Wednesday, 9 May 2012


I finished Ngaio Marsh's 'Opening Night'.  And goodness me, what a marathon of tedium it turned out to be.  A highly uninteresting death, too many lacklustre motives held by two-dimensional characters and a deeply unconvincing love story to top it all of.

Alleyn turned up very near the end and seemed as bored with the proceedings as I was.  I can't blame him.  He was simply going through the motions, didn't even seem to do any deducing - just collected the facts and somehow (it wasn't explained very well) arrived at the solution.  As far as I could make out it was a case of, 'right there's the story and - enny meeny miny mo - he's the culprit... bam...  I'm going home.'

By the end I neither knew nor cared who the killer was.  I strongly advise against ever trying to read this book or listen to the audio version.  I'll save you the bother.  ** spoiler alert ** The playwright did it.


On to the next one.

Monday, 7 May 2012

I bought Ngaio Marsh's 'Opening Night' a short while back and have been listening to it on and off for the past week or so.  It's driving me round the bend.  It feels like it's been running for ever and not only has no one copped it yet, but there's still no sign of Detective Chief Inspector Alleyn.

blah, blah, blah

It's torture!  Just bloomin' well get on with it!  You've set the scene already, so go ahead and knock someone off.  Do it fast or I'll stop listening.

I will too.

So you'd better.

Are we clear?
I got halfway through 'Cards on the Table' the other night and had put it on hold so I could go to bed at a reasonable hour.  (I'm not a boring old fart, honest).

Not only is it one of the most 'psychological' of Christie's novels, the cast in this particular production was excellent.  There's Donald Sinden - doing his most 'brllaa, brllaa' wobbly-jowled voice as Colonel Race.

'brllaa, brllaa, I'm Donald Sinden, brllaa'

And Stephanie Cole made a pleasant change as Ariadne Oliver, usually she's played as a ditsy, scatty eccentric (see the latest ITV Poirot series, and the Peter Ustinov-helmed 'Dead Man's Folly' from the eighties).  But in this production she was realistic, honest and relatively normal - which makes the story more believable overall.

As for the psychology, well... Poirot asks each suspect what the others were like at playing bridge, and not only does their opinion show him what they really think about the other players but also what they themselves are like.  What they notice in the surrounding room is what is important to them (historic artifacts or expensive jewellery).  In the absence of any physical evidence, it's up to Poirot to figure out how and why the crime was committed, which he does with characteristic √©lan.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Just watched the last half of Jeremy Brett's interpretation of the 'Reichenbach Falls' story and it strikes me as interesting that the final showdown between the greatest criminal and detective minds ends in a bout of fisticuffs.

'scrap, scrap, scrap!' chanted Watson

Did Conan Doyle run out of clever ideas, or was he just a bit tired and wanted to get it over with and go to bed?

Does it show us that despite our modern intellect, we're all still animals deep down inside?

Or is it that no matter how old or successful they are, all men are little boys at heart?


Tuesday, 1 May 2012

I'm happy to say that Radio 4 Extra have finally put something on worth listening to.  Hooray!  Which means I'm about the settle down to a nice bath with John Moffat (steady on, not like that) in the guise of Hercule Poirot in 'Cards on the Table'.

well, hello sailor!
Looking good John, looking good.  Well actually he looks a bit camp there, but never mind.

It'll make a nice change from the unabridged audiobooks I've downloaded recently from audible - mostly Ngaio Marsh read by the excellent James Saxon.  But for now, I'm all geared up for some Classic Christie!  Cards on the Table is the first book to feature Ariadne Oliver.  Not sure about her, a bit too much of a caricature.  I know she's a tongue in cheek take on the author herself, but even so, it's sometimes a touch too gimmicky for my liking.

Will let you know how it goes.

Also, I'm trying out a new bubble bath - smells a bit like coconut.  Tasty!