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review 2016-01-19 15:17
Into the Blue (Harry Barnett #1) by Robert Goddard
Into the Blue - Robert Goddard


18 hours 15 mins, read (brilliantly) by Paul Shelley.

Description: Harry Barnett is a middle-aged failure, leading a shabby existence in the shadow of a past disgrace, reduced to caretaking a friend's villa on the island of Rhodes and working in a bar to earn his keep. Then a guest at the villa - a young woman he had instantly and innocently warmed to - disappears on a mountain peak. Under suspicion of her murder, Harry stumbles on a set of photographs taken by Heather Mallender in the weeks before her disappearance. Desperately, obsessed by the mystery that has changed his life, he begins to trace back the movements and encounters that led to the moment when she vanished into the blue. The trail leads him back to England, to a world he thought he had left for ever, and at every step of the way a new and baffling light is shed on all the assumptions that have made Harry what he is...

From wiki: Into the Blue was adapted for television in 1997 and starred John Thaw in the lead role of Harry Barnett. Robert Goddard was not impressed with the adaptation. In an interview, he said "The TV version of Into the Blue was a travesty of the story I wrote and I am determined that any future adaptations should be more faithful to the original."

Some renditions of Silenus remind me of a certain Old Bailey hack.

Excellent suspense novel, it's not hard to see why Goddard is on my favourite authors list, and 'Into the Blue' stood up proud under re-visit scrutiny.

CR Into The Blue (Harry Barnett #1) (1990) - re-visit 2016
3* Out of the Sun (1996)
3* Never Go Back

5* Past Caring (1986)
5* In Pale Battalions (1988)
3* Play To the End (1988)
4* Painting the Darkness (1989)
4* Take No Farewell (1991)
3* Hand in Glove (1992)
2* Closed Circle (1993)
3* Borrowed Time (1995)
TR Beyond Recall (1997)
4* Caught in the Light (1998)
4* Set in Stone (1999)
3* Sea Change (2000)
1* Dying to Tell (2001)
3* Days Without Number (2003)
3* Sight Unseen (2005)
2* Name to a Face (2007)
1* Found Wanting (2008)
TR Long Time Coming (2009)
TR Blood Count (2010)
WL Fault Line (2012)

3* The Ways of the World (The Wide World Trilogy #1) (2013)
WL Intersection: Paris, 1919 (2013)
TR The Corners of the Globe (The Wide World Trilogy #2) (2014)
WL The Ends of the Earth (The Wide World Trilogy, #3) (2015)
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review 2015-11-06 22:14
A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts
A History of England from the Tudors to ... A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts - Robert Bucholz


48 x 30 min lectures

14: Edward VI: 1547-1553
15: Mary I 1553-1558
16: Young Elizabeth 1558
17: The Elizabethan Settlement 1558-1568
18: Set in a dangerous World 1568-1588
19: Heart and Stomach of the Queen 1588-1603
20: The Land and It's People in 1603
21: Private Lives - the elite
22: Private Lives - the commoners
23: The Ties that Bound
24: Order and Disorder
25: Towns, Trade and Colonisation
26: London
27: The Elizabethan and Jacobean Era
28: Establishing the Stuart Dynasty
29: The Ascendancy of Buckingham 1614-28
30: Religion and Local Control
31: Crisis of the three nations 1637-42
32: The Civil Wars 1642-49
33: The search for a settlement 1649-53
34: Cromwellian England 1653-60
35: The Restoration 1660-70
36: The Failure 1670-78
37: The Popish Plot 1678-85
38: Catholic Restoration 1685-88
39: The Glorious Revolution
40: King William's war 1689-92
41: King William's war 1692-1702
42: Queen Anne
43: Queen Anne's War
44: Queen Anne's Peace
45: Hanoverian Epilogue
46: The Land and It's People
47: The Land and It's People
48: The Meaning of English History


CR White Mughals
5* A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts
3* Rome and the Barbarians
4* Field Notes From A Hidden City
3* The King's Jews: Money, Massacre and Exodus in Medieval England
CR A History of Palestine 634-1099
CR Charlotte Brontë: A Life
3* The Alhambra
CR A Long Walk in the Himalaya: A Trek from the Ganges to Kashmir
CR Buddhist Warfare

4* History of Science 1700 - 1900
5* A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts
TR Secrets of Sleep
TR Turning Points in Modern History
TR Apocalypse
4* Myth in Human History
3* A History of Russia
TR Classic Novels
5* London
4* Re-thinking Our Past
4* The Vikings
OH Lost Worlds of South America
3* Rome and the Barbarians
TR Living the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon
OH History of Science: Antiquity to 1700
TR Albert Einstein: Physicist, Philosopher, Humanitarian
TR Will to Power: The Philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche
5* From Monet To Van Gogh: A History Of Impressionism
5* History of the English language
TR The Late Middle Ages
3* Great American Music: Boadway Musicals
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review 2015-01-23 21:25
Sunset Song
Sunset Song (Canongate Classic) - Lewis Grassic Gibbon


REVISIT VIA BBC: Listen here

Description: Divided between her love of the land and the harshness of farming life, young Chris Guthrie finally decides to stay in the rural community of her childhood. Yet World War I and the changes that follow make her a widow and mock the efforts of her youth.

Episode 1/2 (1 hour): Chris is torn between the love of the land and her ambition to be a teacher.

Episode 2/2: After her father's death, Chris is determined to work the farm, alone if needs be.

watch a dramatised production. Not the best of quality but hey! who's going to be so picky at this stage. There is, allegedly, a new film in production as we speak.

PAPER READ: fireside, sipping scotch and toasting Rabbie Burns.

Edited with an introduction by Tom Crawford. Map of Kinraddie

Dedication: To Jean Baxter

Arbuthnott is the real Kinraddie

Opening - KINRADDIE lands had been won by a Norman childe, Cospatric de Gondeshil, in the days of William de Lyon, when gryphons and such-like beasts still roamed the Scots countryside and folk would waken in their beds to hear the children screaming, with a great wolf-beast, come through the hide window, tearing at their throats.

Dunnottar Castle.

I know there are many historical-fictionistas out there who dislike dialects and there is a further modernist warning:

Gibbon's style is one of the great achievements of the trilogy and should be seen in relation to Scottish forerunners like John Galt as well as in the context of modernist innovators such as James Joyce, Gertrude Stein and William Faulkner (Tom Crawford, Canongate Books)
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review 2014-12-11 10:47
A Family Christmas by Glenice Crossland
A Family Christmas - Glenice Crossland


Description: Lucy Gabbitas has just left school and is excited about joining her sisters at the local umbrella factory. But then her beloved father dies of lung disease leaving Lucy and her brothers and sisters broken-hearted. With barely enough to make ends meet, the family receive no sympathy from their tyrannical mother, Annie, and their first Christmas without him holds little comfort and joy. Things seem to be looking brighter for Lucy when she meets John Grey and falls in love. That is until Annie becomes seriously ill and dies, and Lucy is forced to put her family first. But despite their continued hardship and despair, Lucy resolves to turn their home into a happy one for her brothers and sisters, and for the family of her own she dearly hopes for. And she is determined to make Christmas a joyous occasion for them all once more.

Dedication - For my husband and family, with love, as always.

Opening - Lucy opened her eyes and peered into the darkness.

A pedestrian also-ran that had nowt to do with the title. Next!
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review 2014-07-30 22:31
If on a Winter's Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino, William Weaver (Translator)
If on a Winter's Night a Traveller - Italo Calvino,William Weaver

bookshelves: one-penny-wonder, italy, paper-read, winter-20112012, published-1979, books-about-books-and-book-shops, amusing, little-green-men, too-sexy-for-maiden-aunts, shortstory-shortstories-novellas, incest-agameforallthefamily

Read from January 11 to 13, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Translated from the Italian by William Weaver. Translator note: In chapter eight the passage from 'Crime and Punishment' is quoted in the beloved translation of Constance Garnett.

Dedication: for Danielle Ponchiroli

Opening: You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, 'If on a Winter's Night a Traveller'. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade.

p 26 - aleatory: adj. Dependent on chance, luck, or an uncertain outcome

p 58 - afflatus: A strong creative impulse, especially as a result of divine inspiration. [Latin affl tus , from past participle of affl re, to breathe on

Not being clever enough to make this review a parody, I'll use the tellingithowitwasforbettie stamp.

Don't know what I expected, however this initial encounter with Calvino and that egotistical start where he openly manipulates readers, wanted me to give him a right ol' penguin slap.

Then all of a sudden I was all about loving it AND laughing out loud and thinking what a clever ol' pretentious bastard he was. At 200 pages this should have been over within a few hours, nevertheless this is not a quick read; some passages have to be read two,three times for their beauty, or their fun, or their outrageous confusion.

The end turns to dust (pulviscular material) and a marriage: all I need to know now is did YOU read the same book that I did or was it, perchance, a fake!?

Can fully see why some detest this book/ can't get past the first 30+ pages, however I heartily endorse the whole with a dobbing big tick and place it on the to re-read shelf.


My mind's eye gives me this as an approximation of the Railway Buffet, if one can imagine yellowy fog on the outside






"It was all very well for me to pull up the mouth of the plastic bag: it barely reached Jojo's neck, and his head stuck out."


The first sensation this book should convey is what I feel when I hear the telephone ring..."


Speculate, reflect: every thinking activity implies mirrors for me."









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