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Crazy Convos and Christie

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Review of “The Christie Curse” by Victoria Abbott

15808728I can start by saying that the book met the two primary objectives of the whodunit genre: one, I didn’t work out whodunit straight away, and two, the narrative kept me hooked till the end.

As for the plot, “The Christie Curse” is a mystery about a supposedly lost Agatha Christie play, which is linked to a possible murder. The protagonist, Jordan Bingham, is relatable enough despite most readers probably weren’t raised by crooks as she was. Her job, to track down the play for her book-collecting, dragon of an employer, quickly looks to be dangerous but she continues stubbornly at it—if only to keep her luscious room and meals at the Van Alst manor house. She is a little too quick to point the finger but that only makes her more human.

The mystery itself is intriguing. Whilst I guessed about the cat quite early on, I only realised whodunit a few sentences before it was actually stated—about the right time, in my view, for the reader to work it out. A few scenes ran tingles up my spine, but there was nothing at all thriller-rish about the book—overall it’s what I think is called a ‘cosy’ mystery. There was definitely a Christie element, though you don’t have to be particularly familiar with her works to read the story.

I enjoyed every moment of the book, and highly recommend it. The best thing is, it’s the first in a series, and I believe the second one is out now.

Insane Facebook Conversation

My friend gave me permission to post this here. I had to save it for posterity. Possibly the most bonkers conversation I ever had, except maybe with the lady in New York who could tell I was English just from my complexion (apparently).

Me: I think my computer’s got Chizpurfles[1].

Friend: Oh dear … This is what happens when you exterminate all the Doxies in your home. Doxies feed primarily on dead skin cells and Chizpurfles.

Me: Hmm. I guess I shouldn’t have bought all that Doxycide from amazon.wiz—what a waste of Galleons. I should have trained them to guard my electrical items instead. Especially my TARDIS[2], it’s been crashing for weeks. Mr Scamander should have informed me. That book of his has some serious gaps.

Friend: Scamander? The Scamander prejudice against Doxies is well known. I’m surprised you hadn’t heard. They all despise Doxies and have advocated the complete extermination of the entire species. There was an article about it in the Prophet the other day, I’ll send it to you by owl when I find it. As for your TARDIS, I find when mine is malfunctioning, a good kick to the console tends to fix it for a while. Alternatively, I’ve heard that some people have luck with blue or green jello.

Me: Scamander? Prejudices? Well I never. Thank you very much for the article. I’m a Quibbler reader myself, hence why I didn’t see it. I would kick my TARDIS, but it was rather delicate before those pests got at it. I could try the jelly, if I had some. My first instinct was a powerful Reparo, but I’m afraid of the whole magic vs electronics clash.

Friend: Just once, I tried an enlargement charm on a computer screen, I was trying to turn it into a TV you see, and nothing happened except that all the actors, characters and animals on the screen seemed to have red eyes. It was a bit unsettling after a while. Since then, I prefer not to mix the two, just in case. I wouldn’t try it on something the size of a TARDIS. I suppose you could hire a Jedi mechanic … I mean, the Force is, after all, as much magic as science … but it could be expensive.

Me: Bro, help, I need Star Wars knowledge for a comeback.

Bro: May the unhelpful quote be with you.

Friend: Victory is mine

Me: [struggles to think of something witty to say about the currency in Star Wars—what IS the currency in Star Wars???] You are no longer my brother.

Bro: [grins inanely—at least, that’s what I reckon he did though I wasn’t actually there]

Footnotes

[1] Chizpurfle: a pest (from Harry Potter, but mentioned only in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) which feeds on magic or, in the absence of such, “has been known to attack electrical objects … explaining the puzzling failure of many relatively new Muggle artifacts” (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, page 7 footnote.)

[2] My phone, which has a TARDIS skin.

Pin of the week

bronz-abstract-phoenix

If anyone can help me properly embed a Pin so it SHOWS UP properly, please get in touch! At the moment I’m having to save the pics and upload them. The guidance on Pinterest is not working.

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Milky Aurora, Gospel Poems and Fiery Redheads

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I have for the first time submitted a poem for potential publication in an anthology The Gospel According to Poetry. Today is the deadline, so keep reading to find out if it’s accepted or not. I haven’t quite decided what else I will do with the poem in question, Reasons to Sing; I will decide after I find out.

Source: onebigphoto.com via Alex on Pinterest

I’ve added some images to my website pages, including banners on the Projects page. I will be adding them to the individual pages as well, and once I have named my ‘verses I will have a re-organise and make new, better banners.

I had a go at the fan fiction prompt from my first writing prompt post, using Donna and Amy from Doctor Who. An interesting plot bunny is spiralling! I don’t think I’ll end up with another epic in my backlog, but it might merit more than one chapter. I haven’t tried the others yet, haven’t had the opportunity, but I will. I’m also in the process of coming up with more prompts for future posts, so stay tuned.

Pin of the week is a stunning photo I stumbled across when hunting for Milky Way pictures, of the Milky Way and Northern Lights together.

Link of the week: Fanfiction and Literature

Jellyfish For Breakfast

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Thought for the day: I really wish chefs, when adding an unexpected strong flavour to a dish, would say so on the menu, so I don’t have to spend half an hour picking parsley and chilli out of my Chinese takeaway. It’s even more frustrating when said menu uses a ‘hot’ symbol–on other dishes! It’s discriminatory against sensitive tongues. Even more annoying when it’s specifically requested to be left out.

Rant over.

What is the correct way to spell chilli anyway, is it chilli or chili? Is one version American, or a case of Standard English vs colloquial, or what?

The jellyfish was otherwise good–my mouth did start burning but I managed to get through most of it before that. The flavour’s not too strong, and I like the squishy texture, though I can understand some people wouldn’t. Funny thing was I thought I was trying jellyfish for the first time, but once I saw it I was sure I’ve had it before and just forgotten. What am I like …

I’m not just writing about food today. Although I like discussing food, and can’t believe I haven’t written more about it before now. I’m also writing about art, another new topic for today’s post. I’ve been itching for a couple of weeks to paint again, which I haven’t been able to do–for various reasons–since my A-levels, and though I was never sure I was much good, I really enjoyed it.

When I move I have plans to buy a proper artist’s stand and start painting on canvas when the mood takes me, but I’m not sure I can wait that long! I haven’t done any art or crafts, save literally a couple of cards, since beginning uni. I’m a visual as well as lexical artist and I miss it, I really do.

I was struck with an idea the other day when I added in some description to my Not Alone story draft:

A few weeks ago, the alignment would have been a backdrop to a sparkling skyline—literally sparkling, the materials that formed the city’s architecture were crystallised, throwing rainbows over every surface come sundown. Once upon a time, their mother had said, tourists came from all over the galaxy to see it. Now, it was a pile of wreckage; the once-centrepiece, a thousand-floor luxury hotel skyscraper topped with a twelve-foot diamond, the instrument which had crushed their home when it fell, among hundreds of others.

All right, it’s exposition too. But that’s not the point–the point is it struck me that I wanted to paint the scene (before, though possibly after as well). I’m not certain I could do justice to it, there is a reason I’m pursuing a career in writing rather than illustration, but I want to try. I was also thinking about trying to paint other landscapes for the ‘verse.

I’ve also had some thoughts on illustrating The Caterpillar That Stood On Its Head. I might post a sample image when I’m happy with one–but since it would be most practical to try and get that one published traditionally, that’s all you’ll get.