The House of Words

A note with the single word 'curare' found in the empty apartment of four-time New York State Scrabble champion Suzy Quest starts a dizzying search for her missing parents. At the heart of her search is The House of Words, a book she believes was written by her father, a protester from the Seventies who left his family under mysterious circumstances twenty years earlier and may now be working as a deep cover spy. Is The House of Words a code detailing the workings of an international conspiracy? Is it bait for a power struggle at the top of the reformed agency? Is it Suzy's father's apologia for disappearing from her life? Part Dan Brown, part Thomas Pynchon, The House of Words is an intellectual thriller that peels back the gloss on modern intrigue, espionage, and the search for meaning.

            Chapters 1-3             [Chapters1-3.pdf]             Amazon (Kindle)

The House of Words cover


Suzy Quest's Essential Scrabble Rules


1. Know how to spell.

2. Know your lists. Greek and Hebrew letters, NATO phonetic alphabet, currencies.

3. Know the two-letter vowel words, aa, ae, ai, oe, oi, for when you're stuck but don't want to lose a turn changing tiles.

4. Beware the rage of others. Behind every happy Scrabble player is a demon waiting to crush you.

5. Play aggressively with good tiles, but not when the leave is too big.

6. The re words are great, but not all are good. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you can redo it.

7. If you can forget the ups and downs of luck, you're free.

8. Proper names are allowed if they have other meanings. You have to remember them all, especially the jays: jack, jacky, jade, jake, jamima, jane, jean, jeff, jerry, jess, jezebel, jill, jimmy, jo, joanna, jock, joe, joey, john, johnson, josh, joss, judy.

9. Randomness is the same for everyone. Don't let a bad rack or bad opponent beat you.

10. Synergy is important. Keep good letter combos and get rid of the dogs.

11. Know the classic six-letter stems from which a bingo is formed with almost any seventh letter: satire, retina, tisane.

12. Time is important. Get over it when you have an orphan bingo.

13. It's essential to know your Latin plurals. Foci, radii, sarcophagi, stadia, addenda, plena, even apices, the plural of apex. Or even octopodes, an exception from Greek not Latin, the plural of octopus.

14. Pay attention to British spellings. All are allowed in Scrabble. Take any verb with z and make it an s.

15. Write down the words you don't know.

16. Keep a book of the good and the bad. Words are important but you have to know your opponents.

17. Blanks and esses are the stuff of dreams. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

18. A well-placed addition wins games. Always watch for the prefix and suffix words, especially out and ing.

19. Always look to make the fours, fives, and sixes into more.

20. The triple alleys are for scoring. Especially bingos.

21. Know your short words, the twos, the threes, and the fours. Three-quarters of all words played in Scrabble are from five percent of the dictionary.

22. Don't be afraid to open up the board. Width is a winner.

23. W and U are the real death letters and then C and V. A hell of a hard way to bingo.


Detective Agent Jones's Spy Rules


1. Beware the double bluff.

2. Check in every six hours. We need to know where you are, even if you don't.

3. One has to be adventurous, adaptable, clear thinking, and in shape. Acting skills come in handy.

4. Don't forget the ability to blend in. Urban camouflage.

10. Know your fencing moves: prime, seconde, tierce, quarte, quinte, sixte, septime, octave, neuvieme.


Nicky Quest's Democracy Rules


1. The right of petition.

2. The right of an independent judiciary.

3. Freedom from ...


James Graves's only rule


1. Trust yourself.


The House of Words rule


Build it and they will come, maintain it and they will stay, destress with deserts, play by a mixture of your own and someone else's rules.


        For a complete edition of The House of Words (Chapters 1 - 36): Amazon (Kindle)