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P. G. Strachan (Glasgow)
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Midnight in Peking: The Murder That Haunted the Last Days of Old China
Midnight in Peking: The Murder That Haunted the Last Days of Old China
by Paul French
Edition: Paperback

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow Burner, 12 Oct 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I must confess I was toiling a bit with "Midnight" in the early stages and at times the author appeared more interested in the depths of his own research into Peking than the crime itself. Detail I can cope with but there's a point where it slows down the momentum of the book and you start to wonder if you really care enough to see it through to the end and get to the denouement. That said....it really picks up pace about half way thrugh (once the Japanese invade and the police are taken out of the equation) and (I'll refrain from any spoilers) once the victim's dad takes on the investigation it positively cuts to the chase.
All in all it's a fascinating insight into our colonial past as well as a remarkable piece of detective work on the part of the author....


Skullcandy Hesh 2.0 On-Ear Headphones -  Black/Black
Skullcandy Hesh 2.0 On-Ear Headphones - Black/Black
Price: £34.57

4.0 out of 5 stars Quality Sound, 27 Sep 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm no expert in headphone sound (some might consider me tone deaf) but I use them in my day to day work and I can say that these are streets ahead of the Sonys that the corporation supplies it's minions. I passed them to my daughter for an extra layer of scrutiny and she agreed that they're v comfy and v bassy (although she still preferred her own Skullcandys which was something of a relief as I could see these being whipped off me if it had gone the other way). My only quibble is with the detachable lead. It feels like a good idea given that so many headphones ended up junked because of a detached wire....but frankly it took a bit of jiggling before I was getting sound in both ears. Still - perfect now...so I'm well pleased.....


Tefal Vita Compact Food Processor
Tefal Vita Compact Food Processor

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A whole new world of kitchen fun, 5 Sep 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My opinion on the Tefal is strictly uninformed. I've never owned a food procesor and, to the best of my recollection, I don't think my folks had one either. So what I'm saying is that I've nothing really to compare it against ....other than an over-employed potato masher and a tired right arm. Personally I've always held out against purchasing one because, frankly, who has the space to stash yet another kitchen gadget that might be used once in a blue moon ? But I have to say that owning one of these things has opened my eyes to a whole new world of cookery....all that stuff I've never tried because my potato masher wouldn't have been up to the job. My repertoire of soups has expanded exponentially.
Of course all this is no help to you if you're a processor pro. On that front all I can say is that it does the job perfectly....it comes loaded with extra bits that I haven't really figured out yet...and it looks rather retro sitting there on the kitchen worktop poised for action.


The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies 3)
The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies 3)
by Pittacus Lore
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.97

5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing new, 16 Aug 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Having read the other two books in this series (enjoyed the first, second a bit less) I thought it would be worth giving 3 a go. But frankly after a while I felt I was just reading 2 again. Correct me if I'm wrong but there's absolutely nothing new in this instalment and it's astonishingly brief. I'm not suggesting that "Lore" has to fluff out his stories if the "next Harry Potter" claim is to have any currency....But surely he can't expect to keep his audience by writing the same book over again ? This will be my last encounter with the Mogadorians....so that's one less reader already.


The Summer of Dead Toys (Inspector Salgado 1)
The Summer of Dead Toys (Inspector Salgado 1)
by Antonio Hill
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.78

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cliffhanger hell, 16 Aug 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A promising new character on the block. Inspector Salgado comes with all the prerequisite baggage and certainly seems worth keeping an eye on. The thrust of the story is outlined elsewhere so I shan't go into great detail...but the central crime is possibly the least interesting aspect of the tale. Our Inspector is a man haunted by aspects of his own nature. If it's not too cliched (which it is) I'd say he was torn between the demands of justice and vengeance. Anyway....that's for you to find out about but what I did want to say was that I was somewhat confounded by the massive loose end in "The Summer of Dead Toys". Perhaps I'm being too rigid in feeling the need for total resolution but is it reasonable for authors to leave us languishing with huge cliffhangers. It's one thing on television and such like where we know the answer will be forthcoming next week/next month....but it could be a year, maybe more, before the follow up to this book appears. I can't dangle that long......


In the Darkness: An Inspector Sejer Novel (Inspector Sejer 1)
In the Darkness: An Inspector Sejer Novel (Inspector Sejer 1)
by Karin Fossum
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.64

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A promising beginning, 16 Aug 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Big fan of Scandinavian crime fiction but this is the first Fossum I've read. I think I'm right in saying it's a Re-release presumably designed to capitalise on the growing interest in the genre (witness the by now compulsory "the next Jo Nesbo" sticker on the front cover). Regardless it's a pretty reasonable read and there's a good deal of promise in her Inspector Sejer character. My only gripe (and this is perhaps her style) is that Fossum puts the crime up front rather than the character. Sejer is almost completely absent from the last chunk of the book and, frankly, plays little part in the solution. Instead we're guided through the anatomy of the crime by the criminal. It's certainly a different way of doing things but I'm not sure I'd say it was my cup of tea.
Incidentally....having just watched the dvd of Nesbo's "Headhunters" I'd be interested to know whether the device of hiding from your pursuer by descending into the faeces in the cabin toilet was original to Fossum or Nesbo. Anyone out there have an answer ?


BT Digital Video Baby Monitor 1000
BT Digital Video Baby Monitor 1000
Price: £86.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Progress, 5 July 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I picked this up for a friend who's just had a baby (my own kids being 16 and 13 now..this unlikely to appreciate me placing a video monitor in their bedrooms). Frankly I am in awe. Back when my ones were little we had to put up with a squawk box and the reception was. Ore than a little fickle. I half recall wondering around like an extra in "The Others " trying to figure out whe the mystery crying baby that had come to inhabit our house could be...and hearing spookily soothing voices comforting her. Turned out our reception was a bit out and we were picking up the baby across the road on our receiver....useful or what. Anyway having watched this in action during a visit to my friend this appears to represent something of a quantum leap. The only difficulty I can foresee is that it's quite addictive...watching the wee one sound asleep (not so much fun when they're howling but I guess that's the point). Anyway...recommended by me and apparently very easy to set it up and get it running....


The Collini Case
The Collini Case
by Ferdinand von Schirach
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More of a pamphlet than a book, 5 July 2012
This review is from: The Collini Case (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
To say I read it on one sitting would be a bit of an exaggeration...just. It's remarkably thin and I find it hard to understand why. A bit more flesh on the bones of the characters and a few less sudden leaps of faith in the courtroom action and you might have something a bit more worthwhile. It feels like a book that's been entirely structured around one (albeit interesting) legal point...everything that comes before is leading up to it...everything after is epilogue. But it's engaging enough and, as I say, it won't eat up too much of your life.


Pinnacle Studio HD Ultimate Collection v15 (PC)
Pinnacle Studio HD Ultimate Collection v15 (PC)

4.0 out of 5 stars Awe inspiring, 16 Jun 2012
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Unlike most of the other reviewers I'm little more than a complete amateur (actually I am a complete amateur so scratch the "little more than" part of that sentence).
First things first....it downloads quite happily and there were no disasters on the road to installation (hurrah). But for me the problems started when I fired her up and found myself confronted by all manner of functionality. It's awe inspiring...which would be great if I could get past the point of awe and become inspired but frankly I feel intimidated by the whole edifice. That's not to slag off Pinnacle. Frankly it's my fault for investing in something that's way beyond my abilities or my willingness to learn.
So the lesson here is, presumably, don't be entranced by the prospect of laying your hands on the white hottest piece of editing software you can afford. Get something that suits your abilities and which can help you evolve...not something that crushes you with the realisation that there's a hell of a long way to go before you become a fixture on Christopher Nolan's rollodex.


Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360)
Mass Effect 3 (Xbox 360)
Offered by Talbot Media
Price: £11.99

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'm Getting Old, 16 Jun 2012
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Got to agree with a lot of what's been said by other reviewers. I enjoyed the first two Mass Effect incarnations but something was distinctly absent from the experience this time around. Hard to put my finger on what that might be. It looks superb and the world they've created is truly stunning.....but something's missing. Maybe it's that breath of something new that you hope to find every time you invest in a new game....some new element of experience that you haven't seen or felt before...the point when you look at what's going on in front of your eyes and think "awesome". It just isn't there with ME 3....it's just the same old same old albeit done with considerable style. It's an aside but I can't help but feel that the gaming industry is going to struggle to hold on to a generation of gamers if all they're going to come up with is going to be,basically, repeat performances of the same basic experience. Time for a technological leap I feel....


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