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Archive Entries for April 2019

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Tuesday April 30, 2019

Books in April

  • Loose Tongues by Chris Simms [read by Joe Jameson] BOM-LooseTongues.jpg
    Having picked up on Chris' writing, I went to the library to look for all his books available as downloads. This the first of two books about newly qualified DC Sean Blake. His Mother is retired from the police and is very anxious about him - and he feels about her as we all probably do about our Mothers - we love 'em but they don't 'arf go on....
    Anyway it's a really good mystery with another thrilling ending - and a bit sad. I really like Sean and I'm looking forward to reading Marked Men.

  • Sing Me to Sleep by Chris Simms [read by Becky Hindley] BOM-SingMeToSleep.jpg
    Owing to my ferreting about in the virtual library, this month is a bit of a Simms-fest. This is a "stand-alone" mystery which could not be more different from his police procedurals - it's more of a ghost if not horror story which keeps you guessing. Having read a couple of Chris' short stories, he seems rather good at writing this type of tale, and this one was excellent; he easily sustained the plot to the length of a full novel (often they don't, hence the number of "collections" of short stories on these topics). However, looking at my tastes in books and dramas overall, I'm not sure I'm so keen on stories of the supernatural - I suppose it's that they very often have a sting in the tail, and I have a preference for justice done, people laid to rest, and happy endings. It's all made up after all. [...or is it?].

  • The Graveyard of the Hesperides, The Third Nero (or Never Say Nero Again),
    and Pandora's Boy by Lindsey Davis

    Just catching up on the Flavia Alba novels.
    Skeletons are found in the grounds (and probably the cupboards) of the the run-down eponymous bar that Manlius is renovating - that's the mystery for Flavia Alba to solve. Any spare time is taken up with planning for her imminent wedding celebration - and provides a neat opportunity for Lindsey to roundly satirise the entire process, as she always does, in very modern terms. Thus the plot involves sex workers, bones, wedding planners and lentils. The culmination is spectacular to say the least.
    The second book is set in AD 89 and the Nero in the title refers to the period between the autumn of 69 AD and the reign of the emperor Domitian, when various Nero impostors appeared on the scene, (one has to ask "why?" although it seems Nero still had a number of supporters willing to believe or invent anything ... fake news anyone?). Scholars suggest the number of Nero impostors was two or three, although St. Augustine (we like him...) wrote of the popularity of the belief that Nero would return in his day, known as the Nero Redivivus legend. Flavia Alba works to solve the mystery at the heart of the story while her new husband is still recovering from the effects of their wedding celebrations (or "event") in the previous book.
    For the third book we are still in Rome AD 89. Pandora supplies herbal remedies, and there is a suggestion that one of them may have been responsible for the death of a young girl from a wealthy family - alternatively she died from a broken heart. Either way, love potions and the occult were involved. Bizarrely, Flavia Alba is asked to look into it by Manlius' ex-wife. This book seems to have been more favourably received by readers than the previous two.

    BOM-TheGraveyardOfTheHesperides.jpg BOM-TheThirdNero.jpg BOM-PandorasBoy.jpg

Posted on April 30, 2019 at 12:49 PM. Category: Books of the Month. | Comments (0)

Thursday April 4, 2019

Home, I'm Darling


This is a witty play about a couple's decision (or more exactly the wife's decision) to turn the clock back in their domestic life to a simpler era - the 1950s. Judy (played by Katherine Parkinson) takes voluntary redundancy and decides to live a retro life - in decor, fashion, cooking, and relationship. Her husband appears to bask in his new role - but predictably, after a time it palls, and the financial reality begins to bite. This is a satire on the desire to move back to an artificial version of an era, existing only in the minds of most who hanker for it, but were not even alive at the time. It's a nostalgia for the "cup-cake" existence as enshrined by events like the Goodwood Revival - and although not wholly unreal, it's not how ordinary people living through that grey post-war era remember it most - definitely not the glamorous "New Look" or Joan Miro art available to Princess Margaret and Grace Kelly.
[But rather wearing your school gaberdine mac out to dances with the sleeves pushed up to try and look like a fashionable trench coat, even though it was a give-away shade of bottle green...].

Posted on April 4, 2019 at 8:26 AM. Category: Days Out. | Comments (0)

Monday April 1, 2019

All About Eve


How could one pass up the opportunity to see Gillian Anderson and Lily James in such iconic roles? Serendipity meant I was able to take Alison with me for a little appropriately-timed celebratory outing. For me, this did not disappoint, although Michael Billington (my personal bellwether) was - unusually - not so enamoured. It's hard not to compare it with the Bette Davis film - even though, (Philistine that I am), I only belatedly realised during the performance, that it was a film I had actually seen(!). Unsurprising, there was a more immediately obvious comparison with the staging of Network, and although I thought it was excellent, the use of the multi-media technology did not have quite the same intrinsic relevance to the plot.
However I found it wonderful, and would not have missed it for the world.

[I also want to mention Monica Dolan here: she is a fabulous actress, and to my mind seems to be in "everything" either in noticeably character-acting leads, but also in quieter supporting roles, undergoing such amazing transformations that I always have to do a double-take to check it really is her.]

Posted on April 1, 2019 at 8:25 AM. Category: Days Out. | Comments (0)