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Aletheuon (Wales UK)
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The ABC Murders (Poirot)
The ABC Murders (Poirot)
by Agatha Christie
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Ingenious and well-plotted, 13 Aug 2014
'The A.B.C. Murders- is a Poirot book published in 1936. Colonel Arthur Hastings, Poirot's old friend, is the narrator and describes how Poirot received typewritten letters from someone signing himself (or herself) A.B.C. Each, horrifyingly, gives the date and place of the next murder and the killings seem to be in alphabetical order. Alice Ascher is killed at Andover, Betty Barnard in Bexhill and Sir Carmichael Clarke at his home in Churston. The killer leaves an ABC railway guide at each murder site. But why does A.B.C. write to Poirot? And why does Poirot's address seem to have been deliberately misspelt?
Episodes in the life of Alexander Bonaparte Cust are appended to each chapter told by Hastings. He is an epileptic, having served in the war and received a head injury leaving him with blackouts and severe headaches, and now he finds it difficult to get work. Poirot hopes to get new information by uniting the relatives against the murderer. The police are not helpful to Poirot, belittling his abilities.
Agatha Christie had used the device of combining first- and third-person storytelling in 'The Man in the Brown Suit' and she uses it again in this book. She enjoyed experimenting with point-of-view and had done so very successfully in 'The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.' As usual, she constructs an ingenious plot with many surprises and twists and turns and, also as usual, her characters are psychologically interesting. I'm not a great fan of Poirot - he does seem too ridiculous to be true - but that's a personal view and I recognise how popular and clever the Poirot books are, despite Christie's pedestrian writing style. This is a very good book and it may be my fault that I can't work up a great enthusiasm for it! Many people think it is her best book.


The King And I: 2-disc [Special Edition] [DVD]
The King And I: 2-disc [Special Edition] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Deborah Kerr
Price: 7.40

5.0 out of 5 stars Magical., 10 Aug 2014
Based on the true story of Anna Leonowens, who went to Siam in the 1860s to teach the children of King Mongkut, 'The King and I' is a wonderful film. It shows the clash between old ways and new as the king tries to modernise his country while still retaining his own prejudices and status. The love between Anna and the king is never stated and yet very obvious, though of course it can never come to anything because the king already has a number of wives and many children. Yul Brynner was not first choice for playing the part of the king; Rex Harrison was. Good though Rex Harrison was - thank goodness he wasn't available! It would have been a very different film if he had. Brynner was a Russian-American; he looked exotic and dangerous and, though his part was originally meant as a supporting role, he dominated the film and made it what it is. Yet he wasn't so much an actor as a producer at that time.The Asian-flavioured music by Rogers and Hammerstein and the charm of the exotic setting are just marvellous! An unforgettable movie.
I always wonder why people complain when older movies (this was made in 1956) are not entirely up to modern standards in terms of sound quality and screen resolution. Even remastering can't remove every sign of age! This movie is a gem which belongs to its own time and has its own particular magic.


The Crowned Skull
The Crowned Skull
Price: 0.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting and entertaining, 9 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Crowned Skull (Kindle Edition)
This is a very intriguing and entertaining whodunit. Fergus Hume wrote over a hundred books and articles and I think this is one of his best. It has his trademark colourful characters and vivid sense of place, with some wonderful descriptions of old Cornish mine workings. his books are always fast-moving and mystifying, with characters who change sides astonishingly, so that those who seem to be 'goodies' turn out to be baddies and vice versa. There is usually a pair of star-crossed lovers who cannot marry until the mystery is solved; in this case, there are two couples, appealing yet wonderfully imperfect human beings.
Sir Hannibal Trevick and his daughter, Dericka have been obliged to let Trevick Grange to a South African millionaire and to live in the Dower House, because they are very short of money (a common theme in Hume's novels). Dericka wants to marry Oswald Forde, an impoverished barrister-without-a-brief, but Sir Hannibal presses her to marry the mad son of the millionaire, for mysterious reasons. Meantime Sir Hannibal, aging but still handsome, is being pursued by Miss Stretton, who seems to be a rather unprincipled fortune hunter. There is a fete and the millionaire is murdered. A mysterious red skull with a silver crown seems to have appeared just before his death, much to his terror...
Hume's books are not politically correct and his depiction of idiocy and madness in this book is quite sympathetic but somewhat dated!
I should admit that I did not read this book in this edition but in the free edition, presently removed from eBay, I suppose because it was virtually unreadable. (I converted it into a word document in order to read it). I can't comment on the quality of this paid Kindle edition.
This edition also has 'Hagar of the Pawn Shop'. I did also download this as a free edition and found it equally unreadable. Most free editions are fine, however, and I've enjoyed quite a few Fergus Hume novels that way.


Collected Works of Fergus Hume
Collected Works of Fergus Hume
Price: 1.91

3.0 out of 5 stars Small collection of books, 7 Aug 2014
I am a real fan of Fergus Hume and would love to have the collected works of this prolific author, who wrote during the end of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth. He wrote fast-moving, colourful whodunnits with fascinating characters and a great sense of place. These works amount to over one hundred books and articles. However, this book is very misleadingly titled because it contains only half a dozen books. Since the books are out of copyright and can be obtained as free Kindle editions, there doesn't seem much point in buying them. However, a very few of these free books (also published for Kindle by the Gutenberg project) are badly transferred into electronic editions and aren't very readable, since they only scan properly if one uses a tiny font. It would be worth paying a bit to get a better edition.


The Mandarin's Fan
The Mandarin's Fan
Price: 0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, 6 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As entertainingly as ever, Fergus Hume gives us this fast-moving and exotic mystery. 'The Mandarin's Fan' was written in 1904, one of the earlier of Hume's more than 100 books and short stories.
The book opens with Rupert Ainsleigh entertaining a friend, Major Tidman, at his ancestral pile, a lovely old house built from the ruins of an even more ancient abbey. His once-wealthy family have been reduced almost to ruin and Rupert faces losing his home during the coming months. He is in love with (and secretly married to) Olivia, niece of cold-hearted Miss Wharf and plotted against by Miss Wharf's horrible companion, old Miss Pewsey. Olivia still lives with Miss Wharf, who wants her to marry money. Miss Pewsey has her own plans for Olivia
Into this complicated picture come some sinister and mystifying Chinamen who are looking for a particular fan because it hold the clue to important information. There is an ancestor god, an assassin called Hwei and sundry other residents of China. Besides all this, there is the secret of the death of Rupert Ainsley's father.
This is an extremely complex plot for Hume to manage, but manage it he does, and the action never slows. Despite being hocus-pocus, the plot is absorbing and enjoyable and the outcome satisfactory to all - except the villains.
Hume had a gift for dialogue, interesting and colourful characters and also for creating a strong sense of place. Although he wrote fast and sometimes did not edit his work carefully enough, at its best his writing is quite beautiful. His real desire was to be a playwright but he never broke in to the world of theatre. His books were a way of making a living and he did very well through them, although none ever quite lived up to the success of the first, 'The Mystery of a Hansom Cab', which caused a sensation and inspired Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to write his first Sherlock Holmes novel.
If you want a relaxing, entertaining read free of charge, I recommend that you download some of Fergus Hume's books. This would be quite a good one to start with.


South Pacific: 2-disc [Special Edition] [DVD]
South Pacific: 2-disc [Special Edition] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rossano Brazzi
Offered by filmrollen
Price: 4.53

5.0 out of 5 stars Magical, 5 Aug 2014
In this marvellous film, set during World War 2, an American nurse (Mitzi Gaynor) is stationed on a South Pacific island. She falls in love with a widowed plantation owner (the gorgeous Rossano Brazzi) but when she finds that he has mixed race children, her inbred prejudices get in the way. At the same time, a U.S. lieutenant falls deeply in love with a beautiful Tonkinese woman, but he fears that, should he marry her, she will not be acceptable to his family and friends.Amidst the beauty and charm of the island and its people and the stunning energy of the film's music and dance, racial prejudice is a serious theme. The lieutenant sings "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" as he considers the consequences of marry his sweetheart. The film applauds Mitzi Gaynor's character as she overcomes her reservations and learns to accept and love her fiancé's beautiful children. The film is loosely based on James A Michener's book, 'Tales of the South Pacific.' It won a number of awards at the time and is still as absorbing, entertaining and touching as ever.


South Pacific / The King And I / Oklahoma! [DVD]
South Pacific / The King And I / Oklahoma! [DVD]
Dvd ~ Rossano Brazzi
Price: 9.15

5.0 out of 5 stars Winning combination, 4 Aug 2014
This really is a winning combination! Three great Rodgers and Hammerstein movies in one package!
In 'South Pacific', set during World War 2, an American nurse (Mitzi Gaynor) is stationed on a South Pacific island. She falls in love with a widowed plantation owner (the gorgeous Rossano Brazzi) but when she finds that he has mixed race children, her inbred prejudices get in the way. At the same time, a U.S. lieutenant falls deeply in love with a beautiful Tonkinese woman, but he fears that, should he marry her, she will not be acceptable to his family and friends.Amidst the beauty and charm of the island and its people and the stunning energy of the film's music and dance, racial prejudice is a serious theme. The lieutenant sings "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" as he considers the consequences of marry his sweetheart. The film applauds Mitzi Gaynor's character as she overcomes her reservations and learns to accept and love her fiancé's beautiful children. The film is loosely based on James A Michener's book, 'Tales of the South Pacific.' It won a number of awards at the time and is still as absorbing, entertaining and touching as ever.
Based on the true story of Anna Leonowens, who went to Siam in the 1860s to teach the children of King Mongkut, 'The King and I' is equally wonderful. It shows the clash between old ways and new as the king tries to modernise his country while still retaining his own prejudices and status. The love between Anna and the king is never stated and yet very obvious, thogh of course it can never come to anything because the king already has a number of wives and many children. Yul Brynner was not first choice for playing the part of the king; Rex Harrison was. Thank goodness he wasn't available! It would have been a very different film if he had. Brynner was a Russian-American; he looked exotic and dangerous and, though his part was originally meant as a supporting role, he dominated the film and made it what it is. The Asian-flavioured music and the charm of the exotic setting are just marvellous! An unforgettable movie.
'Oklahoma', released in 1955, was the first musical written by Rodgers Hammerstein, based on a play by Lynn Riggs called 'Green Grow the Lilacs'. It was written around 1943 and, like the other films in this collection, it was a smash-hit stage play first. Set in 1906, it is a romantic story about a cowboy, Curly McLain, and farm girl Laurey Williams. Another cowboy, Will Parker, deals with his very flirtatious fiancée, Ado Annie.
Rodgers and Hammerstein won a special Pulitzer Prize for Oklahoma! in 1944. like 'Showboat', it was a new kind of musical - one which integrated singing and dancing with a strong storyline, creating a drama which could make you laugh and cry and think. It is very balletic, despite the energy of the dancing, a wonderfully innovative musical which stuns you with its impact, musically and in every way. It won and incredible number of awards and is still a great film that no-one should miss.


Budgie - The Complete Series Boxset [DVD] [1971]
Budgie - The Complete Series Boxset [DVD] [1971]
Dvd ~ Adam Faith
Price: 27.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and sad, 3 Aug 2014
Adam Faith couldn't sing very well and he wasn't a great actor, either, but despite his slightly wooden delivery, he was a natural as Budgie, the aspiring criminal, if only because Budgie wasn't very good at being a criminal either. Faith rose to fame in the UK at the very beginning of the rock and roll era, a contemporary of Cliff Richard, Marty Wilde and Terry Dene. He was very good-looking and quite shrewd, the only explanation I can think of for his success.
Budgie is a great series, funny and entertaining, seedy and sad. The series starts with Budgie, newly released from jail, looking for a way of making a living slightly on the wrong side of the law, getting it wrong time and again and somehow surviving to mess it up again another day. Iain Cuthbertson plays the truly nasty Glaswegian criminal, Charlie Endell, who somehow tolerates Budgie and helps him survive in a tough world that he's too nave to cope with alone.
There were only two series, perhaps because Faith had a bad car accident in 1973, but the episodes that were made were great entertainment.


Breakfast at Tiffany's [DVD] [1961]
Breakfast at Tiffany's [DVD] [1961]
Dvd ~ Audrey Hepburn
Price: 7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 3 Aug 2014
This iconic film, based on a long short story by Truman Capote, is sheer magic! The exquisitely beautiful and elegant Audrey Hepburn was too ladylike to play Holly Golightly, the eccentric and somewhat nave near-prostitute, but it works beautifully. George Peppard is also a 'kept man', more-or-less selling his body for a life of comfort instead of trying to make a success of his writing career. Gritty, unprepossessing stuff that somehow takes on romance and glamour as these two lost souls recapture their idealism and even innocence. 'Moon River', the theme song, is of course legendary, too. A completely magical experience!
There are great extras on this dvd, too.


Inspector Morse: The Complete Series 1-12 [DVD]
Inspector Morse: The Complete Series 1-12 [DVD]
Dvd ~ John Thaw
Price: 33.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best!, 3 Aug 2014
In my view, the Inspector Morse series is the best television detective series ever made. Everything - the setting, the music, the scripts and the marvellous, marvellous acting - makes this series uniquely good. JohnThaw's portrayal of the lonely, hard-drinking, gifted, brilliantly intuitive and grumpy Morse is just superlative. (Actually, he reminds me of my brother, also a brilliant, musical, sensitive eccentric, but don't tell him!) Ones the series gets past Colin Dexter's own plots, the standard does not decline - and of course, Colin Dexter continued to advise and influence the series. His brief signature appearances in each programme also prove something about him - he couldn't act, or even walk straight!
The technical standard of these episodes is perfectly acceptable, in my opinion, as is the packaging.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 10, 2014 11:10 AM BST


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