Showing posts with label murder mystery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label murder mystery. Show all posts

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Reviewing The Whitby Murders by J R Ellis

Have you ever been to an Escape Room?   After reading this murder mystery novel you may have second thoughts about participating in an Escape Room adventure.

Reviewing The Whitby Murders by J R Ellis
Image created via Canva



Apparently, this novel is the 6th in J R Ellis' Yorkshire Murder Mystery series.  I should probably have started with novel number 1.   Having said that this book stood on its own two feet and is fine to read as a standalone mystery (although I will definitely be looking at reading the rest of these).

Whitby, a Yorkshire coastal town in England's North is closely associated with Bram Stoker's Dracula and since the early 90s has hosted a music festival called the Whitby Goth Weekend twice a year.   The setting of this murder is in Whitby, during the Goth Weekend, and while taking part in an Escape Room.

I have read books that have used music festivals as a setting for murder and also some Gothic-themed novels, but I've never read a book that was actually set in an Escape Room.   I loved the idea and although I realized fairly early on about one thing, I totally missed a few other things so I loved finding out how everything tied together at the end.

If you enjoy murder mysteries then I really recommend this one.  As a book, it is not one that deals in gory as much as the mystery side of a murder mystery and is perfect for people who love putting puzzles together.

I enjoyed reading this book as part of my Kindle Unlimited membership which I always describe as a library membership with Amazon's Kindle store.

Other reviewers who have read some (or all) of the previous novels in J R Ellis's Yorkshire Murder Mystery series have said this is the weakest in the series which means I am even more keen to read the others.  I do have to agree with a few of the comments, however - the actual procedures that took place would not have been allowed to happen in real life, but it's a work of fiction so I didn't mind it!

DCI Oldroyd is the 'star' of these novels and one of the witnesses to the initial murder is his adult daughter who calls him and asks him to investigate.   As far as police procedures go it wasn't on his patch and he obviously had a personal bias.   I was able to put this aside and just enjoy the mystery, but if you like the procedures to be followed (like a number of the reviewers that I've read) then you might want to give it a miss.   I think you'll be missing out, but ...

So I have two questions to ask you - have you ever been to an Escape Room?  Also, have you ever read any of the books in this series by J R Ellis?   I must admit I have been thinking about trying an Escape Room for a while, but now I will be extremely careful as to who I participate in one with!



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Saturday, June 26, 2021

Reviewing Vera: A British TV Drama

I must admit I love British murder mysteries and Vera is definitely one I enjoy a lot, let me tell you a little bit about it.

Vera, a British police drama
Press Release photo (itv.om) adapted by Louanne Cox using Canva

DCI Vera Stanhope is a middle-aged, blunt-talking woman with a brusque attitude who gets things done.   Donning a trench coat, tatty hat and driving her (very old) landrover around the wonderful landscape of Northumberland she hasn't been portrayed as a sex symbol and there's no love interest in the cast.   Basically, her team feels like 'real' people which means you can concentrate on the crime at hand and trying to solve it .... along with the panoramic shots of the area (British tourism must appreciate this series).

I love her down-to-earth mannerisms, her use of the words love and pet just really consolidates her character.   She gets frustrated with her team on occasion, but you can tell they have respect for her and the unit is very cohesive.

I haven't watched Vera from the beginning, I stumbled across it one evening as it was about to start so watched it, then I found another episode a few weeks later.   It was a few seasons in before I started to watch every episode, I have since watched older episodes so I think I'm completely up to date now and eagerly awaiting Season 11 to be aired.

I mention this because you could easily watch just an odd episode and enjoy it without needing to start from the beginning.   In fact, some critics have panned the first series (even though it continually ranks well in the countries it's shown) so maybe it was good that I saw a couple of later episodes first.

If you are like me and get invested in characters you will get a shock in one of the episodes in season 6 (I won't ruin it by telling you which one) as something happens which almost made me cry.   For the record, I rarely cry over television shows or movies.

If you have heard of the novelist Ann Cleaves you may have heard of Vera as this drama series has been based on her novels: Hidden Depths, Telling Tales, The Crow Trap and Silent Voices. 

If you want to watch Vera you can see her for free on the ITV in the UK and ABC in Australia, you can also watch her on Prime Video in other parts of the world or purchase her DVDs.   Each series has four episodes in them, but according to the latest information Series 11 which is being filmed as I write this should be having 6 episodes, two being filmed in 2021 and four in 2022.

If you enjoy series such as Broadchurch, The Stranger, Endeavour or Shetland (also written by Ann Cleaves) then you should really check out this series.




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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)

Check Out More Movie Reviews at
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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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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Louise Penny Still Life Book Review & List

Louise Penny Still Life Book Review
Despite the recommendation of every member of my book club and many of my other friends, I have only just finally found my way into the world created by Louise Penny. Penny is a Canadian author who, since the year 2005, has written a series of murder mystery novels that are set in Canada in the romantic Eastern Townships of the province of Quebec.

I was happy to at last have the first book, Still Life, in my hands. I read the first few pages and wondered what all the fuss was about. I can honestly say that I did not like the book until page 59, when I met the main character, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. It is he who makes this series great when he solves crimes with careful observation and integrity.  When I met him, I was hooked.

I love Penny's realistic portrayals of people both good and bad, of the careful and sometimes instinctive detective work and of the idyllic, almost cottage-like setting.

Three Pines is a village so small as not to be found on the map and I have yet to look and see if it is a real village or not. It has cozy homes with fireplaces, friendly community gatherings and lots of home cooking. This book, Still Life, and presumably subsequent ones in the series, will make you want to visit and stay at the village's lone bed and breakfast.

I am a city girl but Penny’s books have me wanting to move to a quaint little village somewhere 'away from it all.' However, as we all know, it is impossible to truly be away from it all and despite the lovely location, the people who live here enjoy real life issues. They struggle through whatever life throws at them and even, sometimes, experience a murder or two. When that happens,  Chief Inspector Gamache and his team of of provincial police officers are called in from Montreal to solve the crime.

In Still Life, Chief Inspector Gamache arrives to investigate the suspicious death in the woods of a local school teacher and secret artist. Is it an accidental hunting death or is it something more sinister? You will have to read the book to find out.

Is Still Life recommended by me? Yes, it is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED as is the second book, A Fatal Grace.

In 2006, Kirkus Reviews wrote that Inspector Gamache was, “Cerebral, wise and compassionate" and that "he was destined for stardom.” They were absolutely correct on both counts and, as they also said, this first novel was a “stellar debut.” Since then, Louise Penny’s books and Gamache’s adventures, have kept fans reading and anxiously awaiting the next book. Yes, I will be reading more of the books in this series in the order as presented here on this book list:

Still Life
A Fatal Grace
The Cruelest Month
A Rule Against Murder
he Brutal Telling
Bury Your Dead
The Hangman
Trick of the Light
The Beautiful Mystery
How the Light Gets In
The Long Way Home
The Nature of the Beast
A Great Reckoning
Glass Houses
Kingdom of the Blind

If you enjoy a clever mystery solved in an interesting environment, you should check out the first book, Still Life. You can find it here on Amazon or see all of Louise Penny’s books by clicking right here.

Still Life has been made into a television movie. I have yet to see it but the general consensus of avid Inspector Gamache fans is that the movie was disappointing, which is not really surprising considering the popularity of the books! If you are going to watch the movie, make sure to read the book first!

See you
at the book store!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy Still Life in book, Kindle or audiobook formats on Amazon.

Louise Penny Still Life Book Review & List




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