I’m a lot later with this than the Resident IT Consultant was. He’s the one around here who listens to the radio, and four weeks ago he sent me the link to Michael Berkeley’s interview with Meg Rosoff. I think he sort of suspected I wouldn’t mind listening to this. It was Private Passions on Radio 3, which seems to be a classier Desert Island Discs, like with more classical, proper music.
I kept intending to listen, but so many things got in the way, and the available number of days left shrank at an alarming rate. This is why I’m only letting you have just over a day to listen. Depending on when you read this. Although Daughter said she thought these things last ‘forever’. She could be right. Or she could be wrong.
Anyway, I finally hit on the solution to finding time. I had some Seville oranges to cut for the Resident IT Consultant’s marmalade making. It takes time. And it’s better for some audio entertainment to jolly me along. It clearly sounded so irresistible that Daughter said she’d slice the oranges with me.
So there we were, Meg’s Number One Fan and her Second Favourite Physicist, slicing away with increasingly sticky fingers. Yes, we used knives, obviously, but it’s still sticky business.
I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t know any of Meg’s music choices, and worse still, while I enjoyed most of them I really didn’t care for the one described as her favourite… I think it was the one where she uttered the probably more truthful phrase than Mr Berkeley credited, ‘words fail me’….
That was a good run-up to Christmas! I so enjoyed sitting down with Stephen Spotswood’s second Pentecost and Parker mystery. Happily it was even better than the first, and I now wish myself into a future where there are lots of Pentecost and Parker novels. I hope to see you there.
This time our private eyes leave New York to go to the circus. Parker’s old circus no less. She doesn’t need to throw any knives, but the murder they have come to solve does involve a knife in the victim’s body, and it’s a victim Parker knew well, and the obvious murder suspect is her old mentor.
The small Virginian town the circus is in might be your typical small town in the South, but it is also not, and that’s very refreshing. People are prejudiced, and there is religion, but it’s not the way you’d expect. Ruby, who used to look out for Parker when she arrived as a teenager, was popular with everyone. And still she ended up dead.
We discover more about Parker’s past, obviously, but also about Pentecost’s family, and the usefulness of knowing your bible. Perhaps our two detectives packed too many changes of gorgeous clothes – I can still see that film – but it’s learning about life in the South and what a circus is like, as seen from the inside, which makes this book. I’d already minded, a little, that the action moved away from New York, and now I mind a little that it will, presumably, move away from the circus too.
But there will doubtless be another setting for me to like, and new clothes for Pentecost and Parker to wear, and more characters for them to suspect.
You know how people talk about feeling old when the policemen start looking young? Or their GP? Or anyone whose business it ought to be to look ‘old.’
I was about to say ‘how about when your friends start getting MBEs and OBEs and that sort of thing?’ But I realised that this has already happened. What I actually – probably – mean is when it’s your child’s peers who achieve this. (I still haven’t quite got over the idea that Daughter’s pal from school flies commercial passenger planes.)
But as I was idly flicking through social media while waiting for 2022 to strike last night, I discovered that Daughter’s mentor from Space School – Sheila Kanani (now Pearson) – has been made an MBE for her services to educating young people about space and physics (those might not be the precise words, but you get the idea). This is a good thing. Both the teaching of STEM subjects and enticing children to take an interest in them, and for the person doing this to be formally rewarded.
Look at my own ‘child’, who was interested and who followed in Sheila’s footsteps. After seeing Sheila in action in Edinburgh a few years ago, I’d like to take similar footsteps too, because she was that much fun and made it all look easy.
Should you really have to prove you are alive? Actually, stupid question. I do this once a year to qualify for my pension. But otherwise? There will probably always be magazines who like to write and print sensational untruths about … Continue reading →