February 25th, 2008

life on mars

Astonishing to see you, to see you...

Yesterday evening, BBC 1 put on one of the tackiest shows I have ever fast forwarded through, to celebrate the eightieth birthday of Bruce Forsyth. I haven't watched much of Strictly Come Dancing, but Brucie on TV on weekend evenings? Forget Life on Mars, this is real time travel, taking me back to watching Sunday Night at the London Palladium as a child because Adam Faith was on and later, getting through sticky evenings with the in-laws by watching The Generation Game together. I'm glad they found room yesterday for "Here, kitty, kitty!" What a pro. Happy birthday.

Had to get that off my chest. Later: those 50 crime writers you ought to read.

Murder mostly foul

Saturday’s Telegraph Review had a list of Fifty Crime Writers to Read before you Die as they rather sinisterly put it. Pleased to see my favourites Sayers and Allingham so highly rated and P D James left out. I’ve read very few of these authors and am slightly ashamed that I’ve never read any Raymond Chandler. I’d like to add another writer to the list: Susan Hill. I haven’t read many of her books but after reading The Pure in Heart, her second Simon Serrailler novel, I was hooked on the series. The books are set in middle England, the characters are interesting, the author’s social commentary wise. What grabs me about them is that I have never read any crime fiction which is so victim-centred. The reader is left in no doubt that murder is an evil crime with far reaching consequences for all whom it touches. Very different from the high-body-count, solve-the-puzzle fiction which can be very enjoyable but is much less engaging. I found myself lying awake at night thinking about the events in these books: you have been warned.