It was 1964 and I was fourteen that summer. The lady next door had built shelves in her cellar. It was the first time I ever saw someone with their own library and I coveted it. I wanted it as other girls my age wanted posters of the Beatles and makeup. Somehow, she knew it and, wonder of wonders, she told me, "Anytime you want something to read, just go on downstairs, and pick something out."
I was in heaven. I doubt if there was a detective book she didn't have, or at least it seemed like that to me. So, I read. I read detective books and gothic novels until I thought I might be reincarnated myself. I read outside under a tree and on my back porch. Mostly though, I read curled up in her couch in the room with the shelves, a can of soda beside me, cool and comfortable as the summer heat burned the lawns of my New England neighborhood.
Time has stolen many of my memories, but I remember Hercule Poirot. Oh, how I loved him! With his neat little moustache and his neat little ways. I could hear his accent and see him neatly standing there as he produced a denoument that tied up every string and line of the crime he was solving. Whether it was on a boat in Egypt or in a study in England with his straw hat in hand, his fine mind worked through every puzzle...well, neatly.
Years later, PBS ran a series of his stories on "Mystery." They were wonderful but nothing ever took away the pleasure of discovering him in those books on the shelves in Myrna's cellar.