My bookish Christmas gifts

Two bookish gifts for me that I am really looking forward to read and watch:

A cabinet of Roman curiosities

A cabinet of Roman curiosities by J.C. McKeown.

This one has been on my wishlist for a long time. In structure it reminds me a bit of Schott’s Miscellany, in that it is just a number of “strange tales and surprising facts”.


Night train to Lisbon


The movie “Night train to Lisbon” with Jeremy Irons. I just hope they didn’t butcher the wonderful Nachtzug nach Lissabon by Pascal Mercier. Relying on Bille August here.

Will be watching it tonight. 


The Hound of the Baskervilles (2000)

The Hound of the Baskervilles

This is a completely new take on Sherlock Holmes. Instead of making Watson the buffoon, they do it with Holmes. Even though Matt Frewer might be a good Holmes as far as looks go, but he plays him in such an exaggerated way, gesturing wildly, rolling the eyes, jumping back and forward like a complete nutcase, that I found that this movie’s only saving grace is that you see Holmes much less than in other versions.  Even though the other actors are not bad at  all I just couldn’t get over the fact that Holmes was a complete loonie.

In the hotel room scene where Holmes shows his excellent deducting skills with the anonymous letter and “The Times” Watson keeps on smiling benevolently as if his favourite pet monkey had just done some extraordinary performance. Their relationship was rather strange and I could not imagine that those two are friends. Holmes would have fit perfectly into a Black Adder episode as the idiot friend of Black Adder, I especially can envisage him as Prince George who was so splendidly brought to life by Hugh Laurie.

Really, a completely disastrous Holmes adaptation, thanks to Matt Frewer. The first 4 minutes should give you a good idea. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

The Hound of the Baskervilles on


Movie: Sherlock Holmes and the case of the silk stocking

Sherlock Holmes and the case of the silk stocking

“The case of the silk stocking” is an uncharacteristic Sherlock Holmes movie with a newly written story and not based on any book by Conan Doyle. A serial killer with a fetish goes about and kills daughters of the high society. Lovely settings, foggy atmosphere and it features my favourite Watson. However, the best asset is Rupert Everett. He plays Holmes as a rather bored detective (no display of astounding deduction skills here) and I loved his calm manner. Nothing of the jumpy, bipolar Jeremy Brett, but rather a haunted drug addict with issues. Plus, Rupert Everett is pure eye candy. Very much looking like Holmes, and oh, so handsome. He could just stand there and not do anything and I would gush about him.

I wish they would remake every single Holmes episode out there with him. He is the perfect Sherlock Holmes in every way.

The case of the silk stocking on imdb


The Hound of the Baskervilles (2002)

The Hound of the Baskervilles

This BBC production is so far (and I think my opinion won’t change anytime soon) my favourite version of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Not sure about the “terrifying new adaption” bit on the cover but – terrifying or not – it was just brilliant.

Richard Roxburgh is a great Sherlock Holmes, a lot grittier than the previous bunch, but what totally made the film for me was Dr. Watson. I loved loved him. He is played by Ian Hart, a name I was not familiar with until I checked and noticed that he played Professor Quirrell in the first Harry Potter movie.

Holmes was as smart as ever, but not nearly as showing off and capricious as we have known him so far. There is no famous deduction scene where he conjures Dr. Mortimer’s whole life and personality from a bloody walking stick and – now that I come to think of it – Mortimer hasn’t even got a dog. They changed a lot of other things as well: there is a séance with Dr. Mortimer’s wife – no doubt an homage to the Basil Rathbone version -, the convict has a violent meeting with Sir Henry in the kitchen and there is a merry Christmas party at Baskerville Hall.

Watson does an autopsy and is generally more able and involved than in earlier movies. He isn’t the usual bumbling idiot, but tough and focused. The relationship between him and Holmes was a bit different, at times he was quite pissed off at Holmes, in the end Holmes lost his trust, and in general their interaction seemed a bit cooler than normally, but I liked that.
I immediately checked whether there is another movie with Ian Hart as Watson and there is one, “Sherlock Holmes and the case of the silk stocking” – unfortunately not with Richard Roxburgh, but with Rupert Everett as Holmes. Hm, maybe not a bad choice. I will definitely have to watch that one, even though there are no evil dogs involved.

Speaking of the dog. The Baskerville dog here is a true computer generated creature from hell, quite different from the usual Great Dane or whatever it is they are using. And the accompanying villain is a great one as well, superbly played by Richard E. Grant.

If you like Baskerville movies and are not a complete stickler for 100% adaptations you just have to watch it. And if you are, you should have a look as well, it might change your mind.


I have read on Amazon that the German edition is an abridged one with a few scenes missing. What a shame! But after watching it I ordered a DVD from the UK to get the full monty.

The Hound of the Baskervilles on imdb


Movie: The adventures of Tintin

The adventures of Tintin

If you know and love Tintin you might be a bit disappointed about the storyline and the spin they gave the characters. They have combined three stories and made it into one (The crab with the golden claw, The secret of the Unicorn & Red Rackham’s treasure). They added a villain that is not in the books. They left out Professor Calculus. They gave almost everyone a ridiculously bulbous nose – the rest got the pointy kind. They made Tintin gave up and Haddock bring him to his senses again (unheard of). Nevertheless, this is an entertaining movie with great animations and brilliant voices.

I loved the opening scene at the flea market that already showed the pleasant atmosphere and pretty design of everything. But don’t let the cozy look deceive you! There also is a lot of action: swordfights, ship battles, a breath taking car chase and a treasure to be found. What else can you ask for? This is a great family flick.

The adventures of Tintin on imdb


Movie: Sherlock Holmes and the Baskerville Curse (1983–cartoon)

Sherlock Holmes and the Baskerville curse

I got this version to watch together with my kids. Apart from the rather frightful appearance of the dog at some points it is perfectly suitable for the whole family and rather fun to watch.

The quality of the animation, sound and general appearance is a little outdated, but this does not lessen the enjoyment. The plot is very true to the original story even though some scenes seemed a bit cut short to me. The length is only 75 minutes, so I suppose they had to leave out some dialogue. Quite acceptable, considering that in some other versions that I watched the dialogue goes on endlessly about inconsequentialities. In spite of these cuts a few things were explained that were not mentioned in other movies, like for example how Holmes tracked Stapleton’s past and found out about his marriage. My boys followed it easily and It was perfect and spooky/cosy entertainment.

I watched it dubbed in German, so can’t comment on the original voices, but Holmes’ voice is Peter O’Toole which should give a bit of additional flair to the whole experience.

Side note: I read one very unfavourable user comment about this cartoon on imdb, but that reviewer claims that the Basil Rathbone version is “excellent” – which says it all.

Sherlock Holmes and the Baskerville Curse on imdb.


Movie: Let the right one in


After reading the book I had to watch the movie. They say it is fantastic, a masterpiece, the best vampire movie ever and what not. My expectation were high.

The cast is good, the girl who plays Eli is perfect, she has this look about her that makes her 200 year long existence totally believable. The boy who plays Oskar I am not so sure about. Actually, the boy who played Micke (at least I assume that he is Micke) would have been better suited as far as looks are concerned. Chubbier, not as cute.

If I had not read the book beforehand I don’t think I would have enjoyed the film. I want things explained and this film didn’t explain anything. It left some characters out and got rid of a few storylines in order to concentrate on the relationship between Eli and Oskar, which was a bit disappointing. A lot of questions were left unanswered and I didn’t like it. How did Eli become a vampire? How did Hakan come to be her helper?

In the book we experience the story from a lot of point of views, but here we don’t get any. The long process of Virgina reaching the point where she wants to die. The way Lacke found Eli. Why are Conny (i.e. Johnny) and his brother so pissed off at Oskar that they want to kill him? All these things are not explained properly. The bullies are what bothered me most. They are depicted bad, but not THAT bad. In the book I hated them from the start, in the movie they are mean, but not to the point where you are looking forward to their punishment. In the book it is made perfectly clear why they want to kill Oskar, here they go from hiding his trousers to killing him without any reasoning behind it. The scene comes unexpected and we have no time to get into the mood where we want them to get their just deserts.

The movie is worth watching, but I strongly recommend you read the book beforehand.

Let the right one in on imdb.  


Movie: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)

The Hound of the Baskervilles

This is a Hammer Production which is evident in the scenery, cast and melodramatic plot. This is not necessarily a bad thing if you like the ambience and general feel of those 50s and 60s B-movies.

Apart from the opening scene for which the outdoor scenes have been actually filmed outdoors (footage from another movie that came in handy?) everything is filmed in the studio. The impression that those buildings, moors and paths have been used in many other films is not completely absurd. John, who does know the odd Hammer movie, swears that he has seen the same buildings in “The Devil-Ship Pirates”, and the path along the moors bears a striking resemblance to a walkway in Frankenstein. Oh, well, it all adds to the flair.

The choice of contract actors made it necessary to change the characters in the movie quite a bit. Amiable Dr Mortimer is now a condescending, lord-y prick who looks like he could play Rasputin at the drop of a hat and probably did. Naturalist Stapleton is a middle aged farmer with a webbed hand (the natural conclusion we have to draw here: webbed hand -> disfigurement -> evil), and the lamblike Beryl Stapleton is now a wild barefooted gypsy girl in an Esmeralda-like outfit who is running away through the heather whenever someone tries to speak to her. Mr Frankland now is a muddle-headed bishop who likes his sherry early and who also stands in for the entomologist part which is obviously not suitable for Stapleton in this constellation. 
All in all this is quite an eclectic cast even if it has little to do with the original.

Also it seems that the usual Hammer props had to come into play. A Hammer  film without huge spiders? I think not. What is easier to have one of the bishop’s/entomologist’s  tarantulas stolen and placed into Sir Henry’s boot at his London hotel?  As a consequence we get to enjoy a scene where the tarantula marches up Sir Henry’s sleeve, whose face is distorted with fear (a rare sight in Christopher Lee – see above cover), until Holmes rescues him with his stick and a fast move.

Every scene is underlined with a dramatic musical score that indicates impending doom every second. That is, except for the kissing scenes  which had a romantic undertone. Needless to say the kissing was quite arbitrary and came out of nowhere. Then again, running away from a man, stumbling in the moor (naturally, without sturdy shoes) and kissing one’s rescuer 30 seconds later is a sure method to induce love and passion.

This movie is not suitable to educate anyone on Sherlock Holmes but it is definitely entertaining in an involuntary way.

The Hound of the Baskervilles at imdb.


Movie: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939)


This movie is strange. I have no idea how a script writer can „adapt“ a book in a way that makes the story completely illogical and totally haphazard. Assuming that the audience doesn’t know the book, they must leave the cinema (or sofa) baffled in regards to how Sherlock Holmes found the culprit or even what exactly happened.

The whole movie was a sequence of unrelated scenes that did not build upon each other in any way. One especially strange example is the séance that takes place in Stapleton’s house (one of those changes to the original story that made no sense at all) with Mrs. Mortimer trying to call the dead Sir Baskerville. The suspense is at its (modest) peak, when suddenly we hear howling outside and Beryl Stapleton calls out in fright. The séance is being interrupted and literally that very second everybody gets up and leaves for home.

There are other changes to the story that are completely unnecessary or even nonsensical. At the beginning we have the famous scene where Holmes displays his deduction skills to his buffoon sidekick Dr. Watson by describing Dr. Mortimer from examining at his walking stick. Country doctor, walks on foot, has a dog. When Holmes later asks Dr. Mortimer about the dog the doctor answers he used to have a dog but it is dead. What does this mean? Why is the dog dead? Could the production not afford a live dog? Why not say the dog is at home with Dr. Mortimer’s wife? Or was it a false clue that is supposed to make us think that maybe the dog marks are from the evil hound and Dr. Mortimer is the culprit?

Another especially intriguing change is the relationship between Stapleton and his sister. When Holmes hears that Sir Henry Baskerville is going to marry Beryl in two days (Sir Henry moves fast) he makes a peculiar face as if to say “Beryl is marrying Baskerville? How can that be? She is already married!”. Somehow the script writer must have changed his ideas about that plot point because as it turns out later Beryl in fact IS Stapleton’s sister and the funny look on Holmes face was never explained.

At the end there is a poisoning scene where Holmes saves Sir Henry’s life which also leaves a lot to be desired. The timing is all wrong (Stapleton handing a poisoned medicine to Sir Henry equals the time that Holmes takes to walk across the moor at night) and Holmes deducts that a murder is going to take place out of nothing, NOTHING.

This is a travesty of the original story and only serves as a entertaining piece for an evening when you want to laugh yourself silly over the inaccuracies, illogicality and ridiculousness of the story. Not suitable for Conan Doyle fans and sticklers (like me).


In my mailbox


A few things today that I am really looking forward to:

I bought

  • Not a book, but I am excited about it. I bought the first season of Downton Abbey after seeing a little of the first episode. Everybody talks about it. I want to know what all the hype is about – late as usual.

From the library


Cover Ancient Rome on 5 Denarii a Day by Phili MatyszakCover Our tragic universe by Scarlett ThomasDowntown Abbey

What was in YOUR mailbox recently? 


Movie: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1988)

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Reasons I watched this movie: I like the story. It is part of my Baskerville movie marathon.

Jeremy Brett plays Sherlock Holmes in a number of stories. It’s a whole series with most of the episodes about an hour long and a few full movie length. One of them is The Hound of the Baskervilles.

This version sticks closer to the book in many areas (for example there is no loud and obnoxious Lyons, Dr. Mortimer is of a more suitable age etc.), but then again it gives away the culprit at the very beginning. Whereas in the Ian Richardson version you see him but don’t necessarily recognize him as Stapleton (I assume you have read the book and don’t mind that spoiler), here you see him clearly from the start. I find that odd. Where is the mystery? True we don’t know the motive of the murderer, but we know who he is! What sort of detective story is it when the audience knows who the killer is from the start? That might be ok for a Lieutenant Columbo, but not for a Sherlock Holmes.

As for Holmes: I think that Jeremy Brett might be the better Holmes as far as his character is described in the book. He plays Holmes as eccentric and moody, sometimes overly excited, sometimes quiet, sometimes full of action and then again not. But exactly that bipolar behaviour got on my nerves, I very much prefer Ian Richardson who plays the part a bit toned down.

The Hound of the Baskervilles on imdb


Movie: The Hound of the Baskervilles (1983)

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Reasons I watched this movie: I love the story and decided to watch a series of Hound of the Baskervilles films.

The Hound of the Baskervilles is probably one of the most popular Sherlock Holmes stories and for a good reason. It is full of suspense, there is an eerie dog, an American heir, the British upper class, the moor, a smart detective and plenty of fog. What else can a mystery reader ask for?

Ian Richardson is a wonderful Sherlock Holmes, he is exactly how I imagine him, and I really like his sidekick Watson in this movie, too. He has a wonderful scene in the village pub when Watson is asked by Lestrade why he came here and answers that he is here “for the sailing”. Splendid!

The rest of the cast is equally brilliant. With Denholm Elliott as Dr. Mortimer (slightly too old, but who cares), Martin Shaw as Sir Henry Baskerville and Brian Blessed as Lyons you can’t go wrong. A lot of the plot was changed for this movie which is somewhat annoying (especially because some of the changes  make not much sense to me), but it is more dramatic and exciting as the book, so I suppose I can forgive the changes; they make for a cosy popcorn & movie night on the sofa.

Watch a scene (beware of the glowing dog!)

The Hound of the Baskervilles on imdb


Movie: Jules et Jim

Jules et Jim

Reasons I watched this movie: All I ever knew about it was this one scene with the two guys and the woman running over the bridge and I wanted to know more. I like Oskar Werner. I liked Jeanne Moreau in “Les amants”. I like the ménage à trois theme.

When I started watching this I had no idea what to expect except for a love triangle. I was immediately drawn in by the voice of the narrator who started telling the story of how Jules and Jim met in this detached and very fast way. As I had decided to watch the film in French with German subtitles it was very hard to take it all in at first, my French being somewhat rusty. After a while, however, I got used to it, especially thanks to Oskar Werner who spoke rather slowly and precisely, a fact that made Truffaut cast Werner in the first place. At least that is what I read somewhere on the net and it makes sense; after all Jules is no native speaker, but a German. Then again, Werner is an Austrian which made we wonder whether Germans and Austrians are interchangeable to most people?

Anyway, once the introductions are made we get quickly to the moment where Catherine is entering the two friends’ lives and the ball gets rolling. Both men are instantly infatuated with Catherine who is most ambiguous and completely selfish. She takes what she wants and when she wants it. Emotional matureness seems to be completely foreign to her. I don’t know whether I am happy with either her character or how she is depicted. It is not that Catherine is playing with men – it’s rather that she can’t help herself –, but her constant “I love you” – “You disgust me”  routine gets very tedious. But at least she breaks out of the traditional female role that society would love to impose on women. Her counterpart is Gilberte who patiently waits in the background and provides Jim with a back up plan. Very considerate of her! I don’t know whether the book by Henri-Pierre Roché the film is based on ends the same way, but I definitely disliked the price that Catherine had to pay for her lifestyle in Truffaut’s version. Is it supposed to be the rightful punishment for being so unconventional?

But no matter how much I disliked the character of Catherine and her fate, I loved the film. The time just flew by and I loved the experience. If you have the chance, watch the original version /with subtitles.

Watch a trailer

Jules et Jim on imdb.


Movie: George and the dragon

George and the dragon

The reason I watched this movie:
I absolutely ADORE James Purefoy ever since I saw him as Mark Antony in “Rome”. When I saw him again in a small part in “A Knight’s Tale” I checked what other films he had done and came across this one. Knights, dragons, what’s not to like?

The movie:
I loved all the actors in it. I have never been a big fan of Patrick Swayze, but I really liked him here. Normally, in a film with this plot, he would be the super evil fiancé, looking for HIS woman, in the manner of Prince Humperdinck in The Princess Bride. Here, even though a bit insistent – the kidnapping was not the best idea- , he is a really nice fellow. Just like all the villains; they are sort of mean, but in a way you can’t be too mad at them. Val Kilmer makes a short appearance as one of them, which also made my day.
Piper Perabo of whom I had never heard before is incredibly good looking and a great heroine. Gentle lamb, my butt! She kicks ass like the best of them and stands her ground.
Somehow you get the feeling everybody in the movie has a great time, and so has the audience.

The dragon legend is turned upside down here; if you expect slaughtered dragons and the like, go elsewhere! It is great family entertainment.
Little bonus: During the end credits they show out-takes which are fun to watch as well.

George and the dragon on imdb.


Movie: The Brothers Grimm

The Brothers Grimm

I’m getting into movie mode. For the 200 year anniversary of the publication of the Grimm’s Fairy Tales it was only fitting to watch “The Brothers Grimm” with Matt Damon and Heath Ledger. The description on the cover sounded very nice so I gave it a go. I shouldn’t have. To me this movie must be the disappointment of the century. What utter crap! Its only saving grace are the pictures that, I have to admit, are rather magnificent.

Other than that the Grimm brothers and the whole topic of German fairytales were slaughtered until you didn’t recognize them anymore. I wasn’t aware that the Grimms (often referred to as the “Grimmy” by a sidekick in the person of an Italian torture master – typical Italian accent included) were con-artists who travelled far and wide to “free” the country from enchantments that they had previously created themselves. Obviously the real Grimm characters were too boring and needed some embellishing. In fact, to me the film was a mixture of “Dirty, rotten scoundrels”, “Ghostbusters” and “Sleepy Hollow” that went awfully wrong.

The fairytale allusions all started kind of ok and then disappeared into nothing. Hans and Greta (totally rubbed me the wrong way, they are Hänsel and Gretel!) go into the forest and she gets lured away by a piece of cloth. Wow! Where is the witch, where the gingerbread house? And it went on and on like that. What on Earth does a gingerbread man have to do with German fairytales? Why is Hesse called Westphalia and what is the Thuringian queen doing there? And why has she been living in Rapunzel’s tower? The whole story is a very odd hodgepodge of half baked but never finished ideas about which horrific tales might appeal to an audience who has never read a Grimm fairytale before.

There was one sentence that I found quite amusing (and symptomatic for the movie). The Grimm brothers come to Marbaden where they have never been heard of and introduce themselves as the guys who have fought off “the cannibal chef of the Schwarzwald in the gingerbread house of terror”. There you have it. If you like murderous chefs in gingerbread houses and a bit of comic relief then the movie might be for you. If you like fairytales in their original form and a less horror-like approach, then stay away from it.

What to watch instead? My suggestion is “The company of wolves” by Neil Jordan,  which I am going to re-watch tonight to get yesterday’s taste out of my mouth.

The Brothers Grimm on imdb.


A Christmas Carol (BBC)

My Christmas Carol movie marathon continues…

Christmas Carol cover 1977

You can’t go wrong with this movie adaptation of A Christmas Carol. The BBC did it in 1977 with Michael Hordern as Scrooge and he is fabulous. Mean and morose, he makes Michael Caine as Scrooge look like the benefactor of the year.

The production is rather spooky and bleak, no big special effects, just the bare story as we all know it. No lovely locations; you know, you can even make slums look picturesque if you want to, but here we are talking about black and white line drawings for setting the scene. They certainly haven’t spent a lot of money on location and decor, but instead focused on the cast.

Other than the previous two adaptations I blogged about (Muppets and Blackadder) I wouldn’t watch this one for jolly entertainment and a good time – popcorn and Coke included -, but rather for educational purposes.

A Christmas Carol at imdb.

This post is part of

Dickens in December

Dickens in December is hosted by Beauty is a sleeping cat and Postcards from Asia.


Blackadder’s Christmas Carol

Blackadder's Christmas Carol

I just love watching Christmas Carol re-tellings, especially the ones with a little twist. So what is better than a reverse one? If you know Black Adder (one of my favourite comedy series EVER) you will know already that this short movie – it is only 45 minutes – will be funny and entertaining.

Mr. Ebenezer Blackadder is a good person, charitable and giving, but after the visit of the Ghost of Christmas (delightful Robbie Coltrane alone is worth watching the film just because of his little ballerina entering dance) he decides to change his ways.

The whole Black Adder cast is present, Baldrick is the ubiquitous servant as always, and the usual suspects make an appearance, Hugh Laurie as the dozy Prince George, Stephen Fry as Lord Melchett, Miranda Richardson, Miriam Margolyes, Nursie, everybody you know and love is there.

Traditional Christmas Carol fans might be a wee bit disappointed in this rendition but for Black Adder fans this is a must see.

This post is part of

Dickens in December

Dickens in December is hosted by Beauty is a sleeping cat and Postcards from Asia.


The Muppet Christmas Carol

The Muppets Christmas Carol

When it comes to Dickens in December for me The Muppet Christmas Carol is a must see. This is even more surprising when you know that I am not a big fan of the Muppets –actually I dislike everything animated, puppet-ish, cartoon-ish, you get the idea. Even worse, I don’t particularly like musicals either, and there is a LOT of singing in this Muppets movie.

Scrooge is played by Michael Caine and that is a definite plus. He is the perfect Scrooge and Kermit as his employee Cratchit is just as great. Gonzo, of all people, plays Charles Dickens as storyteller.
The music is pretty awesome, Waldorf and Statler as Marley and Marley do a great performance with the song “Marley and Marley”, which is one of my favourites in the movie.

The movie is fun to watch and enjoyable for adults and children alike. The only thing I don’t like are the characters of the three ghosts of Christmas, somehow they didn’t fit into the rest of the cast. But this is just a small complaint.

All in all this is a great and fun Christmas movie for the whole family.

This post is part of

Dickens in December

Dickens in December is hosted by Beauty is a sleeping cat and Postcards from Asia.


Dickens in December

Dickens in December

Judith got me on to the Dickens in December event hosted by Caoline from Beauty is a sleeping cat and Delia from Postcards from Asia.

The event consists of various activities, readalongs, book reviews, giveaways and watchalongs. I can’t say that I am a huge Dickens fan, but John gave me the complete Dickens collection for Christmas last year and I haven’t watched one thing yet! About time!

So instead of going to read Dickens it will be watching movies for me. Who else is going to join in on the fun?


Favourite places to read

Top Ten Tuesday

Today is a Top Ten Tuesday rewind which means we can choose any past topic we missed. I was going to do Top Ten book to movie adaptations but then realized that I had already done this topic as a Thursday Thirteen post in May this year (and totally forgotten about it).  I looked around and saw that Birgit did her favourite places to read and so I decided to join her.

Favourite places to read
  • Bed
    Nothing better than my warm, comfy, cosy bed.
  • Bathtub
    Nothing better than my warm, comfy, cosy bathtub (except my bed)
  • Coffee shop
    If only people around me would stop talking
  • The waiting room at any doctor’s office
    Why don’t they have a clue about time management?
  • The hairdresser’s
    If only she would stop talking
  • The library café
    If only our library was a nicer place

What are your Favourite Places to Read?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. You will find tons of more Top Ten Tuesday participants there.


What I like…besides books: TV – Hamish Macbeth

I really like the Hamish Macbeth books by M.C. Beaton, so I thought it might be nice to watch the TV series which is based on the books.

There are three seasons and so far I am in the middle of season two and can compare books and TV series. Nothing could be further apart. As far as I can see, only the name of Hamish and the village Lochdubh, a few aspects of the plots and a very loose resemblance of some of the other characters remind us of the books.

Hamish Macbeth Title Screen

Most of the names have been changed, there are many characters who never turn up in the books and the personality of Hamish is quite different. However, the series is quite good and cozy in its own right, just do not expect to find the books in it. And, oh, the Scottish accent is to die for.

Hamish himself.

Hamish’s looks are not at all like in the book. No tall, lanky and red-haired Hamish here. But this is not the only difference. Yes, he is rather indulgent when it comes to not abiding by the law, but on the other hand he shows some traits that are definitely not nice, not to say disturbing.

Like in the books he is jealous, but here his jealousy manifests itself in deliberately damaging other potential suitors’ cars and generally harassing the guys in a petty way.

Then there is one episode where his dog (Wee Jock, not Towser) gets killed in a car accident. A dog, by the way, that is so used to being fed by John McIver that he won’t even take food from Hamish. What does Hamish do? He goes out, follows the two convicts who ran Wee Jock over, befriends them, lies to them and lures them to a certain spot to kill them. Only the arrival of his Lochdubh friends stop him. Now, don’t tell me that he would not have been able to shoot them! It doesn’t change a thing.
Apart from the fact that at the time of their rescue the two men were only holding on to a rope and could have easily allen into an abyss, resulting in their death with Hamish not even shooting them, the idea that he planned to go after them with a gun in his pocket, becoming their friend and leader through the rough Scottish landscape, pretending to wanting to help them only to take them to a safe spot to kill them shows a rather nasty and evil disposition. The fact that that man is a police officer makes it only worse. And to top this all, the two men only killed his DOG by accident! I find this side of his personality rather disturbing and from that episode on I am not sympathizing with him anymore.

The women

Priscilla is now called Alex and is not the beauty she is supposed to be. Also she is extremely jealous and behaves rather idiotic. Hamish and Alex are engaged by now (different situation but also rather awkward), but already one can see that this is not a match made in heaven.

Isobel is a new character that loves Hamish and that Hamish fancies in spite of his engagement with Alex. Tension everywhere.


There are many new characters that do not appear in the book.

  • TV John McIver is Hamish’s “housekeeper”, part Hamish’s counsellor, part helper, part stand in for the seer Angus MacDonald with his premonitions.
  • Rory, the shopkeeper, stand in for the Indian Patel. Obviously an Indian wouldn’t fit into the Scottish setting. Rory has an affair with
  • Esme, the teacher. They are quite an interesting couple, those two.
  • Barney and his wife Agnes are the pub/hotel owners.
  • My favourite characters: Father and son McCrae. Lachlan and Lachie jr., the local entrepreneurs. Those two are so funny and make sure the necessary comic relief is there.
  • Doc Brown, a young doctor instead of the old fellow, who is Hamish’s pot smoking buddie (yeah, really!)

I would recommend the series to everyone who likes cozy mysteries (not necessarily with murder) in an interesting setting. You don’t have to know the books, on the contrary, knowing the “real” characters you might even be disappointed a bit. But it is entertaining nevertheless. Do not forget to put on the subtitles on your DVD player, though!