A fascinating glimpse back, a peek really, through the cracked and moldy window of time. As interest...more
From France: The Letters In French and English:
A fascinating glimpse back, a peek really, through the cracked and moldy window of time. As interesting as it truly is, to read these letters penned from their own intriguing and by all accounts, disturbed and disturbing minds—mindsets, whatever their reasons (or justifications) were regarding their actions here or there is not a call I'm making here, as my point is this: these letters are but a peek, less really, into that world. And while I was ever aware of their import while I was reading them, muchly appreciating the value of the "real thing" over rehashed faction, which can range from frighteningly bad to better than others...
...what this little collection did for me was to illuminate what little is left of the real for us to ruminate on. Yes, of course there are a great many historical documents available to us from the entire reign of the Tudors. The Lancaster's, York's, Seymour's, The Boylen's, Cromwell's, The Castille's. Well, the list goes on and on as do the many volumes regaling their place in history.
But, it IS a different experience reading historical truth for yourself, first-hand. These sweet nothings penned with such lustful intent by a King whose pious marriage is foundering, by a King who has finally found his mojo. And from there, that place of newly discovered lusty mojo, there is no going back from a place such as that. And so the fate of the young Lady Anne is sealed. These letters are a harbinger to her doom. And to be fair, his too.
Years ago I read "Christine Falls," an intriguing rather gothish, noir mystery by an author (pen) named Benjamin Black. It was good enough to have rem...moreYears ago I read "Christine Falls," an intriguing rather gothish, noir mystery by an author (pen) named Benjamin Black. It was good enough to have remained RAM-ready for recall in the intervening years, whereas, say, when I (re)purchased the book "Crimson Petal and The White" it was not until page 400 or so did I get that first flicker of recognition. Sadly, even Annie Proulx's Pulitzer masterpiece had mind-floated away from me into that frigid, churning sea until Qouyle finally dawned on me 2 or 3 chapters in. I read too much, apparently, in the early '90s ; )
Black has certainly mastered the art of crafting noir, which does require a certain ambience, a mood and a nod to time, place and characterization. Black isn't Black, just so you know. He is John Banville, who wrote "The Sea," which won The Booker Prize. That too was a superbly crafted piece of work. Nothing like this series though. Apparently this is a trio although I haven't read the one in the middle, "The Silver Swan." The books do stand alone but Quirke, Dr. Quirke that is, along with his daughter Phoebe make more than a few passing references to the traumatic experiences that ostensibly happened between Book 1 and Book 2. So I suppose that one will be coming up soon for me.
Dr. Quirke is a pathologist with a drinking problem who seems to find himself enmeshed in matters of intrigue better left to Scotland Yard. In "Elegy For April" there are as many Doctors involved in the storyline as there are Detectives, with a few femme fatales thrown in. It's not noir without your well-corseted, sultry, beauty, exhaling her cigarette smoke with a certain flair, a savior faire that is long dead and her kind is not to be found in any other genre. She drinks her scotch neat and thinks hard about staying the night when the circumstances invariably arise. More often than not he's watching her scarf flutter in the wind as she flys round the bend, going 50 in her Roadster, past the flickering light at the corner, leaving him gazing at the dark trees looming ominously like a portent of bad things to come.
April is a friend of Phoebe. She is missing. Or is she? She is an up and coming young Doctor, related to a wealthy, prominent family whose lives are immersed in Medicine and Politics. By all appearances their good name and social standing are far more important than solving the mystery of what might have happened to their daughter, their niece, their granddaughter. Phoebe and April are part of a larger circle comprised mostly of young Doctors, medical students, a journalist and a rather famous young actress. They are split on the issue if anything untoward has occurred at all. April has a reputation for indiscretion. But the deeper Quirke, and his old pal Inspector Hackett dig into the mystery surrounding April Latimer's last days before she disappeared, the more they are convinced someone is going to great lengths to cover-up a terrible crime. Long before DNA and CSI this one will have to be solved the old fashioned way—with intelligence. (less)