Did you – like me – relish the novels of Mary Wesley back in the 80s into the early 90s? Well, if this is so I have good news for you. Josa Young has picked up the baton on that unique blend of eccentricity, no holds barred life and love among the titled, the well-off and the not so well-off. And if you’re of the certain age that leads to reminiscences about the 80s, starting in 1982 One Apple Tasted will take you on very entertaining trip down memory lane. Have no doubt that you will feel the era rising from the page for Josa Young, with a background in journalism, including time spent at Vogue, knows her fashions and all are perfectly described.
On the surface, Dora Jerusalem is like any other young woman starting a career in the media in London after Cambridge. She is learning the ropes, loves to party and is optimistic about life and love. At one of those parties she hooks up with Guy Boleyn and an unconventional relationship follows as they drift in and out of one another’s lives as friends and almost lovers. When in the ‘out’ phase Guy philanders and Dora remains loyal and hopeful. But Dora also harbours a secret, something she feels the need to protect even though it may be considered a stigma.
To celebrate the launch of Murdoch Mysteries Season Three on Tuesday 16 February, Alibi is giving you and a friend the chance to win tickets to a special preview screening in London. Hosted by Thomas Craig and Lisa Faulkner and with champagne on arrival you can be sure it’s one mystery that you won’t want to miss out on!
Detective William Murdoch (Yannick Bisson) is back on our screens with a thrilling third series of Murdoch Mysteries. Set in Victorian Toronto, the series begins with William running for his life through the streets of Bristol, England where he meets a beautiful bar maid Anna Fulford (Lisa Faulkner).
Your prize includes a pair of tickets for you and a friend to a special preview screening of Murdoch Mysteries on Monday 15 February at the Soho Hotel, London. The lucky winners will arrive at 7pm, and will be offered champagne or a soft drink on arrival. Thomas Craig and Lisa Faulkner will also be there to introduce the episode and afterwards you will get the chance to ask questions to the both of them!
For your chance to win tickets, simply unlock this page by cracking the code. (You will need to register with the site.)
Alibi is also running another competition in conjunction with the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival and HarperCollins. Three finalists will win tickets to the festival in Harrogate (with travel and accommodation included), where they'll get to the chance to rub shoulders with leading authors and agents of the crime writing world. The winner will be announced during the weekend and will win a Sony e-reader, a library of 100 crime books including a signed Stuart MacBride back catalogue and they'll also see their story turned into a special online, downloadable e-edition by HarperCollins. So, do you have a crime story of between 2,000 and 5,000 words in you? It will need to start with the following opening line:
In my experience, those who beg for mercy seldom deserve it.
It’s hard being a judge; I now know how Arlene Phillips and Simon Cowell feel on times! But there can be only 5 winners, so here they are and why:
For showing an interest and understanding the in the novel: Jo Galloway.
For showing an interest and commitment to new authors: Neil Colquhoun.
For having immediate intrigue and finding a personal angle with the story: Jo Orr.
For being triggered into a new interest in crime reading: Pearl.
For enjoying Scandinavian and psychological crime: Justine.
Congratulations to you all! An email requesting your full name and address is winging its way to you right now. Thank you to everyone who entered and to Canongate for the books.
Important message: if you didn’t win on this occasion, keep trying with all competitions. Another book will be coming here later in the year and it’s a beauty: a mystery and coming of age novel with dark undertones, but heart warming and enlightening too.
What is the main intention of the TV Book Club? To get people reading? Opinion ranges from like to love to loathe, it appears, with the most vocal in the latter camp. However, it has certainly galvanised some action amongst those who already avidly read. Within hours of episode 1, @twittbookclub appeared on twitter and by today (25/1) it has nearly 200 followers with the promise of a monthly selection covering more than one genre and a website coming soon. Taking inspiration from Sam Jordison’s “Not the Booker Prize” of last year in the Guardian, four general book bloggers have set up “Not the TV Book Group”. (The blog in the link actually had its own successful book group for some time.) So, those who have disappointed with the programme are doing it for themselves.
Was episode 2 any better than the first? Well, a little bit of “yes” and a bit of “no”. The first two shows have been pre-recorded so there was little change in the format. Amanda Ross conceded in an interview that they had got some things wrong with epi 1 during the week, citing the omission of focusing on the fact that the book selections are all good books. Thus epi 2 kicked off with a run through of the books. This felt more of a nod to the publishers than anything else. And I felt that the ultimate customer was overlooked here: the reader. The show will get its viewers and the publishers will get their sales if the programme is good. But it appears that patience is being stretched, although most people are hanging in there.
I am a bit time pressured at the moment preparing for an impending interview this week, but I did get involved with the post-episode 2 discussion on twitter. I hope to write my thoughts on episode 2 tomorrow evening. However, in the mean time, if you felt restricted by 140 characters earlier...
you are very welcome to leave your comments here.
My summary for now: still too many parts; not enough time on the selected book; panel not working well yet (if can be attained); has the feel of a promo tool over a book club.
Episode 2 is now on 4OD here and is repeated on C4 tomorrow at 12:05.
Have you been having a grumpy time of year with all the snow? Fancy a rather good Scandinavian psychological crime novel for some escapism? Now’s your chance for a free copy because those nice folks at Canongate Books are offering five of Karin Alvtegen’s Shadow as it goes into a new format in paperback on 4 February in the UK.
I loved this book – you can read my comments here – and I recommended it to someone over Christmas and she loved it too.
A few rules apply:
What do you have to do?
What worked and what didn’t work?
There were some viewers this programme was bound to attract: existing avid readers. Many of these have book blogs and are also on twitter. Immediately after the programme the consensus of opinion on twitter was that the programme was disappointing. Most cited the lack of time devoted to the week’s selected book. Indeed, having watched the episode online twice, the balance was as follows:
The TV Book Club starts on Sunday 17 Jan on More4 at 19:30, to be repeated on Monday 18 Jan on Channel 4 @ 12:05. It is, of course, produced by Cactus TV who introduced the Richard & Judy Book Club, and producer Amanda Ross remains the book selector. Week 1 looks at The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters and week 2 brings a crime novel with Blacklands by Belinda Bauer.
On celebrities, Ross recently said "As broadcasters we were being forced into forking out ridiculous amounts of money. What kind of a person can literally be worth £50,000 for an afternoon of their time? It's wrong – it really is wrong." But it is celebrities to whom Ross has turned for presenting the show:
• Jo Brand (comedian, actress and writer)
• Nathaniel Parker (actor who participated in the R&J Book Club)
• Gok Wan (has written books on styling)
• Laila Rouass (actress)
• Dave Spikey (comedian).
Over breakfast this morning I sat down to watch the first hour of a BBC programme Anne Frank Remembered. (For those in the UK, the iplayer link is here.) It had been broadcast last night on BBC4. Little did I realise that Miep Gies had died that day. Gies, of course, was one of the few people who helped the Frank family and others to hide from the Nazis in Amsterdam during the second World War. It was she who found the diary after the Franks had been caught.
There is an obituary of this remarkable woman in the Daily Telegraph here.
Just after 40 minutes into Anne Frank Remembered there is one scene where Miep Gies meets, for the first time, Peter Pfeffer, the son of the dentist who also hid in the attic. It has to be the most moving greeting between two people that I have ever seen. Pfeffer died of cancer not long after the meeting.
She is sadly no longer with us, but Miep Gies leaves behind an example of what it is to be good.