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Poppyshake's Reading Year 2015

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It has.  I saw three I liked - this one, Elizabeth is Missing and The Restoration of Otto Laird by Nigel Packer.   I've bought 'Elizabeth' on Kindle and may get round to buying the other two titles soon.  :)

Elizabeth is Missing keeps drawing me too .. there's just something written on it (can't remember what now) that made me hesitate .. like it might be too sad for me. I'm going to wait and see what you say :D 

I do believe that Alan has bought me The Restoration of Otto Laird .. for I have seen it  :blush2: I wasn't on the peep or anything but came across it in a bag whilst I was tidying up (it's the Mousetrap disappointment all over again .. but that time I intentionally peeped .. so excited when I found it but couldn't replicate the same excitement on Christmas Day :blush2: ) I hope it's for me anyway  :giggle: he'll have some explaining to do if it doesn't turn up in February :D 

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I've got a different cover to yours … http://www.amazon.co.uk/Awakening-Miss-Natalia-Sanmartin-Fenollera/dp/0349139504/ref=tmm_pap_title_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423296709&sr=1-1

 

It's also a big format paperback, but a friend bought it for me for Christmas, so I not going to complain! :D  I'm looking forward to picking it out of the jar :giggle2:

Now that is very beautiful .. not so keen on the large format but would have been happy if they'd kept that cover for the normal one. Still .. no complaints as it's still beautiful (but I wish they wouldn't go changing the cover for each format .. so often they don't improve on the hardcover.) 

I hope it will come out of your jar soon .. it might .. your jar is quite kind :D

 

My jar is in a sulk because I didn't go straight to it and pick another (it senses change is in the air :D) .. I'm possibly in for it now :D

 

Incidentally Claire, I'm reading Don't Point That Thing at Me and quite enjoying it  :D  :blush2: 

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I am leaving out my own emoticons ... so that I can leave yours in ..

This is a great novel, I do hope you like it! :smile2:

Ooh .. extra excited now. I love the look and sound of it and I want to read it in winter (plus .. it's Claire's so I ought to get a wriggle on) so won't wait for the jar to pick it.

Oh no, you would, wouldn't you! Please don't do that!!! :D Just give the book in question a nice hug and then throw it out the window and go for the book jar once again!

Yes .. unsuspecting passersby had better watch out!! I've had a couple of chances to abandon .. books that didn't quite catch fire but I couldn't lay them aside for some reason. I didn't positively hate them. If that happens .. I'm definitely chucking it. 100 pages is fair apparently .. I'll give them that and no more *very determined look*

I like a strange sense of humour but sometimes there are cases where I don't get it. I guess one has to try the book and see if it's the right kind of strange! I can't remember if I've told you, but there are copies of the book at the library and I've already reserved one :)

Yes .. humour ..  it's so subjective. I do hope you like it ... there's no dog in it .. I would feel more happy about recommending it to you if there was a dog .. oh dear! (why didn't they have a dog?!!)

Can you not read it because of my hand writing or are the notes in Finnish? :D Which Murdoch do you think you'd want to tackle next?

No .. you have written in English .. it's just .. I wasn't always sure to what you were referring to on the page. A lot of the time you had helpfully underlined passages though. One remark I did like particularly was 'silly behaviour' :D Have a feeling if you had been studying Malory Towers .. this may have done for summarising the whole book.

:D Names like Doris and Bill and Gwyneth and Colin?

:DMy jar could never be as nice as a Colin .. no they were fruitier names than that!

I should get a move on and read other Waters's books. Although we've recently discussed this. I do like the sound of this book. And Waters certainly knows what will make a good twist, or 'an inciting incident'

She does .. she's quite a master at it. I like the way she usually lulls you first though .. it was all very teatime at five o'clock type thing and then bam .. lady monkey business. 

What are the odds, really! :o Bloody hell... Virginia wants you. You naughty minx!

:DAs it turned out .. Violet didn't mention Virginia in her letters .. it was far too early at that point and long before Vita and Virginia's .. ermmm .. dalliance (gracious .. all these 'v' names .. makes one quite confused) but there is a connection there and it's only just come to me that the next book out was The Hours which couldn't be more Virginia unless it actually was Virginia. The spell has broken with The Rotters' Club though .. pretty sure nobody mentioned Ginny at all in that. 

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And again with the Woolf :D Your jar is freaking me out!! I'm so pleased you loved it, though. Especially after having tried it before and abandoning it. That jar of yours works in mysterious ways.

Yes .. very odd .. the jar is speaking to me .. but what is it saying? I think it may be trying to tell me that I'm an ungrateful minx for not tackling that lovely set of Virginia's letters that Alan bought me the Christmas before last. They are in the jar .. six times .. for the six volumes (only .. I just put 'Virginia's Letters' .. I left off which volume as obviously didn't want to read them out of sequence .. that would just be daft and I'm not stupid :D) It could just make me pick them but it wants to be subtle about it most probably.

18 books in one month, bloody hell :lol: Well done! I'm very happy for you and your mojo :smile2: I think that jar has rejuvenated your mojo somehow. And considering how many really long books you've had to deal with, 18 books is a great great number! :smile2:

Thank you very much, I was pleased. I think I have slowed a bit but still the mojo is fit and well and wanting its tea and toast at 8 sharp every morning so no cause for worry. February is a busy month though .. so many distractions and then it's all over in a jiff.

Oh come on, Kay was only being really excited about her current mojo! She had a great reading month and wanted to share her enthusiasm and so she did a bit of statistics for fun.

Bless you thanks .. I was excited .. and wagging my tail a bit  :blush2: 

What a wonderful review! And it's taking over the colors, too! :D This is definitely going on my wishlist :smile2: I find it funny personally that I'm reading a similar'ish book at the moment: it's about a man who moves into a whole different place to take a post as a librarian. Well, those are the only similarities but it's enough for me.

You were tangoed! :D A book about any sort of librarian is always a must. I am inclined towards it straight away. We only got to hear a little about Miss Prim's librarian duties .. I wish it could have been more. The 'Man in the Winged Chair' has a lot of books which need sorting and cataloguing. They have a bit of an argument about Little Women .. Miss Prim thinks the children (that he teaches) should read it but he's dead against it .. I was actually with him on that one although I did get her point in general.  

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I know that I'm not always good at expressing myself in the way that people on this board most relate to, but I'm glad that Kay appears to have understood what I was saying, particularly in relation to her comment about the page count dipping - the sight of numbers has the same effect on me that a cardboard box has on a cat! :-

:D Do you just head straight for them and dive in? :D (my cat loves a cardboard box!) I also don't make myself understood enough .. it all looks so serious when I write it down but really .. I'm not taking it too seriously at all. Not the numbers anyway. The enjoyment of it all is what pleased me. 

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Now that is very beautiful .. not so keen on the large format but would have been happy if they'd kept that cover for the normal one. Still .. no complaints as it's still beautiful (but I wish they wouldn't go changing the cover for each format .. so often they don't improve on the hardcover.) 

I hope it will come out of your jar soon .. it might .. your jar is quite kind :D

The trouble is, I actually want loads of books to come out of the jar soon!!! At least I guess it means I've got less chance of being disappointed picking out my choices. :lol:

 

My jar is in a sulk because I didn't go straight to it and pick another (it senses change is in the air :D) .. I'm possibly in for it now :D

*cough* Carter Beats The Devil *cough*

 

Incidentally Claire, I'm reading Don't Point That Thing at Me and quite enjoying it  :D  :blush2: 

Well, I actually like it at the start too … I think it was about a third of the way through I started changing my mind … :lol:

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The trouble is, I actually want loads of books to come out of the jar soon!!! At least I guess it means I've got less chance of being disappointed picking out my choices. :lol:

Have you any that you're fearful of or is it all win, win :D

*cough* Carter Beats The Devil *cough*

:o No!!!!! The jar is not capable of such malevolence .. is it?  :wibbly:

Well, I actually like it at the start too … I think it was about a third of the way through I started changing my mind … :lol:

Oh dear .. *note to self* .. don't get too complacent :D I am getting to the third of the way through stage now .. I wonder ...  :unsure:

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:o No!!!!! The jar is not capable of such malevolence .. is it?  :wibbly:

 

 

I'm afraid it is...but only because you made it that way!  :P

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Have you any that you're fearful of or is it all win, win :D:o

If I'm honest, most of the English Counties Challenge books scare me!  :icon_eek: 

 

No!!!!! The jar is not capable of such malevolence .. is it?  :wobbly:

Of course it's not, I'm sure it's going to dole out something fantastic for you to read next time!  :lurker:  :giggle2: 

 

Oh dear .. *note to self* .. don't get too complacent :D I am getting to the third of the way through stage now .. I wonder ...  :unsure:

You may love it all … it might just be me! It wouldn't be the first time … :lol:

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I'm afraid it is...but only because you made it that way!  :P

:o  :DI put bows on it and everything and this is how it repays me! I should have been deceitful .. and left certain titles out!!

It's Frankenstein all over again .. I only wanted a friend! :D

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If I'm honest, most of the English Counties Challenge books scare me!  :icon_eek: 

We would never have picked bad or difficult books would we? I'm sure they're all delightful :D 

Of course it's not, I'm sure it's going to dole out something fantastic for you to read next time!  :lurker:  :giggle2:

Hmmm .. can't help thinking you're fibbing Claire  :D 

You may love it all … it might just be me! It wouldn't be the first time … :lol:

:DThere are times when it's not quite working for me but most of the time I'm fine with it .. so far  :blush2: 

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:o  :DI put bows on it and everything and this is how it repays me! I should have been deceitful .. and left certain titles out!!

It's Frankenstein all over again .. I only wanted a friend! :D

 

Is it a boy jar? Because if it's a boy, it might want to get back at you for putting bows on it.  :lurker:

 

:giggle2:  Nice analogy!

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Is it a boy jar? Because if it's a boy, it might want to get back at you for putting bows on it.  :lurker:

I thought it was sexless :D Possibly I have girlified it up a bit .. I will do that if left to my own devices :blush2:  I expect it's got lots of reasons to seek revenge. It used to be full of sweets .. and now it's half full of paper .. you can see that that's not necessarily a fair exchange :D 

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Elizabeth is Missing keeps drawing me too .. there's just something written on it (can't remember what now) that made me hesitate .. like it might be too sad for me. I'm going to wait and see what you say :D 

 

I don't know if it will be too sad for you, because I amn't familiar with your capacity for literary sads, but I didn't find it too sad. I mean, it's not the happiest read ever, given the subject matter, but it certainly didn't come close to making me cry or anything. Just my two cents :)

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Hmmm .. can't help thinking you're fibbing Claire  :D 

:D

How weird would it be if Carter Beats The Devil was your next pick  :o … I'm really sorry if it is, Kay, I'm really sorry, I didn't mean it  :hide: 

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I don't know if it will be too sad for you, because I amn't familiar with your capacity for literary sads, but I didn't find it too sad. I mean, it's not the happiest read ever, given the subject matter, but it certainly didn't come close to making me cry or anything. Just my two cents :)

Okay .. well .. that's good to know :) I've looked at the cover and there is nothing to suggest it would be too sad either so I wonder where I got that from .. I think I saw it in Waterstone's window .. and they may have written a little description .. I'll take another look when I next go past. I don't cry at the drop of a hat but if a scarf was dropped as well I might :D 

How weird would it be if Carter Beats The Devil was your next pick  :o … I'm really sorry if it is, Kay, I'm really sorry, I didn't mean it  :hide: 

It's alright Claire .. I've picked this morning and it's all good :D 

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My next book jar pick ..
 
Fair Exchange by Michèle Roberts
 
More than happy about this, I only bought it last week from Oxfam :) I do have a tiny confession and that's .. one of the reasons I picked it up was that it had the right coloured spine .. I was looking for peachy colours  :blush2: However, in my defence (bear with :D) .. whatever the colour of spine I won't buy a book unless it's .. a) already on my radar .. b) I like the blurb or c) I admire the author  :angel_not:  :unsure:  .. so there are still provisos. It's another way of making me broaden my horizons as .. possibly .. I wouldn't pick these books out ordinarily. 

 

It has done very well in getting picked after not spending more than half a week in the house .. very few books can say that  :D I'm also going to read The Winter Queen by Boris Akunin which lovely Claire lent me :hug: I've got a trying week ahead as there are tradesman coming :hide:  so I will no doubt be hiding away somewhere with my books and as much tea as I can possibly carry. Have stocked the house with biscuits ... in case the tradesmen need sustenance but should they turn out to be non-biscuit eaters ?? :o ?? I will partake of a few myself .. because of wastage and stuff. Purposefully got custard creams and bourbons because they're not faves of mine .. not faves but of course I will eat them .. if pressed  :blush2: 

 

Hope everyone has a good reading week xx 

post-5612-0-29423300-1423402000_thumb.jpg

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It's alright Claire .. I've picked this morning and it's all good :D 

Phew! That could have been a bit spooky … but looks like the jar is being nice to you today thought. :D

 

Looking forward to seeing what you think about The Winter Queen too. :)

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I like to hide from tradespeople too, Kay.  I always feel a bit awkward though if I'm sitting here on my laptop or reading - I feel like I ought to have the vacuum cleaner out or something!  :giggle2:   I hope this week isn't too trying for you.  :hug:

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Phew! That could have been a bit spooky … but looks like the jar is being nice to you today thought. 

 

Looking forward to seeing what you think about The Winter Queen too. 

I'm sure I'll like it .. I'm annoyed that I can't devote much time to reading today (see below :blush2: ) .. though should be able to have a session later. I have read about twenty pages of Fair Exchange and it's good so yes .. well done and thank you jar :D

I like to hide from tradespeople too, Kay.  I always feel a bit awkward though if I'm sitting here on my laptop or reading - I feel like I ought to have the vacuum cleaner out or something!   I hope this week isn't too trying for you.  :hug:

Thanks Janet :) I haven't got any housework to do because, despite the fact that they will be treading all over the house with muddy boots and touching things with muddy paws, I have cleaned from top to bottom :D Even cleaned the windows .. and the oven (why?)  :o I did think of tidying the front garden in their honour but my time has run out today  :blush2: I didn't put it to bed properly in the Autumn and as such the lavender looks shocking .. I'm sure they'll notice :D 

I will be closeted in my bedroom I expect .. and they'll have to do the calling out thing if they want me .. 'ere missus' .. something like that :D I will keep them supplied with tea of course and I'll probably get progress reports then.  

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thehours.jpg
The Hours by Michael Cunningham

Synopsis:
 In 1920s London, Virginia Woolf is fighting against her rebellious spirit as she attempts to make a start on her new novel. A young wife and mother, broiling in a suburb of 1940s Los Angeles, yearns to escape and read her precious copy of ‘Mrs Dalloway’. And Clarissa Vaughan steps out of her smart Greenwich village apartment in 1990s New York to buy flowers for a party she is hosting for a dying friend. Moving effortlessly across the decades and between England and America, this exquisite novel intertwines the stories of three unforgettable women.

Review: I'm quite baffled now as to why I abandoned this last year. It must have been because my mind was too busy .. too full of clamour or something because I didn't have any problems with it at all this time .. quite the opposite .. I adored it .. every word. You do perhaps need to concentrate or give your mind to it .. at least to begin with. This was perhaps where I fell down the first time but the fact that I put it back on the shelf for another day must have meant that I knew we would be friends some day :D After all .. the cover isn't brilliant and the paperback is an odd size (wider than normal .. don't you just hate that? .. it juts out from the shelf! .. a crime imo) .. two reasons if ever there were to send it hot footing to the Oxfam bookstore.

I really am quite in awe of what Michael has achieved. To be able to successfully blend these three separate, but connected, stories (a day in the life of three people .. Virgina Woolf is writing Mrs Dalloway, Mrs Brown is reading Mrs Dalloway and Clarissa Vaughan .. known as Mrs Dalloway to her friend Richard .. is going to buy flowers for her party just as Mrs Dalloway does in the opening pages of the book) is one thing but to imbue them with such a flavour of Virginia's writing and yet be entirely unique is so impressive. You alternate between these three characters and it's seamless. It's just one day in their lives but by the end of it you know them better than most characters because, in true Virginia style, you've lived inside their heads. There's a sense of anticipation to each story .. a sense of drama building and a climax to come which makes it all slightly unsettling but also engrossing. They're all, in their separate ways, trying to keep things together, trying to get through this one day. 

I've read Mrs Dalloway which I was glad of as you can pick up all the connections .. I don't think it's key though. A beautifully written, poignant, story, I know I will visit it again and re-watch the film (and listen to the soundtrack .. thanks Claire :D) I'm so glad I gave it a second chance .. what a numbskull .. honestly 
:rolleyes: Loved it!

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Good luck this week, Kay! It will be difficult but hopefully reading will distract you somewhat :).

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Good luck this week, Kay! It will be difficult but hopefully reading will distract you somewhat :).

Thanks Gaia .. it went okay today. Not too harrowing :DHopefully just tomorrow to cope with.

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dontpoint.jpg
Don't Point That Thing At Me by Kyril Bonfiglioli

Synopsis:
Introducing the Hon. Charlie Mortdecai, art dealer, aristocrat and assassin, in the first of the Mortdecai novels. Portly art dealer and seasoned epicurean Charlie Mortdecai comes into possesion of a stolen Goya, the disappearance of which is causing a diplomatic ruction between Spain and its allies. Not that that matters to Charlie ... until compromising pictures of some British diplomats also come into his possession and start to muddy the waters. All he's trying to do is make a dishonest living, but various governments, secret organizations and an unbelievably nubile young German don't see it that way and pretty soon he's in great need of his thuggish manservant Jock to keep them all at bay ... and the Goya safe.

Review: I enjoyed this ... in the main. It got a little bit too hectic .. too farcical and I thought at times it tried to be too clever but still it was an enjoyable caper. I can actually see the Wodehouse connections .. the very obvious and intended connections as Bertie and Jeeves are quoted at times and Charlie .. whilst being nothing like Bertie .. utters some very Bertram like sentences ...

 

'I embarked on the quotidian schrecklichkeit of getting up. With occasional help from Jock I weaned myself gingerly from shower to razor, from dexedrine to intolerable decision about necktie; arriving safely, forty minutes later, at the bourne of breakfast, the only breakfast worth the name, the cheminot's breakfast, the great bowl of coffee laced and gadrooned and filigreed with rum. I was up. I had not been sick. The snail was on the thorn, to name but one.' 

 

.. ultimately it's not as subtle as Wodehouse though.

Everyone is quite cartoonish .. intentionally so .. Charlie's sidekick (Jock Strapp!! .. well .. I ask you  :rolleyes:  :D ) is ridiculously brutish and the women and villains are straight from Bond. I'm not sure I understood it all, some of it sailed over my head. Possibly needed to have gone to Eton or the Garrick Club or be better read than I am to fully understand the references. Too much latin for one thing but I sort of half held on. Also I'm not sure 'crime capers' are my thing .. I get a bit edgy when things get madcap but there was something about it that held my interest and entertained.

I'm not in the least tempted to see the film which is said to be a turkey but I am tempted by the other books .. such lovely covers  :blush2: Liked it! Many thanks to Claire for the loan :hug: 

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manglestreet.jpg
The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian

Synopsis:
Gower Street, London, 1882: Sidney Grice, London's most famous personal detective, is expecting a visitor. He drains his fifth pot of morning tea, and glances outside, where a young, plain woman picks her way between the piles of horse-dung towards his front door. March Middleton is Sidney Grice's ward, and she is determined to help him on his next case. Her guardian thinks women are too feeble for detective work, but when a grisly murder in the slums proves too puzzling for even Sidney Grice's encyclopaedic brain, March Middleton turns out to be rather useful after all. Set in a London still haunted by the spectre of the infamous Spring-heeled Jack, THE MANGLE STREET MURDERS is for those who like their crime original, atmospheric, and very, very funny.

Review: What an absolute treat. I wanted to read this ever since seeing Steve's review of it .. and really you can't do better than to read his account. I've really nothing to add .. but that won't stop me :D

Sidney Grice is not your usual hero, he's very exacting, quite arrogant, a little mysogynistic, rude and fairly humourless. I get the feeling that if he was to laugh or tell a joke it would be the most frightening thing in the world (though intentionally he's very satirical and unintentionally he's very funny). March on the other hand is kind, sensible and intelligent but inclined to let her emotions rule. While Sidney's answer to any outrage is a strong cup of tea, March is not averse to a nip of gin and a cigarette .. though purely in order to fortify. They're prone to clash and March ... new to his household .. has to stand her ground in order to be allowed to assist him in his latest case. The reader is inclined to side with her .. she's more rational and all her powers of judgement seem correct. Sidney on the other hand appears to be making some huge errors in his deductions but then he is London's most famous detective (and I loved all the nods to Sherlock Holmes .. 'my poor mama's heart failed with the strain of being delivered of me twenty-one years ago and my poor dear papa was killed last July when he fell over a waterfall in Switzerland' :D .. Conan Doyle even gets a cameo role) so .. though you might think he's wrong in the main .. you can't quite lose faith in the fact that he knows what he's about. 

I'm not sure that the crimes themselves are anything out of the ordinary .. as usual with good detective stories it's more about the solvers and the solving. I did have an inkling early on about who I thought might be complicit in the crimes and was correct .. but wasn't sure how or why etc and it was only a fleeting suspicion anyway. I do believe I suspected nearly everybody at some point. The story is probably more graphic than I usually allow .. with it's descriptions of gore I mean .. though I get squeamish playing Cluedo so can't be said to be a rational judge of it and anyway, when the story is this good, I find I can cope. I love the era .. this is the London of Dickens (although slightly later) and the Penny Dreadfuls so it's wonderfully atmospheric.

 

You could quote from it forever but here's something that particularly tickled me ..

The shop window was barred and had no curtains or blinds.

Above it was fixed a white board on which Ashbys Ironmongery was painted in black.

'Lord preserve the apostrophe.' I pointed up. 'It is going the way of the dodo.'

'Horrible squiggly things.' my guardian shuddered. 'The sooner we are rid of them the better.'   :D

 

I enjoyed every minute of listening to it and now, because it'll be a week or so until my next credit, I'm letting it go round again because it is a sheer delight. I will get myself a paperback version because it's important to have good books in the house and anyway .. I've seen there are more in the series  :blush2: Loved it!

PS: Dear BBC. Don't get me wrong, I love Agatha as much as the next man, but enough with the adaptations already (for a start .. as far as Marple is concerned .. you peaked with Joan Hickson .. everything since has just been decent karaoke) .. this is the sort of detective story we should be seeing at Christmas. Get on it!! (and many thanks for Wolf Hall .. I'm glad my licence fee has been put to good use .. ditto Jonathan Strange though perhaps I'm being a bit previous  :D )

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