I can't get the hang of this new website. Anyway, it's something about how folk meet for a reunion and begin to find they no longer have as much in common as they thought and it gets awkward. Will try to find the library book - they don't call it in due to Covid, just keep renewing us forever so no incentive to read these things.
CoolHandBond did the favours a few posts back, Napoleon, so don't worry about it.
Re the 1930s version of "She"- it's easily available, very cheap, on eBay. I enjoyed it very much.
I can't find it. What am I doing wrong?
Have a hunt through these (I just gave a sample page):
'We don't have what you're looking for sir, but perhaps you'd like to try these...'
Like when my sister and I went off to see Star Wars in 1979 in Brighton for the first time but ended up with Close Encounters - not Hans Solo but Richard Dreyfuss and a load of mash potato.
and I cant follow this conversation of non-sequiturs!
are we looking for the 1935 version of She? is that what Napoleon cant find, even down in Brighton?
kind of a hard title to do a google search for, but here's a colourised version up on youtube
don't know why it says "Ray Harryhausen presents...", he wasn't making films for another decade
Harryhausen had something to do with the colourisation
That's where I got my copy. Perhaps they've sold out now.
(Not Brighton, the link I sent, just to avoid any confusion. We wouldn't want that, now.)
I know I actually have the dvd myself, it was an impulse purchase from a used bookstore because I like Haggard, and have read about a dozen of his novels.
It looks like this:
I just dug it out of the Potts Archives of Fine Films for a closer look,
It's a two dvd set on the KINO label, both the original b&w and colourised versions, loads of bonus documentaries including interview and commentary from Harryhausen. I should watch this again just cuz I've been on a Harryhausen kick lately, and I can see why he'd be a fan of a Haggard based story.
Napoleon, I've checked that link above- "She" is definitely there, you'll just have to go looking for it.
Edit- it's a bare-bones version, not like the one caractacus has.
Still, flaws with this new website - I've got to my PMs where c Potts would obviously be looking for my address so he can send me his copy, but it just hasn't got through yet. SiCo, sort it out!
(This should come with a quirky bespoke emoticon that would either take the sting out of the comment or enrage Potts but none can be found...)
I was going to post this in the James Bond Literature section, but couldn't find a relevant thread - is there one? - and didn't fancy starting my own for one book, so it's ended up here.
MY NAME IS BOND, JAMES BOND
(Compiled by Simon Winder)
A celebration of Ian Fleming’s descriptive prowess as a novelist, My Name is Bond, James Bond doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know about Fleming or about Bond.
It’s an interesting compilation of scenes taken from across the spectrum of the novels and not always from the places we would expect them to come from. In his preface, Simon Winder painfully points out that he doesn’t want to spoil anyone’s enjoyment by revealing details of a novel’s narrative, in particular their conclusions. This rather reduces the material available to him, but he does a fair job of assessing and categorising Fleming’s work.
He’s split it into sixteen sections with heading such as The Man, Foreign Travel, Sex or Eating. It was strange to read these passages out of context. Some of them didn’t sit well at all. Many of the quotes from The Spy Who Loved Me are horrible in their misunderstanding [or perhaps a misrepresentation?] of women’s emotions. The stuffiness of the atmosphere and pretentions of Blades in Moonraker comes across as terribly dated and pompous. Other extracts amused me with the author’s almost childlike prose. Several excerpts from Goldfinger do not come across well at all.
I was more surprised by the sections Winder left out. He reproduces in full three long scenes: the centipede menacing Bond from Dr No, Bond in the Garden of Death from You Only Live Twice, Tatiana meeting Rosa Klebb (From Russia With Love) and Bond meeting Oddjob from Goldfinger. While each of these scenes have merit, I can’t fathom why we don’t have: Bond’s midnight scuba swim to the Disco Volante from Thunderball, the opening scene and sentence of Casino Royale, the death of the Mexican from Goldfinger, Bond’s seduction of Tatiana (From Russia With Love), or the final paragraphs from You Only Live Twice. These surely reveal Fleming’s abilities as a descriptive and intuitive writer far more than the extended passages chosen – or even the shorter ones which abound the full 140+ pages.
Simply letting the extracts sit without explanation or analysis feels like a missed a an opportunity. Winder should have studied Fleming’s craft and examined why some scenes, characters and situations work so well and others do not. Now that would be a book worth reading. This celebration is rather aimless.
under JAMES BOND LITERATURE: What are you Currently Reading?
I always think that thread and this thread oughta have more specific titles, like What are you Currently Reading That is Bond Related? and What are you Currently Reading That is Not Bond Related?
Yeh, didn't think of that.
"A column of fire" by Ken Follett
This is Follet's third brick-sized novel in the Kingsbridge series after "Pillars of the Earth" and "World without end". Recently he wrote the turn of the millennium-set prequel "The morning and the evening". Follett does historical novels spanning many years, characters and pages very well. He incorpirates history into the story in a way that doesn't seem forced and makes the world come alive.
Collumn is set in the late 16th and early 17th century, right in the middle of reformation and Elizabeth I. reign.
Unlike the other Kingsbridge novels (Well, I haven't read "World without end" yet) most of the story takes place outside fiction al Kingsbridge, taking us as far as Paris, Spain and even the New World. At first I experienced this as a weakness, but gradually it reeled me in. In the two Kingsbridge novel I read before this one the plot was also focused on the making of a major construction, a bridge and a cathedral. Not so in Collumn. Instead the plot revolver around religious freedom and intelligence work. Ned Willard who is the closest to a main character we get in the book, works for Queen Elizabeth's M. Other characters are also involved in espionage. The Elizabethan era was an important and exiting age in the history of espionage.
If you want to read an entertaining book, learn some history in the process and even have a Elizabethan espionage plot rolled into the mix... then A Collumn of Fire is for you.
Ten Little ******* (1939)
I’ve used the original title because I have just finished reading this from my first edition published by Collins Crime Club. It was subsequently released under the now known title of And Then There Were None, it has also been known as Ten Little Indians. Apparently this has sold more than 100 million copies making it one of the best selling books ever.
The story is well known, ten people are invited to a house on a secluded island, they all have a hidden secret and they are bumped off one by one, but who is the killer?
This is Agatha Christie’s most famous novel, it is a simple but ingenious plot and the reader is heavily involved in trying to deduce the culprit.
The ending was changed for the play and film versions but the book version is the best one.
I’m uncertain how the original title was ever allowed to be used, it was changed to And Then There Were None in the USA, but it’s uncomfortable reading now, I believe it’s now called Soldier Island.
This classic whodunnit sits in my top ten favourite books list.
I too have a copy with the original UK title, although mine is a paperback copy. It's one of those books that I've never taken to read on a train for obvious reasons!
As for the novel itself, I'd certainly rate it amongst the most thrilling I have read. In fact when I read it, I started reading one Sunday morning and it is the only time I can ever think of when I've started reading a book and got so engrossed with it that I put off all other activities that day and had completed it by mid-afternoon.
There has been a good discussion on the ‘last movie watched’ thread about westerns, so as the book form is also a favourite of mine, I thought I would list a few of the good reads for anyone interested.
DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (1930) by Max Brand. A great tale of revenge. Also filmed with James Stewart but it’s nothing like the book.
TRAIL TOWN (1945) by Ernest Haycox. A suspenseful, intelligent book about a marshal who has to take sides between the merchants and cattle drovers of River Bend.
THE COMANCHEROS (1952) by Paul I. Wellman. A gambler who has killed a judge’s son flees and is sworn in as a Texas Ranger to find the Comancheros ( whites who sell guns to the Comanches and encourage their attacks for their own profit). Well drawn characters an an adventurous narrative make this a very satisfying read. Later filmed with John Wayne.
.44 (1953) by H A De Rossi. This is a noir detective book in a western setting. A riveting read.
THE BIG COUNTRY (1958) by Donald Hamilton (Matt Helm creator). A retired sea captain heads west to marry the daughter of a cattle baron. This is full of great characters (a lot of who don’t make it into the movie version), good descriptive action and good dialogue. It really is essential reading for western fans.
FLINT (1960) by Louis L’Amour. L’Amour is probably the most famous name in the world of westerns and this is my favourite of his novels. A successful stockbroker with a terminal illness plans to spend his last days reading his favourite books in a hideaway out West. Through a series of flashbacks we learn of his past where he is saved from death by a man called Flint. And in the present he becomes involved with land grabbers. This is just about the perfect western in every way.
MONTE WALSH (1963) by Jack Schaefer. A series of short tales relate the story of Monte Walsh and his friend Chet Rollins. These are alternatively exciting, humorous, and touching. Later filmed with Lee Marvin but the book is far better.
The 1960’s and 1970’s launched a host of westerns with characters in continuing series. J.T. Edson was the forerunner in this with his Floating Outfit series of over 60 titles and many more including a modern day western series. Then came Norwegian author Kjell Hallbing, writing as Louis Masterson with his Morgan Kane series, which led to The Piccadilly Cowboys, a group of writers who never ventured outside of London pubs, but who launched a myriad of characters in the spaghetti westerns style under a host of pen names. These were ultra violent tales of revenge and extremely poplar for 15 years. Edge is the most famous series, and others followed such as, Adam Steele, Herne The Hunter, Caleb Thorne, Blade, Gringos, Bodie, Crow etc.etc. These are highly collectible books nowadays obtaining very high prices for the later books in each series with lower print runs.
If any of you get round to reading any of these, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
No Lonesone Dove ?
I haven’t read Lonesome Dove, so can’t comment.
The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
A. Conan Doyle, 1927
Doyle's final collection of Sherlock Holmes stories, all written between 1921 and 1927. Many of these were actually published in American magazines before appearing in the UK.
As these stories are very short, and there's a dozen of them, I will not try to summarise individually. There are more interesting aspects than the plots.
Since the previous volume (His Last Bow, 1916) revealed Holmes had retired long before The Great War, the stories in this volume are all carefully retconned to fit into the established timeline, usually with precise dates or other contextual clues to tell us when they happened in relation to what has already been published. These are not the best Holmes stories Doyle ever wrote, so the deliberate continuity geekery is in many cases more interesting than the stories themselves!
Some major deviations from the formula: two stories are told by Holmes himself, and one in the third person. The third person story (The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone) is adapted from a stage play Doyle himself wrote (The Crown Diamond), and since the plot required Watson be offstage for much of the action he cannot narrate it. In the two stories Holmes narrates, he comments on his realisation Watson indeed needed to sensationalise events to present a proper story rather than demonstrate exercises in pure reason, yet he himself does little to present his reasoning in these two stories, a missed opportunity.
One of the Holmes narrated stories (The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane) takes place shortly after his retirement (why Watson is not there) and provides description of his retirement home in Sussex. (In terms of internal chronology, it would therefor be the last adventure before His Last Bow, if not the last actually written by Doyle)
My villa is situated upon the southern slope of the downs, commanding a great view of the Channel. At this point the coast-line is entirely of chalk cliffs, which can only be descended by a single, long, tortuous path, which is steep and slippery. At the bottom of the path lie a hundred yards of pebbles and shingle, even when the tide is at full. Here and there, however, there are curves and hollows which make splendid swimming-pools filled afresh with each flow. This admirable beach extends for some miles in each direction, save only at one point where the little cove and village of Fulworth break the line.
What is most interesting of all is the repeated hints there are many more untold stories hidden in a safe deposit box (including the Giant Rat of Sumatra), and these we are reading are selections from that hidden archive. Most are introduced with a "now it can be told" type rationale, as time has passed and the affected parties are no longer alive.
from The Problem of Thor Bridge
Somewhere in the vaults of the bank of Cox and Co., at Charing Cross, there is a travel-worn and battered tin dispatch-box with my name, John H. Watson, M.D., Late Indian Army, painted upon the lid. It is crammed with papers, nearly all of which are records of cases to illustrate the curious problems which Mr. Sherlock Holmes had at various times to examine. Some, and not the least interesting, were complete failures, and as such will hardly bear narrating, since no final explanation is forthcoming. A problem without a solution may interest the student, but can hardly fail to annoy the casual reader. Among these unfinished tales is that of Mr. James Phillimore, who, stepping back into his own house to get his umbrella, was never more seen in this world. No less remarkable is that of the cutter Alicia,  which sailed one spring morning into a small patch of mist from where she never again emerged, nor was anything further ever heard of herself and her crew. A third case worthy of note is that of Isadora Persano, the well-known journalist and duellist, who was found stark staring mad with a match box in front of him which contained a remarkable worm said to be unknown to science. Apart from these unfathomed cases, there are some which involve the secrets of private families to an extent which would mean consternation in many exalted quarters if it were thought possible that they might find their way into print. I need not say that such a breach of confidence is unthinkable, and that these records will be separated and destroyed now that my friend has time to turn his energies to the matter. There remain a considerable residue of cases of greater or less interest which I might have edited before had I not feared to give the public a surfeit which might react upon the reputation of the man whom above all others I revere. In some I was myself concerned and can speak as an eye-witness, while in others I was either not present or played so small a part that they could only be told as by a third person.
Note: this was second published of these stories, and really should have been first in the book as these opening paragraphs are such a perfect mission statement, whereas it is actually placed in the middle of the book.
The Adventure of the Creeping Man again refers to the tin box full of previously untold adventures.
Mr. Sherlock Holmes was always of opinion that I should publish the singular facts connected with Professor Presbury, if only to dispel once for all the ugly rumours which some twenty years ago agitated the university and were echoed in the learned societies of London. There were, however, certain obstacles in the way, and the true history of this curious case remained entombed in the tin box which contains so many records of my friend’s adventures. Now we have at last obtained permission to ventilate the facts which formed one of the very last cases handled by Holmes before his retirement from practice. Even now a certain reticence and discretion have to be observed in laying the matter before the public.
from The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger
When one considers that Mr. Sherlock Holmes was in active practice for twenty-three years, and that during seventeen of these I was allowed to cooperate with him and to keep notes of his doings, it will be clear that I have a mass of material at my command. The problem has always been not to find but to choose. There is the long row of year-books which fill a shelf, and there are the dispatch-cases filled with documents, a perfect quarry for the student not only of crime but of the social and official scandals of the late Victorian era. Concerning these latter, I may say that the writers of agonized letters, who beg that the honour of their families or the reputation of famous forebears may not be touched, have nothing to fear. The discretion and high sense of professional honour which have always distinguished my friend are still at work in the choice of these memoirs, and no confidence will be abused. I deprecate, however, in the strongest way the attempts which have been made lately to get at and to destroy these papers. The source of these outrages is known, and if they are repeated I have Mr. Holmes’s authority for saying that the whole story concerning the politician, the lighthouse, and the trained cormorant will be given to the public. There is at least one reader who will understand.
It is not reasonable to suppose that every one of these cases gave Holmes the opportunity of showing those curious gifts of instinct and observation which I have endeavoured to set forth in these memoirs. Sometimes he had with much effort to pick the fruit, sometimes it fell easily into his lap. But the most terrible human tragedies were often involved in those cases which brought him the fewest personal opportunities, and it is one of these which I now desire to record.
(read carefully the bit about the attempts to get at the box and Watson's implied threat of blackmail!)
and most infamously from The Sussex Vampire
“Matilda Briggs was not the name of a young woman, Watson,” said Holmes in a reminiscent voice. “It was a ship which is associated with the giant rat of Sumatra, a story for which the world is not yet prepared."
And throughout the other stories there are various other cryptic clues to unseen adventures, including one for which he turned down a knighthood, as well as explanations as to why these new/old tales may now be told. And since these are not the very best Holmes stories Doyle ever wrote, perhaps it is for the best he left so many raw ideas for later authors to expand into proper stories.
The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place (First published in the American magazine Liberty, March 1927) is the very last Sherlock Holmes story Doyle wrote, and includes nice gothic horror type imagery in the crypt of a family mausoleum dating back to Saxon times. Always like when Doyle gets a bit gothic.
All of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories can be read online on this website, complete with original illustrations Camden House The complete Sherlock Holmes
"The Casebook of Solar Pons"
August Derleth's desolation at the thought that there would be no more Sherlock Holmes adventures caused him to write to Conan Doyle asking permission to carry on the series. When Doyle gracefully declined, Derleth carried on anyway, just changing the names (this was when Holmes, Watson & co were still in copyright).
Sherlock Holmes = Solar Pons
Dr Watson = Dr Parker
Inspector Lestrade = Inspector Jamison
Mrs Hudson = Mrs Johnson
Mycroft Holmes = Bancroft Pons
etc- you get the idea.
Derleth ended up writing more adventures of Pons than Doyle had written for Holmes. The quality varies, but at their best they certainly beat the weaker Holmes stories- I'll go no further than that, wanting to avoid sacrilege. I recommend these stories, collected in volumes mirroring the Holmes titles, to anyone who enjoys the Holmes stories and is looking for more.
PS And they often cover the untold Holmes stories my friend caractacus potts mentions above.
Did you know Roger Moore was offered the role as Kjell Hallbing's Morgan Kane in a planned series of films while he was filming LALD? He mentions it in his LALD diary.
Have you read the True Grit novel? I liked it. The other western novel I've read is Blood Meridian by Cormack McCarthy. It's memorable and striking, but also very brutal and violent. Not for everyone.
I'm going to have to look for some of these solar Pons adventures, @Barbel
theres actually a used/new bookstore round the corner from me that specialises in mystery novels, if anybody has a copy they will. They have a whole bookcase behind the counter of nothing but Holmes/Doyle related books, and a collection of deerstalker caps on top of the shelves.
I'm now especially curious what the politician was doing with the poor cormorant!
You'll find out in "The Return Of..." though I have to admit I thought that wasn't one of the best. Still, plenty more where that came from!
Haven’t heard of these, so will keep a lookout for them 👍🏻
Have you read any of the Bonnie MacBird books about Holmes?
No, afraid not. Are they good, then?
I really liked the first one - Art in the Blood….but didn’t particularly like the second - Unquiet Spirits…haven’t read the next two yet - The Devil’s Due or The Three Locks…but I plan too…