Showing posts with label Classics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Classics. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Ian Rankin's Black and Blue Book Review

Eighth in the series, Black and Blue: is An Inspector Rebus Novel by Ian Rankin. Find my review here.
Interesting the number of covers Ian Rankin’s Black and Blue has had. I am surprised though I know that different book formats come with different covers. This book, however, seems to have had a lot of different looks. I suppose that is what happens to a successful book as it gains some age.

Of course, once you have a book in your hand, it matters not a whit what the cover looks like though the cover may have helped that book find its way into your hands in the first place. In this case, what it looks like did not matter because this book is one of the books that will be discussed in the late fall class I am taking in Ottawa through Carleton University’s Learning in Retirement program called Classics of Detective Fiction: From the 1960s to Today.

Ian Rankin’s Black and Blue is a fictional detective story, written  in 1997 and based firmly in the Scotland of the 1990s. In her class notes, our instructor Stefani Nielson calls the book “post-Christie,” “British realism noir” and she says that it features a “working class anti-hero.”

I did not know what was meant by that last term, anti-hero, so I googled it and Wikipedia shares that “An antihero is a main character in a story who lacks conventional heroic qualities and attributes such as idealism, courage and morality.” Inspector Rebus is a hard-working, hardened police officer and former SAS officer now coping in self-destruct mode with what life has thrown at him. He is anti-social and struggles with relationships. He is a drinking man with sometimes questionable scruples who is determined to get the job done regardless of who is in the way.

The Story

Black and Blue finds our anti-hero unofficially working four cases at the same time. Among the four, two stand out. He is searching for a mass murderer nicknamed Bible John on a cold case from the 1960s and 1970s and he is searching for a copycat murderer who has been nicknamed Bible Johnny. Set in Scotland, the author helps us visit his Scotland from the comfort of our arm chairs. Our travels will include time in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Shetland and even the oilfields in the North Sea.

It is a long book at more than 550 pages but it is action packed so if you love to read, that should cause you no issues. If you read the book, you will become heavily invested in the main character and consumed by the desire to know who is responsible for the crimes committed and if and how they are all connected.

Is this a good time to tell you that Black and Blue is the eighth in a series of books about Inspector Rebus? It is my first Ian Rankin novel because I am reading it in preparation for my class. In normal circumstances, I would have picked book one as a starting point.

Who Will Like This Book?

Anyone who likes a well-crafted detective novel and does not mind the world that a police officer travels in. This book definitely has violence but it is far from the worst I have ever read and, of course, it has a police officer who drinks, smokes and cuts corners.


Goodreads says, “Written with Ian Rankin's signature wit, style and intricacy, Black and Blue is a novel of uncommon and unforgettable intrigue.” The readers who write the reviews on the website rate this book 4.08 out of 5. One of those readers says, “Now this is how you write a really good crime novel!

On his blog, Simon McDonald says, “…this book is one of the author’s best… more than awhodunit, it is a searing commentary on mid-nineties Scotland, told so palatably, so relentlessly…

Personally, I have really enjoyed this novel and meeting Inspector Rebus. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me if you enjoy crime detective fiction. I will definitely have to go back to the start of the series, which is where, I imagine, you will start if you decide you would like to travel in Inspector Rebus's world. You can find all of Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus novels on Amazon quickly by clicking right here.

Ian Rankin's Rebus The Definitive DVD Collection

Interesting Facts

This book is considered an important story in Tartan Noir, which is genre in crime fiction written by Scottish writers and set in Scotland. Wikipedia says that Tartan Noir has roots in Scottish literature but adapts elements from other writers like era-specific American crime writers and European crime writers.

The title of the book, Black and Blue, relates to the Rolling Stones album of the same name, it relates to the state we often find our anti-hero in and it relates to the oil fields and the policeman of this story.

The Dancing Pigs, the successful punk music band featured in this book, were recreated from an unsuccessful band that the author played in for a year as a 19-year old. Rankin enjoyed making the band successful in his book. Who could resist? I think I would have done the same.

You may also have seen a mini-series called Ian Rankin's Rebus about the character that aired in 2000. Find it on Amazon here.

Be sure to come back and let us know how you enjoy any of Ian Rankin's books and, if you have seen the mini-series, we would love to hear that, too.

See you
at the book store!
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy Black and Blue on Amazon.
Find Ian Rankin's Rebus The Definitive DVD Collection on Amazon.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


Friday, July 3, 2015

Sense and Sensibility Movie Review I suspect we all have movies that we "go to" when we simply want to unwind.  A movie that we know we can trust to sooth our nerves while entertaining us time and time again.  Sense and Sensibility is one of my "go to" movies.  For a first time viewer, it may have some fairly stressful events and drama, but for me, it is an old comforting friend.  You see, I know the way it all ends!

The actors in Sense and Sensibility are so well suited to their parts that I often forget they are actors and do appear in other movies.  In my mind, Emma Thompson will always be the sensible Elinor.  Kate Winslet will always be the sensitive Marianne and Alan Rickman will forever be that dashing and stable Colonel Brandon, not Snape in Harry Potter.  As a matter of fact, he plays those two parts so well and claims them so completely, one would think he was two different people.

As for Hugh Grant, his youthful good looks and his ability to appear somewhat shy and naive, make him the perfect Edward Ferrars.

I should note, I do know there are other versions of this movie, but this is the version I prefer and these are the actors I identify in their respective parts.

Sense and Sensibility:  The Plot

By C. E. Brock via Wikimedia Commons
The movie Sense and Sensibility is based on the book (same title) by Jane Austen.  It takes place in the very late 1700's.  In a time when women were most often completely dependent upon their male relations.   In the case of the Dashwood family, the entire Dashwood estate was willed to one single male heir, John Dashwood, who was the son of Henry Dashwood and his first wife.  It is important to note here that even the current Mrs. Dashwood did not inherit anything and was dependent upon the benevolence of John Dashwood or other relatives.

After the death of Henry Dashwood, the Dashwood women all became the responsibility of their half-brother, John who was easy manipulated by his selfish wife, Fanny.  The three Dashwood sisters and their mother are forced to move out of their home of luxury and wealth and into a small cottage owned by a distant relative, Sir John Middleton.

The story is not only about their struggles to survive, but also the various romances of the young women.  Unfortunately, their reduced economic circumstances made them no longer desirable alliances by the wealthier families, which made them less likely to marry back into the wealth of which they were born.

There are broken hearts, shattered dreams, unexpected alliances and kindness, but there is also love.  The kind of love that hopes all things and endures all things.  For the forever hopeless romantic, this movie is an absolute must!

Trailers and Scenes from Sense and Sensibility

There are many remarkable, quotable scenes in Sense and Sensibility, but none quite so palpable as the moment when Colonel Brandon says "give me an occupation, Miss Dashwood, or I shall run mad".   His concern for the gravely ill Marianne, his stress and his need to do something, touch every heart in this unforgettable moment.

This was the only video I could find with the quote focus. 


If you enjoy the works of Jane Austin, historical romance or simply romance, I have no doubt you will enjoy this awesome movie.  If it is your first time to see Sense and Sensibility, I recommend you have your Kleenex close by.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”

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