Review of “The Christie Curse” by Victoria Abbott
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.
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, 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]
 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.)
 My phone, which has a TARDIS skin.
Pin of the week
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.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews, Games, Geekiness, Misc Rambles, Reviews and tagged agatha christie, art, author, book review, books, chizpurfles, Christie Curse, christmas, cosy mystery, detective, doctor who, drama, fantastic beasts and where to find them, fiction, geek, genre, harry potter, history, Jordan Bingham, literature, media, nerd, novel, novel series, pinterest, play, prose, reader, reading, review, Scamander, series, tardis, troubleshooting, visual arts, whodunit.
Apologies for the long gap in posting. Hope everyone had a good Christmas and didn’t get indigestion. I hope all those in my area have their power back on now, and didn’t get flooded–weather’s been awful.
A Who-ish Season
I got a book called Doctor Who: The History of the Universe in 100 Objects for Christmas (along with two Doctor Who calendars–my parents know me!). I’ve only flicked through it so far, but I have mixed feelings about these kinds of books. As far as I can predict without reading it cover to cover, anything related to the new show I’ll already know, and anything to do with the classic series will probably spoil me majorly for when I watch the episodes in question. Which I plan to once I own the complete box set that was being advertised at the Anniversary Celebrations at London ExCel (no price or release date I noticed, but it’s obviously being planned, and about time too).
I don’t think I wrote anything about the Anniversary Celebrations for my blog, which I will rectify probably in the next post. For the moment, my two cents on the last two episodes. I went to the cinema to see the Anniversary episode, and enjoyed it more than I thought I would actually. Ten(nant) was my Doctor and I never quite got into the new style of writing either since the show changed hands (that’s not to say Moffat hasn’t done some great things, but I find it more confusing and less continuous). I was afraid the ep would be too ambitious and all energy would be put into understanding it rather than enjoying it, but I think it worked in the end. And whilst during the first watch I was dreading the end (what were they going to do with Gallifrey??) I was relieved by the actual finish. I was disappointed that Billie Piper wasn’t actually there to play Rose, and I did spot a few small plot-holes that I now can’t remember, but overall I’m pretty happy with how it turned out.
I don’t think I’ve had long enough to really build an opinion of the Christmas ep. Maybe I should do a reflective paragraph on it another post.
A recent bout of insomnia, other than spurring a tonne of fanfiction during the first night (I wish it could have been my coursework that got stuck in my head, but at least I wrote something) has made me read more, since I now stop looking at screens an hour before I try to sleep. This has meant a break from my Kindle, since it is Kindle Fire and more like a tablet than an e-reader. But it’s made me finally get around to reading some physical books again, specifically all 7 Harry Potter, which is and always will be my favourite book series.
I haven’t read them through for some time–the last time I read one, it was the seventh, and I finished the day I moved into my first uni digs (back in 2010). So it’s been a great experience re-reading them and reminding myself of all the greatest bits, especially those that never made it into the films, like my favourite quote:
It unscrews the other way”
or small details that I’d forgotten or even not noticed before, such as:
… one [task] that many of my followers would give their right hands to perform …”
(Both quotes by JK Rowling, I claim no ownership.)
Also moving through the series there were more of them, since the later ones I’ve read far fewer times. I can recite passages from the first book or two (I used to be able to do most of the first chapter) but the seventh I’m much less familiar with. Allow me to demonstrate.
All right, I’m a geek. And it’s all approximate, I’ve hardly kept track of how many times I read each book. The only one I can be certain of is Deathly Hallows, since I read it once when it came out, once to my dad, and just finished it again two days ago.
In my “calculations” I’m allowing for audio versions and the number of times I’ve read individual passages (for example some of the earlier books I flicked through so often there’s probably at least an extra read total in addition to having read cover to cover).
Joke of the Week
(Told to me at Christmas.)
It was a cold Christmas night. A man was sitting warm by his fire, when there was a knock on the door. When he opened it, there was nobody there.
“Excuse me,” said a tiny voice. He looked around, but still couldn’t see anyone. “Excuse me, I’m down here!”
He looked down, and there on his doorstep was a snail, shivering and dusted in snow. “P-please s-sir, I’m s-so cold, could I c-come in and shelter b-by your fire?”
The man picked up the snail, and hurled it down the garden, slammed the door and returned to his chair by the fire.
The next Christmas, there was a knock on the door. The man left his warm seat by the fire to open it, but again there was nobody there.
Then a tiny voice said, “What did you do that for?”
This entry was posted in Fan Fiction, Geekiness, Misc Rambles and tagged alexannah, Anniversary Celebrations, author, books, christmas, creative writing, doctor who, doctor who 50, doctor who anniversary, ebook, fan, fan fic, fan fiction, fan writing, fantasy, fiction, geek, genre, harry potter, jokes, kindle, literature, nerd, novel, novel series, prose, reader, reading, review, science fiction, script, series, sleepless night, tardis, time travel, wordsmith.
Well, I’ve almost finished my presentation. Just need to check one detail when I get home, then print it out. My laptop internet’s been playing up for about two weeks now, I have to find somewhere with The Cloud wifi (the only one that’s working) just to check my emails because my TARDIS phone is still being serviced. Ah, isn’t technology wonderful. And all this after switching from paper diary to online calendar. Great timing.
Still, I had a weekend off, sort of. Since it was Mother’s Day I went home to surprise my mum–although it turned out she’d guessed I was coming; you should never try and surprise your mum two years running–and just spent some time with the family, trying not to think too much about coursework or accommodation next year.
Tip for presents: Years ago, my mum got a pair of treble clef earrings for a present, which she loved, but the first time she wore them she dropped one, and we never ever found it. So I had the genius idea of getting her another pair, and she was delighted. Personally I love to give homemade gifts, but haven’t for a long time due to the energy needed to make them–but you can show the love with a bit of thought, much better than going for the old cliches.
On a less positive note, I’ve come to the conclusion that I just can’t continue living in London next year. Thanks to government cuts and all that. I really don’t want to move away from the little social life I have, but needs must. My parents have been telling me this for months, I think they’re relieved I’ve finally accepted it. Still, I’ll be coming to London a lot, so once I’ve moved I’ll change my ‘location’ on Twitter and the like to ‘Losunsdonex’ (London and Sussex). Well, why not?
Well, I could just be boring and put ‘London & Sussex’. Then people would actually know what I mean. Hmm …
Finally finished my ‘projects’ poem yesterday (couldn’t find a link to the prompt, it’s in a book my tutor uses). Well I say finished, just got to add in a quote or something, then I’ll have a complete first draft. The poem is called “The Gift of Soup” and is my third attempt to write something with the prompt (and the first success at it). Unfortunately since it was hard enough making it into a poem, I still need to write a prompted song. So I’m going back to the ekphrastic idea. Just have to find some inspiring art. Well, what’s the internet for?
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged alex harlequin, coursework, craft, creative writing, doctor who, ekphrastic, family, geek, mother's day, oulipo, poetry, present ideas, social, student, tardis, the gift of soup, writing, writing student, young writer.