Partners In Crime

The ReadChristie2023 prompt for February is a murder method – use of a blunt instrument, and Partners in Crime is the title they’ve chosen.

Tommy and Tuppence Beresford have been happily married for six years and Tuppence in particular is bored. But just as she’s yearning for excitement, Mr Carter (who works in government intelligence) arrives and asks them if they would be willing to take over the now defunct ‘Blunt’s International Detective Agency’ in London. They must pose as the owners and intercept any blue Russian letters that arrive as they search for a secret agent known as 16. But while they’re waiting for messages they can run the place as they wish, so ‘Blunt’s Brilliant Detectives! Any case solved in twenty-four hours!’  is born.

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Eugene Onegin

I think this is possibly the best reason for doing the Classics Club Challenge. I wanted to read some Russian lit and had included the obvious on my list when my husband David, suggested I add Eugene Onegin, saying it was where all Russian literature began. I wasn’t hopeful and asked my reading budding Liz to read it with me. Then I saw that A Russian Affair had created The Eugene Onegin Challenge in 2020 which began with an introduction to the book and brief character outlines. Things were looking up, Liz and I read the introductory post and then started reading, out loud taking a couple of stanzas each.

We were hooked and didn’t look at the posts again because we were scared of spoilers. We laughed a lot, there were cries of ‘nooooo’, we held our heads in our hands, we sighed in relief and gasped in surprise. Every week we closed our books and had to promise each other that we wouldn’t read ahead, we were gripped by suspense.

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A Film For February: Nights of Cabiria

Cabiria (Giulietta Masina) is the eternally optimistic prostitute walking along the Passeggiata Archeologica in Rome. As she witnesses humanity in all its guises, her indomitable spirit with its strange contradiction of innocence and street wisdom refuses to give up the hope of finding true love.

There’s the humility of the bag snatcher and the excitement of the movie star but it’s Cabiria’s self reliance that is her strength, her stubborn optimism never lets her down and Giulietta Masina’s physicality fabulously portrays this as she collapses when she’s beaten down only to get up and mambo with infectious joy. It’s this spirit that is so uplifting and offsets the tragedy with comedy and fun.

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Breakfast At Tiffany’s

Our narrator is sitting in Joe Bell’s bar reminiscing about the brownstone he lived in years back and Holly Golightly, the girl who lived in the apartment downstairs. Neither of them have seen her for years, in fact they haven’t seen each other for years but there’s a rumour she’s been seen in Africa so it’s time to meet up.

She had a cat and played guitar, she was flirtatious and kooky and when she danced she floated around ‘light as a scarf’. She ran messages for the mob every Thursday and held raucous parties filled with martini laughter and attended by New York’s glitterati, she suffered from ‘the mean reds’, not the blues worse than that, more like panic attacks and was always on the look out for somewhere safe to live, so that she could buy some furniture and give the cat a name. A place that made her feel safe like the inside of Tiffany’s with its quietness and kind men in their nice suits.

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‘Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.’

Oh Emma, I think at the moment you’re my favourite Austen heroine! If the opening line gives us an enviable young women then Jane Austen quickly shows another side of her life. Her mother died before she had a chance to know her, her sister has married and lives with her family in London and on the day the novel opens Miss Taylor, her governess for sixteen years, has left to be married. Emma has lost her companion and confident and sits in ‘mournful thought‘ as she contemplates life alone with her father.

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