Month: August 2015

Review: A Cure for All Diseases by Reginald Hill

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

Harper, 2009. Paperback edition. First published in 2008. ISBN-13: 9780007252695. Pages 624.

9780007313235

Lady Daphne Denham (née Brereton), the only daughter of the Breretons of Brereton Manor, Sandytown’s premier family, was married twice and widowed twice. She inherited the wealth from her first husband and the title from her second one and now, together with Tom Parker, are the largest landowners in the area. They are both determined to put Sandytwon, a seaside resort, in the map, taking full advantage of its privileged location. Together, they have convinced the Council Development Officer to form a joint venture between the public and private sector, the Sandytown Development Consortium, aiming to transform Sandytown into a major health and recreational centre. Their plan includes the conversion of Brereton Manor – Lady Denham’s childhood home – into a five-star luxury hotel offering all kinds of leisure activities and health-related services, including alternative therapies. In addition, through Lady Denham intervention, The Avalon Foundation, a famous centre of medical care and recuperation, opened one of their facilities in Sandytown.  

The story begins when Tom and his wife Mary Parker find themselves involved in a car accident and they are assisted by the Heywood family. One of the family members, Charlotte, or Charley as she is often called, is a young psychologist who has the intention to write her postgrad thesis on the psychology of alternative therapy. The Parkers, grateful, invite her to spend some days with them at Kyoto House, their house in Sandytown. Incidentally, following the events narrated in The Death of Dalziel aka Death Comes for the Fat Man, the previous instalment in the series (Dalziel & Pascoe # 22), Dalziel has managed to survive. After a month in coma, we find him at The Avalon Clinic in Sandytown under the supervision of Dr. Lester Feldenhammer, to recover. The story follows its course until one day, during a celebration, organised by Lady Denham, in order to thank the support of everyone to her project, her corpse suddenly appears, taking up the place of the hog that was going to be roasted. At which point Detective Chief Inspector Peter Pascoe and his CID team arrive at the crime scene to take charge of the investigation.

I can’t remember well why I decided to read this book among the rest of the novels in the series that I still have waiting to read, but I’m glad to have done it. I’m pretty sure this will be one of the very best in the series. Even if it has an excessive extension, in my view, A Cure for All Diseases is a worthwhile reading and Charlotte Heywood is a highly attractive character. But let’s proceed step-by-step. The story is based on Jane Austen’s unfinished novel Sanditon and I will suggest a visit to its Wikipedia page here to all those who, like me, are not familiar with it. The narrative uses multiple points of view and multiple formats including the long emails that Charley Heywood addresses to her sister Cassie who works somewhere in Africa as a nurse, and the impressions of Dalziel that he himself, following the advice of his doctor, registers in a recording device. These different perspectives provide more depth and a larger dimension to the novel. Furthermore the narrative is highly amusing and extremely well written. The story is nicely developed and the plot includes several twists and turns that keep our attention until the end. Moreover, the resolution turns out quite convincing. All in all, A Cure for All Diseases is a superb read and a magnificent addition to this series where the relationship between the main characters has a prominent position. Not to be missed. 

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

A Cure for All Diseases (Dalziel & Pascoe # 23)was shortlisted for the 2009 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel. I’ve previously reviewed: 

A Clubbable Woman (1970) (Dalziel & Pascoe # 1) B
An Advancement of Learning (1971) (Dalziel & Pascoe # 2) A
On Beulah Height (1998) (Dalziel & Pascoe # 17) A
A Killing Kindness (1980) (Dalziel & Pacoe # 6) A

A Cure for All Diseases aka The Price of Butcher’s Meat in the US, has been reviewed at Euro Crime (Fiona Walker), Reviewing the evidence (Sharon Wheeler), Reactions to Reading (Bernadette), Crime Scraps Review (Norman) and Mysteries in Paradise (Kerrie) among others.

Reginald Hill was born in Hartlepool, County Durham, brought up in Carlisle, and educated at Oxford. After twenty years in education as a teacher and lecturer, he turned to writing full time. He was the author of the outstanding crime novels featuring Dalziel and Pascoe (HarperCollins), which were adapted into a hugely successful television series, and the adventures of Joe Sixsmith (HarperCollins). He won numerous awards, including the Crime Writers’ Association Cartier Diamond Dagger Award in 1995 for his lifetime contribution to crime writing. He also won The Mystery Thriller Book Club People’s Choice Dagger in 2004 for Good Morning, Midnight. In 2010 Reginald Hill won the inaugural Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award. He died at home on 12 January 2012. (Source: United Agents)

Essay: A Cure for All Diseases and Sanditon by Nick Hay

Reginald Hill Remembered (1936–2012) by Martin Edwards

Celebrating Reginald Hill

HarperCollins Publishers Limited

HarperCollins Publishers

Doubleday Canada

Reginald Hill entry at Wikipedia 

Un remedio para todas las enfermedades (A Cure for All Diseases) de Reginald Hill

Lady Daphne Denham (de soltera Brereton), la única hija de los Breretons de Brereton Manor, la familia más importante de Sandytown, se casó dos veces y enviudó dos veces. Heredó la fortuna de su primer marido y el título del segundo y ahora, junto con Tom Parker, son los mayores propietarios de tierras de la zona. Ambos están decididos a poner Sandytwon, un balneario, en el mapa, aprovechando al máximo su privilegiada localización. Juntos, han convencido a la Oficina del Desarrollo de la Zona para formar una empresa conjunta entre el sector público y privado, el Consorcio para el Desarrollo de Sandytown, con el objetivo de transformar Sandytown en un importante centro de salud y de recreo. Su plan incluye la conversión de Brereton Manor, la casa donde pasó su infancia Lady Denham, en un hotel de lujo de cinco estrellas que ofrezca toda clase de actividades de ocio y de servicios relacionados con la salud, incluyendo terapias alternativas. Además, a través de la intervención de señora Denham, la Fundación Avalon, un famoso centro de atención médica y recuperación, abrió una de sus instalaciones en Sandytown.

La historia comienza cuando Tom y su esposa Mary Parker se ven involucrados en un accidente de coche y son asistidos por la familia Heywood. Uno de los miembros de la familia, Charlotte o Charley como es llamada en ocasiones, es una joven psicóloga que tiene la intención de escribir su tesis de posgrado sobre la psicología de la terapia alternativa. Los Parkers, agradecidos, la invitan a pasar unos días con ellos en Kyoto House, su casa en Sandytown. Por cierto, después de los acontecimientos narrados en The Death of Dalziel aka Death Comes for the Fat Man, la anterior entrega de la serie (Dalziel y Pascoe # 22), Dalziel ha logrado sobrevivir. Después de un mes en coma, lo encontramos en la Clínica Avalon en Sandytown bajo la supervisión del Dr. Lester Feldenhammer, para recuperarse. La historia sigue su curso hasta que un día, durante una celebración organizada por Lady Denham, con el fin de agradecer el apoyo de todos a su proyecto, su cadáver aparece de repente, ocupando el lugar del cerdo que iba a ser asado. Momento en el que el detective inspector jefe Peter Pascoe y su equipo de la División de Investigación Criminal (o CID por sus siglas en inglés) llegan a la escena del crimen para hacerse cargo de la investigación.

No recuerdo bien por qué me decidí a leer este libro entre el resto de las novelas de la serie que todavía tengo a la espera de leer, pero me alegro de haberlo hecho. Estoy bastante seguro de que este será uno de los mejores de la serie. Incluso si tiene una extensión excesiva, en mi opinión, Un remedio para todas las enfermedades (A Cure for All Diseases) es una lectura que merece la pena y Charlotte Heywood es un personaje muy atractivo. Pero vamos a proceder paso a paso. La historia está basada en la novela inconclusa de Jane Austen Sanditon y voy a sugerir una visita a su página de Wikipedia aquí a todos aquellos que, como yo, no están familiarizados con ella. La narración utiliza múltiples puntos de vista y múltiples formatos, incluyendo los largos correos electrónicos que Charley Heywood dirige a su hermana Cassie que trabaja en algún lugar de África como enfermera, y las impresiones de Dalziel que él mismo, siguiendo el consejo de su médico, registra en un dispositivo de grabación. Estas perspectivas diferentes proporcionan más profundidad y una mayor dimensión a la novela. Además, la narración es muy divertida y está muy bien escrita. La historia está muy bien desarrollado y la trama incluye varios giros y vueltas que mantienen nuestra atención hasta el final. Por otra parte, la resolución resulta bastante convincente. En definitiva,Un remedio para todas las enfermedades (A Cure for All Diseases) es una excelente lectura y una magnífica incorporación a esta serie, donde la relación entre los personajes principales ocupa un lugar muy destacado. No hay que perderselo.

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

A Cure for All Diseases (Dalziel y Pascoe Nº 23) fue finalista al Premio de Novela Negra Theakston Old Peculier en el 2009. Con anterioridad he reseñado:

A Clubbable Woman (1970) (Dalziel & Pascoe # 1) B
An Advancement of Learning (1971) (Dalziel & Pascoe # 2) A
On Beulah Height (1998) (Dalziel & Pascoe # 17) A
A Killing Kindness (1980) (Dalziel & Pacoe # 6) A

Reginald Hill nació en Hartlepool, Condado de Durham, se crió en Carlisle, y se educó en Oxford. Después de veinte años como profesor en una colegio y conferenciante, se desdicó a escribir a tiempo completo. Él es el autor de las destacadas novelas policiales protagonizadas por Dalziel y Pascoe (HarperCollins), que fueron adaptadas a la televsión con mucho éxito y de las aventuras de Joe Sixsmith (HarperCollins). Ganó numerosos premios, entre ellos el Cartier Diamond Dagger Award de 1995 otorgado por la Asociación de Escritores Británica de Novela Policíaca por la contribución realizada a lo largo de toda su vida a la novela policíaca. También ganó el Mystery Thriller Book Club People’s Choice Dagger en el 2004 por Good Morning, Midnight. En el 2010 Reginald Hill ganó el Theakstons Old Peculier Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award inaugural. Murió en su casa el 12 de enero de 2012. (Fuente: United Agents).

Premieres Today in Spanish Cinemas: A Perfect Day (2015) written and directed by Fernando León de Aranoa

apd_poster A Perfect Day is a 2015 Spanish drama film written and directed by Fernando León de Aranoa. It is based on the novel Dejarse Llover by Paula Farias. It was screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. (Source Wikipedia)

Synopsis: A group of aid workers tries to remove a cadaver from a well in an armed conflict zone. The body was thrown into the well to contaminate the water and cut the water supply to the local population.But circumstances soon turn a simple task into an impossible mission. The workers cross the frenzied war landscape like guinea pigs in a maze, and there might be no way out. A war inside another war, in which the only enemy could be irrationality. The crisis they’re trying to solve is humanitarian, but they’re only human. Humor, drama, tenderness, routine, danger, hope: it all fits into a perfect day. This film’s only genre is life itself. Like a Russian doll, it’s a drama inside a comedy, inside a road movie, inside a war movie. (Sucre: West End Films)

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The Hollywood Reporter A Perfect Day: Cannes Review

Death on a Galician Shore (Trailer)

Perhaps it might be of your interest. The film is based on Domingo Villar’s novel Death on a Galician Shore (La playa de los ahogados), directed by Gerardo Herrero. It will be released in Spain on 9 October 2015.

OT: Viñademoya Tinto Roble 2014

  • 20150813_203833 Winery: Bodega Luzdivina Amigo. Cra. Villafranca 10, 24516 Parandones (León) España. For many generations the Amigo family were winegrowers but it was only in 2002 when they decided to produce their own wines from their own vineyards spread over 12 hectares distributed in small plots or leiros
  • Phone: +34 987 544 826
  • Winemaker:  Miguel Ángel Amigo
  • Website: www.bodegaluz.com 
  • Brand: Viñademoya Production: 80.000 bottles of 75 cl.
  • DO: Bierzo
  • Type: Young Red Wine aged 2 months in French oak 
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Alcohol: 13 %
  • Grape Variety: 100% Mencía 
  • Vineyards: The vines are located in an area called Viñademoya close to the winery and owned by the family. Vines are planted on vase and they are over 100 years old. This estate probably has the biggest area of pre-phylloxera vines in El Bierzo.
  • Soil Type: Rich in minerals and slate
  • Bottle Size: 75.0 cl.
  • Price: Between 5.90 € and 6.20 € on the Internet.
  • My wine rating: 89/100 (A wine of very good to excellent quality) NEW!

Another outstanding wine from El Bierzo, with an excellent price/quality ratio.

Review: Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie

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

HarperCollins Publishers, The Agatha Christie Signature Edition published 2001. First published in 1940. ISBN-10: 0007120710.

sad-cypress

Elinor Carlisle is brought before the judge accused of having poisoned Mary Gerrard. After a few minutes of silence, during which her lawyer fears that she could declare herself guilty, Elinor pleads not guilty. The story had begun about a year ago when Elinor received an anonymous letter warning her that someone was determined to take her place in the affections of her aunt Laura Welman. Mrs Welman suffered from reduced mobility due to a stroke and lived in her own house with the assistance of her housekeeper Mrs Bishop, a couple of nurses, nurses Hopkins and O’Brien, and under the care of Dr. Peter Lord, a young doctor. In addition, Mary Gerrard, the daughter of a lodge keeper, was in the habit to pay her a visit every day. Mary was extremely grateful to Mrs Welman for having paid her studies. Elinor, in turn, was planning to marry Roddy Welman, whom she knew since childhood. Roddy was the nephew of the late Mr Welman, the husband of her aunt. Both had assumed they were going to inherit her fortune, as they were her closest relatives. But one day, during a visit of Elinor and Roddy to their aunt, Roddy falls in love with Mary Gerrard and breaks her engagement to Elinor. As from that moment events take an unexpected turn. Mrs Welman dies intestate and Elinor, as next of kin, becomes her sole heir. Shortly after, Mary dies poisoned and Elinor seems to be the only person who has a motive, the opportunity and the means for having done so. Dr. Lord, who is attracted to Elinor, resorts to Hercule Poirot to unmask the real culprit in order to prove her innocence.

Sad Cypress has quite an original structure. The story is being told in three parts. The first one relates the facts that end up with the death by poisoning of Mary Gerrard and with the subsequent imprisonment of Elinor Carlisle considered the main suspect of the crime. The second revolves around the investigation carried by Poirot, mainly through his conversations with those involved in the plot. Finally, the third part takes place almost entirely in the courtroom. All these make it possible to maintain the attention of the reader and, in essence, the novel ends up being quite entertaining. Likewise its resolution turns out fairly convincing. Probably the biggest drawback of the story, in my view, has to do with the way in which Poirot arrives to solve the mystery. It has very much reminded me the way a magician pulls a rabbit out of his top hat. Maybe for this reason Sad Cypress is not ranked among Agatha Christie’s best novels.

My rating: B (I really liked it)

Sad Cypress has been reviewed at Reactions to Reading (Bernadette) In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel (The Puzzle Doctor), Mysteries in Paradise (Kerrie), BooksPlease (Margaret), Clothes In Books (Moira Redmond),

HarperCollins publishers

Agatha Christie Official Website 

Notes On Sad Cypress

Un triste ciprés de Ágata Christie

un triste cipres Elinor Carlisle comparece ante el juez acusada de haber envenenado a Mary Gerrard. Después de unos minutos de silencio, durante los cuales su abogado teme que pudiera declararse culpable, Elinor se declara inocente. La historia había comenzado hace aproximadamente un año, cuando Elinor recibió una carta anónima advirtiéndole que alguien estaba decidido a ocupar su puesto en el afecto de su tía Laura Welman. La señora Welman sufría de movilidad reducida debido a un derrame cerebral y vivía en su propia casa con la ayuda de su ama de llaves la señora Bishop, un par de enfermeras, las enfermeras Hopkins y O’Brien, y bajo el cuidado del doctor Peter Lord, un joven médico. Además, Mary Gerrard, la hija del portero de la finca, tenía la costumbre de hacerle una visita todos los días. María estaba muy agradecida a la Sra Welman por haberle pagado sus estudios. Elinor, a su vez, tenía la intención de casarse con Roddy Welman, a quien conocía desde la infancia. Roddy era el sobrino del fallecido Sr. Welman, el marido de su tía. Ambos habían asumido que iban a heredar su fortuna, dado que eran sus parientes más cercanos. Pero un día, durante una visita de Elinor y Roddy a su tía, Roddy se enamora de Mary Gerrard y rompe su compromiso con Elinor. A partir de ese momento los acontecimientos toman un giro inesperado. La señora Welman muere intestada y Elinor, como pariente más próximo, se convierte en su única heredera. Poco después, Mary muere envenenada y Elinor parece ser la única persona que tiene un motivo, la oportunidad y los medios para haberlo hecho. El doctor Lord, que se siente atraído por Elinor, recurre a Hércules Poirot para desenmascarar al verdadero culpable con el fin de demostrar su inocencia.

Un triste ciprés tiene una estructura bastante original. La historia está contada en tres partes. La primera se refiere a los hechos que terminan con la muerte por envenenamiento de Mary Gerrard y con el posterior encarcelamiento de Elinor Carlisle considerada la principal sospechosa del crimen. La segunda gira en torno a la investigación realizada por Poirot, principalmente a través de sus conversaciones con los implicados en la trama. Por último, la tercera parte se desarrolla casi por completo en la sala del tribunal. Todo esto hace que sea posible mantener la atención del lector y, en esencia, la novela termina siendo bastante entretenida. Del mismo modo su resolución resulta bastante convincente. Probablemente, el mayor inconveniente de la historia, en mi opinión, tiene que ver con la forma en que Poirot llega a resolver el misterio. Me ha recordado mucho la forma en que un mago saca un conejo de su chistera. Tal vez por esta razón Un triste ciprés no se encuentra entre las mejores novelas de Agatha Christie.

Mi valoración: B (Me gustó mucho)