Monday, June 19, 2017
Monday, December 12, 2016
Review by Lorie Ham
I have been a fan of Agatha Christie ever since I was a teenager. Her books were among the first mysteries I ever read. And while I love all of her main characters, I have always had a special place in my heart for Hercule Poirot--he is just so different from most of the other private detectives in mystery fiction.
When I discovered David Suchet's portrayal of Poirot on PBS'
Masterpiece Mystery, I grew to love the character even more and have followed
Suchet's portrayal through the years until the end just a couple of years ago.
When I found the book Poirot and Me, I HAD to read it. In this book David
shares how he came to play the Belgium detective, the lengths that he went
through to make sure that his portrayal was accurate, and the adventures along
the way that lasted over 20 years. He shares about it all--from how he
discovered the walk and talk to what he wore, down to that funny little
mustache. You also learn about many of the intimate details from behind the
scenes of the show, and from other parts of David's life, as well, and how they
were affected by this role.
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I now love Poirot and David Suchet even more! He is an absolutely brilliant actor, and I can't ever watch any of the past Poirots ever again. David Suchet IS Hercule Poirot. He managed to portray him in every one of Agatha Christie's Poirot stories, all the way to the final one, “Curtain.”
If you are an Agatha Christie fan, and especially a Poirot fan, you have to read this book!
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Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Review by Kathleen Costa
Details at the end of this review on how to enter to win a DVD copy of Mr. Holmes.
It is post WWII. Long retired to his Sussex farmhouse and suffering from the onset of ‘senility,’ 93 year-old Sherlock Holmes (Ian McKellen) is greeted by his housekeeper Mrs. Munro (Laura Linney) and her son, Roger (Milo Parker). He has returned from Hiroshima with a questionable treatment using a prickly ash mixture to stave off his mental and physical decline. Dr. Watson is long gone and with a failing memory, he is compelled to pen his last investigation, The Case of the Dove Grey Glove, before his memory will not allow it. A close relationship unfolds between Holmes and young Roger often soliciting an opinion about the case as a mentor would with an apprentice along with sharing the responsibilities for caring for his apiary. Dr. Watson may be absent, but Roger appears to fill that void as companion and caregiver.
|Image Source Miramax|
With troublesome symptoms of senility, Holmes flashes back to his final case and sets out to pen his version of the investigation. He recalls, thirty years long gone, a husband Thomas Kelmot (Patrick Kennedy), distraught over the changes he observes in his wife Anne (Hattie Morahan), who is struggling in the wake of two devastating miscarriages. The husband is very uneasy with her behavior after she takes an interest in the glass harmonica…did he hear her call out the names of her departed children? As Holmes follows her, he sees evidence of her dark intentions. Approaching her and divulging his conclusions, she asks that they share in the strain of their loneliness. His reaction suggesting she return to her husband has devastating results leading to his self-imposed exile.
Seeking a treatment for his mental decline, Holmes flashes back to his travels to Japan where he is greeted by Mr. Umezaki (Hiroyuki Sanada) who confesses he and his mother are fans of his legendary personae and is eager to find the prickly ash he is sure will successfully manage his symptoms. Mr. Umezaki and his mother are surprised that many of the characteristics they were interested in from Watson’s stories had been “created by his imaginative license.” He indicates, “Deerstalker? I never wore one,” and “I prefer a cigar.” Showing Holmes a letter, Mr. Umezaki explains that his father went to England many years ago and sadly never returned having indicated in a ‘Dear John’ style letter he sought Holmes’s counsel and advice. Holmes says he has no recollection of his father saying that he may have “wanted a new life.” They part, the young man crushed by Holmes’s words.
Although honesty is the ’best policy,’ Holmes curmudgeon-style can be a brutal pill to swallow, sometimes with unforeseen consequences, and when young Roger mirrors this style Holmes looks deeper into his own behavior and that of those around him. He concludes his story, has a revelation about Watson’s motives for some of his literary embellishments, and tries to settle feelings with a truth about Mr. Umezaki’s father. Life is uncertain for Holmes, but he seems secure in the idea that he is not alone.
This film was the perfect end to a lustrous life. Ian McKellen was the epitome of the iconic figure, and Milo Parker, as Roger, emulated well Watson’s caring companionship and delight in learning from Holmes. The added focus on Holmes’s ‘bees,’ prickly ash, and royal jelly led me to seek out more information wondering if there is a natural therapy for my own occasional lapses in memory. I teared up when Holmes created his own ‘circle of stones’ similar to that which he observed in Japan, and Roger goes off to teach his mother about the bees.
As a ‘Sherlock Holmes’ fan, this movie earned a 5/5 pots of honey and royal jelly!
Be a Fan!
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Friday, April 27, 2012
Death Comes Silently by Carolyn Hart
I have been a fan of Carolyn Hart’s Death On Demand mystery series ever since the first book and was excited when I received the latest one, Death Comes Silently.
Annie Lawrence Darling owns a mystery bookstore called Death On Demand and this setting is one of the things I love about this series. When I read one of these books I can imagine myself in this wonderful bookstore surrounded by great mystery books, the coffee nook where I can get a cup of coffee while I’m there, Agatha the big black bookstore cat, and I can take a moment and try to win the monthly contest where Annie puts up book covers on the wall and the patrons have to figure out what books they go with. I also enjoy recognizing author names as she mentions books in her store.
Through the years, I’ve gotten to know the characters in these books and reading one is like returning home. There’s the eccentric mystery author Emma Clyde, there’s Annie’s friend Henny who makes me think a lot of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple, Annie’s flighty mother in law Laurel who can be hard for Annie to deal with, but at other times can be great help. The best characters though are Annie and her husband Max. Max has a consulting firm where he helps people with their problems, but insists that he is not a P.I. Annie and Max make me think a lot of Nick and Nora Charles in The Thin Man movies—they are charming, funny and very much in love.
In Death Comes Silently Annie asks a fellow volunteer, Gretchen Burkholt, to cover for her at a local charity because she needs to be at the store for Emma’s latest book signing. Annie gets a frantic call from Gretchen saying she’s afraid of the handyman, but also informing Annie of a scandal over the death of a local wealthy citizen. The volunteer is known for over reacting so Annie ignores it and goes on with the event, but is shocked to find the volunteer has been murdered. Feeling guilty and being her normal curious self, Annie sets out to find the real killer, as Henny is determined it was not the handyman.
Annie attempts to uncover the family scandal that she feels is at the real root of the murder, only to find there’s more skeletons in their closet than she ever bargained for and to end up being a target of the murderer herself.
If you have never read one of Carolyn Hart’s Death On Demand books head on out and find them now. You can start at any point in the series, but it’s fun to start at the beginning and watch Annie and Max’s relationship blossom and grow. These books are charming, fun, funny, clever and kind of like comfort food without the calories, but instead with a great mystery!
Enter for a chance to win a copy of Death Comes Silently by emailing us at kingsriverlife [at]gmail[dot]com with the subject line Silently. Contest ends Monday, April 30, 2012.
Also check out some wonderful mystery author video interviews from Left Coast Crime on our youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/KingsRiverLife/videos
Saturday, October 8, 2011
Almost a year ago now I lost my best friend for good--that friend is something no longer in my closet, yet the pain remains. For those of you out there who can relate to that kind of loss I share on this near anniversary a poem in my closet, because of a friend who no longer is.
You bind me like a witch's spell though you no longer touch me
I still feel you in my soul, though you’ve gone away.
You tore your love from me, why won’t you let me be?
You haunt my dreams, though I can no longer see your face.
There was a time you said forever
There was a time you said you loved me more than I did you.
You made me feel the love of friendship like I’d never known
It seemed so very real, but was it ever true?
Where did that love go? Why does it hold me still?
Why did you break your promise to never leave?
One mistake? I’m only human—you have made your own
Why did you leave me here, why did you leave me with an empty soul?
Thursday, May 5, 2011
First off I need to clarify that I do not mean the color! I have maybe one pink piece of clothing in my entire wardrobe which I got after a friend told me it went well with black.
The Pink in my closet is the singer—whose music has been a constant companion over the last few months. I’ve been a fan for some time but over the last few months I’ve been going through a difficult emotional journey—one of my dearest friends decided to walk out of my life. Long story, won’t bore you all with it, it’s over and done. Mistakes, misunderstandings…things we should have been able to work through, but we didn’t. Pink’s music has really been a comfort to me during this time—from the tough, party songs like “Raise Your Glass” to the beautiful acoustic version of “Glitter In The Air”. The strong songs give me strength and make me want to fight the battles of life and the more vulnerable songs touch my heart.
But the song that has touched me the most is “Who Knew”. I relate so much to those words and hearing someone else express them so well makes me feel a little less alone in this journey. If you have never heard this song, yet you have had someone you love suddenly walk out of your life, then you NEED to hear it.
And this woman is real! I saw an interview with her on Oprah last year where she made it very clear that she “really” sings on stage--she’s not Auto Tuned. Her voice really is that incredible! In a world now of Auto Tuned singers it’s so refreshing for there to be one who is not. As a singer myself I appreciate that even more. Honestly, when a singer is Auto Tuned because they can’t sing and they are famous as a singer--well that just doesn’t seem fair to me. You shouldn’t become famous for something you really can’t do! There are far too many great singers out there that better deserve that break. I know on TV/movies sometimes it’s needed and most singers add some special effects to their voice when they record—but that’s different.
But this wasn’t meant to be an Auto Tuning rant lol. Pink writes from the heart--she is strong and vulnerable and real. Sure she can be a little outrageous sometimes but it’s just who she is and I love it. She writes what she feels and isn’t afraid to put it out there so we the listeners can be touched by her words and music. I also love that she’s different and proud of it!
I think the entertainment world would be a little better off if there were a few more performers like her. Granted, I could do without the F bombs she drops now and then--but maybe even that is just more of her being herself and being real. In that same Oprah interview she wasn’t ashamed to admit that when she and her husband were having problems she needed to do some growing up and realize what really mattered in life.
Thanks Pink for being “in my closet” and for your music walking with me through a difficult journey! Check her out for yourself on her website.