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A Likely Story

It’s not easy being a nepo baby, as Isabelle Manning knows all too well. The protagonist of Leigh McMullan Abramson’s debut novel, A Likely Story, came of age in the epicenter of the Manhattan literati. It served her well as a precocious child, less so as a full-blown adult who can’t manage to finish her first novel. Things get even more interesting when the family secrets begin to trickle out from their hiding places. Abramson, a native New Yorker, former lawyer, and accomplished journalist, brings this rarefied universe to life, and assembles her narrative with remarkable skill and panache. ($23.23, —Ashley Baker

Storm clouds over downtown Laramie, Wyoming on August 13, 2022. - Nearly 25 years ago, the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard – a gay college student in Wyoming who was beaten, tied to a fence and left to die – shocked America. Today, the small city of Laramie – the scene of the infamous hate crime – has become an improbable refuge for sexual minorities in the ultra-conservative mountain state. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

The Coldest Case in Laramie

“Whenever I talked about the roughest place I’d ever lived, I’d always say Laramie,” says Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Kim Barker in a new podcast from the Serial creators. In 1985, when Barker was a sophomore at Laramie High School, 22-year-old college student Shelli Wiley was stabbed 11 times in her apartment complex on the west side of the Wyoming town. The case went cold, but Barker never forgot about Shelli, or Laramie. A quick search during the pandemic brought some startling information: 31 years after Shelli’s murder, an arrest had finally been made. Returning to Laramie to investigate, Barker speaks with those closest to the crime—the family, the roommate, the lead detective, and the suspect himself, former police officer Fred Lamb. Their testimonies, along with the original police interviews, offer dramatically different versions of what happened. Under closer examination, several stories begin to unravel, leaving only one thing certain—it’s up to the listener to decide who, and what, to believe. ( —Paulina Prosnitz



Soon enough, there will be no need to dread a flight from London or New York to Sydney—if you’re flying on Qantas, that is. The airline’s new Project Sunrise service will make the entire experience a pleasure; they have ordered a fleet of 12 A350s that will serve only 238 passengers in total. More than 40 percent of the seats will be allocated to premium accommodations, and the six first-class and 52 business-class cabins are more appealing than most hotel rooms. Sliding doors, fully reclining beds, stylish recliners, and 32-inch touch-screen televisions are only a few of the seductive amenities. Those who seek zen over gluttony will head to the Wellbeing Zone, which will offer movement classes alongside nutritious meals and beverages. The A350s also represent progress from an environmental standpoint; they use up to 20 percent less fuel than other similarly sized aircraft. In short: hold off on the Australian vacation for a few years. Project Sunrise will launch in late 2025, and we suspect it will be worth the wait. ( —Ashley Baker



Sir Quentin Blake has found possibly the single most Scottish way to present Macbeth. At 90 years old, Roald Dahl’s longtime illustrator is entering the world of Scotch whiskey. Each of the 42 whiskeys in the collection was selected for its similarity to a character in Shakespeare’s play. The bottles are illustrated with a nib-drawn portrait by Blake and accompanied by a note from writer Dave Broom. We will have to wait three years for Macbeth, which will be released after the Third Act. But that will give us time to save up, as the minor characters start at around $100 and the leads go past $10,000. For now, choose from the nine characters in the just released Act One, which features Seyton (a 12-year-old Ardmore), the First Murderer (an 18-year-old island single malt), the First Witch (a 19-year-old Islay malt), and—drum roll—King Duncan (a 56-year-old, single-cask Glen Grant). See, Shakespeare really is fun. (from $101, —Clara Molot


Date Better

I try to avoid foods that come in colorful packages. (Surely the pinks and neon yellows are to distract from some vile ingredient inside.) One of the few exceptions to that rule: Date Better. Inside each baby-blue or bright-orange package are two Medjool dates filled with nut butter and dipped in dark chocolate. Sure, it’s not particularly healthy. But it is preservative-, soy-, dairy-, and palm-oil-free. The dates come in four different flavors—cashew lime, peanut-butter crunch, almond java, and hazelnut praline—all of which are delicious. ($36, —Jensen Davis


Saltie Girl

Formerly the home of West Hollywood’s Wahlburgers, the new Saltie Girl serves up all the seafood towers, lobster rolls, and slurpable raw oysters for which the Boston restaurant group first became known. But the social-media showstopper is sure to be the more than 130 varieties of tinned fish, on display and available to taste. They’re served like Spanish charcuterie, on a board alongside pickled piparra peppers; a spicy, savory jam; sliced bread; and a dollop of butter. New Englander Kathy Sidell founded the original Saltie Girl in 2016, reimagining the barstool meals of Barcelona with a modern American approach. (She just opened a location in London as well.) It’s safe to say the quirky and decadent concept has been a hit. ( —Bridget Arsenault

Issue No. 191
March 11, 2023
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Issue No. 191
March 11, 2023