Summer Sleuth Story

An unexpected read, a recommendation from a friend: Laurie R King´s "The language of bees". A detective story, excellent for summer holidays when constant socializing is competing for one´s attention.

I was a bit apprehensive the first few pages, though, this is a story about Sherlock Holmes in his later years, the 1920´s, and his very, very young wife, Mary Russel, and it is written in first person, from Mary´s perspective. I thought "oh no, it´s a Mary Sue". And maybe it is. However, it´s also very well written, and the plot is not as easy to figure out as some stuff I have read. And, I have a weakness for Sherlock, although I have not read a Conan Doyle since my teens. I do think that this book has some of the same feel to it as the tv-series "Murder Rooms", another spin-off from the Holmes-universe that I really love.

I will read the first in this series, I am curious to how it all starts with Mary Su.., sorry, Mary Russel, but I´m not sure I can get through all of them. Perhaps I will read one every summer, that´s probably the way to enjoy this highly recommendable sleuth!


Banbury Road pilgrimage

Yes, that´s me, on Banbury Road, where Chief Inspector Morse lives...

Bletchley Park

Our first stop in England were at Milton Keynes (which is possibly the least english-looking town in England, basically a series of big empty parking lots and big empty shopping malls when we arrived late on Sunday evening), which is where one finds Bletchley Park, the secret place where the Brits cracked the enigma-code during the second world war. It´s located just smack in the middle of everything, between Oxford and Cambridge, on the big roads and railways from London northbound. At the same time, it´s in the middle of nowhere.

This is a view over the small pond, with one of the "huts" in the background. Just behind the trees to the left is "hut 8", where Alan Turing had his office, and there is also a statue of him on the grounds. I have even heard a story about a treasure he is supposed to have buried in the woods neighbouring the place, apparently he was not entirly balanced (and he finally committed suicide).

Bletchley Park is run by a bunch of enthusiasts who have recreated the machines used for the decyphering of the german codes, the Bombe and the Colossus. All the original machines were dissembled on Churchill´s orders at the end of the war and until the 90´s it wasn´t really common knowledge what had gone on on these grounds. The whole place was very close to being demolished for a modern estate!

When we came home last night from our trip, we immediately re-watched the film "Enigma" with Kate Winslet and Dougray Scott and were very dissapointed to find that they had filmed it at a whole different estate, not at Bletchley Park at all. However, the machines were used in the film, and a couple of the old cars that are still in the garage.

Of course, they had a shop on the grounds, and a well-stocked bookshelf. I had promised myself not to buy anything on this trip, but I fell through on the first day. I bought "Bletchley Park People - Churchill´s geese that never cackled" by Marion Hill. I will write more about it later, when I have had time to read it. And there are many more pictures to show of the park...

Pilcher, "Flowers in the rain"

I didn´t realize that Pilcher is a romance writer. That´s what I have to call it, considering the majority of these stories are about weddings, about finally meeting the love of one´s life (usually a childhood sweetheart), or possibly about middle aged women missing their children who have moved away to London.

The drama is basically the same over and over: the protagonist is feeling alienated after a few years of doing the career-thing in London, looking back at her life and thinking it was simpler when I/the children were young. And it is all resolved by a declaration of love, either from a handsome man, a child or a parent. Love is all you need.

I certainly didn´t dislike this book. The short stories are engaging, the resolutions happy and satisfying. But that´s it, really. Reading this, for me at least, is more about killing time, distracting myself for a bit, than it is about serious reading. But I can see why so many readers love Pilcher. It´s escapism, to a world where the only right way to live is with a large family on a big farm, preferably in Scotland (as far away from London as physically possible).

And what is it about Pilcher and the month of September? She mentions it over and over again and I know she even wrote a novel with that title. Perhaps she is just one of those lucky writers that only write about the stuff she loves. I very much suspect it. And envy her, just a little...

Article about the juvenile Austen I read last month

Found an article (in swedish) in Svenska Dagbladet for anyone interested in Austen. A bit more scholarly than anything I would write...