Pearl S. Buck

Pearl S. Buck (1892–1973) was a bestselling author at a time when popular literature was very much a man’s game. She changed all that during the course of her long career (divided between China and the U.S.), earning the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes for novels including The Good Earth. Today, Pearl is honored by one of her forays into crime fiction, the 1938 short story “Ransom,” in which a child is kidnapped. (Buck was the mother of two children.) Included in the 2000 anthology The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century, the story was surely inspired in part by the notorious 1936 case of Charles Lindbergh and his tragically ransomed son. Originally published in Cosmopolitan, “Ransom” earned Buck a fan letter from none less than FBI director J. Edgar Hoover—because the staunchly conservative federal lawman was naturally flipping through a ladies’ fashion magazine for, ahem, research. (Now there’s a story we’d like to hear, or write.) This 45-minute event is intended for adults on their lunch break—not for children who might actually worry about, yes, being kidnapped. Seattle Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave., 386-4636, 12:05 p.m. BRIAN MILLER

Mon., Aug. 4, 12:05 p.m., 2008

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