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Archive Entries for March 2019

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Sunday March 31, 2019

Books in March

  • Hall of Mirrors by Christopher Fowler [Read by Tim Goodman]
    BOM-B&MHallOfMirrors.jpg I'm guessing to counteract the effect of the inevitable implausible aging of his protagonists, the author has moved the action to an earlier time in B&M's careers - 1969 - and the setting is a country house - a locked room mystery. As a consequence, CF was not able to rely so much on the eccentric characters of our heroes (formed over years to make not only a peculiar crimes unit but two very interesting peculiar old chaps) - and I missed the very real strange underworld of the London that they (and probably the author) inhabit. There seemed also to be a very strong element of almost slapstick humour, which, outside of this book, I can admire but rarely makes me laugh - although when done well I have to admit to rolling in the aisles with everyone else (for example, the "Goes Wrong" shows, but rather less Norman Wisdom).
    So... our friends - who I should mention would still not actually be very young men in 1969 - are sent to a posh but country house ("Hall") owned by a dope-smoking Lord (a familiar cameo of the era); they are acting as body guards to one of the house guests. There is plenty of opportunity (taken) for observing the end of Swinging 60s and the social changes in play at that time. The country house is in disrepair, and the British class system is being questioned, which is illustrated in the differences between Bryant and May themselves.
    I enjoyed it all as much as ever but trying to visualise B&M in their primes is challenging for author and reader.
    [Interestingly, Maggie Armitage (the witch) makes a lot more sense as her younger self - a young bohemian new-age character I can strongly identify with... the dawning of the Age of Aquarius..]

  • The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
    [Read by Lindy Nettleton, Johnny Heller, Tom Taylorson, and Andi Arndt]
    BOM-TheGoodGirl.jpg Alison - who reads a great deal, very widely, and very quickly - recommended this book to me. I was not familiar with this author, but I thought the book was excellent. It's a kind of psychological thriller, and I think I had worked out the unexpected twist in the book fairly early on, although when this happens I find it's often what the author intended.
    It is written in two timelines - "then" and "now", as well as in several voices. As usual, I was listening to the book and with different actors voicing the parts, it worked very well. It's a sad tale, but right from the start, they were tragic characters so no ending could have been a conventionally happy one.

  • I'll Keep You Safe by Peter May
    BOM-IllKeepYouSafe.jpg "Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane co-own the Hebridean company Ranish Tweed". I'm hooked already.... A book about tweed....
    Ruairidh promises his wife he will always look after her, but as in the age old tradition tragedy strikes. On a business trip to Paris to promote their luxury brand, Ruairidh is killed by a car bomb. To make matters worse, it seems he was in the car with a lover, and the French police have Niamh down as their prime suspect. Finally, she returns home to Lewis, bereft, and struggling to cope with managing their business (while the French police officer doggedly continues her enquiries in Scotland).
    And that's where the old tradition ends. It's all very sinister and tense throughout, with many interesting twists before the thrilling denouement.
    [I was a bit surprised as I thought this novel was written earlier in May's career and recently reissued, but it seems to have been first published in 2018.]

Posted on March 31, 2019 at 4:56 PM. Category: Books of the Month. | Comments (0)

Tuesday March 26, 2019

A Hundred Words for Snow


It's all about a probably extraordinary (given what happens) 15 year old girl's relationship with her probably very ordinary Father, and her compelling desire to scatter his ashes at the North Pole. Improbably, but made wholly convincing, she runs away with a passport and her Mother's credit card...
Gemma Barnett plays the engaging teenager with an ambition, and we all loved her. [Being a one woman show, with overtones of a "rites of passage", combined with the delightfully unlikely heroine reminded me of Lydia Larson's Finding Fassbender in Edinburgh - which I know Rob would have loved also - but sadly, I failed to see any sign of a transfer].
Directed by Lucy Jane Atkinson, this is another wonderful show from the Trafalgar Studios. [Although they will for ever have to go some distance to top The Grinning Man].

Posted on March 26, 2019 at 8:29 AM. Category: Days Out. | Comments (0)

Thursday March 14, 2019

Rebus: Long Shadows


This is a 2018 DI Rebus play completing the final leg of its tour with a week at the Rose theatre.
Ron Donachie* plays John Rebus pretty well perfectly in my opinion; he comes across as an older guy right enough, but conveys the impression of being as wily and tough as he ever was. The play fits in with the timeline of the novels' with Rebus retired and consulting on cold cases.
The set was highly atmospheric, aided by the incidental music - and probably a smoke machine(!) - centring on an open staircase standing in for the entrance to Rebus' tenement building where much of the action takes place; small spaces were created with the (increasingly popular) dynamic addition of props indicating other venues.

I loved it.

[* Ron Donachie is a very familiar face on TV - I swear he has been in everything - especially where a stock Scotsman is required - and he's always terrific.]

Posted on March 14, 2019 at 11:55 PM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)