Thursday, 10 January 2019

The 007 diaries filming Live and Let Die by Roger Moore

“Fame at last! Me to be the bunny for liberated ladies! Needless to say, I was not about to pose in the altogether!”

Words can’t possibly describe how much I enjoyed this delightful little tome, but I will give it a shot! The Late, great, Roger Moore is a skilled raconteur and his depiction of life on a film set is far from glamourous (most of the time) with the odd bit of name-dropping glitz.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched Live and Let Die— at a guess, I’d say umpteen times. A massive James Bond fan, despite his hideous treatment of women (I don’t know I can’t understand it – I think I want to be him rather than bed him), Roger Moore remains one of my favourite Bonds. His amazing ability to deliver with a twinkle in his eye and a smirk carries forth within his writing also. Here we have a daily rundown of all the things that occurred on set – from breaking teeth to crocodile infested waters, it’s rather fun and one can only imagine the high cost of insurance such adventures might warrant.

There is a disclaimer at the beginning of the book about it being written in another time where social norms differed. That kind of adds to its charm in that it is so retro. Boobs, babes, cigars and the odd bit of offensive language aside, this one was a delight.

5 out of 5 villains own a shark pool.

The Long Take by Robin Robertson

“I mean the fact that this is a country where there aren’t enough homes,

 enough jobs, where one in six Angelenos are ex-servicemen

 and they’re lying out on Skid Row –

but all anyone ever talks about is watching for Russians,

 HUAC locking up half of Hollywood,

 the government building more bombs.

 We won the war, but we’re living like we lost it.”

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018 and winner of the 2018 Goldsmiths Prize, The Long Take is not your average novel. It is, something rather beautiful, a tale told in poetry rather than typical prose. The economy of words has a really masculine, noir feel that helps set the scene of the returned soldier dealing with PTSD and drifting from one dreamscape to another across post WW2 America.

There’s a rhythm to the words that mirrors the restless wanderings of the protagonist and his descriptions feel so immediate and draw in all the senses. As a reader, I was transported to the dirty backstreets, to the seedy bars and to the newsroom. I was haunted by a man who was in turn haunted by the trials of war and I can understand why this received such critical acclaim.
Almost cinematic in style, this tale may not appeal to all, but I’d recommend taking a wander among its backstreets. Robertson’s editors must love the kind of genius that can  take out awards in the categories of both novel and poetry and deservedly so.
5 out of 5, but no, it doesn’t rhyme.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Kissing Christmas Goodbye (Agatha Raisin #18) by M.C. Beaton

“It seemed as if all the dimmest girls in Mircester fancied themselves as detectives. Some had come dressed in black leather and stiletto-heeled boots, thinking that a Charlie's Angels image would be appropriate.”

While this was perhaps not one of my favourite outings with Agatha, it was nevertheless enjoyable. Agatha receives a letter summoning her to the manor house of a Mrs Tamworthy who suspects she is about to be murdered by one of her relatives. When Mrs Tamworthy is killed by Hemlock, Agatha has yet another murder to solve. This is just as well because she is, as per usual, obsessed by thoughts of winning back James Lacey with a spectacular Christmas celebration.

Our useless cook of Carsely has invited the entire village and the last time she tried to cook a Christmas turkey the fire brigade got involved. Agatha's new recruit, Toni, a teenager with a nightmare of a family back story, proves to be a more than able detective. It is perhaps Agatha's jealousy which pervades the story that put me off a little on this particular jaunt.

That being said, you know how much I do enjoy her intrigues and I will certainly be back for more. Just as sure as Mrs Bloxby will always open the door to Agatha, regardless of her husband's instructions. I can't reveal, because of spoilers, but Bill Wong's luck might just be changing! Have I said too much?

5 out of 5, Christmas with Agatha is always a riot.

Love, Lies and Liquor (Agatha Raisin #17) by M.C. Beaton

“Charles Fraith was not feeling guilty at having abandoned Agatha. But he was bored.”


Crumbs, James Lacey is back and this time he means business, offering Agatha a chance to get away somewhere mysterious. As per usual, Aggie’s imagination could never come up with the complete disaster that his less than romantic overtures will play out. James’ memory of delightful childhood seaside vacations in Snoth-on-Sea, are a far cry from the decrepit surrounds of the Palace Hotel. The food is worse than Agatha’s microwaveable meals and the other guests are a fright. Naturally murder and mayhem can’t be too far away; and it looks like Agatha is the prime suspect.

For once it is Agatha’s accessories that are a crime. James is off at the first opportunity and thankfully Charles is back to keep things interesting. He is also in the bad books. So many men, so little action for dear Mrs Raisin.

Will our intrepid heroine ever make it out of the accursed Palace Hotel? Will she finally be done with James once and for all? If, like me, you are an Agatha Raisin tragic, you’ll enjoy getting your feet wet by the sea over this little mystery.

5 out of 5 English seaside resorts aren’t what they used to be.

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith

‘If Strike had not arrived today, she might never have known that he wanted her back, and that she might be spared the shame, the anger, the humiliation, the hurt with which she had been racked since that awful night when he had sacked her.”

Another adventure with the sexy Cormoran Strike and his delightful associate, Robin. At the end of the last novel, we had just got over the disappointment of her actually going through with the wedding to Matthew, but things could be worse. When we re-join the story, Robin’s marriage isn’t going great — no surprises there. Thankfully, she is back at work and things are getting rather busy at Strike’s agency.
Billy Knight, a man with a history of mental illness is seeking out the (now rather famous) detectives to prove he did witness the strangulation of a baby and he wasn’t just seeing things. Next minute, the appealing detective duo are drawn into some rather fascinating political intrigues. Wealth, power and corruption abound, and Robin goes undercover at the Houses of Parliament.
As per usual Galbraith (oh we all know it is J.K, Rowling) has a way with creating characters that draw you in and make hundreds of pages fly by in a frenzied flurry. The sexual tension between these two colleagues is driving me a bit balmy at his point. I know if I was Robin, that would have been sorted long ago, dodgy leg and all!
I just love that Robin is such a good driver, it makes me want to take an advanced driving course! Does this 4th instalment live up to the hype, in my humble opinion, it totally does.
5 out of 5 white horses abound.

Atlantic Black by A.S. Patrić

“The champagne falls to the deck; half-full, it pours out onto the wood with a hiss of foam. The bottle rolls along the deck, hits the railing with a hard tink of glass on metal, and rolls back to the bench—champagne bubbling out in a sparkling puddle.”

My lovely friend and fellow bibliophile, Nicki, bought me this for Christmas last year (upon my request) and I’ve only just got to reading it— My ‘to be read’ pile is enormous. Having really enjoyed the author’s award-winning novel, Black Rock White City I was exceedingly keen to sink my teeth into this one.
The action is set on the RMS Aquitania which provides a fantastic setting . How amazing it would have been to watch it being built. I digress however. This is a moving tale that sent me down to a dark, cold, place. It is deftly written and swallowed me up like the cold, unforgiving, full of mystery, intrigue and misery.
If you feel like a haunting tale and one that would certainly inspire some heated book club conversations – this one is probably right up your alley. The publishers have a fantastic reading guide available on their site to assist.
I realise I haven’t really told you too much about the protagonist, Katerina Klova, or the action or the way you can feel your shoes sliding along the wet deck and horror at the skin covered bible. No, you will just have to start reading it yourself and we can share some therapy together once you have finished
5 out of 5 devastatingly bleak books are not the answer to the post-Christmas blues.

The Perfect Paragon (Agatha Raisin #16) by M.C. Beaton

“They turned out to be passionate love letters from Burt. It was evident he hoped to marry her as soon as she had finished school.”

Is Mabel Smedley as perfect as she seems? Agatha’s detective agency has been hired by Mr Smedley to prove Mabel is having an affair and it’s starting to seem like hard work. When her husband is murdered the team springs to action and the usual hijinks ensue. Combine that murder with the murder of a young girl and the body count is really starting to escalate in the otherwise sleepy village. Death by weed killer, a porn producer – who knew that Carsley and its surrounds could be such a den of iniquity?

The 16th instalment of Agatha’s adventures shows no signs of slowing down and Agatha has a couple of new hires in tow in the form of the intriguing, young, Harry Beam and of course all the familiar friends make an appearance. Naturally I read this at a cracking pace on my mobile phone again. At one point even while stuck on a normally 6 minute train trip that took an hour - thanks to Agatha I didn't lose my marbles and at least 2 murders got solved.


5 out of 5, but nobody is perfect.