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Search tags: france-french-literature
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text 2019-11-17 22:13
24 Festive Tasks: Door 7 - International Day for Tolerance: Book
The Good Thief's Guide To Paris - Chris Ewan

 

What a timely recommendation by Tigus!  How can I possibly resist?

 

(Task: Read a book about tolerance, or outside your comfort zone, or set in Paris (seat of UNESCO).)

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text 2019-10-18 20:20
Halloween Bingo 2019: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Extra Square
Chocolat - Joanne Harris
Below the Clock - J.V. Turner

 

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text 2019-10-14 09:00
Halloween Bingo 2019: Thirteenth Extra Square
The Rivals: Tales of Sherlock Holmes' Rival Detectives (Dramatisation): 12 BBC Radio Dramas of Mystery and Suspense - Tim Pigott-Smith,Anton Lesser,Full Cast,Adrian Scarborough,Andrew Scott,James Chambers,Robert Barr,John Sessions,Jacques Futrelle,Anna Katharine Green,R. Austin Freeman,Ernest Bramah,Tim McInnerny,James Fleet,Charles Edwards,Various Authors,Paul Rhys,Cat

 

Well, as it turns out I'm halfway through another bingo card with the extra squares, so I may as well try and see whether I'll get it together until the end of the month.  So that means another Raven square ... for which this entertaining Golden Age mystery radio anthology seems like just the thing.

 

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text 2019-08-18 17:29
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo - Tom Reiss
The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo - Tom Reiss,Paul Michael

A great biography of an extraordinary man.

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review 2019-02-22 14:54
Not So Clever, After All
The Elusive Pimpernel - Emmuska Orczy,Joanna Ward

Ye gods! the irony of it all! Had she not been called the cleverest woman in Europe at one time? Chauvelin himself had thus acclaimed her, in those olden days, before she and he became such mortal enemies, and when he was one of the many satellites that revolved round brilliant Marguerite St. Just. And to-night, when a sergeant of the town guards brought him news of her capture, he smiled grimly to himself; the cleverest woman in Europe had failed to perceive the trap laid temptingly open for her."

Totally with you there, M. Chauvelin, I'm afraid -- Marguerite is behaving like the worst of literary history's headless TSTL chickens here.  This is one of the books that really should have captured me, because it is from this book (not from the first one) that the creators of virtually all screen adaptations of The Scarlet Pimpernel (and its sequels) have drawn a plethora of the screen "Pimpernel's" signature attributes and plot highlights, or almost all of the things, anyway, that go beyond the central features of his dual identity and his league's activities: The "demmed elusive Pimpernel" ditty, the attempt to draw Sir Percy into a duel by creating a scandalous scene at a social gathering involving Marguerite, the explicit entrapment of Marguerite (and / or her brother) in order to entice Percy to travel to France (where a trap will be laid for him in turn -- and where he will have to save one or both of the St. Justs in addition to completing the venture that is actually taking him there), the use of a treacherous French actress, and the suggestion of a fencing duel between Sir Percy and Chauvelin in a fortress on the Channel coast, with Blakeney's yacht Daydream waiting in the waters off shore, ready to take him and Marguerite back to England at the end.

 

Unfortunately, however, this book only worked for me up to about the halfway point (or actually, only a little before that even); i.e., as long as Marguerite was displaying at least a modicum of wit.  The moment she basically allowed her brain to shut down and decided to heedlessly run after her husband, with no idea (nor really any way) how to help him on his mission to France and every probability of making his life about a million times harder, the whole thing turned into a pretty consistent groan fest.  It also didn't exactly help that there is a whole lot of telling instead of showing going on in the second part of the book, as well as scenes and dialogue that don't exactly advance the plot -- this is not an exceptionally long book, but the final (or, well, next to final) part still dragged interminably.  All of which is a shame, as the book starts with a lot of wit and panache, and Sir Percy himself is, once again, in great form.  So, three stars for the beginning, for the Pimpernel himself, and for the odd scene here and there in the second part.  Others might give even a less favorable rating, but I just can't bring myself to go any lower than this for one of my all-time literary heroes (though I do seriously hope Marguerite will recover her wits in the next book).

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