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Archive Entries for March 2022

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Thursday March 31, 2022

Books in March

  • Troubled Bloodby Robert Galbraith[Read by Robert Glenister]
    BOM-TroubledBlood.jpg I guess this is another one of those I'd been saving up for a rainy day, and it did not disappoint. It is a long book - I believe JK Rowling has been criticised for this in general - but fans are as much interested in the story of the characters as in the mystery plot so I can't see there will be many complaints. As to the plot: it is pretty complex and, in hindsight, highly improbable; however it's told in such a way that disbelief is suspended and it becomes wholly convincing. Strike and Robin investigate a 20 year old unsolved missing person case - with little hope of resolution after so many years. On the plus side, as they are not the police, and as it is all so long ago, some witnesses are more forthcoming than they were at the time - whilst on the negative side, others are more determined than ever that some facts should never be revealed. Add to this a fascinating diversion into the occult as they try to decipher the long-dead DI's casebook, (written as he descended into a mental breakdown), and we are all set for a jolly time!
    Robert Glenister is a simply brilliant reader, and to me he particularly excels himself with this book. He is truly narrating rather than acting out but manages to voice each character quite distinctively, and even includes the "stage directions" as written (yawns, coughs etc) without ever over-doing it or becoming a distraction from the text.
    I think this illustrates a bit of a loss for Mark Billingham's books, which are now narrated by the author; Mark is brilliant, but a comedian first and actor second, (actually I should revise that immediately as I think that these days he has to be classed as an author first).

  • The Edge by Dick Francis [Read by Tony Britton]
    BOM-TheEdge.jpg Dick Francis' books always have a "theme" and they are always at their best when that theme sticks to racing. However in this book the "theme" is not only racing but also a good deal about the Canadian railway system, as the entire action of the plot is on board a racing "special" which is transporting owners and horses between the race venues.
    Some other readers noted - as did I - that the more gripping elements were a bit diluted since the hero, working under cover throughout, never really confronted the the villain of the piece in his true persona. But in truth, the book was not among his best because it was published after Mary had died, and I think there is no doubt when considering the Francis catalogue, that she put the true magic into the books. I think his technical information, structure, and plotting are all sound, but the gut-wrenching emotion, and thrilling sense of jeopardy, are missing without her influence.

  • The Department of Sensitive Crimes, The Strange Case of the Moderate Extremists , The Talented Mr. Varg, and The Man with the Silver Saab
    by Älexander McCall Smith [Read by Saul Reichlin]

    This is an amusing set of tongue-in-cheek mysteries from "Älexander" McCall Smith. It satirises the "scandi-noir" books, dwelling excessively on philosophy and ethics (somewhat at the expense of plot). Enjoyable rather than ground breaking.
    It's a particularly nice touch to have Saul Reichlin's gravelly narration, as heard in the famous Dragon Tattoo (Millenium) series - and others.

    BOM-TheDepartmentOfSensitiveCrimes.jpg BOM-TheStrangeCaseOfTheModerateExtremists.jpg BOM-TheTalentedMrVarg.jpg BOM-TheManWithTheSilverSaab.jpg

Posted on March 31, 2022 at 11:15 AM. Category: Books of the Month. | Comments (0)

Monday March 21, 2022

The Duke


Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren pretending to be old - but in fact portraying characters from the 1960s that were well over 10 years younger than the actors are now. [To be fair I think working people had generally much harder lives then]. Anyway - a lovely film, a great cast, and a courtroom drama and script approved of by the Law Society Gazette.
Based on the true story, Kempton Bunton is shown as a charming if hopelessly irritating man with a practised line in standing up for working people and OAPs. I dearly hope they took the script from his actual testimony in court, but, even if so, I'm sure it had to be much edited to avoid dull procedural legal guff in what is billed as a comedy.

Posted on March 21, 2022 at 11:51 PM. Category: Art and Culture. | Comments (0)

Sunday March 6, 2022

Spring Pots


My Autumn bulbs in the beds were been decimated (or worse) by squirrels digging them up to eat - a lack of acorns this year due to the oak processionary moth. However, I protected some small pots with chicken wire....

Posted on March 6, 2022 at 10:33 AM. Category: The Garden. | Comments (0)