". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Crime In Our Hands (Books), Crime On Our Screens (TV)

     . . . . Horowitz, Anthony. (2016 in the UK, 2017 in the US) Magpie Murders.

In some ways this is an odd, if clever, duck of a crime novel that is two novels in one.

There is The Magpie Murders itself, the last novel by Alan Conway, a best selling crime author whose series features Atticus Pünd, a detective much like Poirot, though German, not Belgian, and rather younger than Poirot, having gone through internment in a nazi death camp. His rescue by the British allowed him to remove to England, thus the series's plots are set in the 1950's. The second, the framing novel, is set in our present, narrated via Susan Ryland, the verging on middle-aged editor of Conway's Atticus Pünd series.

Throughout the two novels, past and present, do homage to the golden age of British crime fiction divas such as Christie and Allingham. They also reference constantly the crime novel series that Horowitz has been instrumental in producing, adapting and writing series for television, which are many, and all of which I've watched, just starting with Agatha Christie's Poirot, Foyle's War and o my, but not only! -- Midsomer Murders!  To be sure, the opening chapter of the framed Conway novel feels right out of the opening shots of the pre-Neal Dudgeon Barnabys of Midsomer Murders, with a pan of the village and the character-suspects

Magpie Murders was a thoroughly engaging whodunit until -- soon in the second section of the framing novel, with us back to Susan Ryland's pov and narration. It sags then, going on too long, and ultimately the solution of the crime within it and who did it, is as unsatisfying as the one at the conclusion of the framed Atticus Pünd Magpie Murders. 

.... Horowitz first developed the concept of Magpie Murders during the first season of Midsomer Murders, which premiered in 1997. He has stated that he wanted the novel to "be more than just a murder mystery story" and to be "a sort of a treatise on the whole genre of murder mystery writing. How the writers come up with the ideas; how these books are formed."[1] ....

It is that indeed, which is entertaining and even useful in itself for anyone who likes to read and watch such series, and anyone who wishes to read them.  Additionally, the book is as overstuffed as candied fruit in a Christmas fruit cake with real life best selling crime series writers’ and reviewers encomiums to Pünd, such as Ian Rankin, Ann Cleeves, etc.  Does one need to say Horowitz is adapting this novel for Britbox and PBS? 

.... In July 2020 Deadline announced that PBS’ Masterpiece would adapt the novel into a six-part drama series and air it in the US, and will air the series on BritBox in the UK.[12] ...

This Horowitz guy, never stops writing!  Check it out here.


     . . . . And yet more village crime!

In For A Murder - W Jak Morderstwo in Polis (2021) Netfix Poland Original.

It revolves around a murder that takes place in a small town in Poland and Magda, a resident in the neighbourhood takes it upon her to investigate the case and solve the murder. However, when the case draws back to some past incidents, the events that follow seem to get complicated.

An updated, Polish Agatha Christie given the screen treatment we know so well by now from Brit tv, like Midsomer Murders etc. and by now later updates such as the Daniel Craig Knives Out.   We even begin with long tracking shots of a lovely youngish blonde woman, riding a bicycle on lovely wooded tracks, getting lovely veg and fruit and honey from the street market, returning home to cute kids in a lovely house. But the husband, nope, not so much . . . 

The W/V necklace we see here is significant to the crime and mystery In For A Murder.

I enjoyed this very much, not least because of its location, which isn't either England or the US,

 in the same way I so enjoy Candice Renoir, the French policier featuring a blonde verging on middle-age detective who is a divorced mom, kind of messy, anxious about her weight, but not that much! brillian  -- and whose smile should be registered as a dangerous weapon.  She turns that smile on someone and any resistance goes out the door.

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