Hollywood Marches on Rome

I love a good epic ­– and some epics aren’t that good but I’ll watch them anyway. Ancient Rome has long been the inspiration for big-budget movies and television series. I say ‘inspiration’ because scriptwriters have no qualms over dodging hard historical fact to scurry down alleyways of their own. The costume department is often... Continue Reading →

Murder on the Move

A great many crime writers choose a single location for their crimewave, and their books become associated with that place. So, Miss Marple solves mysteries in the fictional St Mary Mead, Morse in Oxford and Rebus around Edinburgh. Often crime readers say how they enjoy a crime series set in a single town, and they... Continue Reading →

So Say We All

Battlestar is back! The noughties reboot of Battlestar Galactica is getting a fresh showing on BBC2 and iPlayer, having originally been screened on SyFy channel. I’m sitting out a 7-day isolation away from home so on Saturday night I decided for old times’ sake to watch the first 20 minutes of the pilot episode on... Continue Reading →

Epic Books, Epic Films

I’ve had a bit of time on my hands lately… Time enough indeed to watch all eleven Star Wars films in order, the six Hobbit/Lord of the Rings Extended Editions, eight Harry Potters back to back and finally the four Hunger Games movies. Each is a variation on the Hero’s Journey, where a young protagonist... Continue Reading →

68 Days Later

If you're not an essential worker, you will have spent the last 8 to 10 weeks locked down in one form or another. Everyone is saying what an odd experience this has been, with time slowing to a crawl in March, then April vanishing in a flash. May is dragging as we get the tantalizing... Continue Reading →

The Festival that Nearly Was

The Alderney Literary Festival 2020 was due to have taken place on the third weekend of March, but with just one week to go was cancelled due to the looming coronavirus crisis. I was already out there and brushing up for my panels when the news came that disappointed us all. Rory Clements was one... Continue Reading →

Sixty Days in a Strange World

There will be plenty of retrospective prophets this year. A few scientists will be revealed to have had perceptive papers published in obscure journals just before C-19 hit, but a larger number who predicted other crises will keep quiet. Writers of certain dystopian novels, TV series and movies will be lauded as prescient, although those... Continue Reading →

End of Watch

It has been a poignant month for me. I’ve retired from the ‘day job’, what I described as the job of a lifetime and some called the Best Job in the Island. So there have been a whole string of ‘lasts’; the last committee meeting, the last management meeting, the last monthly report, the last... Continue Reading →

Smoke Gets in Your Plot

Picture the scene. The detective walks into the bar and approaches the femme fatale. Very Bogart and Bacall. He offers her a cigarette, then lights it for her. Yaaawn… I have read so many thrillers recently which would have been two chapters shorter if the lead characters didn’t smoke. Descriptions of people fiddling with cigarettes,... Continue Reading →

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