Archive for the ‘photo essay’ Category



Posted: July 31, 2012 in photo essay, Quiz

I wondered if anyone could identify all the ladies in this photo montage of Female Crime Writers. I am sorry no prizes so just stick your answers in the comments, and it will be interesting to see how long it takes for all the authors to be identified.

I haven’t posted anything in this series for quite a while but a couple of weeks ago the weather was more like  a proper summer, and I was able to photograph some genteel English gardens. Miss Marple would be quite at home in these places where time has thankfully stood still.

It really is February!

Posted: February 28, 2012 in England, Off Topic, photo essay








On Sunday it was hard to believe it was still February as we had the most incredible blue sky and the first early signs of Spring.

Killerton House, a National Trust property, a few miles north of Exeter was packed as Devonians, who are not used to sunshine in this rainy corner of England, set out to enjoy the weather. It was a pleasant change from worrying about the shrinking economy, reading the good but rather depressing Ashes by Sergios Gakas, and watching the very violent Danish TV series, Those Who Kill. More on those later……

I have just finished reading Outrage by Icelandic author Arnaldur Indridason [review to follow in the next few days] and just started a non-Nordic book as part of my plan to balance my reading in 2012 when Harri Nykanen’s Nights of Awe dropped through my letterbox. This is another book from Bitter Lemon Press, a thriller  set in Helsinki with an eccentric hero Inspector Ariel Kafka of the Violent Crimes Unit, and involves possible international terrorism, Finnish Security Police and Mossad. Very tempting but I am going to stick to my plan and put this one on my to-be -read shelf for the time being. But it does give me an excuse to post some photos of Finland. They were taken some twenty years ago as my son in the red cagoule is now married! 

Finland Station is of course not in Finland, but in St Petersburg, Russia. But the photos are taken on the waterfront in Helsinki, at the railway station, and somewhere north of Helsinki that was very very cold. At the time of our visit the far right charismatic Russian politician Vladimir Zhironovsky was making long speeches, and waving his arms around in a threatening manner. Everyday streams of large black limousines would pull up outside Finnish department stores, the food halls of which were full of caviar and sides of salmon making Harrods look like something out of the Third World, and deposited on the snowy pavements their cargo of short old balding KGB men, accompanied by tall young blonde women. 

It was in our hotel’s sauna that some younger Russians mentioned that the only place they had visited in England was “your beautiful English city of Portsmouth.” Our reaction was that they were probably Russian Naval Intelligence if Portsmouth was the only place in England they had bothered to visit. [I haven’t forgotten that those great ships HMS Victory and HMS Warrior are well worth a visit to Portsmouth.] 

The book I have started is The Trinity Six by Charles Cumming, a spy thriller, which made me think about Russia and her tortuous journey from Soviet superstate to Putin’s version of a democratic country. Gulp… I have to thank my great grandmother for her refusal to allow her son- in- law to accept the Tsar’s invitation to spend twenty five years in the Imperial Russian Army for my soft life.

Why on earth do British people from privileged backgrounds embrace these ideologies that produce nothing but misery for ordinary people?

From Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks, Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making by John Curran. 

The Golden Age of British detective fiction is generally regarded as roughly the period between the end of the First World War and that of the Second, i.e. 1920 to 1945. This was the era of the country house weekend enlivened by the presence of a murderer………

There are still some country houses [with huge heating bills] that allow simple folk a chance to sample the atmosphere of the  ‘country house weekend’, while helping pay for their upkeep, and perhaps wondering if Hercule Poirot, Lord Peter Wimsey, Harriet Vane, Albert Campion, or Roderick Alleyn will appear at any moment. The photos give a glimpse of an eccentric England that may give us some idea of what the Golden Age was like.


Posted: October 6, 2011 in Agatha Christie, England, photo essay

I am not feeling very well at the moment so I thought I would post another photo essay. This one inspired by the opening sentences of Peril at End House by Agatha Christie. [1932]

No seaside town in the south of England is , I think as attractive as St Loo. It is well named the Queen of Watering Places and reminds one forcibly of the Riviera.

John Curran in his Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks points out that:

The hotel where Poirot and Hastings sit is a real Torquay hotel, the Imperial with a verandah overlooking Torquay bay; in the book it is re-imagined as the Majestic Hotal in St Loo.

The Desolate Moor

Posted: October 4, 2011 in Conan Doyle, England, photo essay

Then fourteen miles away the great convict prison of Princetown. Between and around these scattered points extends the desolate and lifeless moor.

The Hound of the Baskervilles: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle