Tag Archives: Dorothy Seymour Mills

Educating, entertaining fiction about seniors and assisted living

Don’t Admit You’re in Assisted Living – First Mystery: The Kiss, by Dorothy Seymour Mills. Blue Water Press LLC. 154 pages. Trade paperback $15.95.

This delightful three-part mystery series by Ms. Mills, who recently turned ninety, provides an insightful and humorous look at senior living communities. The author’s model for the setting, a place she calls Locksley Glen, is her Naples home of The Carlisle. However, she is writing fiction and she means for her exploration of such a community to be representative. Through this book, readers will journey into a world of people “who are past being active physically and whose ability to contribute to modern life is limited by physical decline and encroaching age-connected illness.” 

As the novel makes clear, these people, mostly women, are abundantly alive, curious, engaged, and brimming with experiential knowledge. They offer one another vital, shareable experience in a setting made to order for their needs.

When 80-year-old Locksley resident Clarence is spotted accepting a kiss from a young Greek waiter named Petros, the rumor mill starts grinding. Alice, the principal character and the narrator, wonders if this behavior – an elderly man showing sexual interest in a teenage employee – fits into the parameters of normality. What is the revealed relationship all about? What is the mystery behind the kiss?

Some speculation about sexual activity between senior citizens follows, but the question is left up in the air. It seems less and less important as another strange event take over the imaginations of the residents. Someone is stabbed during a Halloween party.

Dorothy Mills

Preparations for the party involve the creation of costumes. A most popular and attractive resident, Starr, borrows some paint from Alice, who is an artist about to have a significant exhibition of her paintings. Starr uses the paint to fashion a cardboard gun and knife as part of her outlaw cowboy costume. Somehow the imitation knife is replaced by a real one – a steak knife stolen from the Locksley Glen kitchen.  It ends up being used as a weapon in a real crime against Petros’s father, Tzannis Papadopoulos, who Petros had been trying to prevent from being allowed into the United States. Meanwhile, the cardboard knife is found to have real blood on it. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the September 27, 2018 Naples, Bonita Springs, and Palm Beach editions and the October 3 Fort Myers and Charlotte County editions, click here:  Assisted Living

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Dorothy Mills hits a home run with baseball novel

“Drawing Card,” by Dorothy Seymour Mills. McFarland. 265 pages. $25 trade paperback. 

Dorothy Seymour Mills

Sitting down with a new book by Dorothy Mills is always a rewarding experience. In her latest, she mixes two of her areas of expertise – historical fiction and baseball history – to provide an unusual and provocative novel. The protagonist, Annie Cardello, is a young woman of Sicilian heritage whose youthful passion is playing baseball. 

Readers will be familiar with the common meaning of “drawing card,” a person or attraction that lures people to a place of entertainment. In her short career in baseball, Annie Cardello, her last name shortened to its first syllable, earned the nickname “Drawing Card” as she was skillful and colorful enough to be a drawing card for her team and for her sport. 

Mills’ portrait of teenage Annie adroitly playing women’s baseball in a Cleveland area industrial league is vivid and exciting. The character’s enthusiasm is delightful. However, in fictional Annie’s time there was far less of a future in this kind of athletic pursuit than there is today. She had no place to go with her talent. No way, that is, to be true to herself.

The man with the power to open professional baseball up to women, Judge Landis, would not honor contracts between female athletes and the clubs and leagues he ruled. It’s easy to think that if had ruled in favor of women players, it would have been smooth sailing for the best of them. Of course, it would not have been. However, Annie takes the judge’s ruling hard. She swears vengeance. She feels that something within her has died.

Ms. Mills carries Annie’s life forward through the years of the Great Depression and the decades that follow. She marries into an upper-crust family, primarily to be in a position to support her own family. However, her husband, John Smith, turns out to be an uncontrollable abuser. By the time that they make a trip to her ancestral homeland of Sicily, Annie needs to be free of him – and she manages to manipulate his demise. The years that follow are ones of subservience to the influential Smith family and of mounting frustration. They are also years in which self-justification and guilt war within her.

Late revelations about money left for Annie without her knowledge only complicate her situation, as that money is owed to someone who would threaten her life and the lives of those around her to get what he wants.

Annie’s personal story is set into larger contexts in various ways. The most risky is the author’s decision to include time travel. We meet earlier incarnations of Annie’s competitive feminist spirit in ancient Greece (as Demetra) in the late Middle Ages (as Demona) and protesting the first modern Olympics held in 1898) (as Stamata). This is an interesting way of universalizing Annie’s dilemma, but it takes attention away from Annie herself. . . .

To read this review in its entirety, as it appears in the May 30, 2012 Fort Myers Florida Weekly, the May 31 Naples edition, and the June 7 Palm Beach Gardens/Jupiter edition, click here:  Florida Weekly – DrawingCard 1 pdf and here: Florida Weekly – DrawingCard 2 pdf

See also: https://philjason.wordpress.com/2010/04/15/dorothy-mills-throws-strikes-in-book-on-baseball-history/

And https://philjason.wordpress.com/2009/09/10/613/

And https://philjason.wordpress.com/2007/09/12/book-beat-54-naples-literary-news/

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Dorothy Mills Throws Strikes in Book on Baseball History

“Chasing Baseball,” by Dorothy Seymour Mills. McFarland. 258 pages. $39.95.

Naples resident Dorothy Mills has had a distinguished career as a writer of children’s books and historical novels. Until recently, her career as a trailblazer in the field of baseball history was relatively unknown. Her biography, “A Woman’s Work: Writing Baseball History with Harold Seymour”(2004), allowed her to step out of the shadows and gain recognition as her first husband’s partner in the momentous three-volume history of baseball published by Oxford University Press.  Her new book, “Chasing Baseball: Our Obsession with Its History, Numbers, People, and Places,” presents not only a wide array of information about the national pastime, but also the author’s views on the relationship between baseball and American values.

“Chasing Baseball” is two books in one. Part One, “A Manly Pursuit,” examines the values of the game as a reflection of national character understood as manly traits. Also in this section, Mrs. Mills details the contrast between what she labels “The Amateur Spirit,” in which participation derives from a true love of the sport, and the business of professional baseball, in which those essential values – over the many decades of growth – have been compromised if not obliterated. When the dollar rules, fair play often does not. For the amateur, the joy of competing is everything, for the professional and certainly for the team owner, the bottom line – winning and its cash rewards – is what it’s all about.

Throughout her discussion, Dorothy Mills draws upon her vast learning and her story-telling skills, allowing readers to see and feel the broader, more abstract issues. Her book is at once friendly and philosophical, colorful and educational. Many myths about baseball are undermined, including the one about it being invented by Abner Doubleday in Cooperstown, NY.

To read this article in its entirety, as it appears in the April 1-7, 2010 issue of the Naples Florida Weekly, click hereFlorida Weekly – Chasing Baseball pdf

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