Assignment is over! I am now able to write here about anything I want. Excellent. I predict a lot of reaction and review type posts about the films, tv shows, performances, and books I encounter. But mostly, I’m just curious to see where this will go.
Currently reading: Little Dorrit, by Charles Dickens
Currently watching: Big Bang Theory, Season 4
Current audiobook: The Amber Spyglass, by Philip Pullman
I did recently finish reading Dorothy L. Sayers’ mystery novel The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club, which I would strongly recommend as an enjoyable and engaging murder story. The basic premise is this: Noble sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey enjoys being a member of the old and respected Bellona Club. On Armistice Day (Veteran’s Day), the aged General Fentiman is discovered to have been sitting, dead, in the reading room long enough to be completely stiff with rigor mortis. Why, then, does one leg swing loosely at the knee joint?
Lord Peter has to wade through the expected set of characters – relatives with shady behavior, stubborn and money-grubbing acquaintances, and doctors with hidden motives. But the story itself is wonderfully complex – murder mysteries are a difficult art. It is often so predictable. Either it’s who you expect, or it’s the person who was mentioned early on in the story and then forgotten. This particular novel highlights one of the great skills that Dorothy L. Sayers had as a writer. Even when the reader starts to figure out whodunnit, as is pretty typical once one gets within about 75-100 pages of the end of the book, it’s nearly impossible to figure out how and why. I flatter myself that I’m pretty intelligent, and I definitely did not start to suspect the culprit until very close to the end. It’s a short novel but tightly and vividly written. Definitely worth your while.
I watched Gnomeo and Juliet tonight, and it is also good fun. If you didn’t know and couldn’t guess from the title, it’s a retelling of “Romeo and Juliet” with ceramic garden gnomes (and one plastic flamingo. Seriously.) It’s full of clever references to other Shakespeare plays (guy calling to dog: “Out! Out, damn Spot!”).** A short movie at 84 minutes long, the voice actors are an eclectic group ranging from Dolly Parton, Ozzy Osbourne, and Hulk Hogan to Maggie Smith and Patrick Stewart. The moral of the story: feuds get out of hand way too easily. Also, watch the movie. That’s the moral of my story.
Happier ending. We like happy endings.