I was young when I started reading my Mom's books. There were stacks of them all over the house; every time she checked out at the A&P she'd add another to her collection. Before John Grisham hit the grocery-store-paperback scene with his inspiring anthology of court room dramas, there was Sidney Sheldon. To this day, even his name evokes memories of stealing away to my bedroom with a tattered copy of Windmills of the Gods stowed between the virtuous covers of a Hardy Boys novel. I'd go to town, delving into the juicy lives of the rich and accident-prone, names like Annabelle and Ernestine Littlechap on every page, shoulder-padded suits and expensive yachts, stolen artwork and scandalous trysts in government buildings. I loved it!
If my Mom happened by my bedroom door I'd panic and gesture to the never-read boy-detective story in my lap, instantly conjuring a vivid and detailed plot summary. It wasn't until puberty kicked-in that I saw the real value in the adorable Hardy Boys from Bayport. I put down my Mom's books and spent the next several years with Frank and Joe. It might be the root of my thing for New England-preppy guys in polo shirts.