Books! What I read in the merry month of May!

[Reposting due to technical problems with the original]

I love reading – a quick and easy way to pamper! And, as I usually get my books from our fantastic local Danish library, it’s free too! Here’s what I read during the month of May. Our Danish public libraries were closed during the Covid Lockdown so most of these books were borrowed online (e-books and audiobooks). I use eReolenGlobal and Libby apps to find/read books, plus Goodreads to track what I’ve read.

A Dream of Death by Connie Berry. Cozy mystery set in Scotland, first in the Kate Hamilton series. I’m always a bit wary of books by non-Scottish authors set in Scotland but this was surprisingly good. My rating: three out of five stars.

Blackberry Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke. Number 17 in the Hannah Swensen series. I had high hopes for this one because Joanne Fluke is a popular cozy mystery writer but this was truly dreadful, with mundane dialogue which seemed to be there to fill out the word count. So disappointing! My rating: one out of five stars.

The Liar in the Library by Simon Brett. This was a re-read for me (I’ve read all of Simon Brett’s works) because I was desperate for something “cozy” during the Lockdown by one of my favourite authors. Not the best in the Fethering series but a nice, mindless read where you feel right at home with your favourite characters. My rating: three out of five stars.

Twelve Slays of Christmas by Jacqueline Frost. First in the Christmas Tree Farm Mystery series. Audiobook. You may wonder why on earth I was listening to a Christmas cozy during the month of May but it sounded interesting and turned out to be a very entertaining “listen”. All the Christmassy elements and would be perfect for December reading! The sequel will definitely be on my list for this year’s Christmas hygge. My rating: four out of five stars.

Started reading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley and, so far, it’s very promising. Will give you an update next time around.

And one cookbook which is worth mentioning (usually I flick through a cookbook, find one recipe I want to try and then return it immediately to the library). Quick + Simple = Delicious by Emily Kydd, a British food writer. We had the Danish version “Hurtigt + Nemt = Lækkert”. My son made several recipes from the book (see our recent menu plan by clicking here) and he wants a copy of this book when he moves into his own flat. Praise indeed! We are now checking out Emily Kydd’s other cookbooks. Our rating: four out of five stars.

Happy reading!

LLAP!

Diane

PS: If you’re looking for book suggestions and reviews, my friend Sue has a great book blog!

http://bookaliciousbabe.blogspot.com/

You can find my hygge books, magazines, tv programmes and music YouTube videos here…

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📚 My March and April reading

I love to read! It’s one of the easy ways to transport myself away for a moment…and I usually read a chapter or two in bed, just before I switch off the light. Here’s what I read when we first went into Covid Lockdown here in Denmark from the beginning of March and through April. I’ll post another update soon with my books from May 📚

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley. This was an audiobook. Several friends spend New Year’s Eve together at a remote getaway…a fast-paced whodunnit. My rating: four out of five stars.

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen. Rhys Bowen is usually a safe choice for a simple cozy mystery and this one, set in Italy, was no exception. My rating: three out of five stars.
On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service by Rhys Bowen

The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols by Nicholas Meyer. Something I found at random. Started off well but it seemed to drag during the second half. My rating: three out of five stars.

The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths. If you follow me on YouTube, you’ll know that I love Elly Griffiths’ books and her various series! Another cracking read. Very cosy when you know the characters so well. My rating: four out of five stars.

The Stone Circle by Elly Griffiths
This was my second Lucy Foley book and it probably came too close after I read the Hunting Party (see above) because the plot seemed very similar. Really didn’t like the characters in this one but, again, it was a very fast-paced thrilling read. My rating: three out of four stars.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Another book I found by chance, it appeared when I was doing a search for P. G. Wodehouse. Audiobook. A really charming little novel. My rating: four out of five stars.

Old Baggage by Lissa Evans

Happy reading!
LLAP!
Diane

PS: If you’re looking for book suggestions and reviews, my friend Sue has a great book blog
Bookalicious Babe Book Reviews


Fischer, Kasparov, Carlsen. And Larsen!

My DDH (dear Danish husband) is an avid reader and book collector.  Though – glory, glory, hallelujah – since the advent of the Kindle, the avalanche of books coming into the house is finally beginning to let up!  But at bedtime his favourite reading matter is…chess books.  Not books about chess.  Books detailing chess games:

1. e4 c6 2. Sf3 d5 3. Sc3 Lg4 4. h3 Lxf3 5. Dxf3 Sf6 6. d3 e6 7. a3 Lc5 8. Le2 0-0 9. 0-0 Sbd7 10. Dg3 Ld4 11. Lh6 S38 etc, etc, etc…

Yep.  Weird.

Now, I know nothing about chess apart from the ‘big names’: Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov, Magnus Carlsen.  Magnus, 23 years old and current World Champion.  The little Norwegian boy who became a Grandmaster at 13 and models clothes for G Star.  Yep, a real chess Boy Wonder.  But I always try and buy a good chess book for DDH’s birthday and this year the hunt was easy peasy.  You see, the biography of Bent Larsen just came out…

Who he?  Denmark’s very own Chess Wonder!  Scandinavia’s most famous chess player (until Little Magnus came along).  Bent Larsen was the first Westerner to take on the heavyweights from the Soviet Union.  A man whose private life seems to be just as interesting as the impulsive chess he played.  “The best chess player, never to become World Champion.”  Bent Larsen was also a great teacher and author (and translated chess books from Russian).  His own “Find the Plan” was the first chess book Little Magnus Carlsen ever read…  A co-incidence?  I think not! 🙂

“Larsen” is a mix of chess games, anecdotes, press cuttings and family photos.  The whole caboodle.  At 110 pages and 1.5 kilos, it’s a bit of a heavyweight itself… 

And guess what?  This is only Bind I (Volume One)!  Volumes Two and Three are still in progress.  (Hooray – that’s hubby’s birthday presents sorted for 2015 and 2017!)

The book is only available in Danish.  But, hey, even if you don’t speak Danish, you chess nerds will – selvfølgelig – still be able to enjoy the detailed chess games.

+ + !

Diane 🙂

 

 


And we're baaaack! To school!

 

Hello, everyone!  Summer has been – and is still pretty much still here weatherwise (yes, sir – thanks to the Danish weather gods, this seems to have been the best summer since I arrived here in 1998!) – but the school holidays have zipped past and my kids started back yesterday.  Which means that a) the pesky lunchboxes are out on the loose again and b) it’s time to get covering textbooks…

In Denmark the bookshops are stocked to the gunnels right now with rolls of special bogbind (‘bookpaper’).  Don’t be fooled!  Yes, yes, it looks cute and/or cool.  But give this stuff a hard stare and it will disintegrate before your very eyes!  And will be falling off the book by the end of the first schoolday…  Forgive the pun, but it’s paperthin.  So save your Danish crowns and use normal giftwrap or brown paper.  Now, for some reason, the Danes have a bad habit of taping the covering directly onto the book (we even got a message from the school about it last year).  Which, of course, means that it makes a right mess when it’s ripped off at the end of the schoolyear.  So here’s how we cover books in Scotland, as taught to me by my Dear Dad.  (He always covered our books with offcuts of wallpaper – the Navy Seal of bookcovers!)

DS12 brought home this book yesterday – “Allez Hop!” – he’s in 7th grade and is starting French this year (the choice was either French or German).  So let’s get started!  Cut a piece of paper considerably larger than your book.

Fold in the sides to make a dust jacket.

Cut diagonally from the spine down to the edge of the paper.

Fold in the cut edges. 

Tape the edges to each other – but don’t tape onto the actual book!

Not perfect, but the job is done.  “Værsgo’!”  Or should I say “Voilà!”?

 

Have a great (school)day!

Diane 🙂

 


Feel Good Friday – 9 November 2012

Three things that have put a big smile on my face this week:

Switching off my telephone and going to bed before 10 o’clock in my nice clean, cosy bedroom (thank you, Flylady!) and reading a chapter or two of Martin Beck (a series of Swedish crime novels that I’m reading in Danish) before I turn off the lights.  Not just once, but three nights this week – bliss!

Not only a smile but a tear in my eye from this one…  My sweetie friend Heidi (a fellow flybabe) wrote a lovely post about me – was a fantastic thing to wake up to on a dreary, dark Wednesday morning!

Jack The Story So Far

Jack The Story So Far on Facebook

 

Getting a great deal on confit de canard (duck confit).  It’s what we eat for Christmas dinner – which in Denmark we celebrate on the evening of 24 December – and we will be having it for dinner tomorrow night.  Much yumminess!  And a saving of 70 Danish crowns (ca. US$12 or £7.50) per tin.  Said the canny Scot! ;D

 

 

Have a fantastic Friday and a wonderful weekend!

 

Diane :o)

 

 

 

 


Impossible (Coconut) Pie

Here’s a recipe which I found in the unlikeliest of places…a crime novel!  (The one I mentioned in last week’s Feel Good Friday post.)

I’m loving Kerry Greenwood’s novels

and am racing through them at a speed of knots…

You’ll need:

  • ½ cup plain flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup dessicated coconut
  • 4 eggs
  • vanilla (I used vanilla sugar)
  • 125g melted butter (I used the stuff that comes in a squeezy bottle)
  • ½ cup flaked almonds (I didn’t use them – ‘cos I didn’t have any on hand!)
  • 1 cup milk

Heat the oven to 180 c (350f) and grease a deep pie dish.  Then hold on to your hats, because this is going to be super speedy!

Put everything – except the almonds – into a bowl and mix well.  Mix in half the almonds, if you’re using them.  Pour into the pie dish and sprinkle over the rest of the almonds.

Bake for about 35 minutes.  It will puff up and go golden brown.  Remove from the oven to cool. 

It’ll slowly deflate while it cools, ready for slicing (into very generous slices) and eating…

Bon appétit!

Hope you have a terrific Tuesday! 🙂


Judging a book by its (swell, just swell) cover

I was at our local Danish library on Sunday afternoon, browsing through the English crime novels (British English before American English, according to Danish cataloging systems…).  I like toread before I go to bed and I love crime novels.  But not ones filled with death and despair.  A bit of death is fine – it’s the bleak, cruel, sordid ones that I try to avoid.  That’s why I love the Montalbano seriesso much. Set in Sicily, the sexy swarthy detective swims daily in the nude (winterbathing anyone?!) and often escapes from work (or unplugs the phone at home) in order to enjoy his food. And there’s lots of food.  Plus he manages to [boom, boom!] devour a few signorinas along the way… ;D

Anyway, back to the library.  I spotted this book – which stood out like a sore thumb (or ‘exquisitely painted fingernail’) amongst the dimly lit streets, pouring rain and hooded figures that have infiltrated the display shelf.  Look at that hair and that dress!  What a swell looking female detective – just like something out of Thoroughly Modern Millie… 😀

Two pages in, and she’s already mentioned gin, a country house, a stolen diamond necklace, a retired Indian Colonel, a Duke, a ballroom, a gardener’s boy and a cricket ball.  Raaaaaaspberries!  I’m off for a cuppa and 15 minutes of my new book.

Hope you have a terrific Tuesday! 🙂


Oh, Jeeves!

I don’t often write book reviews.  Unlike Ms. Caboo.  Who has set herself the herculean task of reading and reviewing 100 books this year!  And shares her experiences good and bad – for your reading pleasure – on her blog,Bookalicious Babe Book Reviews 🙂

But I have – alas – now run out of Montalbano (my swarthy, Italian detective – swoon!) books to read (penned by Andrea Camilleri).  So I had to look elsewhere for my before-bed entertainment and – by golly – I came up trumps! ;D

P.G. Wodehouse and, in particular, his “Jeeves” series, has had me in stitches.  Literally.  I have the whole ‘shoulders-hopping-up-and-down’ thing going on.  And there are more one-liners than a stand-up comedian can shake a (diamond-tipped) walking stick at.

I read a chapter in bed every night.  Nothing better than going to sleep with a smile on your face 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend!

P.S. If cookery is more your thing, I’ve just posted some more recipes to my new blog – my little red file !


Writers block(head)

I got a book for Christmas and finished it at the weekend. A fairly run-of-the-mill ‘Da Vinci Code’ type of thing (which, to be honest, read more like a filmscript than a novel). Now, I know it’s a work of fiction, but that doesn’t mean it should contain glaring mistakes. Right? Write? ;D



For the record, this photo was taken with my mobile phone… ;D

The action starts off in Copenhagen and there’s a fire… “Fluorescent yellow fire trucks were already positioned…” Um, say what?? Fire engines here in Denmark are most definitely red. Ask any Dane. May I suggest that the author – instead of wasting time and money on his (apparently fruitless) research trip – should have gone straight to ‘google pictures’? The Danish translation for fire truck is brandbil.

Then later on, while in a church in Lisbon, the main character says, “..we also need a picture of this. Since none of us has a camera, any ideas?”. Um, your mobile telephone? For Pete’s sake, the book is set in the present (published in 2007), so surely the telephones they’re carrying have an in-built camera? (Especially as the two characters are secret agent types…) For goodness sake, I had a camera in my very first (cheapo) mobile telephone from 1999. Gaaaaah!

Anyway, I finished it and can now go back to my usual reading matter – cookbooks and murder mysteries. Hooray!

If you want reviews of books that are worth reading, then go and see what Ms. Caboo is up to… http://bookaliciousbabe.blogspot.com/ She’s reading 100 books this year – go her! 😀

Have a terrific Tuesday! 🙂


Tea with your Tolstoy? :)

I’ve already shown you the terribly high-tech, all singing, all dancing Danish libraries where you’re (literally – boom boom!) allowed to climb on the bookshelves, haven’t I? If you missed that post, it’s here…‘Where are we?’ Wednesday

But the other week I popped in to another local library as they were the only branch who had a book that DS10 needed the same day. Normally we’d just go online and order it to be sent to our nearest library…they send them for free from all over the Danish kingdom. This particular bibliotek (library) is a quaint little place with a white fence, a courtyard with a few tables and chairs and trailing plants…

Inside, it was like walking into a time machine…like stepping into one of those mobile libraries that used to drive round our area in Edinburgh. Oh, how I loved that van, it was one of the highlights of my week!

I found the book that DS10 needed and decided to have a quick look around. There were all the usual magazines and newspapers, Miffy DVDs, gardening books, doctor and nurse romances and, of course, the obligatory computers for use by patrons. There was also a cosy little corner complete with sofa, cushions and an old battered writing desk…

Above the desk there was a sign that said ‘Må vi byde på en kop kaffe eller te’ (May we offer you a cup of coffee or tea?)

And who can resist when the (Earl Grey) tea bags are so daintily presented on an old glass cakestand which is placed on top of a crocheted doily?

I didn’t see any biscuits… But, then again, who wants to find crumbs in between the covers of their library books? 😉

Have a wonderful Wednesday – with plenty of heavy reading and light refreshments! 🙂


Menu plan Thursday – Letting the kids loose!

Did you have a favourite cookbook as a child? This is my one, “A Young Cook’s Calendar” by Katie Stewart. It’s from 1978 and cost 45p at the time! There aren’t any photos in it (only drawings) but I loved reading about “walks at the weekend and tea by the fire” and “picnic food to carry to a special place”….ahh, so cosy! 🙂

I bought this mini BBC Good Food cookbook “101 recipes for kids” via Amazon the other day (I actually bought three from the same series – the dangers of trawling the internet after 9pm) and the kids jumped on it when it arrived in the post. They’ve been looking at all the pictures and drooling. “Can we have this? And this too? Ooo, this looks good!” So I said, “Okay, you plan the menu for this week – you can choose whatever you like as long as you make it!” 😉 

Last night DS10 made us Cheesey Corn Cakes (p.42) for dinner. They turned out so well, I think they look even better than the ones in the book! 😉

Anyway, without further ado, here’s what DS10 and DD8 are planning to cook the next 7 days…

THURSDAY

  • Mexican Tortilla Triangles – p.40 We’re making them with some leftover chicken and we’ll have them with salad

FRIDAY

  • Veggie burgers – p.104 on our own homemade wholewheat rolls

  • Speedy Banana Splits – p.196 Do you see the bananas in the fruit bowl, they need to be eaten! 😉

  • SATURDAY

  • Ham and cheese pizza – p.72

  • Chocolate Fondue and Toasted Marshmallows – p.180 Did someone say ‘oooooo’?

SUNDAY

  • Veggie Spaghetti Bolognese – p.60 It’s made with red lentils, will be interesting!

MONDAY

  • Sticky Chicken Drumsticks – p. 74 We’ll serve it with sushi rice (made in my trusty ricecooker) and readymade Goma dressing (Japanese sesame sauce)

TUESDAY

  • Oven egg and chips – p.102 It’s Scout night tonight so we need a quick n’ easy dish.

WEDNESDAY

  • Cauli(flower) Macaroni cheese – p.68 This is actually my choice 🙂

DS10 said to me, “Mum, it doesn’t really matter if you change around the days we’re making this food…because everything is going to taste yum!” 😉

Child labour? DS10 hard at work making pancakes last Sunday morning…

Hope you have a thoroughly thrilling Thursday with lots of good things on your plate! 🙂


Five go to the cinema!

Don’t know quite how I ended up with ‘fives’ of things I like on Fridays. Could be something to do with the Enid Blyton books? Not the infamous “Famous Five”, didn’t like those kids. I preferred the Enid Blyton series “The Five Finder-Outers” who were more sleuthlike. But, as usual, I digress!

I’m all excited about the #FlyBabyMovieParty tomorrow – see my previous post for details on how to join in! 🙂 My twisters (twitter sisters) and I will be watching Mamma Mia ‘together’ around the globe. I’ve good food planned, and DD7 and I will be dressing up…

Surprisingly enough, I also have a real life (not this blog/twitter/facebook one) and have some real live girlfriends. Whom I also drag along to the various soirées I organise. I’m thinking a trip to the cinema is just what we need to start off the social year. Because it’s still too cold, icy and snowy to go gadding about in town in our high hair and high heels 😉

So here are the five films I’ve come up with. A random bunch.

  • Sherlock Holmes   (though I’m not sure I’ll ever see Robert Downey Jr in the same light after watching “Tropic Thunder”…)
  • Avatar   (but I’ll probably see this with DS10)
  • It’s Complicated/Det’indviklet   (a ‘girly’ film and I love Alec Baldwin in the series 30Rock)
  • Whatever Works/Mig og Melody   (Woody Allen is always worth watching)
  • ……euh, I couldn’t find anything else that tickled my fancy, suggestions gratefully received!

Hope you all have a fabulous Friday! 🙂


Don’t try this at home

I often share a recipe with you on a Saturday. Because that’s the day I often try out something new. Today is no exception…though I have NO intention of making this one! 😉

As you may already know (or have read…), I looooove cookbooks. You can see a list of my favourite cookbooks in an earlier post here.

I picked up this little treasure of a book in 2001. The Danish title is Bedste LIVretter (Favourite Recipes) and the ‘authors’ are a group of pensioners from Viborg (my DH’s hometown) which is over in the mainland of Jutland (we live in Copenhagen, on the island of Zeeland).

The pensioners share stories of what they ate when growing up (both good and bad) and there are, of course, lots of recipes. One of them particularly caught my attention and, from time to time, I ask DH to read it aloud (he’s great at that) so we both can have a really good belly laugh. Sadly there is no ‘story’ about this particular dish…just the recipe.

Try making this at your peril. I won’t! 😉

TOPPINGTON

(here’s my translation from the original Danish recipe)

Place cooked (or half-cooked) cabbage in a well-greased ovenproof dish.

Top with 500g ‘meatball’ meat, then a portion of leftover ricepudding [!] which has been mixed with egg, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over breadcrumbs and dot with butter.

Bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 200c until the top is golden.

Serve with a butter sauce and, if liked, a salad.

Can also be made with brussel sprouts or cauliflower, but white cabbage is best. [I’ll take their word for it…]

Happy Saturday and bon appétit! 🙂


These are a few of my favourite things (Cookbooks)

Decided to make Friday a day for sharing a few of my favourite things.

And – as regular readers of this blog are already aware – my mind is full of our kitchen remodel at the moment – so today’s post is going to be about cookbooks 😉

I’ve got a shelf full of them in the posh bookcases in our living room, another shelf of them in my office and (when I still had a proper kitchen) had a shelf full of them in a cupboard. Did as the Flylady suggested and decluttered when I was emptying the kitchen and gave away a large box to the local charity shop. I’m sure there’ll be someone who is just itching to add “Lady Claire Macdonald & ASDA – How to cook vegetables” to their collection…

Here are the two books which have followed me from Scotland to Luxembourg to Denmark (6 moves) and which I still use on a regular basis:

  • “Home Recipes with Be-Ro flour”, one of those little baking books that you get free buy sending in coupons from flour bags. Mum and I always used this one on Sunday afternoons when we baked Rhubarb Crumble, Eve’s Pudding and Pineapple Upside-down Pudding – not to mention Flapjacks and Scones! Dad and my big brother were out in the garden and Sunday night was bonfire night. Memories! 🙂
  • “The Good Housekeeping Step-by-Step Cookbook” This was the first ‘big girl’ cookbook I ever bought, my version is from 1992. I left Scotland (where I was living with Mum and Dad) to move to work in the tiny country of Luxembourg (hidden deep in the heart of Europe) when I was 21. I needed a good, basic book that could help me feed myself. And also the (literally) hundreds of dinner guests that I would entertain in those 10 years in the Grand Duchy. Mum has been a subscriber to Good Housekeeping magazine since I was a wee girl. And still brings me over the latest issue when she comes to visit 😉

Here is the big blue book that is my guiding light on all (culinary) things Danish:

  • “Gyldendals store kogebog”, very similar to Good Housekeeping book, but no pictures whatsoever.

Two modern cookbooks that I keep coming back to:

  • “Nigella Express” I actually have 7 Nigella Lawson books and love to read them ALL. I read them before bed, like I read novels. This is a good basic ‘working mums’ book with easy ideas and fantastic pictures.
  • “Ainsley Harriott’s Complete Gourmet Express (both Gourmet Express and Gourmet Express 2 in one volume)” I can’t stand watching Ainsley Harriott on the television but he does have great, simple recipes. First thing I made from this book was Red Onion Relish – always gets rave reviews.

And two books I bought recently and which have pride of place on my nightstand:

  • “Katie Bishop’s Slow Cooking, Easy Slow Cooker Recipes” For once, a slow cooker recipe book that is fairly modern recipe-wise. Have just bought the ingredients to make Sticky Orange and Sesame Chicken Drumsticks and Thai Chicken Curry. Will let you know!
  • “Helen Corbitt’s Cookbook (1957)” Bought this second-hand through http://amazon.co.uk/ . Discovered Helen Corbitt (famous American female chef who worked at Neiman Marcus) because of a recipe on the back of a notelet I’ve had since I was a child. See my blogpost “Note(lets) from a Small Island” for the (amazing!) Apple Cake recipe). Now I’ve got a whole book of her stuff – yipee! – and the DKs and I are making her “Chocolate Marshmallow Pie” tomorrow. Watch out for that blogpost…

That’s all folks – bon appétit! 🙂


Love that accent!

OK, so I have a slight Scottish accent. I speak pretty fluent Danish but, of course, there’s no running away from the accent – even if I wanted to… 😉 Most Danes presume I’m American – partly because I have a certain twang or lilt when I speak – but mainly because I don’t speak Danish the way English people do = badly or not at all! LOL

One of my favourite books as a child was ‘Whisky Galore’. Maybe you’ve seen the black & white film? The story takes place far away in the Scottish Hebrides, on two fictive islands, Great Todday and Little Todday. The islanders are hard-pressed (wouldn’t you be??) by a shortage of spirits during the second world. Indeed, Dr Maclaren even declares that the death of one of the regulars of the Snorvig Hotel is due to the shock of not being able to get his regular third dram of whisky or third beer 🙂

A few days later a ship, laden with crates of whisky bound for the US, sinks during a heavy storm. The cargo mysteriously disappears…and the Scottish islanders have, of course, nothing to do with it! 😉

I love it because of the accents. Here’s a passage from the very first chapter, straight from mouth of the lovable Captain MacKechnie:

“Ah, but the Sabbath’s not what it was. When I was poy, man, it wass a tay. My word, what a tay, too, what a tay! I remember my mother once sat down on the cat, because you’ll understand the plinds were pulled down in our house every Sabbath and she didn’t chust see where she was sitting. The cat let out a great sgiamh and I let out a hugh laugh, and did my father take the skin off me next day? Man, I was sitting down on proken glass for a week afterwards.”

I’m currently loving books by the Italian crime writer Andrea Camilleri which take place in (probably the most corrupt place in the entire world?) Sicily. Commissario Montalbano (the anti-hero and detective) has a small, but colourful staff. My personal favourite being Catarella, who is mistakenly given the job of answering the telephones at the station, because they thought he would do less damage there than anywhere else…

“Beckin’ pardon, Chief, for the ‘sturbance. Tree days ago somebody aks for you, Chief, wanted a talk t’ you in poisson, but you wasn’t ‘ere an’ I forgotta reference it to you. They said as how Vice Commissioner Tamburrano’s wife was dead.”

I also love these books because

  • the translations into English by Stephen Sartarelli are incredible
  • they make me laugh
  • Inspector Montalbano relishes his food. He eats at his favourite trattoria most days and the author is generous enough to share every detail of those sacred meals with us. In “The Voice of the Violin” the telephone starts ringing when Montalbano is at home boiling pasta and, to make sure not to jeopardize the proper al dente texture of the pasta, he pulls out the phoneplug 🙂

For any other ladies of a certain age out there, I can highly recommend watching the ‘made for TV’ films if you get a chance… Here’s a rather nice shot of the Inspector. http://fuorivista.eu/luca_zingaretti.jpg Or you can do a search for Commissario Montalbano on http://youtube.com/

And did I already mention that the Inspector likes to swim ‘in the altogether’? 😉