Women on a Mission

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“Women On A Mission”—that’s the theme of this program’s two short stories, both read at The Getty Center in Los Angeles, California. One is a crooked mission, the other a noble one.

The first story, Carlton Stevens Montanye’s “A Shock for the Countess,” is about international jewel thieves. It was originally published in the pulp fiction magazine Black Mask in March 1923, and is filled with the luscious, overwrought language that characterizes great pulp writing. The story's reader is Dublin-native Fionnula Flanagan, who is much celebrated for her annual reading of Molly Bloom’s famous soliloquy at Symphony Space’s annual “Bloomsday” reading of James Joyce’s "Ulysses." Her many stage, television and film credits include “Some Mother’s Son;” “The Others;” and “Transamerica;” and a recurring role on “Lost.”

Our second story is Mark Helprin’s “Katherine Comes to Yellow Sky.” The English-born heroine of this story was raised in a grim Massachusetts mining town. In the story, she is on a life quest that takes her to the unsettled American West. As she tries to break away from the confinements and restrictions of life as a 19th-century woman, she has “a vision of clouds and yellow sky” that sustains her throughout the long train trip West. Helprin is a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute and has written the novels Winter’s Tale and Freddy and Fredericka, among others. The reader is Lisa Gay Hamilton, whose many television appearances include roles on “Law and Order SVU;” “Without a Trace;” and “ER.”

The musical interlude is The Pink Panther Strikes Againby Henry Mancini, from his score for the film. The Selected Shorts theme is Roger Kellaway’s “Come to the Meadow.”

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