Quirke (TV Series) Episode 1 – Christine Falls

https://i0.wp.com/www.bbcshop.com/content/ebiz/bbc/invt/bbcdvd3819/quirke_h_600.jpgQuirke is a British-Irish crime drama television series that was first broadcast on BBC One and RTÉ One in 2014. The three-part series is based on the novels by John Banville, writing under the pseudonym Benjamin Black and was adapted by screenwriters Andrew Davies and Conor McPherson.  

Cast List
Quirke – Gabriel Byrne
Malachy Griffin – Nick Dunning
Judge Garret Griffin – Michael Gambon
Phoebe – Aisling Franciosi
Sarah – Geraldine Somerville
Inspector Hackett – Stanley Townsend
Rose – Sara Stewart
Brenda Ruttledge – Janet Moran

Last weekend I have had the opportunity to watch the first episode, Christine Falls directed by John Alexander and based in the 2006 eponymous novel.   

Synopsis: Dublin, in the late autumn of 1956. City pathologist Quirke stumbles late one night from a party in the nurses’ quarters with a view to sleeping off his hangover in his subterranean pathology lab. To his surprise his quiet refuge has been invaded by his adoptive brother, obstetric consultant Malachy Griffin, who is at Quirke’s desk completing some paperwork for a recently deceased patient named Christine Falls. When Quirke returns next morning to find Christine’s body gone, he remembers his brother’s odd behaviour, and becomes consumed by curiosity over what Mal was doing. Slowly he closes in on Mal’s secret, all the time stirring up a hornets’ nest of trouble for himself and he begins to understand that there are some truths that may be better left untold. (RTÉ)

You can read Martin Edwards entry Quirke – BBC One – TV review at his blog ‘Do You Write Under Your Own Name?’ 

Actually I liked it, though not as much as the book, and I plan to read the rest of the books and watch the next episodes in due course. Stay tuned.

Read a review at The Killing Times

BBC One Quirke

To Raven, With My Gratitude

I wish to show my gratitude to Raven at Raven Crime Reads for having granted this recognition to The Game’s Afoot, thank you very much, Raven.

blogger award

The rules for this meme are:

  1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  5. Optional: display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

Seven facts about myself:

  1. I am an early riser and my favourite reading hours are first thing in the morning.
  2. I carry my Kindle everywhere, to read at any time.
  3. Usually, I can’t start reading a new book without finishing the previous.
  4. Almost always I finish the books I start to read.
  5. I can hardly read in bed, I fall asleep in about fifteen minutes.
  6. I read Portuguese and Catalan besides English and Spanish-Castilian.
  7. I love messing about in bookshops.

Now I’m supposed to pass the award on to fifteen other bloggers. And, following Margot Kinberg example at Confessions of a Mystery Novelist…, I don’t want anyone to feel obliged to do so. Therefore, if you like to share seven things about yourself, just do it. And if you find your blog listed at the blog roll on my sidebar, just tell the world I’ve nominated you.   

Review: The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carré

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Penguin Classics, 2010. Kindle edition (390 KB) First published in Great Britain in 1963. ASIN: B004NSURT4. ISBN: 978-0-14-196362-4. 272 pages.

This review is my contribution to the 1963 Challenge hosted by Rich Westwood on his blog Past Offences. Don’t miss Rich’s monthly Classic crime round-up in the blogosphere here.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold

The story is set between Berlin, London, The Hague and somewhere in the former GDR, mainly in 1962. Alec Leamas, head of the Berlin office for the last four years, has returned to the headquarters of the British Intelligence Service (MI6) in Cambridge Circus, commonly referred to as “The Circus”, after losing his best agents. The following is an excerpt of his conversation with the Head of the Service, known as Control.

‘I want you to stay out in the cold a little longer.’  Leamas said nothing, so Control went on. ‘The ethic of our work, as I understand it, is based on a single assumption. That is, we are never going to be aggressors. Do you think that’s fair?’
Leamas nodded. Anything to avoid talking.
‘Thus we do disagreeable things, but we are “defensive“. That, I think, is still fair. We do disagreeable things so that ordinary people here and elsewhere can sleep safely in their beds at night.’

And, later on.

‘This is your last job’ he (Control) said. ‘Then you can come in from the cold. About that girl -do you want anything done about her, money anything?’
‘When it’s over. I’ll take care of it myself then.’
‘Quite. It would be very unsecure to do anything now.’
‘I just want her left alone’ Leamas repeated with emphasis. ‘I just do not want her to be messed about. I don’t want her to have a file or anything. I want her forgotten.’
He nodded to Control and slipped out into the night air. Into the cold ‘.

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a spy novel set during the Cold War. The third novel by John Le Carré (the pen name of David John Moore Cornwell), was originally  published in 1963 and, soon, it turned out to be an international bestseller. As a consequence, John Le Carré achieved international recognition and became a full-time writer. In 1963 it was awarded with the Gold Dagger by the Crime Writers’ Association for “Best Crime Novel” and two year later the US edition received the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for “Best Mystery Novel“. The first book to win the “Best Novel” award from both mystery writing organisations. Its film adaptation was directed by Martin Ritt in 1965, starring Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, and Oskar Werner. The screenplay, written by Paul Dehn and Guy Trosper, received an Edgar the following year for “Best Motion Picture Screenplay” for an American movie. In 2005, the fiftieth anniversary of the Dagger Awards, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold was awarded the “Dagger of Daggers”, a one-time award given to the Golden Dagger winner regarded as the stand-out among all fifty winners over the history of the Crime Writers’ Association. (Information taken from Wikipedia)

Le Carré has been able to convey the reader with a wide range of different emotions with a clear, direct and concise style. A superb novel whose reading I have thoroughly enjoyed. Despite its dark and gloomy tone, the story is narrated with great skill and the result is brilliant. The dialogues are excellent and the characters are indeed astounding. The central theme revolves around the consequences of our actions and exposes the unorthodox methods, if I may put it in this way, that are used even by the secret services of countries that consider themselves an example of democracy and transparency. Today a modern classic, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold marked an  important milestone not only in its genre, but also in literature with capital letters.

My rating: A+ (Don’t delay, get your hands on a copy of this book)

The Spy Who Came in from the Cold has been reviewed at Existential Ennui, Yet Another Crime Fiction Blog, and Past Offences, among others. 

Penguin Classics

John Le Carré website

John le Carré: ‘I was a secret even to myself’

Literary Review – John Banville on John le Carre 

The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, John LeCarré (Victor Golloncz, 1963 {Penguin Audio, Narrator: Michael Jayston)

Listen to an audio sample narrated by Michael Jayston 


El espía que surgió del frío de John Le Carré

Esta reseña es mi contribución al Desafío 1963 organizado por Rich Westwood en su blog Past Offences. No se pierda su resumen mensual de los Clásicos de la novela policial en la blogosfera aquí.

El espía que surgió del frío (John Le Carré)

La historia se desarrolla entre Berlín, Londres, La Haya y en algún lugar de la antigua RDA, principalmente en el 1962. Alec Leamas, el jefe de la oficina de Berlín durante los últimos cuatro años, regresa a la sede central del servicio de inteligencia británico (MI6) en Cambridge Circus, donimada comúnmente como “El Circo”, después de perder a sus mejores agentes. El siguiente es un extracto de su conversación con el Jefe del Servicio, conocido como Control.

‘Quiero que permanezca en el frío un poco más’. Leamas no dijo nada, por lo que Control continuó. ‘La ética de nuestro trabajo, tal y como yo lo entiendo, se basa en una única suposición. Esta es, nunca vamos a ser los agresores. ¿Le parece justo?’
Leamas asintió. Cualquier cosa con tal de evitar decir algo.
’En consecuencia hacemos cosas desagradables, pero actuamos “a la defensiva“. Algo que considero que es todavía justo. Hacemos cosas desagradables para que la gente corriente aquí y en todas partes puedan dormir seguros en sus camas por la noche.’ (Mi traducción libre)

Y, más adelante:

‘Este es su último trabajo’, le dijo (Control), ‘Después usted puede regresar del frío. A propósito de esa chica ¿quiere que hagamos algo por ella, dinero o cualquier cosa?’
’Cuando todo acabe. Me ocuparé de ella.’
’Claro. No sería seguro hacer algo por ella ahora’.
‘Sólo quiero que la dejen en paz,’ repitió Leamas con énfasis. ‘Sólo quiero que no hagan tonterías con ella. No quiero verla en un expediente o algo así. Quiero que se olviden de ella.’
Hizo un pequeño movimiento con la cabeza a Control en señal de asentimiento y se perdió en el aire de la noche. En el frío.’ (Mi traduccón libre)

El espía que surgió del frío es una novela de espionaje ambientada durante la Guerra Fría. La tercera novela de John Le Carré (seudónimo de David John Moore Cornwell), fue publicada originalmente en 1963 y, pronto, se conviertió en un éxito de ventas. Como consecuencia de ello, John Le Carré alcanzó el reconocimiento internacional y se dedicó por completo a la escritura. En 1963 fue galardonada con la Daga de Oro por la Asociación inglesa de Escritores de Novelas Policíacas a la “Mejor Novela Policíaca” y dos año más tarde la edición norteamericana recibió el Premio Edgar que otorgan los Escritores de Misterio de los Estados Unidos a la “Mejor Novela de Misterio“. Se conviertió así en el primer libro que ganó el premio a la “Mejor Novela” de ambas instituciones. Su adaptación al cine fue dirigida por Martin Ritt en 1965, protagonizada por Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, y Oskar Werner. El guión, escrito por Paul Dehn y Guy Trosper, recibió un Edgar al año siguiente al “Mejor guión cinematográfico” a una película norteamericana. En el 2005, al cumplirse el quincuagésimo aniversario de los Premios Dagger, El espía que surgió del frío fue galardonada con la “Daga de las dagas“, un premio único para la novela ganadora de la Daga de Oro considerada como la más sobresaliente de las cincuenta galardonadas a lo largo de la historia de la Asociación inglesa de Escritores de Novelas Policíacas. (Información tomada de Wikipedia)

Le Carré ha sido capaz de transmitir al lector una amplia gama de emociones diferentes con un estilo claro, directo y conciso. Una novela magnífica cuya lectura he disfrutado mucho. A pesar de su tono oscuro y sombrío, la historia está narrada con gran maestria y el resultado es brillante. Los diálogos son excelentes y los personajes son realmente asombrosos. El tema central gira en torno a las consecuencias de nuestras acciones, y expone los métodos poco ortodoxos, si se me permite decirlo de esta manera, que son utilizados incluso por los servicios secretos de los países que se consideran un ejemplo de democracia y transparencia. Hoy un clásico moderno, El espía que surgió del frío marcó un hito importante no sólo en su género, sino también en la literatura con mayúsculas.

Mi valoración: A+ (No se demore, consiga un ejemplar de este libro)

Vean algunas reseñas de El espía que surgió del frío en Golem – Memorias de lectura, De libros se trata, y La cueva de los libros entre otras.


Espías en plena Guerra Fría

Volviendo a John Le Carré

Ana Maria Matute – In Memoriam

The Spanish novelist Ana Maria Matute passed away yesterday aged 88. She was, undoubtedly, one of the most prestigious writer in Spanish literature nowadays and the winner of almost every Spanish literary award including the Cervantes Prize. She also held a chair in the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language.

Ana Maria Matute at Wikipedia.

Read more at The Literary Saloon

Who is Parker?

In my previous post I quoted Benjamin Black/John Banville when he wrote: ‘I have always been a keen reader of detective and crime novels—Richard Stark’s Parker books seem to me masterpieces not only of the genre but of literature in general’

Parker is the main character in a series of novels by Richard Stark (aka Donald E. Westlake).

From Wikipedia:

Richard Stark: Westlake’s best-known continuing pseudonym was that of Richard Stark. Stark debuted in 1959, with a story in Mystery Digest. Four other Stark short stories followed through 1961, including “The Curious Facts Preceding My Execution”, later the title story in Westlake’s first short-story collection. Then, from 1962 to 1974, sixteen novels about the relentless and remorseless professional thief Parker and his accomplices (including larcenous actor Alan Grofield) appeared and were credited to Richard Stark. “Stark” was then inactive until 1997, when Westlake once again began writing and publishing Parker novels under Stark’s name. The University of Chicago began republishing the Richard Stark novels in 2008. 

Read more about the Parker novels at The Violent World of Parker

I’m sure you’ll read more about Parker and Richard Stark at The Game’s Afoot from now on. Stay tuned.

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