THE MANY by Wyl Menmuir

menmuir-the_manyThis compact debut novel came to my attention after it made it on to the longlist for this year’s Man Booker Prize. It tells the brooding and mysterious story of what happens when the pressures of water pollution and diminishing fish stocks take their toll on the men of a small fishing village. The story is told through the eyes of Ethan, one of the last remaining fishermen, and Timothy, and outsider who has bought the long-abandoned house that belonged to a man who died ten years before in unexplained circumstances. And who is unnamed woman checking up on them?

I submit this review for Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.

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Posted in 'In praise of ...' | 4 Comments

The romance of Brian De Palma

bdp1The following revisit of a favourite film and director is offered for the Brian De Palma Blogathon being hosted by Ratnakar Sadasyula at his site, Seetimaar – Diary of a Movie Lover from 11 to 21 September to celebrate the great filmmaker’s birthday

It is also offered as part of the Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his Sweet Freedom blog, in the hope that it might just turn him on to this super-smart and supremely quirky writer-director, who just turned 75.

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Posted in 'In praise of ...', Brian de Palma, Chicago, Cuba, Florida, France, Germany, Hollywood, Italy, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tuesday's Overlooked Film, Vietnam, Washington DC | 36 Comments

Julieta – film & book review

Julieta-posterThe great Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar has adapted part of Runaway, the 2004 book by the great Canadian author Alice Munro, as Julieta. The  results are really intriguing, providing a movie experience that is full of mystery and both very faithful to the author and tonally often completely at odds with her approach. But then, Hitchcock is as big an influence as Munro, one might argue …

The following review is offered, a tad cheekily as the film hasn’t even been released in cinemas in much of the world yet, as part of the Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme hosted by Todd Mason over at his unmissable Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in Canada, Film Noir, Spain, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 22 Comments

MISCHIEF (1993) by Ed McBain

McBain_MISCHIEF_pbThe Deaf Man, that arch nemesis of the 87th Precinct and in particular thorn in the side of detective Steve Carella, is back again for a Springtime caper, here passing himself as Sanson, one of his many daft and transparent pseudonyms. But this is just one of a multitude of storylines that include a rap concert in the park, the murder of several graffiti artists, pro-choice demonstrators, a hostage negotiation that goes hideously wrong, maltreatment of seniors, rising racial tensions and an unexpected link-up to a previous book from this series originally published in the late 1970s,

I submit this review for  Patti Abbott’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Pattinase blog.
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Posted in 87th Precinct, Ed McBain, Friday's Forgotten Book, New York, Police procedural | 28 Comments

Scream and Scream Again (1969) – Tuesday’s Overlooked Film

Scream-and-Scream-AgainThe big selling point for this movie was the presence of Vincent Price, Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, though in fact the three never appear on-screen at the same time. And despite the title it’s not much of a horror film either, so some fans may have felt somewhat gypped! While admittedly disjointed, this is an entertaining Cold War thriller with tinges of sci-fi. What is the connection between the murder of a politician in an unnamed eastern Bloc nation, the apparent heart attack of an Englishman and the brutal murder of a young woman?

The following is offered for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme over at his Sweet Freedom blog.

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Posted in Amicus, Christopher Lee, England, London, Peter Cushing, Science Fiction, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , , | 32 Comments

HOUSE OF EVIL (1954) by Clayre and Michael Lipman

Stark-House_Lion-anthologyDespite sporting a generic title that makes it sound like a Gothic horror, don’t be put off as this is a terrific little mystery with a strong psychological slant. This reprint comes courtesy of Stark House Press supremo Greg Shepard, who has brought together three little known thrillers in this anthology to celebrate and represent the range and diversity of the titles published by Lion Books during the paperback original explosion of the 1950s. All three are pretty obscure and hitherto not that easy to get hold of. Out of the three in this volume, today I’m focusing on what may be the least known of them all, a piece of dark psychological suspense set in San Francisco from the husband and wife team of Clayre and Michael Lipman.

I submit this review for Bev’s 2016 Vintage Golden Age Mystery Scavenger Hunt; Patti’s Friday’s Forgotten Books meme over at her fab Patinase blog; and Rich Westwood’s Crimes of the Century meme over at his Past Offences blog, which this month celebrates all things from 1954.

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Posted in 2016 Golden Age Vintage Mystery Scavenger Hunt, Friday's Forgotten Book, San Francisco, Stark House Press | 19 Comments

The Pearl of Death (1944)

220px-The_Pearl_of_Death_-_1944_-_PosterAfter the rousing success of The Scarlet Claw, could Universal’s Holmes and Watson series continue at the same fever pitch? Well, no, not quite, but this breezy thriller, kicking off the next trio of Holmesian adventures for Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, remains none the less extremely entertaining. It is also one of the most faithful to its original Conan Doyle source, in this case The Adventure of the Six Napoleons, in which Lestrade calls on the detective to investigate a series of odd crimes perpetrated by a an ape-like man.

The following is offered for Todd Mason’s Tuesday’s Overlooked Film meme at his fab Sweet Freedom blog.
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Posted in Arthur Conan Doyle, London, Sherlock Holmes, Tuesday's Overlooked Film | Tagged , | 30 Comments