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Tag: books

Shetland’s Red Bones

It’s not uncommon to read the book after watching a TV series or movie. And it’s not uncommon to find that the book in infinitely better than the said TV series or movie. But Ann Cleeves’ “Red Bones” is so much better than the TV version, “Shetland”, as to be quite ridiculous.

To begin with, her description of the central character, Detective Jimmy Perez. An odd sort of name for a Scot, especially one living in Shetland, you would think. ms Cleeves writes “Perez was what the locals a black Shetlander; his ancestor had been washed up from a sunken Spanish Armada ship. He’d inherited the name, the dark hair and Mediterranean skin.” Now go and look at a picture of Douglas Henshall, who played Perez at the Internet Movie Database. Go on, I can wait.

Back? See what I mean? I know, it doesn’t really matter. Douglas Henshall is great in anything he does. I love that craggy, worn to a frazzle look. (But no woman would be allowed to look like that and still act. Even Brenda Blethyn as Ann Cleeve’s other detective, Vera, was allowed to be frumpy but relatively unlined, compared to Mr. Henshall.) But it was just incongruous to have such a pale, Scottish looking man with the surname Perez and still be a native of Shetland!

Mind you, that wasn’t the only oddity. In the novel, the two warring families are the Wilsons and the Coulsons. But in Shetland, they were the Haldanes and Wilsons. Cassie, Jimmy’s stepdaughter, is a baby and her mother is still alive, in the novel. While in the series she’s a teenager and her mother is dead. Again, I know it probably doesn’t matter as the TV plot had to pared down to fit. But arghhh!

It’s such a shame that the TV version was so, not great. It’s second episode clashed with Broadchurch, which is so much better. I liked Shetland, really. I quite fell in love with the islands. They’ve always been so for me. I live in a semi-rural area of Wales and it’s just not rural enough or isolated enough for me. I could see myself living in a croft, with no neighbours and just a few black rock hens for company. (I’m not so much a mad cat lady as a mad hen lady!) The two-part series was interesting enough to make me want to read the book. But oh how disappointing when I figured out the reason for the murder in the first episode. I wear glasses and am both short-sighted and near-sighted with astigmatism, but I could see the valuable clue before Perez did.

Ah well, I enjoyed it despite the bad adaption. And I wouldn’t mind seeing more of DI Perez on the small screen. Though that may be a tad difficult as “they” went with adapting the third book in the series instead of the first. So I’d guess that it’s going to stay as a one-off. And Broadchurch is still on, for another five weeks!

Bad Books

If you look at my list of 52 books that I’ve read this year, you’ll see that I’ve included a book called “For Death Comes Softly” by Hilary Bonner. I thought about it a couple of times before I added it to the list. I hadn’t yet decided if I was going to include books I had read but hated. And yes, this is one of those.

P gave me it and it was second-hand, thank goodness. At least I didn’t waste £5.99 on it. It was the worst murder mystery I’ve read in a while; hackneyed, dull and confusing. For some odd reason, Ms Bonner decided to add two plots together. The main character is a DCI in a child abuse unit and has the distressing case of an abused boy with Down’s Syndrome to figure out. At the same time, she has fallen in love and has acted very unprofessionally with a murder suspect. One or either would have been enough, but mashing the two together has produced an unsatisfying book. One keeps wanting the DCI to get on with the child abuse case, for heavens sake and stop farting around with the bad romance novel hero.

There’s lots of dreadful writer’s mistakes, like over-using reporting instead of actually describing what is happening and what we are supposed to be seeing. Ms Bonner was originally a newspaper reporter and she is obviously far better at that than at writing novels. I read this trash in a couple of hours and was heartily glad to be done with it. I won’t be bothering her section of the shelves in Waterstones at all.

late monday night

It’s one of those occasions when I want to write something, but can’t think of anything to write about. Don’t you just hate it when that happens? I guess I’ll just waffle on and hope that I find something as I go.

I’ve just finished reading the second book in my 52 books plan. I know, it’s slow going, but I seem to have hit a blank phase. My current obsession is “Morse”, after P and L gave me the boxed set for Christmas. I thought I’d see how different the original books were and bought “The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn”. I found that Lewis is pretty much the same, but Morse is really not so nice in the book version. He’s even more obsessed with being celibate but is pretty nasty to women he fancies. So he’s defeating his chances from the outset. Silly man! He’s also obsessed with his hair, for some odd reason. I think I prefer the TV Morse and the late, cuddly John Thaw. He was a great actor.

I’m currently working through “Tom’s Midnight Garden” by Phillipa Pearce, as I have to read it for the children’s literature course. I didn’t care for it at first: I thought it not half as good as other time-slip, secret garden novels, such as “Moondial”. But now that the boy is no longer interested in the Edwardian boys in the garden and has made friends with orphan Hatty, it’s much more interesting. I’ve read the other books for this section: “Harry Potter” (the first one), “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” and “Swallows and Amazons”. Some good books there.

And see, I managed to find something to write about after all! Off to bed!


Well, I’ve managed to finish my first book of the year and watched my first movie. I didn’t actually go to the cinema though. I have something of an aversion to cinemas, so all the movies, if not most of them, will be via dvd. I won’t count movies I watch as TV programmes as they’re usually chopped about and full of adverts.

The movie is “Moon”, that low-budget SF movie. Though I just know that someone is going to bleat “it’s not really sci fi”. *shudder* It was a good movie, though it threw up a few questions. I love those slow, languid, movies that are confined to one ship; like “Event Horizon” or “Sunshine”. But never ever “SuperNova”. Let’s just pretend it never existed, shall we? I adore James Spader and admire Mr Diamond Phillips too, but not that movie. Dreadful is too mild a word for it.

The book is “Painted In Blood” by Pip Vaughan-Hughes. It had me rushing to wikipedia to read up about the Cathars and why the 13th century Catholic church hated them so much. Brilliant stuff; great characters and a cracking plot.

In other news, I’ve been rather let down by my Buffalo external hard drive. I’d put all my files onto it; not just used it as a back up. And now the thing’s knackered and I’ve lost everything. It’s enough to make a perfecti swear. (Little Cathar humour there!) With a bit of luck, I’ll take it into the computer shop on monday and they’ll be able to fix it, or at least recover my files. I hope!

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