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A short discussion of The China Governess (1962), and then some debate on the nature/nurture questions it provokes, from May/June 2006.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Spring 2010 issue of The Bottle Street Gazette (the journal of the Margery Allingham Society) features, among many other good things, the text of an address to the Society by the mystery writer Janet Laurence. Laurence talks in some detail of the very great Traitor’s Purse (1941) and summarises with admirable precision the masterstroke of series development which Allingham engineered in this book. Read the rest of this entry »

The most ambitious programme I embarked upon in the past few months was a chronological reading of the work of John Dickson Carr. Unfortunately this did not get very far because I fairly soon became tired of his books for reasons which I will explain below. Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday PM

Session 3

Ann Cleeves :  True North – The Mask and Northern Crime

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The standard of papers given at the St Hilda’s Mystery Weekend just seems to get higher year by year. This was the 17th St Hilda’s and the fifth I have attended, and was distinguished not only by the quality of the papers, but also by the extent to which, in general, they spoke to the theme. Read the rest of this entry »

While I do not note every new Suchet Poirot production, the adaptation of Three Act Tragedy (2010)  demands attention and consideration. I think it may well be the best of the Suchet Poirots, which is a very large claim, and an excellent piece of television drama  in its own right. Both direction (by Ashley Pearce) and script (by Nick Dear) are very fine and the acting of Suchet himself and Martin Shaw, superb. The following analysis will contain spoilers. Read the rest of this entry »

The latest McKenzie Marple was They Do it With Mirrors. While there were some good elements and the usual strong cast and handsome production values, this particular adaptation failed in terms of its plot alterations and emotional impact. These two values are often closely linked in both the McEwan and McKenzie Marples, because one fairly consistent thread has been the replacement of money by love as a dominant motive and motif. The immediate problem with this is that to succeed the bar is set much higher in terms of the particular production conveying love in a both a convincing and emotionally satisfying way. Read the rest of this entry »

In Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks John Curran has managed the paradoxical feat of producing a book which is on the one hand indispensible to the Christie aficionado, and on the other highly unsatisfactory. The book is the result of years of research into Christie’s so-called ‘secret notebooks’. In effect these were a series of notebooks in which – among shopping lists, reminders, much trivia of her everyday life – Christie jotted down plot ideas, from rudimentary outlines and single sentence concepts to fully developed schemes. Read the rest of this entry »

Julia Mackenzie made her debut as the latest incarnation of Miss Marple, replacing Geraldine McEwan. The first episode was A Pocketful of Rye and it was pretty good. Read the rest of this entry »

This is not a review – just notes on a couple of curiosities.

It is perhaps worth noting that Christie begins this book with a classic
Sherlock Holmes spoof. Read the rest of this entry »

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January 2023