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Captain James "garden gnome" (Gloucestershire England)

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The Law of Angels: An Abbess of Meaux Mystery
The Law of Angels: An Abbess of Meaux Mystery
by Cassandra Clark
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tangled Web, 4 Feb. 2012
The author has chosen a great setting - York during the festival of Corpus Christi, when the guilds perform their mystery plays - and a time of political upheaval when Richard II (a weak king) has lost popularity and credibility, and John of Gaunt is ruthlessly plotting to placve his own son on the throne. The characters are caught up in the backwash of these political events. Hildegard, the heroine, is tangled in a web of deceit, and the reader is at various stages, led to distrust almost all the characters in the story. This makes for a fast moving story full of suspense and episodes of violent action. Once the scene was set in the first few chapters I could hardly put the book down.

This is first class story-telling. Yes, there are a few improbable bits, but hell, Ian Fleming could be criticised for that too, in his James Bond books.

Roll on volume 4!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 28, 2012 3:48 PM BST


BRITA MAXTRA Water Filter Cartridges - 4 Pack
BRITA MAXTRA Water Filter Cartridges - 4 Pack
Price: £14.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does the Job, 9 Aug. 2011
Brita water filters effectively remove hardness form my tap water, and tea and coffee taste a bit better with filtered water.

Of course, it's a luxury to spend pence on each litre of water, but Amazon does give one a good price for this product.


Ardent Spirits: Leaving Home, Coming Back
Ardent Spirits: Leaving Home, Coming Back
by Reynolds Price
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars A Talent for Frienship, 9 Aug. 2011
Reynolds Price came to Oxford from America in the 1950s as a Rhodes Scholar and slipped easily into friendship with some of the literary figures of the time - Spender, Auden, David Cecil among them. Through these contacts he also met stage figures including Gielgud, Vivien Leigh and Olivier. However, this is far from a name-dropping celebrity memoir. He speaks with affection of many of his fellow students, who often remained lifelong friends. His initial steps towards his goal of becoming a writer add interest - he wrote and re-wrote his first stories almost obsessively and eventually does see them taken up and published.

He deals frankly and honestly with his emerging homosexuality, and this is an engaging and honest memoir by someone who became later an important serious writer


No Country for Old Men
No Country for Old Men
by Cormac McCarthy
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Master at Work Here, 6 Nov. 2010
This review is from: No Country for Old Men (Paperback)
Cormac McCarthy is an American novelist who stands outside the mainstream in a refreshing way. Rather than becoming bogged down in stories of the struggle of seeking success in the predominant East Coast consumer/intellectual milieu, he creates epic stories which eschew psychological reality and show individuals in their moral nakedness being put to the test, and often failing, but not ingloriously. 'No Country for Old Men' is one of his finest novels. It has epic scope and struggle, and in Chigurh we find an intriguing figure who seems to personify evil, but who has a code of honour which is not entirely repellent - one of the great fictional characters.

McCarthy is a sophisticated writer, and his prose is inventive and risk-taking. Part of the pleasure of reading lies in admiring the way he uses language and form, sometimes taking us through long passages without punctuation, and sometimes drawing on the vocabulary and structures of 17th century English to create the effects he wants. In this novel he mixes a number of pulp fiction and B-Movie genres - Western, Noir, and Thriller in a way that is all his own. If he has a fault, perhaps it is to sprinkle his plots with simple folk who utter folksy profundities. He avoids this here.

Of course, the film is a cracker, and very true to the book.


WMF VINO 0658317920 Wine Thermometer
WMF VINO 0658317920 Wine Thermometer

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential for wine drinkers, 3 Oct. 2010
Many people do not appreciate how much temperature affects the taste of wine. "room temperature " is often too high for red wines to be at their best, and fridge temperature is often too low for white wines. This is the ideal tool for its purpose. It may seem a bit pricey, but it is well made and should last for years. Its plastic case is great protection for it.


The Habit of Art
The Habit of Art
by Alan Bennett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bennett on top form, 28 Dec. 2009
This review is from: The Habit of Art (Paperback)
Bennett's plays pack an enormous range of thought-provoking ideas into a deceptively casual bundle. Bennett's own diary and essay writings reveal his occasional doubts that he is a proper writer, and this question of the relation of the individual to his artistic work seems to me to be the underlying theme of the play. W H Auden and Benjamin Britten (famous mid 20th Century poet and composer respectively) are shown in a fictional late-life encounter. Not too much that is admirable is presented - their "private faces" are shown as anxious and far from admirable; by contrast the greatness of their creative work is taken as given, supported by comments from the actors stepping out of their roles to talk to the Author and Director characters. Another theme of the play is the gap between the high culture that the main characters represent and the excluded, inarticulate mass, represented by a rentboy ordered by telephone by Auden just before the play begins. It is their very inarticulateness which disempowers them. Perhaps the greatness of Auden and Britten owes as much to the fact that they are listened to, as to what they say?

Although the structure of the play is complex, with each actor playing an actor and the part which the actor is playing, this isn't an intellectual construct for the purpose of being avant-garde, but a solution to writing about famous men about whom many of the audience will know little more than their names.

A fascinating play, and one which is infused with human sympathy, and affectionate humour. Bennett's ability to get us thinking seriously without telling us what to think is a rare talent ideed, and one to cherish.


The 99 Most Essential Pieces of Classical Music
The 99 Most Essential Pieces of Classical Music

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hello Classic fm fans, 29 May 2009
This is great value for money, and a pretty good wde selection. I edited it for my iPod by deleting five tracks which really annoyed me - but I reckon over 90 tracks are worth having


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