Feb 24, 2009

Book Review: Greek Winds of Fury by Judith Gould

Greek Winds of Fury

Judith Gould's 2008 novel, Greek Winds of Fury, described as romantic suspense, is a mystery novel without thriller elements of extreme violence, or graphic descriptions of blood and guts, etc. Armchair travelers as well as cozy readers will enjoy this trip into Greece and the island of Samos.

The protagonist Miranda, part Greek and an employee of a well known antiquities establishment in New York City, is delighted to be invited by a former professor to an archaeological dig on Samos during the summer. The crew is trying to find a lost statue of the goddess Hera, created in the th century B.C.

Miranda takes a cruise ship to the island and arrives in Samos to discover dangerous mysteries and a new love interest. She discovers that the ship has been using the identities of real passengers to create false passports and boarding passes for illegal immigrants, who are hustled from a port in Turkey to European ports.

Not only that, but there seems to be smuggling of antiquities from the Samos site to art stores and dealers around the world. Some of the missing pieces Miranda recognizes as part of the shipments to her own place of work in NYC. Crew members of the site on Samos have been disappearing, moreover, and one body is washed ashore after Miranda arrives there. "Big Mike" from the U.S. helps Miranda discover the truth, even at the cost of much danger to themselves.

Gould's detailed and colorful descriptions of place, setting, and people make this book a nice armchair travel piece. The plot will also appeal to mystery lovers and aficionados of Greek culture and antiquity. I confess though that parts of the novel dragged, especially toward the end. Some of the extended dialogue and a gratuitous sex scene that does not clarify or advance the plot could have been cut. I got impatient at the end for the denouement, so to speak, but overall the novel was enjoyable, with a good plot, deft prose, and a good substitute for the real thing - a mystery cruise on the Aegean

Feb 3, 2009

Brando as Mark Anthony

I watched the 1953 film, Julius Caesar, the Shakespearian play made into a movie starring Marlon Brando as Mark Anthony, James Mason as Brutus, and the equally famous John Gielgud as Cassius.

Got to relive high school English classes when famous lines such as Mark Anthony's speech came up, eloquently delivered.

Friends, Romans, countrymen,lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

Other famous lines I knew were from Shakespeare; a few lines I was surprised to find out were also Shakespeare's. Such is the power of the Bard.

Feb 2, 2009

Mysteries set in Hawaii

Left Coast Crime has a made a list of mystery books with settings in the Hawaiian islands, primarily for those attending their Say Aloha to Murder conference coming up in March in Hawaii, though anyone can look at these lists.

I noticed that pet/vet mystery author Cynthia Baxter is on the list with Right from the Gecko. Carolyn Hart's Death in Paradise , Sue Henry's The Refuge (see my June 28 review), and Jessica Speart's Restless Waters are also listed.

See Mysteries Set in Hawaii

Great 1930s movies

Have discovered some classic black and white movies of the 1930s that I enjoyed watching and can recommend.

Harold Lloyd's comedies: Feet First made in 1930 has Chaplinesque humor and hilarious but harrowing scenes of him dangling from ropes and pulleys outside a skyscraper, and scrambling to get back into an open window. He wears his signature bowtie and white straw hat in several of his comedies set in the 1930s. In The Cat's Paw, he wore a tie and "bush" hat.

Greta Garbo and Joan Crawford and others converge in the Grand Hotel in Berlin, 1932.

Louise Rainer
stars as the hard-working and long suffering farm wife in The Good Earth, 1937, based on the book by Pearl Buck, and plays a spoiled Southern wife in The Toy Wife, 1938.

Bette Davis in The Petrified Forest, 1936

Ninotchka with Greta Garbo, 1939. A Russian woman falls in love in Paris. Remade later on as a musical, Silk Stockings, with Cyd Charisse.

Clark Gable and Hedy Lamar in Comrade X, 1940. An American tries to take a Russian woman and her father to America. Comedy drama set in Moscow.

Empresses of Seventh Avenue by Nancy MacDonell: Historical Novel

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