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I'm pretty sure I read one of Tey's mysteries many years ago. But I don't have any idea which one. I'm even more sure that I had a book called something like Three by Tey containing three of her novels, but I don't see it on my shelf now. I'll have to give her another try. My wife recently read Daughter of Time and really liked it.

I that that book with the three novels. I wanted to say something about the difference between detective fiction by men and detective fiction by women, but as you can see, it was already too long.

I could have written another 1000 words easily.


I read the daughter of time at school aged about 12 and loved it.

This has your real name on it. Did you mean to do that?


Yes, I thought about that gender difference when I read this. I enjoy Sayers et.al. but don't like them anywhere near as much as I do Chandler and Macdonald.

And I would say vice versa for me, except for Macdonald. And the reason is probably the same reason I like Tey. I was thinking this morning that one reason I like her so much is that her books are more thoughtful than the other mysteries, and I would say that Macdonald is more thoughtful than the other noir mystery writers.

Something I found rather amusing--I watched a BBC production of The Franchise Affair and it was well done, but they used music that would have been appropriate for Chandler, et. al., and it just didn't work.



Yeah I'm not Grumpy it's just my feet are all swollen and my back is covered in mosquito bites

Great post, Janet.

I read Miss Pym Disposes and The Daughter of Time ages ago, and don't really remember much about them except that they were very good. I need to pick them up again, and also read some of her other books.

Haven't read it, but apparently the third book in that new Josephine Tey detective series has a lesbian subplot and Josephine is made to think about her own sexuality. Groan.

Well, I haven't gotten that far, but there is a lesbian couple introduced somewhere in the first few chapters, and the scene is written as though it were happening today. What I mean is there is no reticence at all--no sense that anyone would question the relationship, which is ridiculous.


"...has a lesbian subplot and Josephine is made to think about her own sexuality."

Well, of course. It's like a Victorian saying the right things about Duty or Motherhood.

My wife and I watched several seasons of Call the Midwife. It was quite good in a lot of ways, but we gave it up partway through this last season because they were starting to beat the homosexuality drum. One of the main characters was clearly about to start Exploring Her Sexuality. Sooo boorrrrinnnng.

I recognize several of the Tey titles, but I can't remember if I've read them. I'm guessing not, because they sound memorable.

"I thought about that gender difference when I read this. I enjoy Sayers et.al. but don't like them anywhere near as much as I do Chandler and Macdonald."

Interesting -- my two favorite mystery writers are James and Ian Rankin, but I've never really thought about it in terms of gender.

Never heard of Ian Rankin.

I was thinking James and Ian Rankin were brothers for a minute there.


He wrote the series set in Edinburgh with D.I. John Rebus. They're procedurals -- somewhat hardboiled, and great stuff.

Louise pointed out to me that my name is not on this post.


Sorry. It's fixed now. I keep doing that, but usually I catch it fairly soon. Robert's Newman post was up that way last night for a bit before I remembered.

I wouldn't even have noticed if Louise hadn't said something. I don't think I've ever noticed until somebody said something.


I'm curious now about the difference between detective fiction by men and detective fiction by women.

Incidentally, have any of you read any of Alexander McCall Smith's Mma Ramotswe series?

Well, you know I have. McCall Smith is an anomaly. I think of all the men I've read, he captures the female voice the best.


I ought to do a post about him--unless you want to, Paul. I could do it without reading a thousand books.


The thought flitted through my mind when I wrote the question, only to be rejected instantly. I wouldn't know what to say. I'd be very interested in reading what you have to say.

I'd like to hear it, too. I haven't read him. I picked up a used copy of one of his books sometime in the past year or so but haven't read it. They seem to be well regarded by almost everyone.

I'm just about to listen to that Peter Hitchens link, Janet.

Well, clearly that book and this author are going to have to be added to my list.

I guess he sold you.

That book in particular.


He did! But I had not got around to reading this particular post until now.

Putting this on the other foot, so to speak, one of the most striking things about M. Robinson's Gilead is how she gets the narrator's voice so right, in terms of his maleness, and moreso, his thoughts and feelings as a father.

Yes, that's true. I've talked about that with somebody-or-other before.


Speaking of Robinson, I read a review of a book of non-fiction by her--miscellaneous essays etc. I think--in which she apparently slams political conservatives in a very conventional sort of way. I'm not surprised that she would hold conventional liberal views, but a little surprised that someone capable of so much generous insight in her fiction would have so little of it in that arena. Only a little surprised, though.

Yes, I came across that same thing in an interview with her I read. Her take on conservatism seems quite unnuanced.

The only books of Robinson's I've read besides Gilead are Housekeeping and Mother Country, and both of those when they first came out, so a long time ago. Of Housekeeping, I remember only gorgeous writing, lots of water, and a very sad mentally unbalanced lead character. Of Mother Country, a polemic on the nuclear power industry in Britain, I was left mainly with a sense that it was written by a very angry, conspiracy-minded author. That's why Gilead came as such a surprise to me. After reading reviews of her latest non-fiction, though, I'm giving more credence to what Robinson has said about Gilead's John Ames having come to her as a "voice", as she related in a piece in the Guardian:

When the voice of John Ames came to me, it was something of a surprise. I had not written fiction for almost 25 years, and was not sure I would write any more of it. I had no reason to give it up, but in the absence of the special impulse I had felt when writing Housekeeping, I was interested in other things – teaching, gardening, reading. Then, in a hotel on Cape Cod just at Christmas, waiting for my sons to join me for the holiday, I became aware of an elderly, gentlemanly voice, the voice of a man about whom I seemed to know certain essential things. He was a minister, the father of a young son, and aware that his failing health meant that he would not live to see the boy grow up.

It came as a surprise to me also that it should be a man's voice I, so to speak, heard. But I did not find it difficult to sustain. I felt very much at ease with Reverend Ames. It was pleasant work, spending time in his company. This doesn't sound very literary, I know. But for some reason characters seem to enter my mind fairly fully conceived. I know I invent them, but I am never aware of any process of invention.

BroadChurch Season II is very good, but it, too, has a lesbian subplot - and for no reason whatsoever. It does not spoil the whole thing. LIke you say, it's just like George Eliot butting in to give some dull moral lecture.

You're right. There was absolutely no reason for that scene.

There were quite a few things that bothered me about BII.


I enjoyed it down to the last two episodes.

Its hard for me to say whether it's really good TV, because I was enjoying it just to look at GB. And to hear it.

Both follow-ups to 'Gilead' are very good, 'Lila' especially so.

To me Broadchurch II seemed more formulaic and more like "typical" TV than the first series, despite the winning performances. I'd watch the first one again -- the second one, probably not.

"...it's just like George Eliot butting in to give some dull moral lecture"

Ha. Exactly. Fundamentally similar impulse, too. That fact that they feel a need or obligation to do it is pretty significant.

The thing with Broadchurch 2 is the introduction of Charlotte Rampling. She's a good actress and a beautiful woman - I would not mind looking like that at her age. But she is irretrievably associated in people's minds with kinky sex. She was in The Night Porter, which is an SM film. I snuck out of boarding school and went to see it. Actors and actresses often play a single steriotype that we expect from them - Clint Eastwood plays 'Clint Eastwood' in all his films. And what we somehow expect from Charlotte Rampling is a bit of SM.

From an interview I read with the director, they were somewhat making up the plot as they went. And I would have guessed that once one has Rampling one has to do something with that.

She kind of throws the drama off kilter. Because in addition to being a glamorous sex pot 70 year old, she's just plain glamorous. She doesn't fit into the careful portrayal of this Dorsetshire town which Series I developed. Of course, every village has its townees and former Londoners. But she still doesn't fit in. She's Parisienne.

I didn't have those associations and I didn't think of her that way at all.


To me she was just tired.


I haven't seen BCII (yet), and I never saw The Night Porter, but I sure remember the advertisements. Charlotte Rampling was in something else that I saw fairly recently...well, looking through her filmography I only see one, Never Let Me Go, and I don't remember her role. Though judging from her picture I think the glamor you're seeing, Grumpy, may be an association from her older movies.

She must have been the teacher that collected the children's artwork.

I'm glad you mentioned Never Let Me Go because I knew I'd seen that actress somewhere before.


No Janet, you haven't seen Rampling in her early, sexy SM roles but the director and the other actors had, and they were seeing 'Charlotte Rampling.

No, but she didn't come across that way to me at all.


"That fact that they feel a need or obligation to do it is pretty significant."

A friend who lived in England for a long time and still visits four or five times a year (he's a writer and his publisher's there) tells me that the BBC has some sort of diversity clause that requires a homosexual character, presented positively, to appear in every series, except where historically unwarranted. This is not a joke.

Rampling was quite the looker when she was young. I remember her primarily from 'The Verdict' and 'Georgy Girl.'

The story about the BBC sounds apocryphal to me. I don't know how we could know unless we saw the charter.

I agree that there's probably not such a policy, but the idea there is one maybe stems from some comments made last year by the BBC's controller of drama commissioning, Ben Stephenson, who is himself gay and said that he's committed to showing diversity on TV and that "when the great gay script comes in, I'll definitely commission it".

From the executive summary of the relevant part of the BBC's 2010 diversity report:

In terms of ways forward, the research findings pointed to the following for the BBC:

• An editorial commitment from the BBC to better reflect the diversity of LGB people, tailored by genre. Importantly, from both the qualitative and quantitative research and from suggested improvements from heterosexual and LGB samples alike, there was a call for more realistic, less sensationalised coverage and fewer stereotypes.

• Integrating the ‘worlds’ of heterosexual and LGB people, so that sexual orientation is less a topic to cover and more an identity to reflect in the mix. It was clear in the research that people did not want a person’s sexual orientation to always be the main focus within content involving LGB characters or people.

• Making the most of creative opportunities in:
a) incidental LGB portrayal across all genres, fairly representing and reflecting the full and varied everyday lives of LGB people
b) overt and/or landmark content tailored to people who are hungry for more portrayal of LGB people, and for that to sometimes be challenging and iconic

• Flagging up forthcoming portrayal featuring LGB people and leveraging media and communications opportunities in order to endorse that portrayal. This would be with a view to attracting awareness and engagement of LGB people, particularly for those who are not out at all in terms of their sexual orientation, to help them find and connect with it.

Amplifying the BBC’s portrayal of LGB people in this way would also show a level of confidence in and commitment to LGB portrayal. At the same time, however, it would take into account the needs and sensibilities of people uncomfortable with the portrayal of LGB people.


Rampling seemed to disappear until about 1999 when she played Miss Havisham in a TV version of Great Expectations and then was in a couple of films made by the French director Francois Ozon that really brought her back on the scene. And now she's so "hot", there's even a documentary on her, The Look.

I don't think "Making the most of creative opportunities in incidental LGB portrayal across all genres" means there's any formal obligation on programme makers to include a homosexual character in every series, but I do suspect "Bung in some random lesbian subplot so we can tick that diversity box" will be the easiest way for producers to earn brownie points.

You know what the lesbian scene does then? It balances out Joe Miller. The plot of the first season revolves around finding who killed a teenage boy. The main suspect is Joe Miller, who it turns out was in a sexual relationship with the boy. That could be seen as anti-gay.

I'm a little surprised at: Flagging up forthcoming portrayal featuring LGB people and leveraging media and communications opportunities in order to endorse that portrayal. This would be with a view to attracting awareness and engagement of LGB people, particularly for those who are not out at all in terms of their sexual orientation, to help them find and connect with it.

Am I wildly misreading, or does this mean the BBC has a formal commitment to breaking down same-sex-attracted viewer resistance to self-identifying as "gay"? It might just be my unfamiliarity with the jargon.

Marianne I'd say if the main thing an actress is known for is being beautiful and sexy, she will disappear in her 40a. Of she is lucky and talented she will reappear later to play old ladies

I found it rather amusing that another tranche of the "diversity report" states that the majority of BBC staff whose religious affiliation is declared (the undeclared are 47%) self-identify as Christian (23%), followed by No religion (15%) and Atheist (9%), which rather suggests that Christians are comfortably present (perhaps even over-represented) at the BBC.

I have to admit I'd never heard of Charlotte Rampling. I remember all the fuss that was made about Michelle Yeoh being a "Bond girl" in her *late 30s*, and then being such a star in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon *even later in her 30s*. I thought at the time, "How stupid! She'll be a star forever!" But I don't think she's been in anything substantial since.

"You know what the lesbian scene does then? It balances out Joe Miller."

Hadn't thought of that, but it makes perfect sense.

Just finished watching the Showtime series 'The Affair' the other night. It's very well done, with excellent acting (Ruth Wilson is amazingly good) but the amount of sex is just ridiculous. There is at least one quite explicit sex scene in each episode. The opening episode actually had four -- three in the first half hour. Starting with the third episode (I watched the first two back to back) I began fast-forwarding through those scenes. I'd like to see how things turn out in the second season, because the mystery element is quite good, but I'm not sure I'm going to follow up with it. All the sexual stuff is just insane.

"Am I wildly misreading, or..."

I don't think you're misreading at all. This makes a good item for my "what's actually happening" gallery: liberal-leftism is, functionally, a religion, with missionary zeal.

I thought I had posted a comment on this last night, but I don't see it. Guess I never clicked 'post'. Anyway, what it said was that the historians of some future society are probably going to look at all this stuff and marvel at the craziness of it.

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