of his creation, Sherlock. Together, they team up to take on an "evil Holmes." Multi-murderer Dr. Henry H. Holmes has escaped execution and is unleashing a reign of terror upon the metropolis. Set in the late nineteenth century in a world of modern marvels, danger and invention, Conan Doyle and Tesla engage the madman in a deadly game of wits.


Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. Its sequel, set in 1890s Manhattan and titled A Predator's Game, will be available from Rook's Page Publishing, March 30, 2016. It features Nikola Tesla as detective.
His recent mystery, Never Kill A Friend, is available from Ransom Note Press. His epic poem, Two Mistakes, recently won second place in the Margaret Reid/Tom Howard Poetry Competition. He can be contacted at mdhillortiz@gmail.com.

The above post was re-written and expanded from one I prepared two and one half years ago.

References

1. Monk (2002-2009) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0312172/?ref_=sr_1
Accessed July 23rd, 2013.

2. My Inventions, The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla, compiled by Ben Johnston, Experimenter Publishing Company, Inc., 1919, p. 15. Is it possible that Tesla's antagonism toward Einstein was due to Einstein's hair? As Tesla said in his poem, "Fragments of Olympian Gossip:"
Now a long haired crank, Einstein by name... Nikola Tesla, December 31st, 1934. http://www.pbs.org/tesla/ll/pv_gossip_pop.html Retrieved July 21, 2013.

3. Tesla: A Man Out of Time. Margaret Cheney, copyright 1998, p. 19.

4. ibid, p. 110.

5. My Inventions, The Autobiography of Nikola Tesla, compiled by Ben Johnston, Experimenter Publishing Company, Inc., 1919, p. 22.

6. A Major Study on The Psychological Disorder of Adrian Monk, In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement in Abnormal Psychology, Jennibeth D. Baculna, BA Political Science-Psychology IV, University of the Philippines in the Visayas, College of Arts and Sciences, Division of Social Sciences, Miagao, Iloilo. Copyright 2009.
http://www.scribd.com/doc/34716002/The-Psychological-Disorder-of-Adrian-Monk
Accessed  July 23rd, 2013.

7. Compiled from List of Adrian Monk's Phobias.
http://monk.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Adrian_Monk's_Phobias
Accessed  July 23rd, 2013.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nikola Tesla Versus Sherlock Holmes

In my first novel, A Predatory Mind, I included a backstory about an interaction between the famed inventor Nikola Tesla and the multi-murderer, Dr. Henry H. Holmes. After completing the book, I realized that Tesla and Holmes were the most interesting aspect of the novel and I decided to write a sequel* devoted entirely to a deadly battle of wits between the two with the conceit being that Holmes had escaped his May, 1896 hanging.

Manhattan in its gilded age became the backdrop.

I decided Tesla needed an ally. After playing with the idea of Mark Twain, a friend of the inventor, I happened upon another direction. Arthur Conan Doyle had visited New York in the mid-1890s (although not in 1896). Wouldn't it be perfect to have Conan Doyle battle an evil Holmes? As I explored the possibilities I had a revelation: Tesla was Sherlock Holmes. Physically, they are virtual twins. Mentally, they were geniuses of the highest order. In personality, both were imperious and cerebral and had little interest in worldly distractions such as money or women or the matters which we mere mortals call life.

For those not familiar with the life and life-work of Tesla, I have provided a basic introduction here.

*A Predator's Game. Rook's Page Publishing.

A composite photo/illustration of Sherlock Holmes and Nikola Tesla. Sherlock Holmes from The Adventure of the Man with the Twisted Lip, Illustrator, Sidney Paget. 1891, Strand Magazine. Nikola Tesla photo: Napoleon Sarony, 1890s.

Let's look at their descriptions.

"Birth" Year.
Sherlock Holmes. 1854 (age 60 in 1914, from His Last Bow).
Nikola Tesla: 1856.

Year Coming to Prominence.
Sherlock Holmes. 1887, publication of his first adventure.
Nikola Tesla: 1886, first patent. 1888, electric motor.

Color of Eyes.
Sherlock Holmes. ". . .he emerged that morning with a long foolscap document in his hand and a twinkle of amusement in his austere gray eyes." The Adventure of the Three Garridebs, 1924.
Nikola Tesla. "Although many of his ancestors were dark eyed, his eyes were a gray-blue." Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla by John J. O'Neill, page 15, 1943.

Height and Weight.
Sherlock Holmes. "In height he was rather over six feet, and so excessively lean that he seemed to be considerably taller." A Study in Scarlet, 1887.
Nikola Tesla. "He is very thin, is more than six feet tall and weighs less than a hundred and forty pounds."
Arthur Brisbane, New York World, Tesla interview, July 22, 1894.

Tesla's Height, Controversy.
You will find sources that state Tesla was six-foot-six and others that place him at six-foot-two. Perhaps the confusion came from the first major biography written after his death.

"When he attained full growth he was exactly two meters, or six-feet-two and one-quarter inches tall." Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla by John J. O'Neill, page 16, 1943.

Two meters is six-foot-six and one-half inches. 140 pounds is more compatible with six-foot-two and those photos of Tesla with others present suggest that he is taller, but not exceptionally so.

Face.
Here it is hard to find quotes that emphasize the parallels. As can be seen in Sidney Paget's illustrations and Tesla's photos, their faces are similar in that they have thin noses with a bit of a crook, tall foreheads, and triangular faces. The descriptions of Sherlock and Tesla both take poetic license.

Sherlock Holmes. ", . . his thin, hawk-like nose gave his whole expression an air of alertness and decision. His chin, too, had the prominence and squareness which mark the man of determination." A Study in Scarlet.

Nikola Tesla. "His face oval, broad at the temples, and strong at the lips and chin." Julian Hawthorne as quoted in Tesla: Man Out of Time by Margaret Cheney, page 17, Simon & Schuster, 2011.

Hands.
Sherlock Holmes. ". . .a nervous clasping and unclasping of his long thin hands." The Five Orange Pips, 1891.

Nikola Tesla. "His hands however, and particularly his thumbs, seemed unusually long." Prodigal Genius: The Life of Nikola Tesla by John J. O'Neill, page 16, 1943.

Composite photo/illustration. Sherlock Holmes from the The Adventure of Silver Blaze, Illustrator, Sidney Paget, 1892, Strand Magazine. Nikola Tesla, unknown photographer. Originally published in "Tesla's Important Advances" in Electrical Review, May 20, 1896, p. 263.
 ----------------
Nikola Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle and Henry H. Holmes are all characters in my thriller, A Predator's Game.


A Predator's Game is available in soft-cover and ebook editions through Amazon and other online retailers.

Back page blurb .

Manhattan, 1896.

When the author Arthur Conan Doyle meets Nikola Tesla he finds a tall, thin genius with a photographic memory and a keen eye, and recognizes in the eccentric inventor the embodiment of his creation, Sherlock. Together, they team up to take on an "evil Holmes." Multi-murderer Dr. Henry H. Holmes has escaped execution and is unleashing a reign of terror upon the metropolis. Set in the late nineteenth century in a world of modern marvels, danger and invention, Conan Doyle and Tesla engage the madman in a deadly game of wits.

Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. Its sequel, set in 1890s Manhattan and titled A Predator's Game, will be available from Rook's Page Publishing, March 30, 2016. It features Nikola Tesla as detective.
His recent mystery, Never Kill A Friend, is available from Ransom Note Press. His epic poem, Two Mistakes, recently won second place in the Margaret Reid/Tom Howard Poetry Competition. He can be contacted at mdhillortiz@gmail.com.

 Cover material, A Predator's Game.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Map to Tesla's Manhattan

This 1895 map identifies the locations of the major sites for the half century in which Nikola Tesla lived, worked and relaxed in Manhattan. The legend to the sites is below.

1895 Map of Manhattan. Tesla residences, laboratories, businesses and hangouts are labelled in yellow. Note: I had difficulty seeing this image at a large-enough size in one browser I tested. Perhaps it needs to be downloaded for better viewing.

Legend

Laboratories
Designation on map. Years; Address.
1. 1887-89; 89 Liberty Street
2. 1889-91; 175 Grand Street
3. 1891-95; 33-35 S. Fifth Avenue
4. 1896-1902?; 45-47 E. Houston Street

Residences
Designation on map. Years; Address
A. 1889-1892; Astor House Hotel, Manhattan.
Broadway between Vesey and Barclay Street.
B. September 1892-1899; Gerlach Hotel.
49 W 27th St., Manhattan
C. 1899-1917?; Waldorf-Astoria, Manhattan.
Fifth Avenue and 33rd Street.
D. 1918; Hotel St. Regis. Room number 1607.
2 E. 55th St. Manhattan.
E. 1923; Hotel Marguery.
270 Park Avenue, Manhattan.
F. 1925; Hotel Pennsylvania. Manhattan.
401 Seventh Avenue, Manhattan.
G. 1930; Hotel Governor Clinton.
371 Seventh Ave.  Manhattan.
H. January 2nd, 1934-43; New Yorker Hotel, Room 3327.
481 Eighth Avenue, Manhattan.

Business Addresses (excluding laboratories)

Designation on map. Year first mentioned in business, corporation directories; Business name; Address.

a. 1890; 16 Broad Street
b. 1897; 15 Broad Street
c. 1906; Tesla Machine Co. (N.Y.) 17 Battery Pl., Rm 1403. Rm. 1410 in 1908.
d. 1909; Tesla Electro-Therapeutic Co. (N. Y.) 111 Broadway Rm. 1401. Rm. 901 in 1911. Also in 1911 at this address, Tesla Ozone Co. (N. Y.).
e. 1911; Tesla International Propulsion Co. of N. Y. (N. Y.) 202 Metropolitan Tower
f. 1918-1919; Tesla Co, Inc (N Y), 8 W 40th Rm. 2006. Also with a separate listing at this address: Tesla Nikola Co, Inc.

Social Addresses.

+ Players Club
16 Gramercy Park, South.
East 20th between Park Avenue and Irving.
Founded 1888 by Edwin Booth. Still active.

% The Engineers Club
32 West 40th St, New York
Plaque onsite commemorates Tesla among other great engineers.

* Delmonico's.
Tesla was a noted patron of Delmonico's Restaurant (founded 1827, revived and currently operating). The location on 44th Street was the one with which he was most associated, however, other locations were prominent during his time in New York and were located near others of his residences and places of business.
Locations:
* 2 South William Street. 1837 to 1917. The revived restaurant is at this address.
a. 22 Broad Street. 1865 to 1893. (next door to business address 16 Broad listed above)
* Fifth Avenue and 26th Street. 1876 to 1899.
* Fifth Avenue and 44th Street. 1897 to 1923.

Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. Its sequel, set in 1890s Manhattan and titled A Predator's Game, will be available from Rook's Page Publishing, March 28, 2016. It features Nikola Tesla as detective. (More details soon.)
His recent mystery, Never Kill A Friend, is available from Ransom Note Press. His epic poem, Two Mistakes, recently won second place in the Margaret Reid/Tom Howard Poetry Competition. He can be contacted at mdhillortiz@gmail.com.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Nikola Tesla and The Alienist

While researching the neighborhood surrounding Tesla's laboratory at 175 Grand I found he had something in common with a main character in the 1994 thriller, The Alienist. First, some background.

From 1889-1891, Nikola Tesla worked out of a laboratory at 175 Grand Street in Manhattan. It was here that he did much of his seminal work on the radio and invented the Tesla coil.

The location of Tesla's laboratory at 175 Grand. The address is highlighted in light green near the upper left corner. From: Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library. "Atlas 107. Vol. 1, 1894." The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1884- - 1894.

--------------------------

1890

I strove to understand who were the immediate neighbors of Tesla's laboratories and what sort of neighborhood it was. The 1890 edition of Trow's Business Directory of Manhattan is available online. Although it does not list anyone at 175 Grand, these are the neighboring businesses to either side.

173 Grand, McKee & Harrington (Joseph McKee and Charles F Harrington), p. 180 (Trow's Directory)
173 Grand, Panse & Gnadt (Frederick W Panse & John G. Gnadt), p. 234
173 Grand, Saulson Designing Co (Joseph Samuelson proprietor), p. 265

177 Grand, The New York Brass & Wire Works Company (Kopankiewicz & Dobrowski proprietors) p. 217
177 Grand, Pomeroy Mfg Co. (Pomeroy & Hall proprietors) p. 243
177 Grand, Standard Rubber Co. (Lena Levi proprietors) p. 286

------------------------
1894

Tesla moved his operations to South Fifth Avenue in 1891. Directories are not available for the years 1891 to 1893, but here is a glimpse of the businesses listed at 175 Grand in the 1894 City Directory.

175 Grand, Handel Louis sawyer, h 1060 Halsey, Brooklyn, p.573
175 Grand & 155 Baxter, Klein Fred A. cutler, h 228 Garden, Hoboken, p.754
175 Grand, Reinhorn David bands, h 42 Delancey, p.1155
175 Grand, Bliem William, plater, h 1022 Summit av., p.124
also listed as: 175 Grand, J. C. BLIEM & BECKER, platers, p.124.
and: 175 Grand, Bliem William, plater, h 64 Paterson, J. C., p.89

------------------------
1896 and The Alienist

Tesla's Grand Street laboratory also had a notorious, albeit fictional, neighbor.

Caleb Carr wrote a wildly popular thriller set in 1896 Manhattan called The Alienist. Near the end of the book, the killer, Japheth Dury (aka John Beecham), is traced to his home at 155 Baxter Street. This address is two doors away and just around the corner from 175 Grand. Fred Klein, cutler (above) is listed at both addresses in the 1894 directory. In fact, the two buildings touched, a detail made more significant considering that the killer moved between rooftops.

Here is the description of the arrival of the investigators at Dury's building.

"Number 155 Baxter Street was an unremarkable New York tenement, though in any other neighborhood the women and children who were hanging out its windows on that seasonable night would have been laughing or singing or at least screaming at one another. Here they simply sat with their heads in their hands, the youngest of them looking as worldly and tired as the oldest, and none of them exhibiting any interest in what occurred on the street. A man who I placed at about thirty was seated on the stoop, swinging a nightstick that looked to be authentic police issue. It wasn't difficult to judge after getting a glimpse of the man's blow-twisted features and surly grin just how he'd laid hands on the trophy."
page 422, The Alienist, Caleb Carr, copyright 1994, Random House Paperbacks.

Was Tesla's Grand Street laboratory in a rough neighborhood? This location borders the areas where Jacob Riis documented Manhattan's poverty in the 1890s. In the broader map shown above, Tesla's laboratory was four blocks from the Bowery, famous for its vice and crime. He was three blocks from the famously vicious area known as Mulberry's Bend. Interestingly, at the same time that Tesla worked here, he lived at the Astor House, perhaps the most luxurious hotel in Manhattan at the time.

The above map cropped. Tesla's laboratory was located at the site of the light green block in the upper left corner. Dury's residence on Baxter Street is highlighted in forest green.



Rag-Picker's Row at 59 Baxter Street (c. 1898 Jacob Riis) about three and one half blocks south of the corner of Grand and Baxter.

Bandit's Roost by Jacob Riis, photographer (ca. 1890). At Mulberry Bend, three and one half blocks south of Grand and Mulberry.

Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. Its sequel, set in 1890s Manhattan and titled A Predator's Game, will be available from Rook's Page Publishing, March 30, 2016. It features Nikola Tesla as detective. (More details soon.)
His recent mystery, Never Kill A Friend, is available from Ransom Note Press. His epic poem, Two Mistakes, recently won second place in the Margaret Reid/Tom Howard Poetry Competition. He can be contacted at mdhillortiz@gmail.com.