Showing posts with label agatha christie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label agatha christie. Show all posts

Saturday, January 9, 2021

How Did I Become a Bookworm?

 I haven't written many book reviews when you consider how many books I've read in my life.  The reason why is because I don't want to inadvertently ruin the book for someone by mentioning a twist or alluding to something I saw in the book that they interpreted differently until much later.

Image from Pixabay

Hi, my names Louanne and I'm a bookworm, I've been a bookworm for as long as I can remember certainly before I started school.   My parents always read to us before going to bed (until we wanted to read by ourselves) and my mum told me a few years ago about dad trying to skip a few pages and make up the story in order to get me asleep quicker and I would get quite pretentious in telling him - that's not what it says and making him start again!

My daughter went into daycare from about 14 months old and I was told by the staff what a large vocabulary she had.   Like my parents before me, I had always read to her because, in my opinion, teaching a child to read a book is like ensuring they will always be able to choose their own adventures.

There are books on every topic and if your child loves space they only have to find a quiet space and the right book and they can transport themselves onto a new planet or a spaceship and have an absolute ball.   If they want to become dragon slayers, fairies, or pirates - there are books available for all of them.

I have always read a wide variety of books, both fiction and non-fiction and I credit this habit of reading for allowing me the ability to think outside of the box and also for doing well at trivia quizzes!

When I was younger I used to read at least one book a day and I collected Bookworm Certificates at school so often the teacher couldn't believe how much I read, she actually told my parents, "Louanne doesn't read books, she inhales them."   I've always remembered that because I was going to put it on my author bio when I published all of my literary works.   Well writing a book hasn't happened (I'd much rather read!), but a couple of my friends (and reviewers on this site) have done so.

Beverley Owens has written some great cozy mysteries, check out her Amazon page here

Barbara Tremblay Cipak - has written riddle books which are so much fun (although sometimes frustrating!), check out her Amazon page here.

What Kind of Bookworm Are You?

Throughout my life people have always asked me one of two questions - who's your favorite author? or what genre of books do you like to read?

I really can't pick a favorite author, there are just so many.   When I was younger I remember loving

Enid Blyton books
Enid Blyton and I would alternate between preferring the Famous Five or the Secret Seven (the Secret Seven won out the most!).   I can remember getting a few of her books as sets for Christmas - Malory Towers & St Claires and I loved that as it wasn't just one book, but a whole set.   After inhaling both these sets I really, really wanted to go to boarding school!

I also found a fondness for Agatha Christie as a teen as she was one of my nan's favourite authors, my nan also introduced me to these cheap little paperback mystery books (the name of the series escapes me now) that were written to be consumed quickly and by a range of different authors.   They were written in much the same style as cozy mysteries which I think is probably why I love settling down with them.

I also discovered Ruth Rendall as a teen and after reading A Murder of Crows was thoroughly hooked.   At the same time as I was reading these, my best friend was delving into the books of Jean Plaidy.  Of course, I had to see what she was reading and so I started 'inhaling' historical fiction as well.

What' genre of books do I like to read is also too hard to answer as I'm sure you can tell from the above paragraph!

When I had finished all the Ruth Rendall & Jean Plaidy books in our local library I decided to pivot and started to read biographies.   I just grabbed the biographies without worrying who they were about - some people I had never heard of before!  I read every biography in the library, some were boring but the majority were so interesting and now and then they'll be a trivia question and I'll say the answer without thinking and I have no idea how I knew it.   Reading - it's great for building knowledge!

When I was 18 &19 I lived with my Gran for nine months and her favorite author was Catherine Cookson so I found myself devouring all of those.  She also enjoyed Danielle Steele.

After that, I tended to alternate between whodunnits and family sagas.   I had moved to a smaller town when I was 19 so I would start reading an author and then read every book the library had by that author before trying a new one.   It was a great way of getting to know new authors, it was where I first came across Penny Vincenzi and I would put her new book title on my Christmas list for several years afterward.

I have the Kindle Paperwhite
Gradually I started adding 'Chick Lit', psychological thrillers & John Grisham to my book lists.  It seems like the only type of book genre I haven't really been able to immerse myself in is science fiction.   I prefer my Sci-fi on the screen.

I am now in my 50s and finally have a kindle which doesn't stop me from reading actual books, by the
way, it just seems to mean I read even more!   I have started to add personal development books into the mix.

Let's have a look at a few of the books I have reviewed here on Review This, let me know which one's you've read as I wouldn't dream of asking you for a favorite author or genre!







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Saturday, March 21, 2020

Reviewing Agatha Christie's The ABC Murders Mini-Series

Agatha Christie Mini Series - The ABC Murders
Yes, that's a grown up Ron Weasley
playing a Scotland Yard dectectiv
e
I have to put my hand up and say I'm an Agatha Christie fan from decades back and one of the books that I liked was the ABC Murders, I loved the twist in this novel.

Adapting a book to a mini-series always presents challenges in keeping true to the author for their fans while also ensuring it works well for today's audiences.   I feel that when they adapted And Then There Were None they really captured that well.   In this case I feel conflicted.

As I said I enjoyed this book immensely, but having finished the three part mini-series I'm not sure if I liked it or not!   I was intrigued with the casting of John Malkovich in the role of Hercule Poirot and I think he makes a surprisingly refreshing change to David Suchet or Peter Ustinov.

The problem for me was that key elements of the story was changed, one of the key players wasn't in the mini-series and two of the other players had totally different roles, in fact I was very surprised by a certain death that occurred.

While watching it the thing that I really didn't find added anything to the mini-series was flashbacks that Poirot was having to his time before arriving in the UK and at the end you see what role he supposedly had before leaving Belgium which is completely at odds with the character Dame Christie created.

If I wasn't as familiar with Hercule Poirot I might not have minded the liberties taken and it may have added something, but I'm not sure.   It has left me feeling very conflicted about whether or not to recommend this series.

When it comes to one of the main characters lodgings in London, the series certainly makes them a lot seedier than my imagination created in my mind as I read the book.

I was grateful that they didn't change who the killer was because at one point I thought they were going to make it a different person which would've been insane (in my opinion).   I did like the reveal after the murderer was revealed.   Instead of the almost iconic Poirot gathering of the characters for his big reveal they went with the power of television to give flashbacks of key scenes.

Do I recommend this series?   I really am conflicted so I will just say if you are an Agatha Christie purist absolutely not.   If you haven't read the book then I think you might enjoy this.   I would be intrigued to know your thoughts if you do decide to check this miniseries out.

If you've not heard of the ABC Murders before then it basically starts with Hercule Poirot getting letters from someone who signs himself ABC ..... and then the murders begin. 

The first is Alice Asher in Andover, the second is Betty Barnard in Bexhill, you get the idea.   Next to each murder victim a copy of London's ABC (the famous railway guide) is left opened at the appropriate letter.   Each destination is one that has a connection with Poirot and the letters are addressed to him almost taunting him to participate in the murderer's 'game'.

The story is set in 1930s London and the backdrop shows the rising fascist movement and anti-immigrants movement which adds to the bleakness that accompanies Poirot's traumatic flashbacks.


The ABC Murders on Amazon Prime
Click here to get the ABC Murders on Prime Video

 
Now I watched this on the ABC channel in Australia (which I thought was kind of ironic!), but I could've watched it on Amazon Prime.   I do love Amazon Prime and have enjoyed watching shows such as Jack Ryan and Good Omens on there.




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Friday, May 31, 2019

Agatha Christie's Ordeal By Innocence Movie Review (Amazon Prime Original Version)

Agatha Christie's Ordeal by Innocence Movie Review (Amazon Prime Original Version)
Image:  Film Site Image by Thomas Nugent / Ardgowan House
Trust Agatha Christie to write a story, which was made into a movie, that my husband and I could enjoy together!

While searching for a movie to watch one evening, I happened upon the Amazon Prime Original remake of Agatha Christie's Ordeal By Innocence.  The photo of a man with three women didn't really appeal to me.  As a matter of fact, it caused me to bypass the movie and keep searching.  However, I ended up going back to it simply because it was Agatha Christie and I thought I could always turn it off if it was to lewd.   I wouldn't expect Agatha Christie would have written anything salacious, but we can't truly trust filmmakers to remain completely true to an original story.    

I'm glad now that we went back to that movie to watch it.  As it turns out, we both enjoyed the movie and were still talking about how great it was the next morning.

I would highly recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys a mystery full of secrets and "interesting" characters.  


Agatha Christie's Ordeal By Innocence Movie Synopsis

 Agatha Christie's Ordeal By Innocence
Prime Original - Included with Prime
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Rachel Argyll (Anna Chancellor) is a wealthy woman who adopts multiple children, home-schools them, and raises them with a stern hand.  She isn't given to displays of affection and often comes across as cruel or unfeeling.  


When Rachel is murdered, her adopted son, Jack (Anthony Boyle), is accused and arrested.  He was a convenient suspect that doesn't seem to have a real alibi for the time of the murder.  Plus, he always seemed to delight in challenging and aggravating his mother.  It was believable that he might have lost is temper and murdered her.

18 months later, Dr. Arthur Calgary arrives at the Argyll's mansion to offer his testimony in defense of Jack.  Explaining that he has been out of the country since the night he gave Jack a ride and has just discovered the boy was accused of murder, he wishes to see Jack exonerated.  

Believing that he is another false witness just trying to make the news headlines, most of the family dismisses him, even threatens him in order to force him to leave town.  But, Dr. Calgary knows Jack was in his car at the time of the murder and he is not going to just give up and leave.   


Notes about the Amazon Prime Original Movie 

I really liked the actors they selected for this movie.  Not only were they believable, but they looked the parts.  I especially liked the way Luke Treadaway portrayed Dr. Arthur Calgary.  While all of the actors were awesome, Treadaway was exceptional.   
 

The Amazon Prime Original shows as Season 1, with 3 episodes. We watched the entire "season" movie on the same night. (less than 3 hours)

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MORE AGATHA CHRISTIE MOVIES REVIEWED

Crooked House Movie (2017) ReviewCrooked House Movie (2017) Review

Agatha Christie held me spellbound until the very end of Crooked House starring Glenn Close. I had no idea who the murderer was and the ending was completely unexpected.




Based on Agatha Christie's novel, And Then There Were None is a riveting miniseries that will leave you guessing right up to the end.




Even though I have seen several previous versions of "Murder on the Orient Express" and was very familiar with the plot, I loved this new adaptation and can highly recommend it! Read the full review....




Agatha Christie's Ordeal By Innocence Movie Review (Amazon Prime Original Version) Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse



 


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Friday, May 18, 2018

Crooked House Movie (2017) Review

Agatha Christie's Crooked House - 2017 Movie Reviewed
Agatha Christie never disappoints!  Crooked House is an awesome mystery. 

As always, Agatha Christie held me spellbound until the very end.  I had no idea who the murderer was and the ending was completely unexpected.

I don't know how I previously missed seeing one of the movie versions of Crooked House.  Apparently, there have been several.  I was thrilled to discover an Agatha Christie book plot that I had neither read, nor seen a film adaptation of the story.   

If you love a great mystery, if you are an Agatha Christie fan, or if you happen to be seeking a wonderfully suspenseful movie, I highly recommend Crooked House.   I don't know about any of the other movie versions, but I do know this 2017 version is phenomenal and Glenn Close is superb as Aunt Edith.  


The Plot of Crooked House by Agatha Christie


Crooked House Movie (2017) ReviewedWhen Aristide Leonides dies at the age of 85, every member of his family and household are murder suspects.  He was extremely wealthy and each family member had reasons why they would want him dead.  Since they all lived together in his mansion, they all had opportunity and access to his medicine, which was mixed to create a lethal poison.

The family was not sad over Leonides death.  In some ways, it was a relief to several of them because he was a controlling patriarch who enjoyed playing games with their lives.  He used his money and their dependence upon him, to wield power over them.  Now, they were free from the overbearing, oppressive bully in their lives.

Everyone thought they knew what would happen to his estate in the event of his death, but they were all wrong.  Unbeknownst to his sons, his grandchildren and his first wife's sister, Leonides had neglected to sign the will that left them all heirs.  Because there was no legal will, his young wife stood to inherit everything by default.  

Even before they knew about the unsigned will, family members were not particularly fond of his wife and they were more than willing to cast the blame for his murder on her.  Even the police suspected that his wife, Brenda, and her lover had poisoned Leonides.   

As you would expect, Brenda did not like the family either and was thrilled to find out she would inherit everything.  She did not hesitate to show her happiness over this turn of events. 

Leonides granddaughter, Sophia, hired her previous lover, who also happened to be a private detective, to investigate the murder.  She worries that Scotland Yard will not be respectful of the families privacy and she wants Charles Hayward to protect them from unnecessary probing. 

You now know the basic plot.  Two sons, two daughters-in-law, three grandchildren, a sister-in-law, a young wife and her lover all living in the same house, who all have means and motive to kill the head of the family, Aristide Leonide.  Scotland Yard is even depending on Charles Hayward to figure out which one is the murderer.  See if you can figure it out before the last 10 minutes of the movie!


Glenn Close in Crooked House

Glenn Close stars as Edith de Haviland in Crooked House.  As always, she is fabulous.  I can't imagine any other actress ever coming close to her performance.  She was totally and completely believable as Aunt Edith.

Edith was Aristide Leonides sister-in-law by his first marriage.  Therefore, she was his children's aunt and his grandchildren's' great aunt, but they all call her Aunt Edith.  She is a bit eccentric, self-assured, intelligent and strong willed.  I loved her!  

In my opinion, Glenn Close as Edith made what is clearly a wonderfully suspenseful book plot into a phenomenally superb movie.  



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Friday, December 8, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express (2017) Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express (2017) Movie Review
Even though I have seen several previous versions of "Murder on the Orient Express" and was very familiar with the plot, I loved this new adaptation and can highly recommend it!  

I am a huge Hercule Poirot fan!  In my heart, David Suchet will always be Poirot.   His image is the one my mind's eye will see when I hear or think of the fabulous Agatha Christie detective.  However, since I am reviewing the newly released "Murder on the Orient Express" movie, I need to start by critiquing the actor that played the part of Hercule. 

I was quite impressed with Kenneth Branagh who was cast as Hercule Poirot.  He also co-produced this latest version of "Murder on the Orient Express" which most likely gave him more freedom to develop the character to suit his own style and personality.  He is not an actor I was previously acquainted with, so there was no other character I had to toss to the back of my mind to enjoy his performance. 

When the movie first started, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to embrace Branagh as Poirot, even for a few hours.  But, after the first 20 minutes, I was fine with him playing the part.   By the end of the movie, I was singing his praises for taking on a role that was "owned" by another actor and doing a supreme job of becoming Poirot.  I certainly wouldn't mind seeing him continue as Poirot in future movies.


The Plot of "Murder on the Orient Express"


 Murder On The Orient ExpressCheck PriceI was recently reminded that not everyone is familiar with the plot or knows the story of "Murder on the Orient Express".  Frankly, I was rather shocked to learn that one of my family members that attended the movie with me had neither seen the movie, nor read the book.  Therefore, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the story, I will provide a brief synopsis.

The Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, is precise in his every deed and action.  He would even be considered fastidious.  This is an endearing quality to those of us who believe everything should be "just so".  He is highly intelligent and uses his "little grey cells" to examine every minute detail of a case.  As Poirot himself would tell you, he is "probably the greatest detective in the world".  

At the insistence of an old friend, Poirot boards the Orient Express train seeking a bit of a holiday.  What he actually got was a case of murder.  When an avalanche of snow stopped the train dead in it's tracks, one of his fellow passengers was found dead in his bed.  He had been murdered and Hercule Poirot was certain the murderer was also a fellow passenger.  He immediately started investigating the case, forcing those world famous "little grey cells" to work quickly lest another passenger should fall victim to the murderer.

He quickly deduces that the murder is somehow related to the previous murder of a child.  The abduction and subsequent murder of the child will remind you of a real case in history, the Lindbergh baby.  In fact, Agatha Christie's novel, "Murder on the Orient Express" was based on that real life murder.

Every passenger on the train is considered a suspect!
I'm not going to tell more of the plot simply because I don't wish to spoil the movie for anyone who is not already familiar with the plot.  What I will tell you, is that Poirot's own sense of justice is challenged by what he uncovers in this case.


The Actors Make the Movie


While there are a few deviations in this movie from the original novel, overall the characters were familiar enough that I don't believe it was neither a hindrance nor an improvement to the plot.  What did really matter is the cast of stars who played the parts.  These faces have long entertained us and they were all excellent choices for their respective parts.


  • Michelle Pfeiffer - the widow
  • Johnny Depp - the gangster
  • Willem Dafoe - the professor
  • Penelope Cruz - the missionary
  • Judi Dench - the princess

In addition to the award winning actors and actresses, you will recognize several other faces even if you don't know their names, yet!




The Scenery in Murder on the Orient Express (2017)


The scenery is stunningly gorgeous!   In addition to an unbelievably outstanding studio set of Longcross Studios in London, some of the landscape shots were made at the border between Switzerland and Italy.  The fantastic, out of this world mountains were filmed in New Zealand. 
 



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Murder on the Orient Express (2017) Movie Review Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse




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Saturday, June 3, 2017

And Then There Were None - The Mini Series

And Then There Were None
If you're after a dark mystery set in the late 1930s that will have you guessing right up to the end then you'll love And Then There Were None.   I have read the book, but I'm actually reviewing the 2015 mini series that was made for the BBC.

The book, by Agatha Christie, was published in 1939 and I think the miniseries captures the era well and it certainly has a lot of the nostalgic Christie feel about it.  If you're thinking of an Agatha Christie novel with good manners, manor houses and a little inconvenient murder to solve then you need to revisit Dame Christie.   And Then There Were None is when Agatha Christie tapped into her dark side and the result is a real masterpiece.

One of the reasons I liked the miniseries is that it managed to capture the darkness really well.  The bleakness of the island that is the main setting for the mini series made me want to go and visit, but it turns out that it wasn't actually filmed on an island!  When I first heard about this adaptation I remember reading 'mass murder rarely gets as fun as this' which I thought would've made a great tagline.

The basic story shows 8 strangers being invited to stay on a small, isolated island by someone none of them have actually met - the mysterious U. N. Owen.   When they get to the island their host isn't there although there are two servants on the island to look after them.

As the three part mini series unfolds our island cast of ten are killed off in the same way as the nursery rhyme (known as Ten Little Indians or Ten Little Soldiers), something which is picked up on by one of the main characters Vera Claythorne (played admirably by Maeve Dermody).

As you get to the end and are still trying to work out who did it we do get to see who was pulling the strings and it is the ending where it deviates from the book a bit, but not in a bad way.

I really believe that if Agatha Christie was alive today she'd be very happy with how this mini series turned out.

If you wanted to you could always read the book and watch the mini series to see which you prefer!  You can check out all of Agatha Christie's books on Agatha Christie's Booklist.




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