Tag Archives: Gothic

The Bell Tower

1 Dec

I always love it when I discover a new author that I really enjoy reading.

“The Bell Tower” is the first book by Sarah Rayne that I have read, but it won’t be the last.

Nell West and Michael Flint are attending a recreation of a medieval revel at a small Dorset town that is dominated by a crumbing bell tower on the cliff by the sea.  The organisers of the revel are trying to track down a mysterious ancient song known to have been sung, whilst a supposedly dotty old lady is insisting that they stop.

“The Bell Tower” is pretty much a 21st century gothic novel.  All the elements are there.  Ancient curses, a doomed family, star crossed lovers, burials alive…all tied together in a taut, sharp package that zips along dragging the reader helpless in its wake.

Sarah Rayne is a brilliant writer.  The atmosphere of the book flows from eerie and chilly, to the warmth and bounce of everyday life.  I thought I’d made a mistake beginning this in the evening, I honestly thought there would be nightmares, as in places the book is so genuinely creepy that the hair on the back of my neck was standing up!  But Sarah tied everything up in a wonderful ending that relieved the tension of the book, without being cheesy.

Highly recommended.

Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

4 Jan

Having had time to ponder and digest the deliciousness that is “The Abominable Bride”, I have decided to write about it.  Yeah, I know I’m late to the party, but what the hell…

As it wasn’t screened on free-to-air TV in Australia, I went to the cinema to see it.  I think it was probably better suited to the large screen rather than the small, to be perfectly honest.

I was captivated right from the beginning.  I was damn near drooling at Martin Freeman’s narration, which was taking directly from “A Study in Scarlet”.

The plot was so convoluted as to be torturous, but it was a delight.  There were so many canon references, that I will be watching it on dvd for YEARS to capture them all.

I first became suspicious that it was all taking place inside Sherlock’s head when Holmes and Watson went to visit Mycroft at the Diogenes Club.  Whilst Mark Gatiss’ Mycroft was a sterling homage to the canon version (looking very much like Sidney Paget’s illustration for “The Greek Interpreter”), the very Mr Creosote-esque surrounds made me suspect that this was how Sherlock viewed Mycroft (remember the comment of ‘Go Fatty’ in “His Last Vow”?).  I was positive it was all Mind Palace on Sherlock’s second visit when Mycroft came out with the line ‘The virus in the data.’ Anachronism alert!  The Victorians had no idea about computer data, and I’m not even sure they knew what a virus was at that point!

The Reichenbach Falls scene was brilliant.  Loved the fact that Watson saved the day.  The whole sequence seemed to be designed to lay the ghost of Moriarty once and for all.  I suspect that, with the exception of flash-backs, we won’t see Moriarty again.

We got to see and understand some of the complexities surrounding the relationship between Sherlock and Mycroft.

We got a gothic and, at times, downright terrifying ghost story.  That rotting corpse coming to to life had an entire cinema of people shrieking with fear!

Most importantly we got a brilliantly constructed, well writing, extremely interesting episode of “Sherlock”.  Even if it did feel like a 90 minute drug trip!

It was bloody marvellous!

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