Heavy snow and slippery ice followed by a case of "man flu" has meant that I have been housebound for two weeks! I have had my flu jab this year, but whatever it was that has been passed on to me by one of the children has knocked me sideways.
After a lovely family Christmas Eve get together, late the following day I started to feel awful and am still lacking in energy, although today I am feeling a smidgen better.
Therefore some of the items I was going to discuss at length will now wait until next year, or go by default.
During this period on television I watched:
David Suchet in a dark version of Murder on the Orient Express. I am one of those people who don't like television productions to deviate from the plot of the book, but watching David Suchet's performance as Poirot is always a pleasure.
Rolf Lassgard, as Kurt Wallander, in a rather long winded two part adaptation of Henning Mankell's Firewall.
Rolf Lassgard, as Wallander, in the superbly acted episode, One Step Behind. I have to admit that Lassgard's Wallander has grown on me, and it does help that he has such strong support from the rest of the cast. I can well understand how those who saw Lassgard's performance first regard him as the definitive Kurt Wallander.
A BBC4 program on Italian Noir that was interesting but perhaps had too much commentary from experts, and not enough comment by the authors themselves. I hope this program encouraged readers to try the novels of Andrea Camilleri, Carlo Lucarelli Massimo Carlotto, and Leonardo Sciascia [1921-1989] all of whose work I have reviewed on Crime Scraps.
Romanzo Criminale, the film mentioned on the program, based on the novel by Giancarlo De Cataldo, is one of the best crime movies I have seen, and definitely something not to be missed if it appears on television.
The message of this program was that Italian crime writers set their plots in the real world where because of circumstances there might not be punishment for a crime, even when the police can identify the perpetrator. I don't think there was quite enough emphasis on the sometimes competing, and sometimes cooperating, movements that have had so much influence on life in Italy, and especially on Sicily; Communism, Fascism, Catholicism, and Mafia.
Italian Noir novels are usually of a manageable length and get their message across with a little subtlety, and even a degree of obliqueness.
Subtlety is not a word you could associate under any circumstances with the 500 page blockbuster, The Power of the Dog by Don Winslow.
I finished reading this book yesterday, and will produce a review in a few days if I am feeling well enough.
One reviewer on Amazon.com said he wanted to put the book down, and have a long hot shower, a sentiment with which I concurred.
I sometimes wonder if I am the only person who reads these books from cover to cover. It is not masochism, but my naturally optimistic nature, because I simply cannot believe that the story is not going to improve.
This was not quoted in the novel, but I was surprised it was not:
'Poor Mexico, so far from God, and so close to the United States' attributed to Mexican President Porfiro Diaz.