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How to read P G Wodehouse: a new prescription

My blog How to read P G Wodehouse: a practical guide praised Plumtopiaa P G Wodehouse specialist, for its splendidly non-prescriptive advice on precisely this subject.

In fact I have just oiled over for a further immersion in Plumtopia, notably this informative piece about P G Wodehouse societies including The P G Wodehouse Society UK.  

I can verify that the site is a veritable motherlode of P G Wodehouse-related info.  Recommended.

Meanwhile I have been continuing my own exploration of the oeuvre of the author known as “Plum” (short for “Pelham”, his first name).  I have so far completed my perusal of Carry on Jeeves, Very Good Jeeves, The Inimitable Jeeves, The Code of the Woosters, Joy in the Morning and Ring for Jeeves.  The standard is consistent, although I have taken medical advice not to binge on more than three consecutive P G Wodehouse novels, as intensive research shows this may reduce their impact.

The cover of my Folio Society edition of “Ring for Jeeves”

The efficacy of this new reading prescription has been proven by a Wodehouse abstinence (more…)

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A new Hotel Story: The Three Heads

I recently published a new Hotel Story – the seventh in the series.

The Three Heads.  

Like all the Hotel StoriesThe Three Heads features the world’s most brilliant, unpredictable and occasionally homicidal hotel manager, Ms N, and her beautiful but naive ally, Tatiana.  Like its predecessor, The Swedish WomanThe Three Heads presents Ms N with a crime which she must solve, reinforcing her credentials as the Sherlock Holmes to whom Tatiana, the narrator, plays Doctor Watson.  I’d be delighted to hear your comments.

Because I am planning to publish shortly my novel Blood SummitI have decided not to make The Three Heads a separate Amazon mini-book, but have added it to Hotel Stories – The Complete Collection.  Seven Hotel Stories in one book.  Most appropriate.

By way of a taster for The Three Heads, I hope you enjoy the following excerpt.

The Three Heads (excerpt)

‘Tatiana, my sugar plum.  You are looking beautiful today.’

‘Thank you.  But – ‘

‘I mean it, buttercup.  I never forget how lucky I am to have you.’

‘Pablo.  I am grateful.’  When I gaze into Pablo’s warm brown eyes and see his soft lips smiling at me, I find it hard to think straight.  ‘But we need to talk about your plans to promote the hotel.  Our Caravanserai Ultra Platinum is in trouble.’

‘Our hotel promotes itself, turtle-dove.  It is the coolest, most luxurious and most ecological destination on earth, and the only hotel located entirely within a hollow mountain.’  He gestures around the Sunset Bar, with its outrageously exclusive (more…)

Why sequels suck

I am watching the sequel to a movie I adored three years ago.  The sequel is so piss-poor that I feel violated and upset.  How can a major studio spend squillions of dollars producing such trash?

Weeks later, it happens again.  Another sequel, another cringe-making dose of drivel.  Strangely, the two movies have much in common, including much of what makes them so unwatchable.

The movies are: Guardians of the Galaxy II  (2017) and The Lego Batman Movie (2017).

Guardians of the Galaxy 2: decent trailer, execrable movie

The Lego Batman Movie: ditto

Why do I feel so personally aggrieved?  First, because I wrote a preview of Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on this site in which I said (more…)

Blood Summit – the blurb

More complex than Dan Brown.  More thrilling than Le Carré.  Closer to the truth than either.

Counter-terrorism expert Helen Gale has one job: to protect the Presidents and Prime Ministers of the US, Britain, China, France, Russia, Germany, Canada and Italy at the Children’s Summit in Berlin.

The Reichstag is the most fortified building on earth.  Yet terrorists take world leaders, tycoons, one hundred innocent children and Helen’s husband captive.  Then the executions start.

Helen is suspended from duty and sued for negligence.  Yet she alone sees the mastermind behind the siege.  As US special forces plan a deadly assault, Helen must enter the shattered hulk of the Reichstag to stop a bloodbath.

“The genuine article: clever and melancholy: a security-pass into a world-within-a-world” – Matthew Parris on Robert Pimm.

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OK, everyone.  Help me.  Ahead of publication of my new novel, Blood Summit this autumn I am drafting the blurb for the back page.  What do you think of the above?  Would it make you want to read the book?  Comments welcome: do use the comments box or send me an e-mail.

I’m crowdsourcing comments and you, faithful readers, are my crowd.

And thanks for all your comments on titles.  Excellent comments from different people in different senses.  For now, I’m going with Blood Summit.

P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, friend me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – the “click here” blue button).  You can check out the range of writing on this site via the sitemap and guide.

Best Vienna cafes – new reviews

I’ve added new reviews to my popular Vienna cafes: which are best? blog.  The fifteen cafes reviewed are mostly in the town centre, but include several in the 3rd, 6th, 7th and 10th Districts.  The latest additions are the little-known Cafe Morgenstern (charming and super grunge) and the popular Cafe Museum (much restored since the 1980s).  Take a look.

If you have a favourite cafe you’d like me to review, let me know in the comments.  I’m highly suggestible

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The shabby but charming decor of the Cafe Morgenstern, complete with star – RP

P.S. If you enjoy fresh, original writing, please friend me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – see the “click here” blue button).  Check out the range of writing on this site via the sitemap and guide.

P.P.S. see my piece When dinner becomes the last supper for a tongue-in-cheek guide to “why German waiters are the best”.

The one with the links to happiness

Ha!  Is this absentmindedness?  Or dementia?  Either way it’s, er, good news.

I’ve been keeping an article from a newspaper meaning to blog about it:

A cutting from “Der Standard” of May 2017

When I sat down to write, I found my freshly-minted text curiously familiar.  I discovered that I had already written about the article in my blog Things are getting worse, right?  Wrong.  Here’s why, back in May.

My moment of forgetfulness is good news because it reminds me that I’ve written several happiness-related blogs, including:

–  How to be happy: 11 simple tools (May 2015) (more…)

How to find your way

In his story The Feeling of Powerwritten in 1958, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov imagines a future where computers are so ubiquitous that people have forgotten how to count.  When a man works out how to perform simple sums using a pencil and paper, he has a sensation of power.

I often recall Asimov’s tale as I do my accounts; and sometimes do sums manually instead of using a calculator in the hope of keeping my brain working.   But nowhere is my sense of technological advance erasing a skill more focused than in navigation.

Map-reading is a skill I value.  To navigate a road or path from A to B gives you precisely the feeling of power of which Asimov wrote.  Yet when you are in difficult terrain; far from home; the maps are not good; or all three, you crave information.  No wonder GPS is so all-conquering.  But how useful is the latest technology for hiking the UK, compared with traditional methods?

Walking into cloud at Little Dun Fell. The rucksack cover blew off five minutes later

I recently walked the final 100 miles of the Pennine Way, from Dufton in Cumbria to (more…)

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