Welcome to my Blog!
Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to
talk about himself. -
Not even I understand everything I am ¬Aurelius Augustinus of Hippo
In 2013 I started a series of photo albums on Blurb.com, named '36Exp' (a subject adressed in 36 exposures, a reference to the exposures on most common rolls of 35 mm film: 12, 24 & 36.).
SATURDAY REQUIEM by NICCI FRENCH | CRIME FICTION NOVEL
I read 'Saturday' before 'Friday' because I had mislaid the latter and was unable to find it in time, eager as I was to read another Frieda Klein novel. Except for a few 'spoilers' this did not hinder me at all.
A shady investigative group (Walter Levin, ex policeman Jock Keegan and a young woman by the name of Judy) who helped her out in her 'Friday' misadventures, Frieda can't say no to a request by them.
Frieda is asked to evaluate a young woman in a psychiatric institution, locked up for life for murdering her entire family. While Frieda is a psychotherapist, she is never content with merely unravelling the mysteries of the mind. Thus, it is no surprise she steps out of the envellope of her limited inquiry.
The evaluation was to be a small part of a police inquiry into various cases by one DCI Den Sedge suspected of unlawful dealings. The emphasis is on damage control.
Thirteen years ago, 18-year-old Hannah Docherty was sent to a secure hospital (a prison in fact) after being convicted of the brutal murder of her mother, step-father and young brother. The evidence was overwhelming and the case made banner headlines.
Hannah is a wreck, labelled 'mad' but Frieda is soon convinced that this is more due to her treatment with long periods of solitary confinement and medication. Hannah is also covered in bruises, uncommunicative, but Frieda peers behind the facade and has a growing concern about her case being a miscarriage of justice. Of course, this was not her brief.
While Frieda has been often warned for her 'rescue reflex', she can't help herself. Direct to the point of being blunt she undertakes her own inquiries, falling back on help by DCI Karlsson ('grounded' by a broken leg) and DC Yvette Long, determined to question Hannah's conviction.
We see the various friends return, such as Josef the builder, Reuben who finds himself diagnosed with cancer, Sarah, Jack (who helps Frieda out going through a chaotic archive once belonging to the
Docherty family) and of course patients in Frieda's practice.
And there is the presence of Dean hidden in the shadows, but suspected to lurk very nearby.
London's underground rivers (the Effra) and nightly walks once again play a part in the setting of this crime fiction novel.
Another fine novel by the writing partners (and married couple) Nicci Gerrard and Sean French.
This book is titled 'Dark Saturday' in the US 2017 paperback. Obviously 'Requiem' in a title was
deemed to 'difficult'.
GREYZONE (GRÅZON) | CRIME FICTION TV-SERIES
A character-driven drama and thriller series about the events leading to a terror attack in Scandinavia.
Vistoria Rahbeck (dramatic role by Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) is one of two young female engineers who have programmed the software for a drone with promising new capabilities. They are part of a young firm, SparrowSat, with idealistic aspirations for this drone e.g. for addressing world hunger and environmental issues. However, the firm welcomes the interest of a large firm to acquire 51% of SparrowSat, though this firm has a military market share.
Victoria lives together with her young son Oscar; her partner lives abroad.
The investigation is a joint effort by Danish and Swedish police and security forces. Representing the
THE ART OF READING by LAWRENCE SCHWARTZWALD | PHOTOBOOK PHOTOGRAPHY
Steidl is a German-language publisher, an international publisher of photobooks, and a printing company, based in Göttingen, Germany. It was started in 1972 by Gerhard Steidl and is still run by him.
ROME, A HISTORY IN SEVEN SACKINGS | BOOKS HISTORY
An excellent read and a treasure to have on the bookshelf for future reference.
359 pages (Atlantic publication, 2017; hardcover), excluding¬..
SANDHAMN MURDERS | TV CRIME FICTION
'Sandhamn Murders' (Morden i Sandhamn) is a Swedish tv crime fiction series produced by SVT.
It struck me that these last 4 episodes were particularly well produced, each episode layered with
The name of the series is derived from the island of Sandhamn, for the coast of Stockhom, Sweden.
A nice change from the socalled 'scandi noir' series, with pleasant characters and summertime on an idyllic island.
GOLDEN EGG by DONNA LEON | BOOKS CRIME FICTION NOVEL
Donna Leon (b. 29Sep1942, in Montclair, New Jersey) is an American author of a series of crime novels set in Venice and featuring the fictional hero Commissario Guido Brunetti.
NEW SHINJUKU by DAIDO MORIYAMA | PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOBOOK
During vacation travel in Japan last month I was on the lookout for one or two photobooks. One, about Great Hashima, is discussed further down. But this book by Moriyama was exactly what I was hoping
'New Shinjuku' was published in 2014 by Getsuyosha, with a limited edition print run of 100 copies. Daidō Moriyamas New Shinjuku is a re-edited publication of his highly sought after and acclaimed photobook Shinjuku.
Since we walked the Shinjuku area too the admiration for these impressive photos are only the greater.
Daidō Moriyama was born on 10Oct1938, in Ikeda (Osaka).
MYSTERY ROAD | TV CRIME FICTION DRAMA
Set in the fictional town of Patterson, 'Mystery Road' opens with a vehicle abandoned on a cattle station. Its two occupants seem to have disappeared into the burning hot desert.
Detective Jay Swan (a role by Aaron Pedersen) is assigned to investigate this mysterious disappearance on the Ballantyne station. The rancher appears to be the brother of senior police sergeant Emma James (Judy Davis).
Jay's investigation also uncovers a past injustice, a rape for which someone endured a 10 year prison sentence and that man, Larry, is about to return to Patterson.
Detective Swan is looked upon with distrust by about everyone in Patterson: being of indigenous origin the Aboriginal community thinks he's turned more sensitive to the white man's interests, the local police force object to Jay creating a lot of local unrest and his lack of communication, while the rancher fears Jay's meddling could spoil the sale and then his daughter (and later his wife) join him with family problems.
Inspite of their differences, Jay and Emma work together to bring guilty parties to justice, not only in the disappearances of the two youngsters but also drugs trafficking and the rape 10 years ago.
The setting in the Australian outback is simply wonderful, with many aerial shots over an endless landscape lined with dust blown dirt roads.
An excellent series!
ORDEAL BY INNOCENCE by AGATHA CHRISTIE | TV CRIME FICTION DRAMA
Agatha Christie remains a fine source for films and tv drama. Like her 1958 novel 'Ordeal by Innocence',
The story begins in 1954 when wealthy philanthropist Rachel Argyll is murdered at her family estate, Sunny Point. Her adopted son Jack Argyll, a young delinquent, is arrested for her murder. He vehemently protests his innocence.
Eighteen months later, Dr Arthur Calgary, a scientist, walks onto the velvety lawns of Sunny Point claiming to have just returned from an expedition to the Arctic. Even more extraordinary is his claim to hold the alibi that can prove Jack’s innocence. But Jack died in prison before the case could come to trial, and the Argyll family is reluctant to dig up the secrets of the past.
Rachel’s widower Leo is about to remarry his secretary Gwenda and none of Rachel’s other adopted children Mary, Mickey, Tina or Hester, nor longstanding housekeeper Kirsten, is willing to reopen that most horrendous chapter of their lives.
However, the shattering implications of Calgary’s story are too big to avoid; if he is telling the truth then the wrong person was arrested for Rachel’s murder.
Fascinating characters and a spinning plot!
INSPECTOR IMANISHI INVESTIGATES by SEICHO MATSUMOTO | CRIME FICTION BOOK
Inspector Imanishi Investigates by S. Matsumoto
Original title: Suna no Utsuwa; translation by Beth Cary
Seichō Matsumoto (b.21Dec1909 – d.04Aug1992) was a Japanese writer.
I bought this book when I was travelling in Japan recently. While the book was written (or at least published) in 1961, I noticed many of the mores and habits of Japanese society in this book still valid: the modesty and apologizing, respects towards the elder and superiors, visiting shrines, travel by train.
The self-educated Seichō did not see his first book in print until he was in his forties. He was a prolific author, he wrote until his death in 1992, producing in four decades more than 450 works.
His most acclaimed detective novels, including 'Ten to sen' (1958; Points and Lines, 1970); 'Suna no utsuwa' (1961; Inspector Imanishi Investigates, 1989) and 'Kiri no hata' (1961; Pro Bono, 2012), have been translated into a number of languages, including English.
In 1977, Seichō met author Ellery Queen when he visited Japan. In 1987, he was invited by French mystery writers to talk about his sense of mystery at Grenoble. Since then, his fiction has been compared with that of Georges Simenon.
Since his death from cancer at the age of 83, Seichō's popularity has grown internationally and he has achieved iconic status in Japanese culture.
I particularly enjoyed this book and the story of homicide detective Imanishi in 1960 Tokyo for a taste
UNFORGOTTEN, SEASON 3 | TV CRIME FICTION DRAMA
A body of a teenage girl, who went missing at the turn of the millennium, is found at a building site off the M1 motorway.
Four men celebrated the millenium change in a caravan park, three of them with their families. Those three all divorced their wifes a year later: did something happen that placed their relationships under strain, e.g. the (accidental) murder of young Haley?
These four men are placed under the spotlight when it is soon apparent that they all lied about events
that fateful night.
DCI Cassie Stuart (Nicola Walker) and DI Sunny Khan (Sanjeev Bhaskar) learn that Hayley, who was strangled, was a twin with sister Jessica before they are given a lead linking Haley to a holiday let where she worked.
Tim, a GP, helps the fragile Chris when his old school-friend is burgled. Meanwhile Tim has been accused of misconduct towards a dementing patient.
Chris was divorced from his wife and lost his business due to accusations of being involved in child porno. He suffers from bipolar disorder and after years spent homeless he is getting back on his feet due to medication and a new realtionship, with Jamila.
Pete is down on his luck as a salesman and his relationship suffers because of his lies and accusation of fraud
James, a media celebrity, tries to understand why his son Elliot wants a sex change operation.
Cassie and Sunny begin interviewing the four male occupants of the holiday let whilst the rest of the team establish the time-lines and re-examine leads from the original investigation.
Tim seems to have a dark side, a temper and is a control freak.
Chris has no alibi for the New Year's Eve, having gone outside that evening in a state of upset. Did he meet Haley in the dark, raped the school girl and made her disappear?
Pete has a police record in Hong Kong, where he had a career at the time of events.
And James is hiding his son's movements and troubled past from the police inquiries.
It is obvious that all four men were lying initially and timelines, witness reports, dna and smart analyses unravel the situation around Haley's disappearance, rape and murder.
Esspecially the former partners, Mel ex wife by James and Derran, ex wife by Tim, are damning.
But there is drama surrounding Cassie and Sunny as well.
Cassie is concerned regarding the increasing absent mindedness of her father, who lives in with her. He
is also in a new relationship of which Cassie is not too keen. She looses sleep, the Haley case is effecting her emotionally and on top of that she loses the file of Pete, left in a coffee shop, which gets published on social media - with devastating consequences. She is on a collison course with a burn out, when a former police detective who was involved in the original inquiry for the disappearance of Haley develops romantic feelings for her. But Cassie can barely bring up the energy to conclude the police investigation.
A splendid role again by Nicola Walker, who has had such a glowing career since her role in Spooks!
Sunny has introduced his two teenage daughters to a woman he had feelings for; then his ex wife proposes to return to the family, for she misses the family... But Sunny manages to leave work at the workplace and becomes the stable factor next to Cassie in the murder investigation.
Until the last two episodes the viewer remains in suspense of the killer, wrong footed by new evidence and a baffling series of pathological lying.
Long mag Unforgotten run!
GREAT HASHIMA | PHOTOBOOK
In Tokyo, recently, I had trouble finding a suitable photobook, as a souvenir. Most, if not all, of the books were wrapped in plastic and I was unable to browse the content. And I needed to confirm that at least the captions were in English, so I was able to understand the context of the photos.
This book, The Great Hashima, ticked all the boxes.
I have a wish to visit Hashima Island, popular known these days as Gunkanjima, but was unable to include it in the itinerary recently.
Hashima Island (or simply 'Hashima', shima being the Japanese suffix for island) is commonly called Gunkanjima, meaning Battleship Island).
These days the island's most notable features are its abandoned concrete buildings, undisturbed except by nature, and the surrounding sea wall. But it is also a reminder of its history as a site of forced labor prior to and during the Second World War, something I did not conclude from the book.
In 1974, with the coal reserves nearing depletion, the mine was closed and all of the residents departed soon after, leaving the island effectively abandoned for the following three decades.
Gunkanjima featured in the James '007' Bond movie 'Skyfall'. A very cool place where the villain had his
The island was formally approved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2015, as part of Japan's Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining.
JAPAN JOURNEYS (FAMOUS WOODBLOCK PRINTS) by ANDREAS MARKS
In the 19th century Japan, after centuries of civil war and restrictions on individual mobility, travel became a part of popular leisure activity.
TONY JOE WHITE (75), R.I.P. | MUSIC SINGERSONGWRITER
So sad to learn today of the passing away of singersongwriter Tony Joe White on 24Oct18.
Decades ago I heard him on my carradio while driving home from work, but I had not heard the dj's intro and when I walked in at home I put the tv on silent, switched the radio on and explained to my stunned wife I just had to know who was singing... That was decades ago and forever a fan.
"He wasn’t ill at all," his son, Jody White, told the Tennessean. "He just had a heart attack…there was
Swamp fox R.I.P.
TOP OF THE LAKE, SEASON 2 | TV CRIME FICTION DRAMA
We see Detective Robin Griffin (Elisabeth Moss) shortly after she joined the Sydney police force, four years after the 1st series ended. She is still struggling with her childhood traumas, when she was raped at the age of 16 by three men and left the resulting baby up for adoption days after having given birth.
Two plotlines are intertwined here, the first one is the suspected murder mystery of an Asean girl found on Bondi Beach, the second is Griffin getting reacquainted with her daughter and her foster parents.
I have two serious objections against this Top of the Lake 2nd season.
'Puss' is an East-German immigrant and former academic, who runs a brothel and is grooming underage girls, including Mary ('Baby').
All men here seem to share a misogynist view on women while the women here have frequent outbursts
ISTANBUL PHOTOGRAPHER ARA GÜLER DIES AT 90 | PHOTOGRAPHER
In 2012 I visited Istanbul for the first time, and of course I looked in on book stores and photo galleries on the photographers there.
Some biography details from his website:
Ara's philosophy on photography is that he attaches great importance to the presence of humans in photography and considers himself as a visual historian. He does not value art in photography so he prefers photojournalism.
He has won several awards for his work, including Turkey's Photographer of the Century, 1999; Master of Leica, 1962; France's Légion d'honneur; Lifetime Achievement Lucie Award, 2009; and Turkey's Grand Prize of Culture and Arts, 2005.
Ara also published his photographic books, such as Living in Turkey; Sinan: Architect of Süleyman the Magnificent; Ara Güler's Creative Americans; Ara Güler's Movie Directors; and Ara Güler: Photographs.
HIROSHIGE UTAGAWA - POSTCARDS (JAPANESE EDITION)
Bought recently as a souvenir, these postcards of vintage scenes of Japan. Colourful and remarkable, just as I found the country, travelling the tourist route through it for two weeks.
Publisher: Seigensha Art Publishing (May 25, 2011); 64 pages.
ROBERT CAPA - MAGNUM (JAPAN) 2017 EDITION | PHOTOGRAPHY
I noticed some photographs by Robert Capa I had not seen in the publications I have of his work. And I was excited to come across a photo of the 'Big Buddha' (Daibutsu) in the Todaiji Temple, Nara which he took in 1954 and which I visited 64 years later.
I am well pleased with this modest 10.5x15cm paperback, packing some 232 photographs (if I counted them correctly), well pleased indeed!
THE DAY IS DARK by YRSA SIGURDARDOTTIR | BOOKS CRIME FICTION NOVEL
As in 'Someone To Watch Over Me', the main character in 'The Day Is Dark' is lawyer Thóra Gudmundsdóttir. She is not some 'lone investigator' fighting crime against all odds, but rather a senior partner in a small and struggling law office. She does get a bit bored with her corporate law cases, but knows that those are her bread and butter while her partner has specialised in divorce cases.
When I came across this paperback in a bookshop in Tokyo I grabbed it without hesitation, as I rarely come across this author. However, I did note that I am reading the Thóra Gudmundsdóttir series in the wrong order, having now read the #5 and #4 editions (in that order).
Thóra accepts an invitation to flee her domestic situation and a boring workload, to go with her partner Matthew to Greenland in order to prepare a report about a geo-survey project gone all wrong with 3 disappearances at a remote location and the remainder of the workforce refusing to go back to Greenland for work unless these disappearances are resolved.
Among those accompanying the duo on this trip are a physician, a company geologist, a computer specialist and Thóra’s own secretary, the annoying and petty minded Bella.
This Icelandic writer likes to mix mystic native traditions with murder. And indeed, we soon find we are dealing with murders when cut up body parts are found. But also a body is found in the camp's freezer and which is found to have been dead for many years while also no explanation is found for the disappearance of a young woman, Oddný Hildur, 6 months prior to the disappearance of two drillers.
The author has come up with some interesting characters and a fascinating glimpse of a world far removed from the experiences of most Western readers.
STRIP JACK by IAN RANKIN | BOOKS CRIME FICTION NOVEL
Strip Jack, as is written in Rankin's introduction in this book, was written in France by him, as he'd moved into a rundown French farmhouse with his wife in 1990.
The book starts with a woman drowned, possibly murdered and the theft of rare books. But the actual story starts when respected MP Gregor Jack is caught in a police raid on an Edinburgh brothel and his flamboyant wife Elizabeth suddenly disappears. John Rebus smells a set-up.
As Rankin writes in his introduction, this books marked the ending of his 'apprenticeship', having written about a fictitious police station in a fictitious street, from now on he would make his books as authentic as possible. And as we now know this would culminate in 'Rebus Tours' through the streets of Edinburgh in the present day!