RIP XII is on!

Andi of Estella’s Revenge and Heather of My Capricious Life have taken on the mantle from Carl of Stainless Steel Droppings who has done sterling work making Readers Imbibing Peril one of the most fun events in the reading year.  Thanks to all three of you for founding and continuing this great tradition.  And you, reader, join us!  From September 1st until (when else?) Hallowe’en we are encouraged to read or watch anything remotely spooky, creepy, mysterious, dark, gothic, suspenseful, terrifying, horrific, thrilling or any other similar works to get us all in the Fall mood (even if it’s Spring where you are).  Read 1 book, read 4.   Read a dozen if you like.   Watch movies, read short stories, share your opinions.   It’s all about having a little spooky fun whether that’s a nice cozy mystery full of cats and cupcakes or the most nightmare-inducing horror you can find.   Whatever you enjoy.  Sign up and review what you read.  Share the scare!

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There will also be a group read of David Mitchell’s Slade House, which I can’t figure out from the descriptions I’ve read if I want to read this or not.   I’ve got some time to decide.  In fact, too much time, as I want to start my RIP reading now and really, that would be cheating.  Although it is a big world and it’s already 1 September in a lot of places…

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General Report & Secret Adversary Pt. 2

All hopes of finishing the #20booksofsummer have gone out the door.   Bronchitis moved in and while I have plenty of time to read, most days I’m not up for it.   I must say I give this bronchitis 0 stars out of 5 and don’t recommend it to anybody.   So, while I am recovering it seems to take a long damn time.

Today I watched an Endeavour and part 2 of the BBC’s 2014 adaptation of Christie’s The Secret Adversary.  I missed the first part, but thought that wouldn’t matter as I’ve read the book and seen the old 1983 movie with Francesca Annis and James Warwick, which I loved.   The two of them seemed to nail Tommy and Tuppence – their charm, their joie de vivre, their insouciance, and they had a great relationship.   Christie created a great husband and wife team in the Beresfords, it’s a pity she didn’t give them better stories.   So, as I say, I thought it wouldn’t matter about missing part 1 and now, I suppose I’m being unfair by not starting with part 1 as it took a while to work out what was going on, but the writing is so turbid, so dull, so completely lacking in joie-de-anything that if they hadn’t kept calling each other Tommy and Tuppence, I would’ve been quite certain I was watching the wrong show.   Never mind that it’s set in the oh-so-dull 50s that everything has to be set in now.   I could live with that, despite the 20s being my favorite.   After all, T&T lasted as couple for decades.   If they had found good people to do all of their stories and moved ’em all to the 50s, I wouldn’t complain… much.   But they didn’t.   And I’m apparently the only one who hates it quite this much.   Every other review read it and damned it with faint praise, seeming to agree it didn’t quite work although describing it as charming and fun.   Nope.   Wrong.   They are neither charming, nor fun.   Trying to describe the new personalities given to them, I’d have to say I’m at a loss.   Perhaps they showed more of this in the first episode.   But that just sounds painful – for some reason they’ve made Tommy clumsy and having had no career at all.    Why?   I don’t know.   Tommy and Tuppence in the books are both respected for their work in this book which sets up all the rest.   They’re both supposed to be intelligent in different ways and a loving couple.   This show they barely exist as a couple.   She’s in a ladies maid outfit, but apparently hired as a secretary.   Would’ve been much more amusing to have her dress as a prim and proper secretary.   God knows what they’ve done with Albert, but apparently he made her a tape recording of a typewriter so she could spy when she’s supposed to be working and it doesn’t work.    She gets caught when it starts up again at an awkward moment.    I suppose this is what passes for humor.  Why do so many writers think they can do it better than Christie did?   I suppose because someone pays them to, but a bit more respect for a woman who is one of the best selling authors of all time wouldn’t go amiss.   She may have started almost 100 years ago, but she got a few things right.

 

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Quite a lame cover.    If I see more of them, I might give them a second chance, but I’m not going to spend a lot of time seeking.

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So what else is happening?   Not a whole lot,  I still have a few days.   I might manage to finish a book or two in the days remaining, but #20booksofsummer it will not be.    I am sorry too not to find any evidence of Readers Imbibing Peril this year.   I might just imbibe peril anyway as I always enjoy it and maybe some of you out there will too?   I’ve got no artistic buttons, no central location for reviews, and a comparatively small audience.   Maybe I’m wrong.   If someone out there knows it is being hosted this year, please let me know!

A Buyer’s Market

Just finished the second book in Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time, A Buyer’s Market.   His writing does seem like a river of words and I had trouble getting into it at first and then it swept me along for no very obvious reason.   Nick Jenkins is starting to make his way in the world, working for a publisher of art books, falling in and out of love, and running into old friends.  Stringham and Widmerpool both reappear, Uncle Charles makes a brief, comical entrance, and Jenkins goes to parties, weddings, funerals, observing his fellow man not always accurately.   I couldn’t help thinking how bored many people would be by this.   Nothing much happens, the incidents tend to be small scale, bursting with emotions, but rarely Nick’s emotions.

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I like this cover.   It looks like a mystery.    Perhaps misleading.    I fully intend to keep reading.   I don’t know how far I got last time.   I thought to the third or fourth one, but I didn’t remember this one at all.   Not that there’s much to remember.  I shall be surprised if I remember this one in two years.   It’s not so much about what happens as about the way people flow through life, drawling closer and further apart as the current takes them, some moving faster or getting caught in a sort of eddy, reencountering each other at intervals, sometimes for an afternoon, sometimes far longer.   Do not go into this expecting a plot, and that’s what surprises me about my liking this, usually I want a story, not just a series of events, but I suppose if done the right way, I don’t mind a series of events.   I’m not clear on why I should mind it sometimes and not others.

This is my eighth book for the #20booksofsummer(andfall)

Sleeping Murder

Seven.  Count ’em.   Seven books.   Doing better than I was, but not on track and obviously reading short and easy stuff to get my numbers up.   No one is easier for me to read probably than Agatha Christie.  Sadly, this is the last of hers (except a few I skipped I could go back to.)  Written in the 40s to be published when she died as the last Miss Marple, it has an engaging start.   Young Gwenda, the newly married Mrs. Reed, has arrived in England ahead of her husband to find a house while he finishes up some business somewhere.   She grew up in New Zealand, an orphan raised by an aunt.   She finds a lovely house that feels like home in a small resort town in the south.   Soon she’s having weird moments where she’s sure there should be a path and a door where there aren’t any.   Then she starts having memories that are much harder to write off, of a dead body, for example.   Enter Miss Marple who says, let sleeping murders lie (Yeah, like she ever did.) and her husband keen to investigate.   Neither of the Reeds thinking this might lead to revelations they won’t welcome and even danger.

sleepingmurder  Not much selection in the way of covers.   My copy no one bothered at all.   At any rate, the young couple investigates and turns up fewer than the usual suspects which is maybe what allowed me to guess whodunnit.  Or maybe I read this one in my teens, though I didn’t remember it at all.   There’s a weird moment where Gwenda is in a sanatarium and a woman asks, “Was it your poor child?”   Gwenda denies that is was hers, but this scene, I swear was used later in a Tommy and Tuppence book with Tuppence being asked the same question.   I think it was Pricking of my Thumbs.   A short Google search confirms, yes, my memory is not playing tricks on me.   It’s a good scene so no wonder Christie wanted to make more use of it.  I think I’m more entertained though by the ones I don’t figure out.   I can’t tell if the end is as good as I thought the beginning was because I saw it coming.   I’m going to have to go with no, with the proviso that I’m not sure if this one is easier to figure out, or I was just cleverer than usual.

This is, as I said above, my seventh book of the summer, but it fulfills no other challenges.  #20booksofsummer