The Night Manager (miniseries)

The Night Manager is a British-American television serial directed by Susanne Bier and starring Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie, Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander and Elizabeth Debicki. The six-part series began broadcasting on BBC One, in the United Kingdom, on 21 February 2016 and will begin on AMC, in the United States, on 19 April 2016. It is based on the novel of the same name by John le Carré. The miniseries, whose title in Spanish is El Infiltrado, will be broadcasted in Spain by AMC, on 24 February.

El Infiltrado at AMC in Spanish

The Night Manager at BBC

OT: Georges de La Tour (1593 – 1652)

Today the Prado Museum opens to the public the exhibition Georges de La Tour (1593 – 1652), which may be visited up until next 12th June. Georges de La Tour has only recently been discovered in terms of his artistic personality. Little is known of his early training in the Catholic city of Vic-sur-Seille in Lorraine (France), which he must have completed around 1610 when he was aged about 17. Subsequent documentation reveals him as a financially successful painter with a brusque personality but professionally renowned. At the end of his career La Tour was appointed painter to Louis XIII. La Tour lived at a crucial period for the history of Lorraine, which culminated with the loss of the duchy’s political independence. Within this context the artist evolved a painting of surprising lyricism, particularly in his nocturnal scenes, nearly all of them religious. These are almost monochrome works with monumental forms, filled with solitude and silence.

  • Curators: Andrés Úbeda, Museo del Prado Senior Curator Italian and French Painting (to 1700), and Dimitri Salmon Musée du Louvre
  • With the support of fundación AXA.
  • Access: Room C. Jerónimos Building
  • Source: Museo del Prado Website 

Georges_de_La_Tour_029 Georges de La Tour (Vic-sur-Seille, Lorraine, 1593 – Lunéville, Lorraine, 1652) was a French painter celebrated in his own day and subsequently completely forgotten until his rediscovery in the 20th century, firstly by Hermann Voss in 1915. From the time of the exhibition Painters of Reality (1934), La Tour regained a leading position within French painting, which was confirmed by the important acquisition in 1960 of The Fortune Teller by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and by two monographic exhibitions on the artist in 1972 and 1997, both in Paris.

La Tour was born in a town in Lorraine to an old and relatively prosperous family of craftsmen and property owners. Little or nothing is known of his youth and training nor of a possible trip to Italy of the type undertaken by many painters at this period in order to complete their artistic training. Whatever the case, in 1616 La Tour was already a fully trained painter. The following year he married Diana Le Nerf, who was from a wealthy family, and in 1618 he moved to Lunéville. By 1620, La Tour was a resident of the city, leading the life of a prosperous local gentleman. The fame that he soon acquired due to the purchases of his work by the Duke of Lorraine in 1623-1624 was confirmed during the French occupancy of the duchy. La Tour went to Paris in 1639 and was made Painter in Ordinary to the King. Every year he executed a painting for the governor of Lorraine, the maréchal de La Ferté. Other celebrated collectors such as Richelieu, the superintendent of finances Claude de Bullion, the architect Le Nôtre and even Louis XIII possessed works by his hand. La Tour died in 1652, probably during an outbreak of an epidemic, a few days after his wife.

Facts and figures: more than 40 paintings are more or less unanimously considered to be autograph works, while 28 canvases and prints are copies of lost originals. In other words, there are more than 70 known compositions, of which only 4 are dated and only 18 signed. With La Tour’s works, the composition is pared down to its essential details with no anecdotal elements, architecture or landscape, and even the accessories are reduced to the absolutely necessary: his saints usually lack haloes while his angels have no wings. Only two of La Tour’s paintings have a legible date (Saint Peter repentant, 1645, Cleveland Museum of Art, and The Denial of Saint Peter, 1650, Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes), for which reason the chronology of his oeuvre continues to be widely debated.

Georges de La Tour in the Museo del Prado. Following the acquisition of The blind Hurdy-gurdy Player in 1991 with funds from the Villaescusa Bequest, the artist’s presence in the Museum was unexpectedly reinforced in 2005 with the deposit of Saint Jerome reading a Letter, a previously unpublished work discovered in the possession of the Ministry of Work by José Milicua, a member of the Prado’s Royal Board of Trustees who died in 2013 and to whom this exhibition is dedicated.

The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs, c. late 1620s, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas. Another version (with Diamonds and slightly different clothes) is in the Louvre. Georges de La Tour [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

OT: Ramón Bilbao Reserva 2010

This is the second wine that I’m bringing to your attention from this winery, and it won’t be the last. My post on Ramón Bilbao Crianza 2012 is here. 20160221_141507

  • Winery: Ramón Bilbao Vinos y Viñedos. Avda. Santo Domingo 34, 26220, Haro. La Rioja (España – Spain). The winery was founded in 1924; however, around 1896 Don Ramón Bilbao Muga had already sold their wines to a winery that was located on a street in Las Cuevas, Haro. In 1972, a few years after the death of the last descents of the Bilbao family, the winery was placed in the hands of the Lecanda family, founders of the legendary Vega Sicilia winery in Ribera del Duero, where they built new facilities, and thereby expanded their brand and focused on the production of crianza wines. In 1999 when the company Diego Zamora S.A., one of the most important groups of drinks in Spain, acquired Bodegas Ramón Bilbao, they began a process of modernisation and upgrading the facilities, which marked a new step and a big boost to the brand, achieving great recognition from the customers.
  • Phone: +34 941 310 295
  • Winemaker: Rodolfo Bastida
  • Website:
  • Brand: Ramón Bilbao Reserva
  • DO: DOC Rioja
  • Type: Red Reserva wine. Carefully selected and vinified, the grapes were fermented and subjected to long macerations in order to increase the fruitiness and creaminess of the wine. Then they were drawn off, transferred into American oak barrels and fermented for a period of 20 months, then tapering the bottle for another 20 months before its exit to the market.
  • Vintage:  2010. This harvest was rated Excellent by the Governing Body of the Rioja Protected and Qualified Designation of Origin.  
  • Alcohol: 14%
  • Grape Variety: 90% Tempranillo, 10% Mazuelo and Graciano
  • Vineyards: Grapes coming from four exceptional estates (La Recilla, Valdegaru, Ozaku and La Olivera) located in the Rioja Alta region. 
  • Soil Type: From the fertile alluvial soils near the river to the limestone bedrock in the hills, Rioja offers a wide spectrum of soil types, challenging growers to match the right clones and grape varieties to their site.
  • Bottle Size: 75.0 cl.
  • Price: Available at 9.79 €, at my local grocery shop.
  • My wine rating: 91/100 (A wine of outstanding or superior quality) NEW!

    20160221_141541 Ramón Bilbao Reserva 2010 is a great Rioja classic made by one of the most recognised wineries in La Rioja region. Following a traditional preparation, wise ‘coupage’ and aged for 20 months in American oak barrels, the result is a high quality wine with an excellent price/quality ratio.

    For additional information click at

  • Review: The Cellars of the Majestic (1942) Inspector Maigret #21 by Georges Simenon (trans. Howard Curtis)

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

    Penguin Classics, 2015. Format: Kindle edition. File size: 709 KB. Print length: 176 pages. First published in French as Les caves du Majestic by Éditions Gallimard 1942. This translation by Howard Curtis first published 2015. ISBN 978 0 141 98067 6. ASIN: B00SNZMCQY


    Maigret comes to the Hotel Majestic, a luxury hotel on the Champs-Élysées, to investigate a crime. In the cellars of the Majestic has appeared the body of Mrs Clark, the French wife of a wealthy American industrialist on holiday in Paris, while her husband is carrying on business contacts in Europe. The family is accompanied by their seven-year-old son, a governess and a maid. It so happens that Mr Clark had left for Rome the previous morning. Mrs Clark’s body was found naked in a locker in the basement area by a Prosper Donge, the head coffee maker of the Hotel. Maigret spends most of the day interrogating the hotel staff except for Prosper Donge, whom he follows on a bicycle up to his home. He lives with a woman, who soon tells Maigret she is not his wife. The woman concerned is called Charlotte and she used to be a dancer, and afterwards a hostess on the Côte d’Azur. At this point, we discover that Mrs Clark, some years ago, was known as Émilienne, or rather Mimi, a hostess in Cannes in a nightclub that in those days was called the Belle Étoile. And Maigret travels to Cannes in order to find out if the past of Mimi aka Mrs Clark. can shed some  light that might help solve the crime.

    The Cellars of the Majestic aka Maigret and the Hotel Majestic aka The Hotel Majestic is a Georges Simenon’s  Maigret novel written in December 1939 after a gap of six years since his last Maigret book, entitled Maigret, in November 1933. See my review here. Gallimard first published Les Caves du Majestic in their weekly magazine “Marianne“, in serial form, from April until October 1940 before issuing it in book form, with two more new Maigret novels, in the autumn of 1942, the volume containing the three novels [Cécile est morteLes Caves du MajesticLa Maison du juge] being entitled Maigret Revient (Maigret Returns). Strictly speaking it should be regarded as Inspecto Maigret #20 since both Cécile est morte (Inspector Maigret #20) and La Maison du juge (Inspector Maigret #22), were written in 1940, if I’m not mistaken. By the way although Simenon chose a luxury hotel as the main setting for this novel, the real name of the hotel that inspired him this book is Hôtel Claridge at 74 Avenue des Champs Élysées (8th arrondissement). The site of the Hôtel Claridge is confirmed in the novel by the mention of the Rues de Berri and de Ponthieu. While it is true that there was a Hôtel Majestic at 19 Avenue Kléber (16th arrondissement), on one of the twelve avenues that radiate from the Arc de Triomphe, as far as I know this hotel was converted to government offices in 1936.

    The Cellars of the Majestic is an excellent example of the genius of Georges Simenon. As customary in his novels, Inspector Maigret doesn’t solve his cases by using a deductive process, but rather, by immersing himself in the lives of the characters involved in the plot. Maigret doesn’t waste time beating around the bush. And the prose of Simenon is succinct and goes right to the point. He writes with a wonderful economy of words without leaving anything out. His books are often quite brief but, in very few pages, Simenon says more than many other writers in a novel of larger extension. In this particular instalment, the plot has been carefully elaborated, the characters seem real, and the story turns out to be truly engaging. Without leaving the gloomy tone to which we are used, it seems to me that, in a sense, The Cellars of the Majestic is much less somber than his immediately previous novels in the series. All in all a magnificent novel and, as such, highly recommended.

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

    Georges Simenon (1903–1989) began working as a reporter for a local newspaper at the age of sixteen, and at nineteen he moved to Paris to embark on a career as a novelist. He went on to write seventy-five Maigret novels and twenty-eight Maigret short stories.

    Other Maigret novels reviewed at A Crime is Afoot:

    Penguin Books Limited publicity page

    Penguin Random House  publicity page (Read an excerpt)

    Les Caves du Majestic

    Les caves du Majestic (in French)

    Maigret of the Month: August, 2005

    Author’s Website

    Maigret Bibliography


    A Tribute to the Writings of Georges Simenon 

    The official Georges Simenon website, by John Simenon

    Los sótanos del Majestic de Georges Simenon

    Maigret llega al Hotel Majestic, un hotel de lujo en los Campos Elíseos, para investigar un crimen. En los sótanos del Majestic ha aparecido el cuerpo de la señora Clark, la esposa francesa de un rico industrial norteamericano de vacaciones en París, mientras que su marido realiza negocios en Europa. La familia está acompañado por su hijo de siete años de edad, una institutriz y una criada. Se da la circunstancia de que el Sr. Clark se había ido a Roma la mañana anterior. El cuerpo de la señora Clark fue encontrado desnudo en un armario en el sótano por un tal Prósper Donge, el encargado jefe de la elaboración del café del hotel. Maigret pasa la mayor parte del día interrogando al personal del hotel a excepción de Prósper Donge, a quien sigue en bicicleta hasta su casa. Vive con una mujer, que pronto le dice a Maigret que no es su esposa. La mujer en cuestión se llama Charlotte y ella solía ser una bailarina, y después una chica de alterne en la Costa Azul. En este punto, descubrimos que la señora Clark, hace unos años, era conocida como Émilienne, o más bien Mimi, una chica de alterne en un club nocturno de Cannes que en aquellos días se llamaba la Belle Etoile. Y Maigret viaja a Cannes con el fin de averiguar si el pasado de Mimi, ahora señora Clark, puede arrojar alguna luz que pudiera ayudar a resolver el crimen.

    Los sótanos del Majestic también conocido como Maigret y el Hotel Majestic también conocido como El Hotel Majestic es una novela de Maigret de Georges Simenon escrita en diciembre de 1939 después de un intervalo de seis años desde su último libro de Maigret, titulado Maigret, en noviembre de 1933. Ver mi reseña aquí. Gallimard publicó Les Caves du Majestic en su revista semanal “Marianne“, por entregas de abril a octubre de 1940 antes de su publicación en forma de libro, con otras dos nuevas novelas más de Maigret, en el otoño de 1942, el volumen que contiene los tres novelas [Cécile est morteLes Caves du MajesticLa Maison du juge] lleva por título Maigret Revient (El regreso de Maigret). En sentido estricto debe ser considerada como la entrega número 20 de Miagret ya que los otros dos libros Cécile est morte (Inspector Maigret # 20) y La Maison du juge (Inspector Maigret # 22), fueron escritos en 1940, si no me equivoco. Por cierto, aunque Simenon eligió un hotel de lujo como el escenario principal de esta novela, el verdadero nombre del hotel que le inspiró este libro es Hôtel Claridge en el 74 de la avenida de los Campos Elíseos (distrito 8). La ubicación del hotel Claridge se confirma en la novela con la mención de las Rues de Berry y de Ponthieu. Si bien es cierto que hubo un Hotel Majestic en el 19 de la Avenue Kléber (distrito 16), en una de las doce avenidas que salem del Arco de Triunfo, por lo que yo sé este hotel se convirtió en dependencias del Gobierno en el 1936.

    Los sótanos del Majestic es un excelente ejemplo del genio de Georges Simenon. Como es habitual en sus novelas, el inspector Maigret no resuelve sus casos mediante el uso de un proceso deductivo, sino más bien, sumergiéndose en las vidas de los personajes que intervienen en la trama. Maigret no pierde el tiempo dándole vueltas al asunto. Y la prosa de Simenon es sucinta y va directamente al grano. Escribe con una maravillosa economía de palabras sin dejar nada fuera. Sus libros son a menudo bastante breves, pero, en muy pocas páginas, Simenon dice más que muchos otros escritores en una novela de mayor extensión. En esta entrega en particular, la trama ha sido cuidadosamente elaborada, los personajes parecen reales, y la historia resulta ser realmente atractiva. Sin abandonar el tono sombrío al que estamos acostumbrados, me parece que, en cierto sentido, Los sótanos del Majestic es mucho menos lúgubre que sus novelas inmediatamente anteriores de la serie. En suma, una magnífica novela y, como tal, muy recomendable.

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

    Georges Simenon (1903-1989) comenzó a trabajar como reportero para un periódico local a la edad de dieciséis años, y a los diecinueve se trasladó a París para embarcarse en una carrera como novelista. A continuación escribió setenta y cinco novelas de Maigret y veintiocho cuentos protaonizados por Maigret.

    Otras novelas de Maigret reseñadas en A Crime is Afoot:

    Review: Murder Must Advertise (1933) by Dorothy L. Sayers

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

    Hodder & Stoughton, 1983. Format: Paperback. ISBN: 9780450002427 Page count: 400. First published in Great Britain in 1933. With An Introduction by Elizabeth George.

    This is my third contribution to Rich Westlake’s 1933 roundup at his blog Past Offences.

    isbn9780450002427The story initiates at an advertising company, called Pym Publicity Ltd. and begins when a new copy-writer starts working at the agency. The man in question, a certain Mr Death Bredon, is being introduced to the rest of the personnel. He’s going to take over the job of the unfortunate Mr Victor Dean whom, just a few days ago, fell down through an iron spiral staircase on the company premises, dying immediately as a consequence of the injuries suffered. Some chapters later, the reader finds out that Mr Bredon is none other than Lord Peter Wimsey, disguised as his disreputable cousin Mr Bredon with whom he bears an incredible resemblance. The fact is that the day after the accident that caused Dean’s death, his sister Miss Pamela Dean sent to Mr Pym a fragment of a half-finished letter, which she had found on her brother’s desk, warning him that something of suspect nature, is going on in the advertising agency. Consequently Mr Pym, through common friends, has got in touch with Lord Peter Wimsey, asking him to investigate. As the story progresses, Lord Peter Wimsey will see himself caught into a complex network of blackmailers and drug pedlars.

    Murder Must Advertise is the tenth book in the Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries, but you may enjoy the series in any order. In fact, Murder Must Advertise is the second novel by Dorothy L. Sayers that I have read. By the way my review of The Nine Tailors (1934), is here. It should come as no surprise to find out that Dorothy L. Sayers herself, worked as a copy-writer in an advertising agency. Certainly, the context in which the story develops is very familiar to her and she provides us with some very sharp and funny observations about this occupation that are among the best pages of this book. What has surprised me most has been to discover that, ‘Sayers herself disliked the novel, which she wrote quickly in order to fulfil her publisher’s contract, and was unsure whether it would ring true with the reading public.’ (Source: Wikipedia) But anyhow, Murder Must Advertise is a very clever story with a really detailed plot, and with several highly entertaining scenes that, I’m quite convinced, will delight the most demanding readers. In sharp contrast with the general tone of the story, the conclusion can leave us slightly puzzled, or even surprised, but anyway I’ve found it an outstanding read. Highly recommended.

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

    Dorothy L Sayers was born in Oxford in 1893, and was both a classical scholar and a graduate in modern languages. As well as her popular Lord Peter Wimsey series, she wrote several religious plays, but considered her translations of Dante’s Divina Commedia to be her best work. She died in 1957. (Source:

    Murder Must Advertise has been reviewed at Clothes In Books, and Past Offences.

    Hodder & Stoughton publicity page

    Audible sample

    Muerte, agente de publicidad de Dorothy L Sayers

    La historia se inicia en la empresa de publicidad, Pym Publicity Ltd. y comienza cuando un nuevo redactor empieza a trabajar en la agencia. El hombre en cuestión, un tal Sr. Death Bredon, está siendo presentado al resto del personal. Va a ocupar el puesto del desafortunado Sr. Victor Dean quien, hace tan sólo unos días, se cayó por una escalera de caracol de hierro en las instalaciones de la empresa, muriendo de inmediato como consecuencia de las lesiones sufridas. Algunos capítulos más adelante, el lector se entera de que el Sr. Bredon no es otro que Lord Peter Wimsey, disfrazado como su primo Bredon de dudosa reputación con quien guarda un parecido increíble. El hecho es que el día después del accidente que causó la muerte del señor Dean, su hermana la señorita Pamela Dean envió al señor Pym un fragmento de una carta a medio terminar, que había encontrado en el escritorio de su hermano, advirtiéndole de que algo de carácter sospechoso, está pasando en la agencia de publicidad. En consecuencia el señor Pym, a través de amigos comunes, se ha puesto en contacto con Lord Peter Wimsey, pidiéndole que investigue. A medida que avanza la historia, Lord Peter Wimsey se verá atrapado en una compleja red de chantajistas y vendedores de drogas.

    Muerte, agente de publicidad es el décimo libro de misterio de Lord Peter Wimsey, pero se puede disfrutar de la serie en cualquier orden. De hecho, Muerte, agente de publicidad es la segunda novela de Dorothy L. Sayers que he leído. Por cierto mi reseña de Los nueve sastres (1934), está aquí. No debería ser ninguna sorpresa descubrir que la propia Dorothy L. Sayers trabajó como redactora en una agencia de publicidad. Ciertamente, el contexto en el que se desarrolla la historia le resulta muy familiar y nos proporciona algunas observaciones muy agudas y divertidas sobre esta ocupación que se encuentran entre las mejores páginas de este libro. Lo que más me ha sorprendido ha sido descubrir que, ‘a la propia Sayers no le gustaba la novela, que escribió con rapidez con el fin de cumplir el contrato con su editor, y no estaba segura de si le iba a resultar auténtica al público lector‘ (Fuente: Wikipedia). Pero de todos modos, Muerte, agente de publicidad es una historia muy inteligente con una trama muy minuciosa, y con varias escenas muy entretenidas que, estoy convencido, hará las delicias de los lectores más exigentes. En agudo contraste con el tono general de la historia, la conclusión puede dejarnos un poco desconcertados, o incluso sorprendidos, pero de todos modos he encontrado que es una lectura excepcional. Muy recomendable.

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

    Dorothy L. Sayers nació en Oxford en 1893, y fúe a la vez una estudiosa de los clásicos y se licenció en lenguas modernas. Además de su popular serie de Lord Peter Wimsey, escribió varias piezas religiosas, pero consideró que su traducción de la Divina Comedia de Dante fue su mejor trabajo. Murió en 1957. (Fuente:

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