What I Read:
I always enjoy talking with people who love to read good books. That’s why I belong to two book clubs. It’s one of the benefits of being retired. This week I met with one of my book clubs to discuss Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen. This is the story of a woman, Frances Osgood, who has an affair with Edgar Allan Poe while at the same time has a special friendship with the famous poet’s wife. (Yes, awkward.) Francis is portrayed as an upstanding person simply caught up in her attraction for the man, aided by the fact that her husband was a seriel philanderer.
In case you can’t tell, I did not care for the book. The first third of the story was okay, especially the appearance of various literary figures of the time like Walt Whitman and even Louisa May Alcott. But,/ the story deteriorated into this melodramatic victorian romance novel. It could have been so much better, in my opinion.
Club members were split in their opinions with about a third of the members really enjoying the book. Split opinions usually make for lively discussions at our meetings and this was no exception. Fortunately, this is a congenial group. Our disagreements have never turned ugly. I can’t recommend you read Mrs. Poe, but I must admit that some of my friends will recommend.
In spite of Mrs. Poe, I did manage to have a good reading week. I did that by reading something completely unexpected. A few weeks ago I downloaded An Accidental Death by Peter Grainger when it became an Audible Daily Deal. I’d never heard of the book or author before, but I do love British mysteries.
Within a couple of chapters I fell in love with the main character, DC Smith, a retirement-age Detective Sergeant. As the story opens we learn of the drowning of a teenager. DC Smith is asked to investigate whether this was an accident or something else. He’s given a new Detective Inspector to mentor. Together they open up a surprising “kettle of fish” that is more than a local accident. There are upper-level police officers who don’t like DC Smith. I couldn’t help but be suspicious of them.
This was a very satisfying story and now, of course, I want to read more of DC Smith and his creator, Peter Grainger. It’s very well done – very smart writing.
What I Watched:
Prime Suspect – Season 3
I’m a Helen Mirren fan. While talking about her with a friend, I remembered watching a PBS series in which Helen Mirren was a lone female Detective Inspector in London. It was called Prime Suspect. It was a British TV show filmed back in the 1990s. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to watch it again. I actually thought the shows might be available on Netflix, but no, I found them at my local library. (I love my library.) I whizzed right through Seasons 1 and 2 and then I ran into a delay getting Season 3. The library had a couple of damaged dvds, but everything is okay now.
I loved Season 3. As the season opened, we see that Jane Tennison (Helen Mirren) has been promoted to Detective Chief Inspector and moved to Vice. Two things stand out right away: Every single detective smokes and they are all male. All that smoking makes the film seem hazy. Among the other detectives there is a lot of resentment and hatred toward Jane. Obviously, they all believe women don’t belong in police work and certainly not as the boss. I thought the story was fairly complicated. It revolved around the killing of a young homeless teenager who may or may not have been involved in an illegal group. There are also hints that upper-crust people may or may not have been involved. Helen Mirren is so good in this role. You really ought to see if you can find it.
That’s it for me. Have a really great weekend everyone.