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Fiat Lux "A man with a bass just walked in, and he's putting it down on the floor." (USA)

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DCI Banks - Series 2 [DVD]
DCI Banks - Series 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Stephen Tompkinson
Price: £6.99

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This series should be called "DI Morton"?, 2 Sept. 2013
This review is from: DCI Banks - Series 2 [DVD] (DVD)
You know, Leeds is far away from Ballykissangel, as the crow flies, and even further the Glen Afric Country Lodge, but Stephen Tompkinson manages the same indignant stare and compressed lip in Yorkshire as he did in South Africa (he was wild at heart at the time, so I suppose his demeanor was acceptable at the time, and they do teach the fine art of the indignant stare in seminaries, do they not?). But the real star of this show is Caroline Catz, whose careful characterization of the uptight DI Helen Morton is as far away from DI Kate Ashurst (from Murder in Suburbia) or Louisa Glasson (from Doc Martin) as Portwenn is from Broederstroom.

And it's interesting that the breakout character in this series wasn't even in the Inspector Alan Banks novels by Peter Robinson. Sometimes fiction is stranger than, well, fiction.

HDIUK Handheld Magnifier. 6x Spyglass Magnifying Glass for learning, reading books and fault finding
HDIUK Handheld Magnifier. 6x Spyglass Magnifying Glass for learning, reading books and fault finding

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Come, Watson, the game is afoot, 2 Sept. 2013
A brilliant product and required equipment for any armchair detective. Assists in deduction by allowing 6X magnification of essential observable clues in the field. Allows detailed analysis of hair, stains, footprints, or small pictures of dancing men. Very good for examining the details of the human ear, since there is no part of the body which varies so much as the human ear. Allows artifacts such as a blue carbuncle to be examined in great detail. Can be used as a monocle in an emergency, but the magnification is not conducive to long-distance vision. Great when trying to read the classified section of the London Times. Helps to locate the needle and syringe in the drawer when ambient light is poor.

It's a good prop to hold in one's hand when speaking since the light glints off the lens and makes you the focus of attention. Far better than waving a pipe or using expressive hand movements. Particularly useful if the accompanying dialog is something like "elementary, my dear fellow!" or "It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence."

Note: May be offensive to some if used in their presence, such as Wilhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein, Grand Duke of Cassel-Felstein and the hereditary King of Bohemia.

Midsomer Murders: The Complete Series One and Two [DVD]
Midsomer Murders: The Complete Series One and Two [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Nettles
Price: £18.67

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great show, astronomical body count, 31 Aug. 2013
There are so many murders in Midsomer that I am amazed there is anyone still living there at all. If I were a resident of the county, I for one would have quickly packed up and left, probably soon after Episode 12 ("Judgement Day") when there were 5 (count `em, five!) murders.

I would have moved from Midsomer to LA or East St Louis or Darfur or another relatively low-crime area (compared to Midsomer, that is). I'm amazed we haven't heard more about this appalling increase in British criminal activity --- good lord, doesn't the Chief Constable of Midsomer report his statistics to *someone* up the food chain? One would think the streets of Causton would be crawling with indignant bureaucrats from Whitehall peripatetically investigating the epidemic of local homicides.

And the deaths have become progressively more bizarre - no more stabbings or bludgeonings or poisonings or whatever else the British apparently routinely get up to in their villages: I raised an eyebrow when Eleanor Crouch was spun to death in a tumble drier, and I admit my eyes widened when Danny Pinchall was drowned in a cauldron of cold tomato soup, but when Otto Benham was staked to his lawn with croquet hoops and pelted with wine bottles catapulted from his replica Roman trebuchet, why I was gobsmacked.

But you know who I really feel sorry for? Not for DCI Barnaby or the hapless residents of the area, which probably has the lowest life expectancy in the UK, but for Dr Bullard, who must be the most overworked forensic pathologist on the planet.

Having said all that, the series is filmed at glorious locations and we get to see wonderful vistas of an idyllic world that vividly represents the quintessential English countryside, and though the show jumped the shark some years ago, I still enjoy watching it. It's a shame that Midsomer looks nothing like the real Britain (when was the last time you saw someone in Midsomer who wasn't white?) but it's still essential viewing for all those who like British murder mysteries.

Lewis - Series 7 [DVD]
Lewis - Series 7 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Kevin Whately
Price: £8.49

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Morse said: thank Lewis for me, 6 July 2013
This review is from: Lewis - Series 7 [DVD] (DVD)
Alas, it looks like Inspector Lewis will be retiring at the end of season six, and his patient manner of policing will come to an end as the curtain is drawn over the series.

As I sit with a pint of best bitter in front of my TV and the end titles of "Intelligent Design", the last episode in the series, scroll to a weary closure, I realize that I have spent over *twenty years* with with Morse and Lewis, for I have been acquainted with them since the 1980s, and they along with Jean Innocent and James Hathaway and Chief Superintendent Strange have regularly entered my home as friends and consorted with me, allowing me to observe them in the vicissitudes of their jobs and lives -- much like 'take your kid to work' day, except on multiple days every year for two decades.

And alas, now that will end.

Much as Lewis missed his wife after she died, with a shallow lingering scar of sorrow but without any trace of cloying sentimentality, so shall I miss this show. And since Oxford has been described as the "city of dreaming spires", it is but natural that I ask myself,

What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

But before I can turn too maudlin and reach for the Glenfiddich, I hear a voice in my ear. "But cheer up laddie", I hear Lewis say with his quiet Geordie air, "there's always 'Endeavour' to watch on the telly now."

And so there is, Robbie. So there is.

The Jenguin Pennings
The Jenguin Pennings
by Paul Jennings
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gangster gonsters, and more!, 11 Mar. 2012
This review is from: The Jenguin Pennings (Paperback)
Ah memories. What a great collection of essays. From the Wall of Balbus (in Latin, of course) to the incomprehensible instructions to play Halma, to that classic ditty about gong-banging tongsters disturbing the peace ("Get thee hengst/ The gong thou bangst/ Adds private woe to public angst")

It is a testament to Paul Jennings' genius that I remember his essays, and even some of his poems, aeons after I first read them. Brilliant stuff.

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