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Chibiabos83
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Joined: 19 Nov 2008
Posts: 3390


Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:15 pm    Post subject:  Reply with quote

My latest Sherlock Holmes collection is His Last Bow, a very enjoyable bunch of stories. The pick of them may be 'The Bruce-Partington Plans', which has Watson receiving the following telegram:

"Am dining at Goldini's Restaurant, Gloucester Road, Kensington.
Please come at once and join me there. Bring with you a jemmy,
a dark lantern, a chisel, and a revolver—S.H."


Not to mention some wry comedy:

Lestrade and Mycroft met us by appointment at the outside of
Gloucester Road Station. The area door of Oberstein's house had
been left open the night before, and it was necessary for me, as
Mycroft Holmes absolutely and indignantly declined to climb the
railings, to pass in and open the hall door.


'The Dying Detective' is simple but beautifully realised, 'The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax' fun, with busy Holmes sending Watson to Europe to do some investigating/bungling, then appearing himself out of the blue to save the day; 'The Devil's Foot' and 'The Red Circle' are both most entertaining. I'd forgotten the title story, which is decidedly odd, with Holmes coming out of retirement to foil some German plans on the eve of the Great War. I think you have to read it as of its time, i.e. 1917, a bit of jollity to aid the war effort.


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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2960


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bst wishes for Easter to you all.  I have finished Cotillion by Georgette Heyer, a delightful romp through an imagined (though well researched) Regency time with a romance between cousins (which always made my American members - the majority - a little queasy since it is illegal there, though not in Britain or NZ.  

Freddy the "hero". has some wonderful dialogue, especially when Kitty drags him round the historic and widely admired buildings of London.  When he sees the Elgin Marbles, he is amazed.  "As he put it, he dropped the blunt for two tickets of admission and a catalogue, he confronted those treasures of ancient Greece, he was quite dumbfounded, and only recovered his voice when he was callked upon to admire the Three Fates, from the eastern pediment.
'Dash it, they've got no heads,' he protested.
'No, but, you see, Freddy, they are so very old! They have been damaged, explained Miss Charing.  
'Damaged! I should rather think so! They haven't got any arms either! Well, if this don't beat the Dutch! And just look at this, Kit!'
'Birth of Athene from the brain of Zeus,' said Kitty, cponsulting the catalogue.
Birth of Athene from WHAT?'"

When Kitty tries to explain the importance of the marbles it then goes on, "but the disclosure that he had been maced of his blunt by a set of persons whom he freely characterized as hell-kites only to see a collection of marbles of which the main parts were missing so worked upon him that he could not be brought to recognize the merits of the frieze, but seemed to be much inclined to seek out the author of this attempt to gull the public that Kitty hastily announced her wish to visit St Paul's Cathedral, and coaxed him out of the building."

Bits like this still make me laugh out loud.


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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 672


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Caro you almost make me want to do something about the Heyer gap in my CV. The urge will probably pass soon enough, but I should still do something about it.
So many authors and so many books and so little time. A foot of spring snow this morning being one of the distractions. Writing being another. Still plodding through Roslund and Hellstrom's 'Three Seconds', which certainly keeps the reader guessing.

Happy Easter to all, by the way.




Last edited by Joe McWilliams on Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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chris-l



Joined: 27 Nov 2008
Posts: 731



PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have enjoyed the Mrs Gaskell novels, and other works, that I have read - Cranford, Sylvia, Mothers and Daughters, the Life of Charlotte Bronte and several short stories. The only one I did not find to my taste was Cousin Phyllis, which seemed to me to be overly moralistic, but maybe that says more about my loose grip on conventional morality than it does about Mrs Gaskell. I recently downloaded North and South with the intention of reading it at an early opportunity. I will report back once I have tried it!


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Mikeharvey



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 3351


Location: Lancashire

PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anthony Trollope's 1879 novel COUSIN HENRY is one of his shortest and most compact, running to just 166  pages in my Folio Society edition.  The plot hinges on a missing will which leaves Uncle Indefer's estate to niece Isabel. But the only will to be found leaves the estate to distant cousin Henry. Trollope gets a lot of narrative mileage out of the search for the will, which the reader, and Henry know, is concealed between the pages of a book of sermons in the library. Henry's indecision - should he destroy the will? - is beautifully handled. There are only a handful of characters and there is no sub-plot.  The hopeless Cousin Henry is a very well-drawn character, and so is Isabel, but I found her antipathy to Henry rather unbelieveable, making her unsympathetic, which I'm sure was not Trollope's real intention.  An enjoyable speedy read.


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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 672


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm reading a travel book by George Erickson, a retired dentist from Minnesota who flies by bush plane all over the vast Canadian north. It's called 'True North.' Not a title that would have attracted my notice, but a friend recommended it. It turns out Erickson is quite the lyrical gent with a nice aptitude for describing what he sees. He inserts bits of history and commentary of his own into his travelogue. It works well.
Most Canadians shun the north, I think. I do. As a rule I don't want to think about it. Too huge; too harsh.
But then along comes somebody and makes it seem irresistibly interesting. A million lakes teeming with fish; polar bears and beluga whales; caribou in tens of thousands, musk oxen and, well yes, mosquitos. Billions of those.
And stories of misanthropic trappers - no shortage of those either.


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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2960


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here I will betray my ignorance, Joe, but to me the word Canada means a big country with not many people, except in the few cities.  I don't differentiate between the north and south.  Vancouver is talked of as a very beautiful city, but I know next to nothing about the others.  (Talking of beautiful cities a woman on another board said Dublin was the most beautiful city in the world which I thought was a very debatable statement.)

I read while in the resthome giving my husband some respite care, I read a whole book in less than three days!  Tides of Youth, the second in the Pencarrow series that I wrote of earlier.  The first children of the pioneering couple have grown up and are putting their own values on their children, with some disastrous results.  This one finishes at the end of the first world war.


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Sandraseahorse



Joined: 21 Nov 2008
Posts: 1149



PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I share your view on Dublin, Caro. I'm not sure it would even make my top 10 of most beautiful cities.

I enjoyed "French Rhapsody" by Antoine Laurain.  It concerns a middle-aged Parisian doctor who receives a letter that had been lost in the postal system for more than three decades. The letter from a recording company offers a contract to a band he used to belong to.  

The letter snaps him out of his mid-life lethargy and he tried to contact members of the band to see if any of them have copies of the tape that so impressed the recording company.  

I enjoyed the French cultural references, some of which I was familiar with but others I had to look up. There is a reference to someone singing"Barbara, Gainsbourg, a bit of Sylvie Vartan".  I was familiar with the second two but I've never heard of the French singer known by the single name  Barbara.

The book changes course when we are introduced to the character JBM, who is the brother of the lyricist for the group, and is running for President.  At first I found the political stuff a distraction but then I became more interested, especially with the French election on at the moment, and eventually I was more interested in this thread than what happened to the group.

I wondered if the character was based on Macron; JBM is young, photogenic and represents himself rather than a party. His policies, in so far that they are discernible, are of the centre.

"French Rhapsody" was published in January last year and when the paperback came out it was re-edited to include reference to the death of David Bowie and Prince, so it has a very contemporary feel.  

I wouldn't say it is a great novel but it was an entertaining read.


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Joe McWilliams



Joined: 10 Feb 2012
Posts: 672


Location: Canada

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re Dublin: Beauty is in the eye of the beerholder, and I hear they have some very nice pubs over there. One of them (Dillon's, I believe) belonged to a relative. As for Vancouver, it is in a pretty setting, no question. Mountains plunging into the sea - tough to beat that. As for the city itself, apart from its mountain backdrop - it's probably got nothing on Dublin.

I hesitate to ask for details, but best wishes for your husband's recovery Caro.


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Caro



Joined: 22 Nov 2008
Posts: 2960


Location: Owaka, New Zealand

PostPosted: Mon Apr 24, 2017 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, Joe, it was just to give my husband a break from me - he is entitled to 28 days a year away from me!  I don't require any more constant looking after, but he still has to help me into and out of bed and the car and I can't go anywhere without him taking me.  It just becomes a bit much at times, though I do get 2 hours a week with my of my carers just to give him time to go somewhere.  We both enjoy that - she gives me some girly time and I can ask her to help me with things that seem too trivial to bother my husband with, like sorting out my papers, which have always tended to get cluttered!

Having said there is nothing wrong with him, yesterdya my son was here helping tidy up the garden and when pulling out the lemon balm (which has very strong roots), he pulled his shoulder muscles and is in a bit of pain if he tweaks it the wrong way.

I like the sound of French Rhapsody, Sandra.



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