Can’t complain

28 12 2010

The Complaints by Ian Rankin

Another not a Rebus novel from Rankin, this time featuring a bit of a different kind of copper, Malcolm Fox:

Fox is part of the unpopular Complaints & Conduct department of the police force (better known as ‘The Complaints’) — and the reason for that unpopularity is clear to see: this is the department designed to root out corruption in the force and investigate suspect officers. The current target for Fox is policeman Glenn Heaton of the CID, who has often sailed close to the edge; now there appears to be material for a case against him. But at the same time, another cop, Jamie Breck, is suspected of being part of a ring indulging in child abuse.

It’s not bad and shows that Rankin can leave Rebus behind and still deliver a distinctive policeman as a very good lead character, in Edinburgh, and provide an entertaining plot with a number of very good twists. Worth a go.

[Read on ipad]

Voodoo booboo

24 12 2010

Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming

Beautiful, fortune-telling Solitaire is the prisoner and tool of Mr Big: master of fear, artist in crime and Voodoo Baron of Death. But James Bond has no time for hocus pocus. He knows that this criminal heavy hitter is also a top SMERSH operative and a real threat. More than that, after tracking him through the jazz joints of Harlem, to the everglades and on to the Caribbean, 007 has realized that Big is one of the most dangerous men he has ever faced…

It’s a pretty grim and violent chase at times but is reasonably suspenseful in places. The book is a world away from the Roger Moore movie but still contains some classic Bond elements. Some of the less attractive features are the casual, almost incessant, racism and the typically dismissive attitude towards female characters (in this case there is only one I think and you might be able to guess from the cover the particular approach taken).

Very much of its time and, notwithstanding the above criticisms, an entertaining enough read. But a bit disappointed there was no speedboat chase.

Really Hard Times

21 12 2010

Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

In a nutshell:

Set in rural New England, Ethan Frome is the story of its title character who marries Zenobia, a nagging hypochondriac of a woman, and finds himself trapped in an unfulfilling life. When Zenobia’s young cousin Mattie Silver comes to live with them, Frome falls in love with her. Ethan Frome is the story of forbidden love and its tragic consequences.

It is an extraordinary tale and quite excruciating in places. Classic stuff though and taken a long time to get round to.

(Read on ipad with Kindle for ipad)

Exciting new Smiths theme restaurant

20 12 2010

New Smiths theme restaurant.

Have to report it’s an opportunity missed, unfortunately. It seems the name has been taken by some chain called “Ask”. Bugger. Did not stop Dr Simon Anderson and myself working through this and coming up with ideas for most of the offer:

The Maitre’D wears a badge describing him precisely as “This Charming Man”

The vegetarian selection is, of course, named “Meat Is Murder”

“I Want the One I Can’t Have”  is the title of the dessert menu.

The kids’ menu is, unfortunately, called “Suffer Little Children”.

Has our order been served in full or are we still waiting for chips?
“You’ve Got Everything Now”

Morrissey couldn’t join us for dinner tonight, he’s “Still Ill”

Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup. “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore”

Where is our food? You said it was imminent. “How Soon is now?”

Excuse me sir, did you pay the full bill? “I Don’t Owe You Anything”.

Unhappy birthday to you etc etc. A magically relighting candle on the birthday cake: “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”.

Depending on how many make choices from the dessert menu it might be the case that “Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others”.

Our portions are very generous. We often hear people say “I Started Something I Couldn’t Finish”.  

Parting words on leaving a tip to Bill, a grateful waiter: “William, It Was Really Nothing”.


Just plain crazy

7 12 2010

Pandaemonium by Christopher Brookmyre

A first person shoot ’em up as a novel. From the Amazon summary:

St Peter’s High School has a problem with its senior pupils – how to help them deal with death of a fellow pupil? The answer (it’s decided) is to be a cloistered retreat at an outdoor activity centre – it will be there, through the aid of programmes of counselling, discussion groups and (of course) prayer – St Peter is a religious school — that the pupils will be able to adjust. Needless to say, the pupils themselves have other ideas – sex and general misbehaviour being their primary aims. But near the retreat, a highly secret military operations is in train — one, unusually, that has the services of a religious adviser (and an eccentric one at that). Appropriate, as the experiment involves nothing less than the untrammelling of the forces of the netherworld. The pupils will find themselves fighting for their lives.

An entertaining mix of gore, teen angst and sci fi nonsense, this is a pretty good read with a distinct Brookmyre flavour, but a bit uneven and quite bonkers in all sorts of ways. Read on iPad using Kindle app.

%d bloggers like this: