Sunday, 4 June 2017

Manchester/ London, the Music Challenge, and other items

Well, it's been a beautiful day here in the Valley. Better news on the puppy front. Bonnie went for two walks today and only needed a bit of coaxing. She still doesn't do a whole lot else, but at least she's not averse to going for a walk. I'll keep walking them separately so Clyde, even with his sore foot, he still likes to go for a longer walk. Anyway, it's moving along nicely that way.

My neighbours will be happy and stop painting rude notes on my garage door. I mowed the lawn today. Not that it was that bad, but the sheep that I had hired to graze seemed to get lost. OK, I'm kidding, but it was nice to finally get it done. :0)

I try to avoid political items in this BLog, but I do have to say that I was very distressed by the recent events in Manchester, UK, Portland, Oregon and then London yesterday. But I have to say that I admire how these events have brought people together. I think that young Ariana Grande has been wonderful, considering that the Manchester attack happened after her concert there. We watched the concert she organised today for the people of Manchester. It was a wonderful uplifting event. It's just too bad that the US also has such awful man leading the country, trying to use the London incident to espouse his cause and to sow more hatred. Anyway, enough of that; I'll just think the good thoughts that came as a result of all the wonderful people that provided positive support after these awful attacks.

The Missus' Music Challenge

Yesterday's challenge was Your Favourite 70's Song. It's a very wide category. For me, I went through various phases of my life during the 70's; finishing High School, 4 years at University, my first military jobs, working as a DJ, etc. I ended up picking a song from my early time at university, Free Man in Paris by Joni Mitchell, from her Court and Spark album of 1974. Other songs selected included Follow You, Follow Me by Genesis (the missus's choice), Never Let Her Slip Away by Andrew Gold, Quiet Life by Japan, September by Earth, Wind and Fire, etc.

Today's challenge was Songs that Were Played at your Wedding or Songs You Would have Liked to have Played at your Wedding, appropriate given that most of the people providing suggestions are already married. Anyway, I chose Just the Way You Are by Billy Joel. Other selection were In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel (the missus), Stars by Simply Red, The Look of Love by Dusty Springfield (chosen by my sis-in-law Sue), Here and Now by Luther Vandross, etc.

Next category will be a Song that is Covered by Another Artist. I have a few in mind.

Feature Novelist - Georges Simenon

The Blue Room / Maigret Mystified
I'm taking a short break from the History and Science items that I normally post about to talk about an author I'm reading at the moment. Georges Simenon was a Belgian writer who lived from 1903 - 1989. He wrote over 500 novels and is best known for his Inspector Maigret. He wrote 75 novels and 28 short stories featuring Commissaire Maigret.

Maigret in Exile / Maigret Meets a Milord

I've been slowly collecting and reading them over the past 6 or 7 years. So far I've purchased 16 of the Simenon's books, of which one is a standalone mystery, The Blue Room.

I just today finished Maigret in Exile, originally published in 1942 and am starting Maigret Meets a Milord, the 2nd Maigret mystery. My review of Maigret in Exile is below if you wish -

"I've enjoyed the Inspector Maigret mysteries I've read so far. Maigret in Exile, originally published in 1942, finds the irrepressible inspector banished from Paris to a small coastal town for some unknown reason. An elderly woman shows up at his office and tells him that there is a body at her neighbour's house in a nearby town.
In his meandering way, Maigret begins his investigation. There seems to be no particular reason for what he is doing, but in his way, he slowly gathers the inspiration to solve the crime.
Maigret relies more on instinct than facts in working through the crime. There are many interesting characters in the story, especially the neighbour, Didine, and her husband, who seem to know everything that goes on in the village.
Maigret is a grumpy soul but also very intuitive. As he investigates he pretty well has everything sorted out but seems also to fly by the seat of his pants. It's interesting how he works through things, basically keeping things to himself until he comes to his resolution. An enjoyable series and story. (3.5 stars)"

Maigret Loses his Temper/ the Saturday Caller / the Spinster

Since I started collecting the books, I've read 7 of the books. There have been so many different publishers. I particularly the Harcourt books, such as those on the right. It has an excellent look to it, nice glossy covers and great cover photos.

I have read all of those three so far and enjoyed them very much. I found them at a Mystery book store in Victoria, The Chronicles of Crime, when I was stationed in Victoria.

Maigret and the Nahour Case/ Maigret and the Killer
My favourite so far was the first book in the series, Maigret and the Enigmatic Lett. (For some reason, I didn't keep that copy when I'd finished it. I am just starting the second book in the series, as mentioned above. My review of the first novel is below.

"This is the first in the Inspector Maigret mystery series. It's one of those books that you can sit down and read in a day, it's that entertaining and interesting. The case involves the mysterious Pieter the Lett, who has made his way from Russia to Paris. Little is known about him, other than a brief description. As Maigret arrives at the train station to meet him, he finds instead a murdered man. This begins a chase across France as Maigret tries to sort out who Lett is and what he's up to. Maigret is an interesting character, grumpy, a bit of a loner and intelligent. He seems to work without sleep and food, in all weather conditions. It's a nicely, fast-paced case and a page-turner, one you'll find difficult to put down until the very end. A super introduction to Inspector Maigret."

Maigret and the Wine Merchant / Maigret has Scruples
From what I've read, Simenon was able to produce 60 to 80 pages a day. His catalogue contained nearly 200 novels, over 150 novellas and other work. A number of his Maigret novels have been turned into TV series; 1960 - 63 with Rupert Davies in the lead role and 1992 - 93 with Michael Gambon. Most recently, Rowan Atkinson has reprised the role in a series of 4 TV movies, so far anyway. They include - Maigret Sets a Trap, Maigret's Dead Man, Maigret: Night at the Crossroads and Maigret in Montmartre.

Interestingly, Simenon spent 10 years, from 1945 - 1955 in the United States and Canada. He returned to Europe in 1955 and lived there until his death in Lausanne in 1989 of natural causes in his sleep.

My most recent purchase
He is one of the classics of the crime genre and worth trying out. I don't know that it's necessary to start at the beginning. I've jumped all over the place in my reading and it hasn't lessened the enjoyment. So far I've completed; The Strange Case of Peter the Lett (1931), Maigret Mystified (1932), Maigret in Exile (1940), Maigret and the Spinster (1942), Maigret and the Saturday Caller (1962) and Maigret Loses his Temper (1962). I've got a long way to go, but I'm anticipating an enjoyable journey.

You know, I think I'm going to stop here today and check the doggies' feet and then spend the rest of the evening enjoying some reading and TV, if anything good is on. Enjoy your week and stay safe!

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