Welcome to my Blog - Ruud Leeuw

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Welcome to my Blog!The lion roars!!!
I hope to share here my irrepressible thoughts on news, music, books, arts and such like. In general these will be items, events and issues which I feel have no place on my website (which focusses on aviation history and my travel photography).

The item immediately below this would be the latest posting.

Anybody, providing he knows how to be amusing, has the right to talk about himself. - Charles Baudelaire
Esse est percipi (To be is to be perceived) ¬Bishop George Berkeley

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.).
The books can be ordered directly from the Blurb.com website or Amazon.




Berenice Abbott 'Portraits of Modernity' (Huis Marseille 2019)

Berenice Abbott 'Portraits of Modernity' (Huis Marseille 2019)

Berenice Abbott 'Portraits of Modernity' (Huis Marseille 2019)

Berenice Abbott 'Portraits of Modernity' (Huis Marseille 2019)
Portraits of Eugène Atget (b.12Feb1857 – d.04Aug1927)

"Photography is a method of education, for acquainting people of all ages and conditions with the truth about life today," wrote photographer Berenice Abbott (1898-1991), in an unpublished text, 'Statement in Regard to Photography Today', 1946.

An excellent photography exhibition in Huis Marseille, Museum for Photography of work by Berenice Abbott (b.17Ju1898 – d.09Dec1991), née Bernice Alice Abbott.
She was an American photographer best known for her portraits of between-the-wars 20th century cultural figures, New York City photographs of architecture and urban design of the 1930s, and science interpretation in the 1940s to 1960s.

Born in Springfield, Ohio, in 1898, Abbott studied sculpture in New York before moving to Paris in 1921, where she worked as an assistant at the Man Ray studio. There, she mastered the art of photography and in 1926 held her first solo show at the gallery Le Sacre du Printemps in Paris.
When Abbott returned to New York, in 1929, she was struck by how rapidly the city was developing.
This lead to her series 'Changing New York'. Soon after she turned her attention to scientific phenomena and experiments, eventually working as picture editor for Science Illustrated and inventing photographic machines like a darkroom distorter and picture composer.
'Portraits of Modernity' includes almost 200 photographs grouped into 3sections, along with a small selection of work by Eugène Atget, a great friend and inspiration to Abbott, with 11 of his photographs developed by Abbott herself in 1956.
Atget died shortly after he sat for his portraits; his work is discussed on MyBlog 2018Q3.

My visit to Huis Marseille for this exhibition was accellerated about half way as I had my car parked on a meter, quite a walking distance away from this photography museum. So I skipped the part of the 'science photography' , I do not care much for that kind of photography.
I liked the photography of streetlife (shopwindows, vendors and such like) best.

More on Flickr.com



Brassaï, a first retrospective (by FOAM 2019)

Brassaï, a first retrospective (by FOAM 2019)
Called "the eye of Paris" by his friend Henry Miller, Brassaï's work both celebrates and reveals
the complexities and hidden sides of French society and culture.

Brassaï, a first retrospective (by FOAM 2019)

Brassaï, a first retrospective (by FOAM 2019)
This thematic survey of his career focuses on his celebrated depictions of 1930s Paris, where he
photographed lovers, prostitutes, workers, and gatherings in cafés, bars, and dance halls with
an intimate candor that's still striking today. The exhibition also includes powerful portraits of
his artist friends-Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Henri Matisse, among others-and the
city's creative avant-garde.

Brassaï, a first retrospective (by FOAM 2019)

Very much enjoyed Foam's exhibition today, a retrospective of Hungarian-born French photographer Brassaï (b.09Sep1899 – d.08Jul1984).
He is very prominent artist of the 20th century.

Born Gyula Halász, Brassaï (1899-1984) was probably the best known Hungarian photographer besides André Kertész. His career started in Paris in the 1930s.
Halász was born in the town of Brasso (now in Romania; Brassaï means 'from Brasso' ); he studied in Budapest and Berlin, earned his living as a correspondent and caricaturist, but his ambition was to paint,
He moved to Paris in 1924. Backed by intellectuals (including André Kertész,  Henry Miller, Lajos Tihanyi), he immersed himself in the nightlife of Paris and started to use a camera.
He took photos in cafés, brothels and dark streets. His first photo album, 'Paris de Nuit' (Paris at Night) was published 2 years later. It was a great success.
Soon after this he compiled 'Secret Paris', the pair of his first album on the Paris underworld, which was published only 40 years later.
In the early 30s he met surrealist artists as well as the group of the Minotaure arts magazine. He befriended geniuses such as André Breton, Salvador Dali, Giacometti, Tristan Tzara, Man Ray, to name a few. His friendship with Picasso, which lasted until the artist's death, resulted in a highly acclaimed book, Conversations with Picasso (1964-1965).

During World War II he stayed in Paris and turned to his earlier discipline of drawing. In 1943 he wrote a book on life in the city under occupation, the title of which was Bistro Tabac.
In 1948 he married Gilberte-Mercédes Boyer. He made sculptures inspired by round shaped stones he found in the Pyrenees. In 1956 he shot a film, 'Until Animals Exist', which received an award for the most original film at the Cannes Film Festival.
Until his death in 1984 the audience could see his paintings and photographs at a number of exhibitions. By then he was a renowned artist, who received numerous awards, including the Cross of the French Legion of Honour.
He was buried at the Montparnasse Cemetery. I stood at his grave in 2016 (My Report)

More on Flickr.com




Women War Photographers, Prestel 2019 - photojournalism

Women War Photographers, Prestel 2019 - photojournalism

Women War Photographers, Prestel 2019 - photojournalism

Women War Photographers, Prestel 2019 - photojournalism

Women War Photographers, Prestel 2019 - photojournalism

Women War Photographers, Prestel 2019 - photojournalism

Women War Photographers, Prestel 2019 - photojournalism

Women War Photographers, Prestel 2019 - photojournalism

Women War Photographers, Prestel 2019 - photojournalism

Women War Photographers, Prestel 2019 - photojournalism

WOMEN WAR PHOTOGRAPHERS - From Lee Miller to Anja Niedringhaus.
About 8 remarkable women who became war photographers, who have documented harrowing and unforgettable crises and combat around the world for the past 80 years.
"People have to see what happened. If I don't photograph it, nobody will know about it". (¬Anja Niedringhouas, 2001)

An exhibition in Düsseldorf, Germany, features about 140 works by acclaimed photographers including Carolyn Cole, Susan Meiselas, Lee Miller and Gerda Taro taken over the past 80 years. This is the catalog, but I hope I get to see the exhibition as well in due course.

Women have been on the front lines of war for more than a century. Sometimes with access to places men cannot go, the women like their male colleagues photograph war, document crisis and while doing so sometimes lend a unique perspective to the consequences of conflict.
From intimate glimpses of daily life to the atrocities and suffering caused by of war, this exhibition catalog reveals the range and depth of 8 women photographers' contributions to wartime photojournalism.

Each photographer is introduced by a brief, informative essay followed by reproductions of a selection of their works. These women come from different background but share a focus and 100% commitment. Some died doing their job, some die due to sickness, others are still around but not always in the same job.

Included here are images by Lee Miller, who documented the liberation of Dachau and Buchenwald.
The first woman journalist to parachute into Vietnam, Catherine Leroy was on the ground during the Tet Offensive.
Susan Meiselas raised international awareness around the Somoza regime's catastrophic effects in Nicaragua.
German reporter Anja Niedringhaus worked on assignment in nearly every major conflict of the 1990s, from the Balkans to Libya, Iraq to Afghanistan.
The work of Carolyn Cole, Françoise Demulder, Christine Spengler and Gerda Taro round out this collective profile of courage under pressure and of humanity in the face of war.
A most impressive book.

mysapl.bibliocommons.com - - -_women_war_photographers



Early Works - Martin Parr | Photography

Early Works - Martin Parr | Photography

Early Works - Martin Parr | Photography

Early Works - Martin Parr | Photography

Early Works - Martin Parr | Photography

For a while now I had been looking out for a photobook by Martin Parr, but I only came across books I could not afford. When I browsed in the PhotoQ bookstore (Amsterdam) recently and came across Martin Parr's 'Early Works' I did not hesitate selecting it for purchase.
It is very easy on the eye: both from a photography perspective as well as from a 'nostalgia' viewpoint
Parr created this early black and white work during 1970 and 1984. It was within these series that the first traces of Parr's wry humour began to show.
Fellow photographer Jeffrey Ladd wrote an introduction in the book.

Martin Parr (b.23May1952 - ) is a British documentary photographer, photojournalist and photobook collector. He is known for his photographic projects that take an intimate, satirical and anthropological look at aspects of modern life, in particular documenting the social classes of England, and more broadly the wealth of the Western world.
Since 1994 Parr has been a member of Magnum Photos since 1988. In 2014 Parr was voted in as president of Magnum Photos International, a post he held for 3.5 years until 2017.
He has had around 40 solo photobooks published, and has featured in around 80 exhibitions worldwide.

The Martin Parr Foundation, founded in 2014, opened premises in his hometown of Bristol in 2017. It houses his own archive, his collection of British and Irish photography by other photographers, and a gallery.

'Martin Parr - Early Works' has been available from RRB PhotoBooks and The Martin Parr Foundation from 16Oct19.




In Veneto, 1984-89 by Guido Guidi

In Veneto, 1984-89 by Guido Guidi

In Veneto, 1984-89 by Guido Guidi

In Veneto, 1984-89 by Guido Guidi

Recently acquired, I picked up this book because there was an immediate click with memories of mine dating back to even earlier (1960s, 1970s) of Italy. The houses, their environment, et cetera.

Guido Guidi's book, In Veneto 1984-89, opens with a big eye framed in the blind of a shop window in Mestre, an eye which, by opening like a sort of warning, announces the origin of photography itself.
This book contains a selection of hitherto unpublished photographs that Guidi took between 1984 and 1989, using a large format camera, a Deardorff 8x10.
The photography concentrate on an area in the central Veneto, an area known for having rapidly turned into a deeply uncertain, marginal landscape: urban and rural integrating into 'urban spread'.

The places he visited, in the provinces of Treviso, Vicenza, Padua and Venice, seem to be almost part of the same drawing, of the same place, illustrating a process of change. It is a transformation of a huge rural area, into something less defined.

While the essays (by Mariano Sartore and Stefania Rössl, in Italian and English) describe the process of change, for me the value it things 'ordinary' in Italy.

Guido Guidi (b.01Jan1941 -) is an Italian photographer.
His work, spanning over more than 40 years, has focused in particular on rural and suburban geographies in Italy and Europe. He photographs places that are normally overlooked.
His published works include 'In Between Cities', 'Guardando a Est', 'A New Map of Italy' and 'Veramente'.




Cardinal 3, tv-series

'Cardinal' is a Canadian crime drama tv-series, which was first broadcast on 25Jan17, on CTV (in English) and Super Écran (in French).
The series adapts the novels of crime writer Giles Blunt, focusing on police detective John Cardinal (Billy Campbell) and his partner Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse), who investigate crimes in the fictional city of Algonquin Bay.
Filming include fantastic sceneries of Canadian rural areas.

In this 3rd series, the suspicious death of Cardinal's wife Catherine coincides with a double murder, and Delorme is ordered to take the lead in the latter investigation.
Reluctant to believe that Catherine committed suicide, Cardinal begins investigating other possibilities, whilst dealing with a succession of anonymous letters blaming him for the suicide of his wife.
Meanwhile, Noelle Dyson (Kristen Thomson), recovering from the death of her sister, tries to reason with another prospective suicide and is devastated when she fails to prevent him killing himself.
Thoroughly enjoyed the 6 episodes and we can only hope for a 4th season!



Nicci French: Day of the Dead

Such a pity this is the last book by Nicci French on psychotherapist Frieda Klein, her often antagonistic relationship with the police, her circle of friends and her ghostlike stalker Dean Reeve.
No more Josef, Reuben, Karlsson, Chloe, Jack, Olivia - who indeed often circled the wagons in an attempt to save Frieda.
Her, in this 'book of reckoning', Frieda has gone in hiding, severing all ties with her friends as she considers them to be in mortal danger by Dean Reeve.
But a student, Lola, working on a dissertation about Frieda Klein, tracks her down. Frieda urges her to go into hiding with her as she suspects Dean Reeve may kill her because of Frieda.
A series of unrelated murders take place. While staged, a motive remains unclear.
Frieda suspects the murders are done by Dean Reeve, related to hidden rivers below London and are meant to draw her out. In the end Frieda sees she has no other choice ...

This was the 8th and final book of the Fried Klein series. Previous books were discussed on my (a.o.) MyBlog 2017Q4 - MyBlog 2018Q1 - MyBlog 2018Q3 - MyBlog 2018Q4 - MyBlog 2019Q1 and
MyBlog 2019Q2




Intocht van de Sint, 17Nov2019

Intocht van de Sint, 17Nov2019

Intocht van de Sint, 17Nov2019

Intocht van de Sint, 17Nov2019

Intocht van de Sint, 17Nov2019

Intocht van de Sint, 17Nov2019

Intocht van de Sint, 17Nov2019

Intocht van de Sint, 17Nov2019

Sinterklaas, or Sint-Nicolaa,s is a legendary figure based on Saint Nicholas, patron saint of children.
Other names for the figure include De Sint ("The Saint"), De Goede Sint ("The Good Saint"), and De Goedheiligman ("The Good Holy Man") in Dutch; Saint Nicolas in French; Sinteklaas in West Frisian; Sinterklaos in Limburgs; Saint-Nikloi in West Flemish; and Kleeschen and Zinniklos in Luxembourgish.

The feast of Sinterklaas celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas on 6 December. The feast is celebrated annually with the giving of gifts on St. Nicholas' Eve (5 December) in the Netherlands and on the morning of 6 December, Saint Nicholas Day, in Belgium, Luxembourg and northern France (French Flanders, Lorraine and Artois).
The tradition is also celebrated in territories of the former Dutch Empire, including Curaçao and Suriname.

Sinterklaas is one of the sources of the popular Christmas icon of Santa Claus.

For a number of years now the appearance of 'Black Pete' is under severe discussion in Holland, for a racial context. Media and a number of communities paint the faces less black in colours. Here 'Zwarte Piet' has the traditional appearance in colour, though in other ways his facial appearance has been
toned down.
There was no protest(er) in sight.

More images of Sint's arrival today: Flickr.com



Nobel, crime series

Nobel, crime series

Nobel is a 2016 Norwegian television series that premiered on NRK on 25Sep2016. It depicts Norway’s military involvement in Afghanistan.
The series originated from its director Per-Olav Sørensen who was interested in making a contemporary story about Norwegian soldiers involved in military operations in Afghanistan. The script was written with Mette Marit Bøstad and Stephen Uhlander.
The producer Håkon Briseid pitched the idea to NRK who then commissioned the TV series. The series was filmed in Oslo, Prague and Morocco in 2015.

Lieutenant Erling Riiser (Aksel Hennie) of the Special Forces arrives home from an Afghanistan mission, after forcefully stopping a woman from running into a bomb explosion. Back in peaceful Norway he receives a text message that directs him to a location where he intervenes in an abuse, an event which has considerable implications for him but also for those involved in military presence of Norway in Afghanistan.
The man he killed is Afghanistan land owner Zamani, whom Erling has met in dubious circumstances.
In an ambush their patrol ran onto an IED which killed one of them, Sigurd. Zamani is supected to have played a role or set the Taliban on them. The death of Sigurd has enormous impact on the group.
In a friendly match of Buskhasi where men on horses fight over a dead goat, one of the group, Jon Petter (wonderful role by Anders Danielsen Lie), is provoked by Zamani. This leads to more dramatic developments.

Zamani was in Norway for an oil deal, which also had idealistic implications for the Afghanistan region, though Zamani was mostly interested in the best price. The Chinese were waiting to step in.

The Foreign Minister of Norway had been visiting Afghanistan, but the Taliban terminated the meeting. At that event he and the Special Forces escort ran into the ambush.
Erling's wife Johanne (Tuva Novotny) is an advisor of the Foreign Minister. She designed an idealistic 'Fruit for Oil' enterprise in Afghanistan. The man in charge, Hektor, is also involved in the oil deal, labelled 'the Norwegian Way'.

Someone leaks to the press and a.o. Erling is exposed in the tabloids as a cold blooded killer.
His wife is shocked and Erlings opens up to his wife what his brief entails in Afghanistan. Upon his last return he had to shoot a boy who was wearing a bomb vest. This shocks Johanne and a rift appears in their relation.
Meanwhile Erling is trying to find out who sent him the text message that led to Zamani's killing.

Erling, suspended during investigations, thinks that Hektor is behind the killing of Sharif Zamani to avoid being exposed for dodgy business deals in Afghanistan. They knew each other since studies in England.
Johanne is drawn towards the kinder Hektor as opposed to the 'killer' Erling. She defends Hektor and her relation with Erling drifts into the danger zone.

When Erling's suspension is lifted to enable to participate in the security fo the delegation he is very suspicious of the circumstances surrounding the meeting. The Taliban is an unexpected guest when everybody is gathered to sign the oil deal. Johanne has decided to travel with the delegation to Afghanistan to see for herself; she is not overwhelmed to Erling present.

'Nobel' refers to the Nobel Peace Prize but also to the noble cause Norway is involved in.
Johanne represents the Norwegian people who prefer to think of the idea sending military to a foreign land in a limited, positive context, but who don't want to know the gruesome details of what the military do to enforce their mandate and have to make business deals possible in a land involved in a bitter civil war.

While I am not a fan of flash backs, they involve missions in Afghanistan and the location has such a stark contrast that there is no danger of becoming confused.
Eight episodes of suspense and drama in a thoroughly realistic setting. Fantastic.




Peaky Blinders tv-series, 5th season

Peaky Blinders tv-series, 5th season

Peaky Blinders is a British crime drama tv-series created by Steven Knight, that premiered on BBC Two on 12Sep 2013. The series is primarily set in Birmingham, England, and follows the exploits of the Shelby crime family in the aftermath of World War I.
This 5th series begins on 29Oct1929 (Black Tuesday, the Wall street crash) and ends on 07Dec1929, the morning after a rally led by fascist-leader Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin).

The crash of the financial markets also has a devastating effect on the fortunes of the Shelby family. Previous series saw their influence on horse racing, the Shelby family expands to fixing football matches and regain cash through betting offices.
Thomas 'Tommy' Shelby (a role by Cillian Murphy), the leader of the Peaky Blinders, has himself well established as an MP. He is also a spy for the government, reporting on communists but he recognises a greater danger in the rising popularity of facism. Tommy tries to convince his government contact but fascist powers have penetrated high levels of government and loyalties seem divided; in return for this double-role, the Shelby family gets lucrative defense contracts.
Many members of the family are on booze and coke, Tommy seems addicted to laudanum and drinks whiskey like tea or coffee. Until the early 20th century, laudanum was sold without a prescription and was a constituent of many patent medicines.It is a tincture of opium, containing approximately 10% powdered opium by weight (the equivalent of 1% morphine).
Tommy is approached by Chinese to transport raw opium to the USA. Michael sees an opportunity to take the place of Tommy as head of the family.
Meanwhile Tommy moves towards the inner circle of the fascists, but finds he now has to endure the Scottish 'Billy Boys' as the strong arm of Oswald Mosley.
Tommy is on a tightrope, waiting for a chance to strike all with a single decisive blow.

Spellbinding thriller with fantastic detail to location, clothing and accents. The ending seems to indicate a 6th series, which I'd welcome.




Panoramas of England

Panoramas of England

Panoramas of England

Panoramas of England

Panoramas of England

Panoramas of England

Panoramas of England

Small villages steeped in charm and majestic mansions surrounded by lush lawns. A trip through (mostly) rural England, wielding a panorama camera.
The moody, mysterious Yorkshire moors and Cornwall's coast, dotted with colorful flowers. From majestic Cornwall, delicate Devon, to ancient Stonehenge and ending with the London skyline.
These panoramic photographs capture more of England's natural and manmade beauty than the naked eye can see. The vast and varied views show diverse landscapes, including the sublime glacial valley of Wastwater in Cumbria and the grandly baroque Castle Howard in North Yorkshire.

Phoenix Illustrated, 1997 paperback (first published in 1992)
160 pages (all in color)



Grantchester, season 4

I was rather pleased that Sidney Chambers was written out of this series, I found his role (by James Norton) had become rather sentimental and sticky. A feeling that crept on me even during the 2nd series! Will Davenport (Tom Brittney) seems a much more interesting character and I like how the events in society play a role (e.g. the Teddy Boys), such as we also get to see in the Endeavour (Morse)  tv-series.

There is turmoil in the vicar's household, with Sidney being replaced by Will, housekeeper Mrs C. ("what the Dickens..") finds Leonard's (Al Weaver) gay relationship unacceptable and Leonard has great difficulty with all the changes.
There is also a significant role for Geordie's wife who has found a job out of the house and very much likes her own income and new friends but find it is not without challeges.
And there are of course murders to solve!

Earlier this year we stayed at a B&B in England where Robson Green was a known character in the
village and they did not like him much; seems to be a 'do-you-know-who-I-am' type of person. I find it effects my liking for this series.




Below The Surface, 2nd series (Danish tv crime series)

Below The Surface, 2nd series (Danish tv crime series)

Below the Surface (Danish: Gidseltagningen) is a Danish thriller drama tv-series.
The first 8-part series was discussed earlier on my BLOG-2019Q3 and I was very positive about this series, action-packed and excellent storyline. This 2nd series, also 8 episodes, lacks the character development Philip Nørgaard (Johannes Lassen), presently unemployed and in an early relation with the psychologist who treated him as a result of captivity trauma and subsequent affairs in the first series.
The second season premiered on 26 March 2019 in Denmark.

The Danish-national June al-Baqee went to Syria to fight ISIS and trained there as a sniper; on her phone she has a video showing her witnessing Russian Special Forces killing Danish soldiers. June intends to make this video public and for this she returns to Denmark. Publication of this video has huge international implications, esspecially for Russia and Denmark.
June is arrested upon arrival in Denmark. Russia has requested her extradition. Danish Military Intelligence try to surpress the video for 'political relations'.
Philip met June when he spoke to a college group and had subsequent meetings with her, trying to subdue her radicalisation. Philip describes her as "bit of a handful".
Shortly before her arrest June managed to give her phone to a fellow passenger, Herdis. For safekeeping.
Since the police can't find her phone, June is released. She visits Philip and asks if he has seen the video she has sent him through a link. But he hasn't. June is convinced her video is surpressed by Military Intelligence.
Philip does not believe her conspiracy theory, but the son of his new partner is witness to June's abduction outside their garden. Philip goes in pursuit and secretly joins June and the kidnappers onboard a ferry to Sweden.
When things go wrong for the kidnappers, the 'Brothers of Allah' declare a hostage situation.
The TTF Group is kept unawares of a secret agenda of the Military Intelligence. Both consider the possibility that June is part of the terrorist group; she certainly has an agenda of her own.

Yet again an excellent action-packed Danish crime thriller!




Razor Girl, by Carl Hiaasen (crime fiction novel)

It has been exactly 5 years since I last read a book by Carl Hiaasen: Bad Monkey (published in 2013).
Razor Girl (published 2016) also features Andrew Yancy, demoted from the police force to food & hygiene inspector in again a world full of wondrous and weird characters.

There is Buck Nance, star of a 'reality show', he and his family exploiting a chicken farm in the Deep South: The Beverly Hillbillies 1960s series all over again. Buck takes time out in the south of Florida and becomes hostage to an even more remarkable person, a fan in extremis, and this Benny (a.k.a. Blister, a.k.a. Spiro, a.k.a Deerbone) wants to become Buck's brother in the tv series..
Buck's agent Lane also becomes part of that hostage group but he seems able to pacify the gun-toting petty criminal Blister by endless promises of a significant part in Bayou Brethren plus money and benefits.
Martin Trebeaux is a scrupulous entrepeneur specializing in beach renovations. He gets involved in mob business, in particular with Dominick 'Big Noogie' Aeola.
Back to Andrew Yancy: he is looking at new neighbours, Brock and Deb, but is resentful of their building plans versus his fine view. Yancy wants in on kidnappings and murders t claim back his job and become a real policeman again.
And there is Merry ("like in Merry Christmas") Mansfield, though it is doubtful that is her real name. She particpates in kidnappings which include car accidents which she has mastered to perfection.
Oh, and big rats, Gambian pouchies, play a role too...

Like I said it was 5 years ago I last read a Hiaasen novel and I now found Hiaasen's characters and 'Americana' has lost much of its fun and attraction to me. Over the past decade or so US politics, shootings, discontent in society, polarisation in US media, domination of major tech companies, caused much irritation with me and the USA, as a result, has in many (if no tmost) aspects lost its glamour and attraction to me.
I've read all the Hiaasen novels from way back 1986 (Tourist Season) and 1987 (Double Whammy) to the present, but it looks like I am done now. I have not yet tried the 3 Hiaasen novels written after Razor Girl, in coöperation with William Montalbano, so I cannot comment on those.




The Capture, BBC crime fiction tv-series

The Capture, BBC crime fiction tv-series

The Capture is a 2019 British miniseries in 6 episodes, starring Holliday Grainger as DI Rachel Carey, Laura Haddock as barrister Hannah Roberts and Callum Turner as Lance Corporal Shaun Emery.

After being acquitted of a war crime in Helmand, Afghanistan, former United Kingdom Special Forces Lance Corporal Shaun Emery finds himself accused of the kidnapping and murder of his barrister Hannah Roberts, backed by damning CCTV evidence.
Whilst Emery blunders about in desperation to clear his name, fast-tracked Detective Inspector Rachel Carey of Homicide and Serious Crime Command begins to uncover a complex conspiracy surrounding Emery, calling into question the validity of the CCTV footage.
You may have heard of 'Rendition', but have you heard from ' Correction'? Both Shaun as well as Rachel are kicked around by secret service machinations, reality constantly changing as in a room full of mirrors.
You may not like the ending.




Bruno Engler, photography

Bruno Engler, photography

Bruno Engler, photography

Bruno Engler, photography

Bruno Engler, photography

I came across this photobook while browsing in the 'Book Lover's'  bookstore in North Vancouver.
While I love the photography in general, this book also contained of places and areas recent travel had brought me to, e.g. Bow Lake and Num-Ti-Jah Lodge built by Jimmy Simpson.

Bruno Engler was born on 04Dec1915 in Lugano, Switzerland.
He came to Canada from Switzerland in 1939 and spent 60 years in the Rockies as a photographer, mountain guide, ski instructor and cinematographer.
He is known for his work on Days of Heaven (1978), Lost and Found (1979) and Ghostkeeper (1981).
His stunning black and white photos capture the magnificence and grandeur of the Canadian alpine landscape from the smallest plant to the highest peak.

Bruno Engler is a recipient of the Alberta Achievement Award for Excellence, the Premier Cup for Photography and Mountaineering, the 1987 Rose Award and the 1986 Summit of Excellence Award, which is the highest honor that the mountain community can bestow upon its peers for contributions to mountain culture.
He died on 23Mar2001 in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.



Anne Holt, Offline (review)

It has been many years since I had read another book by Anne Holt, titled '1222'. The main protagonistwas Hanne Wilhelmsen I remember, though it must have been over 10 years ago since I read that book (published in 2007).
In 2015 and 2016 'Offline' and 'In Dust and Ashes' were published, #9 and #10 in the series featuring Hanne Wilhelmsen. I had not realized Holt had written so many books featuring the same police investigator. Perhaps that is why Wilhelmsen gets so little character development in 'Offline'.

Holt's 2015 novel 'Offline' is about a terrorist attack on an Islamic cultural center by a group of extreme Norwegian nationalists. And how investigations and media focus on Islamic terrorists.
Though Holt has been named one of the most successful crime novelists in Norway (had her books published in 25 countries according to Wikipedia), she is rarely rated among the international top crime writers in my country. None of the Hanne Wilhelmsen series anyway.

So, when bombs go off at the Islamic Cooperation Council’s headquarters in Oslo, detective Hanne Wilhelmsen is on the case. Well, in her wheelchair at home she has been reduced to investigating cold cases as an independent investigator outside the police organisation, she becomes focussed on actual events and ultimately sees a cold case involving a racial motivated missing person (murder?) connect with the present time.

Wilhelmesen is approached by her friend Billy T., who fears his own son may be linked to the bombings. Here I found details lacking , perhaps by not having read earlier books (there are no Wilhelmsen novels published between '1222' and 'Offline'). Billy T. is an empty character in this book.
Much more character development is given to Hanne's nerdy assistent, who (literally) does all the legwork and comes up with most of the revelations.
Modern policing methods are unable to find links of communication or profile for the alleged terririst group; the title offers a clue.

In spite of the many loose ends concerning the main characters, the book was an entertaining, easy to read crime novel.




Big Sky by Kate Atkinson, crime fiction novel

I was so pleased to come across this new Jackson Brodie book, as I so enjoyed Kate Atkinson's previous books about her protagonist in the novels 'Case Histories', 'One Good Turn', 'When Will There Be Good News' and 'Started Early, Took My Dog'. In fact I could not switch to her other novels (I did not even finish her 'Life After Life') and turned away from her books. But in 'Big Sky' I was again able to enjoy her wry prose, quite wonderful!

It’s nearly a decade since Kate Atkinson’s morose and melancholy private detective Jackson Brodie last appeared in print. I did so enjoy Jason Isaacs role in the BBC tv-series 'Case Histories', but a follow up novel was long overdue I think (Atkinson won awards with books written by her afterwards, on different subjects).
Atkinson adresses in 'Big Sky' a very contemporary theme: the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and children.
Ten years since we left Brodie, we meet again while he lives in his native Yorkshire. His solitary existence has been interrupted by the arrival of his 13-year-old son, Nathan, for the summer holidays. His mother, actress Sylvia, rather prefers other partners than renewing intimate relations with Jackson.

Brodie Investigations mainly does "dog-work for solicitors - debt tracing, surveillance and so on".
Jackson's age is left deliberately sketchy, but it is obvious he's getting on a bit, but rather content in a broody way with a quieter life. He used to go for long runs, these days he's opts more often just walking his aging dog.

'Big Sky' is not a straightforward crime novel, Atkinson's writing is bigger than just another whodunnit novel.
After several chapters and meeting the different characters in play, Brodie is hired by Crystal Holroyd, the surgically enhanced wife of a dodgy local businessman, who believes she is being followed.
Crystal has built walls around her past and recreated her new profile; she's quite capable of dealing with some hefty challenges herself and thinks Brodie is shit as a detective..
She has a son who is both young as well as old for his age. And she has a husband who has friends and all but one are involved in a shady deal, trafficking. Vince is a golf-friend, not a 'friend friend'; he is depressed for being layed off (lost the company car) and is also disgarded by his wife, loosing his house (and dog) in a divorce settlement and, last but not least, Vince's wife is killed, savagely murdered with a golfclub. Brodie saves him from a cliff when he was about to jump..

Old secrets and new lies intersect this wonderfully entertaining novel and I hope we've not seen the last of Jackson Brodie!





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Created: 15-OCT-2019