Book Club Picks: The Secret Of Chimneys

So remember when I said I started a book club?

Well the first book we choose to read was The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie.

I love this book, but sadly very few have ever heard of it, let alone read it.

So when I brought out three suggestions for us to choose from-The Westing Game, The Looking Glass Wars, and The Secret of Chimneys I was ecstatic they choose Chimneys as it would finally give me people to talk about it with!

As I already reviewed it in December, as part of my 30 day challenge, I will only give a quick review here.

Anthony Cade is working in Africa when he happens among his old friend Jimmy McGrath. Jimmy has been hired to deliver a manuscript in London, and has some letters he wants to return to a woman who was blackmailed, but can’t do either as he has a mining deal set up. Anthony goes in his place and discovers that everyone from Parliament, to rebels, nationalists called the Red Hand, and more are after that script. It appears he really got himself stuck in the middle of a serious mire.

What have I gotten myself into?

He prepares to return the letters to a Mrs. Virginia Revel, to stop her blackmailing, but they get stolen and he sets out to try and help her.

Just another thing to get involved with.

Meanwhile, politician George Lomax is worried that some old secrets, especially those of a missing jewel, will come to light with the publication of the memoirs. He enlists the Lord Caterham to use the stately home of Chimneys as a place to secure an oil deal, and weasel the memoirs out of McGrath. He also engages the assistance of his beautiful, charming, cousin-Mrs. Virginia Revel, a widow.

As Virginia prepares from the weekend, she is blackmailed by a waiter who has letters with her signature, but ones she did not write. Weird.

She agrees to meet with the blackmailer again, only to find him dead in her house.

Not sure what to do, she asks a veteran she spotted on the sidewalk selling tracts to help her. He checks out the scene; deduces that someone is trying to keep her from Chimneys for some nefarious reason, recognizes the blackmailer as the thief of the letter, and helps remove the body. Who is this man? Why, Anthony Cade.

Virginia heads on to Chimneys to help smooth things over with McGrath and Prince Michael, the one brokering the oil deal.

That night, Anthony follows a note he found in the dead waiter’s pocket and heads to Chimneys. Exactly at the time specified he hears a shot. Who has been murdered? Who in the house is the murderer? Will they find the missing jewels? And who is this Anthony Cade?

So I don’t want to give the whole book away as you should really read it yourself. Instead I am going to go over our discussion, but there will be some spoilers.

**Spoiler Warning**

So the book contains 5 different plots

  1. The Memoirs of Count Stylpitch
    1. Everyone is afraid of what they might say and reveal to the world. All are after it to publish, surppress, discover, etc.
  2. The Blackmail of Virginia Revel
    1. Anthony is given letters written to a lover by a “Virginia Revel”. He hopes to return them, but they are stolen by a waiter who tries to use them to blackmail her.
    2. But in the end, it turns out that they are not really written by Virginia Revel at all, but someone is using her name.
  3. Vying for the Throne
    1. After the King and Queen of Herzoslovakia were assassinated, this left an empty hole on the throne. Prince Michael is a cousin to the deceased King and wants to become next to rule, but there is his cousin Nicholas who has a stronger tie and is in America who is also after the throne.
    2. But is his cousin really alive, or is this an impostor? And what about the revolutionaries who want no king?
  4. Missing Jewels
    1. Before Lord Caterham’s brother died, he had all the responsibilities of the land and parliament. He used to bring all kinds of officials to his home, Chimneys, and the King and Queen of Herzoslovakia stayed there, the Queen hiding the crown jewels that she stole somewhere on the property. They have been looking for them for years, but now hopefully Count Stiplych’s memiors will give them great clues to find the hiding place.
  5. Murder of Prince Michael
    1. Michael is shot in the night, but whodunit? With a household full of people there are plenty of suspects.

Something Agatha Christie always likes to stress in her books is how we never know people we meet, only what they tell us about them. When you meet someone for the first time and they tell you their history, you take it as is, never questioning them, but in reality they could be anyone. This is stressed in this book as well as their are numerous multiple identities. While all present themselves as something, a few characters hide who they really are:

  • Two characters are actually a prince
  • One is  a thief
  • One is a Pinkerton agent
  • One is an actress

Virginia is an amazing woman. She is living in the 1920s, but she does what she wants, refuses marriage for single life, assists in hunting down the murderer, is intelligent, capable, collected etc. She’s nobody’s fool.

“Why?’

‘I beg your pardon?’

‘I said why? You don’t boom the real English gentlewoman with every stray Canadian who sets foot upon our shores. What is the deep idea, George? To put it  vulgarly, what do you get out of it?’

‘I cannot see that that concerns you, Virginia.’

‘I couldn’t possibly go out for an evening and fascinate, unless I knew all the whys and wherefores.”

Virginia is a strong character who us not afraid to be feminine as well. I just love her.

And then Anthony Cade. Anthony is amazing. You just can’t help liking the man.

For more on The Secret of Chimneys, go to There Wouldn’t Be Any Difficulty in Finding a King: The Secret of Chimneys

For more Agatha Christie, go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

For more on my book club, go to I Started a Book Club

For more mysteries, go to Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders

I’m So FANcy!

So I’m sure you all think I will be talking about this:

NOPE!

Instead it’ll be on this:

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Yep, here we are with another fan-filled posts all on the things I hardcore fangirl over. Read, watch, and enjoy!

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Audrey Hepburn

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Audrey Hepburn is my favorite actress in the whole wide world. I think she is just so amazing in everything she has been in and absolutely beautiful. Plus she has the best fashion sense! Everything I see her in I want, every hairstyle I need; but I would never look as breathtakingly beautiful as her. Not only was Audrey an amazing actress, but she was a true patriot (working against the Nazis on her bike delivering messages in WWII) and a philanthropic woman, creating and giving to many charities. There is no better woman to look up to.

Now my favorite movies of hers is Sabrina.

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Words cannot express how much I love this movie, although I did try in my Valentine’s countdown. To read my review, go to Now That I’ve Met You, I Can’t Imagine Life Without You: Sabrina (1954) Another great favorite of mine is her first film Roman Holiday (1953).

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In which she plays a princess playing hooky, in order to have a real holiday. I reviewed that for 2014’s Valentine’s countdown and you can read the review at: Your Secret is Safe With Me: Roman Holiday (1953)I also love Funny Face (1957)

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Now how can you think that? You’re Audrey Hepburn and utter perfection.

in which she plays Jo Stockton, philosopher and book store employee. On a photo shoot she gets noticed by a famous photographer (played by Fred Astaire) who quickly gets this beatnik caught up in the world of fashion and takes her to Paris as his model. She tries to stay true to her beliefs, do well in the shoots and on the runway; all the while falling for the man behind the camera. Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

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I’m sure you all have heard of it, if not seen it. It is about Holly Golightly, New Yorker and sometimes model, trying to find a millionare to take care of her all her life. She meets Paul Varjak, a one hit writer, who has traded his typewriter to be a kept man to an older, rich, society woman. The two become friends, and Paul becomes fascinated with the mysterious Holly, eventually falling in love with her. Now Paris When it Sizzles (1964)

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is not for everyone. Any one I show this film to has one of these two reaction: 1) they love it and think it is a hilarious comedy, or 2) think it is the stupidest thing they have ever seen in their life. I’m in the #1 category, of course. Anyways, this film is a parody of filmmaking: criticizing the way writers, directors, and producers act; cliches like the bad boy/girl with the heart of gold; the use of fade-out for time passing or characters getting closer than the MPAA would like them too; etc. In this film we have the pairing of William Holden and Audrey Hepburn once again. William Holden plays an alcoholic, procrastinating, Hollywood scriptwriter, living in Paris. As he has waited until the last minute to write the script for his film, The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower, he has hired typist Gaby, played by Audrey Hepburn, to help him finish the piece by his deadline, three days from now. As Holden writes, he and Hepburn act out the characters in the story creating one comedic masterpiece. As an extra treat, there is a hilarious bit part done by Tony Curtis. Moving on to something that is both funny, serious, and musical…we have My Fair Lady (1964)

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A retelling of Pygmlion with music. In this Audrey plays the flower girl, Eliza Dolittle, that Professor Henry Higgins bets he can turn into a true lady by altering the way she talks. A truly great musical and film. Now the story of me and How to Steal A Million (1966)

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Is tale of trying to find each other. When I was young I watched this movie about stealing art that took place in France, but couldn’t remember the title, just one scene. I remember asking my mother about it and quoting the scene, but she couldn’t figure out what film I was talking about. The only film she could think of that had a burglar, that isn’t really burglarizing, the man being the thief, a woman partner, and taking place in France was To Catch a Thief. I eagerly watched the film, and loved it, but it wasn’t how I remembered the film. I figured I just had faulty memory and was done with it. Over ten years later, I decided to watch this movie as I love Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole. As I started watching it, I had this sense of deja vu, but I was certain I’d never seen it before. It wasn’t until they played the one scene that I realized this was the movie I had been thinking of. This is an absolutely hysterical heist film. Audrey plays Nicole Bonnet, daughter of a forger and leading citizen of Paris. She has been trying to get him to stop to no avail. One night, she catches a bungling burglar, Peter O’Toole, who is more than what he seems. He likes her and tries to date her; but she wants nothing to do with him. Meanwhile, her father has allowed the museum to take the famed Cellini‘s Aphrodite, a forgery done by Nicole’s grandfather. After he has signed off the museum paperwork, he discovers that the museum will be testing the statue in order to insure it. Both Nicole and her father know that such tests will show that it is a fake and bring ruin to both Bonnets. In order to stop it, Nicole hires O’Toole to steal it for her, using one crazy scheme.

Now these are just a few of her great works, and I urge you to watch her films and see for yourself how truly amazing she is.

For more on Audrey Hepburn, go to I Can See Your Beauty

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Everyday Sunday

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I was in my early teens when I became obsessed with the band. My parents had heard of this free concert that had Ever Stays Red and Everyday Sunday. Ever Stays Red performed first, and I thought they were okay. When Everyday Sunday performed…oh I was hooked. I bought their CD immediately. Of course I thought the guys in the group were hot, but even more I enjoyed their songs. The Wake Up! Wake Up! album was my favorite and I bought it as soon as it came out. I listened to the song Let’s Go Back on my CD player a gazillion times. I was obsessed with them.

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And of course there is my story of getting all their autographs. I know I’ve mentioned it before, but for those of you who missed it, this is what happened:

So I went to this huge outdoor concert, (three days and a bunch of bands), to see them. I was first in line to get their autographs, and was fully prepared as having borrowed my mom’s sharpie with the promise to return it to her. So I was waiting in line and I had recieved Trey ❤ (squee!) and another band member’s autographs, but I still needed the other two. I was standing around waiting, when one of the guards/manager/whatever people told me I had to go because I was blocking the way. I was so heartbroken to have to leave, but started making my way out:

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As I was walking out I ran into another member and got his autograph.

Oh yeah!

Oh yeah!

So I was still sad that I didn’t have the last signature, but then as I was walking out I ran into the last guy!  And got his autograph. But then I realized I had left my mom’s sharpie! And I had specifically been told to make sure I brought it back. So I ran all the way down to the autograph table, told them what happened and was given the sharpie back. It wasn’t until I got back to our tent that I realized I had my  mom’s sharpie had been in my pocket all along! Now I had an awesome souvenir!!!

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Unfortunately, I lost that pen sometime when we moved. 😦

The band has changed a lot since then, so I don’t follow them as much as I used to. They still remain a big part of me, as I constantly listen to that Wake Up! Wake Up! album.

Here are some of my favorite songs: Apathy for Apologies, Bring It On, Find Me Tonight, From Me to You, I’ll Get Over It (Mis Elaineous), I Won’t Give Up, Let’s Go Back, Now You’re Gone, Star of the Show, Take Me Out, Tell Me You’ll Be There, Untitled Anonymous, Wake Up! Wake Up!, and What We’re Here For.

For more Everyday Sunday, go to Now You’re Gone

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Indiana Jones

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I am a huge fan of Indiana Jones. I used to dream about meeting him (or Harrison Ford). And how could you not love the incredible hunky hero? For those of you who have been living under a rock and are unaware of this awesome man; Indiana Jones is an archeologist and Professor of History, living in the 1930s; who balances his time with his classwork and going on grand adventures. The first film is Raiders of the Lost Ark, in which Indiana is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant from the bible, before Hitler does. He sets out trekking the globe, bringing along old flame Marian and friend Sully. The sequel to this movie wasn’t as good, and for years I would watch only the beginning and end as one scene scared the crap out of me. Eventually I overcame this, but it was’t until last year that I actually sat down and watched the film from beginning to end. In this, Temple of Doom, the adventure starts out in China, with a deal gone wrong causing Indy to flee the country with his sidekick Short Round plus a singer and the MOST ANNOYING PERSON IN THE WORLD, WillieThe group ends up crash-landing in India and set out to save a tribe’s lost children and sacred stones, both of which were stolen from them. The series picks up again with the third film, The Last Crusade, in which Indy and his father (played by Sean Connery) set out to save the Holy Grail from being stolen by Nazis. They made a fourth film which was a real disappointment so I won’t even speak about it. The first and third films are absolutely amazing, with the second definitely having its cool moments.

Now after the three films came out, we had Indiana Jones mania and lots of other things were made to increase money. I have to say I jumped on a lot of those trains. There was The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. This TV series had Indiana Jones meeting famous people throughout history (educational) and going on adventures. In the second season he is an adult and it follows his adventures with Pancho Villa, the IRA, and involvement in WWI, later returning to school and joining a jazz group. This show was a lot of fun, and you learned a lot as well. Piggybacking off of this series was two book series involving the adventures of young Indiana Jones. One was a regular story format about his adventures as a boy, while the other covered his time as an teenager and were Choose Your Own Adventure themed. I have to admit that I read both of them. Big time fan.

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And that’s not all. I read the book series Indiana Jones: Prequels of which detail his life from college to right before the first film. Now quite a few books in the series were bad fanfiction, but there were actually quite a number that were written well. Most of the good ones were written by Rob MacGregor who actually assisted with the screenplays, so he had the truest to form character of Indiana Jones. Indiana Jones and the Seven Veils, Genesis Deluge, Unicorn’s Legacy, Philosopher’s Stone, Dinosaur Eggs, and Secret of the Sphinx were good. The rest were okay or downright awful. I even went as far as starting the series that took place during WWII and covered events mentioned in the last Indiana Jones film, but those weren’t as good.

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And that doesn’t end my fangirlness. I also started a Indiana Jones fanclub. All us girls in it chose state names before our last names, in honor of Indy. We had Alaska Adams, Ohio Hirano, Virgina Mabel, Georgia Hattie, Illinois Villers, and Nevada Sinclair (Me). We even created our own pictograph language to pass notes.fandomvsReallife Yep, I was obsessed and still am. In fact, my most recent purse was chosen because it resembled Indian Jones satchel.

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And of course I am a huge fan of the ride, which you can read more about at And Away We Go.

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For more on Indiana Jones, go to Heaven on Earth

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My Chemical Romance

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Now I got into this fandom after the group had broken up. It all started with just one song, Welcome to the Black Parade and that was it. I was hooked and had joined the fandom.

First of all we have the amazing Gerard Way who looks good no matter what he does.

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The songs are amazing and the music videos are AWESOME!!! Like Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na). 

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Now I could go on and on, but I won’t. I’ll be saving that for my individual posts on the songs. Here are some of my favorites: Welcome to the Black Parade, I Don’t Love You, House of Wolves, Cancer, Mama, Teenagers, Na-Na-Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na), Bulletproof Heart, The Only Hope for Me is You, Save Yourself I’ll Hold Them Back, Summertimeand The Kids from Yesterday.

For more on My Chemical Romance go to Na-Na-Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)

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Nancy Drew

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Now I never wanted to be a fan of Nancy Drew. My older sister Jessica loved her, and that was her thing. But, Nancy would not be deterred from my life. Oh no.

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It started one day when I was in sixth grade. My middle school library was amazing and I spent many happy days there. They had a great collection of all types of books. I loved the series Sweet Valley High (more on that later) and would check out tons of the series’ books. One day I grabbed Strange Memories as I was in a hurry, and when I got home realized it wasn’t a Sweet Valley High, but a Nancy Drew: Case Files.

After that, I was hooked. I started reading the series and became a huge fan. I still try to collect the whole series, every time I spot one in a thrift store, snapping it up to add to my collection. These books came out in the late ’80s and continued until the early 2000s. These books involved pretty, redhead, 18 year old Nancy Drew who was one amazing crime-solving sleuth. She was often assisted by George Fayne, her tall athletic, dark-haired friend; and Bess Marvin, George’s cousin, blonde, curvy, and also utterly gorgeous and boy-crazy. She is always trying to lose 5-10 pounds, but looks good all the same. Ned Nickerson is Nancy’s boyfriend, who attends college and is always having an internship in a various things (making me wonder what his major is) which always involve Nancy coming around to solve a mystery. The two fight over Nancy not always paying attention to Ned and his needs, and even break up momentarily. Of course this couple can’t be far apart for long, and resume dating.

Now I absolutely loved this series, but not everyone did. As Nancy Drew is revamped every ten years or so, people who liked the series before don’t care for this version, and those who become a fan later, can’t get into it either. The other thing I loved about this series was that they did Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys crossovers. I love Nancy and Ned together, but I have to admit…a big part of me always wanted her and Frank Hardy to get together.

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I’m conflicted.

Hmm

Hmm

Some of the books were absolutely wonderful, while others were just okay. But hey, that always happens in a series. My favorites are: Secrets Can Kill (#1), in which Nancy goes undercover in a preppy high school to figure out who a blackmailer is; Deadly Intent (#2), in which a concert to see Barton Novak turns out to an abduction case; White Water Terror (#6)Nancy wins a river rafting trip for four and takes along Bess, George, and Ned. But what should be fun in the sun, turns into a series of sabotage and murder. In Stay Tuned for Danger (#17), Nancy goes on TV to figure out who is threatening a famous soap opera star. When Bess falls for the star, Nancy finds herself racing against time to save both of them. Sisters in Crime (#19) sends Nancy to San Diego State in order to investigate an accidental drowning and a sorority. She discovers that college life isn’t glitz, fun, and studying; as murder walks the campus. Recipe for Murder (#21) finds Nancy back in school, cooking school that is. She and the full gang are getting lessons in French cooking, pastry, and Chinese food. While there Nancy discovers some unsavoriness; sabotage, blackmail, slander, murder, and espionage. In Something to Hide (#41), Ned is doing a testing project on acne creme for his marketing class. When Nancy steps by to say hi, Bess becomes ill. And she’s not the only one! Suddenly an epidemic is spreading through the town, all of which tie back to the Acne creme. Now Nancy is one the case to discover who could be poisoning teens, and why? A Model Crime (#51) in this book, Bess is chosen to be a finalist for Face of the Year, a modeling contest (think America’s Next Top Model), but as Nancy travels to Chicago she sees that there is more to this “Face” than meets the eye as someone is trying to sabotage it. Don’t Look Twice (#55), is one of my absolute favorites. In this Nancy goes to visit Ned at an away game, finding a cheerleader who looks a lot like her, wanting to put Nancy out of the picture. This cheerleader, Denise, invites the group out to pizza, where Nancy gets kidnapped! She is let go as the kidnappers got the “wrong girl”, leaving Nancy to figure out who will be abducted and when. Tall, Dark, and Deadly (#66) when a young girl is kidnapped, Nancy and Bess go undercover to figure out where she is. The two find themselves trying to find the girl’s last date and hopefully abductor. Designs in Crime (#89), Nancy once again sees that the fashion world has a dark side when she investigates the thefts of a designer’s famous designs. This case of corporate espionage turns deadly, when an assistant is found murdered. Betrayed by Love (#118)Nancy and Ned are invited to an old friend, Angela’s, wedding. There they find what should be a happy occasion is anything but: with the mother of the bride wasting away to a disease unknown, the groom’s ex-girlfriend insisting that they are still together, a serious case of sabotage, threats against the bride; and one dead body. And of course, Strange Memories (#122)in which Nancy and George are vacationing in San Francisco, only to find a girl with amnesia.

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Then there are the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys Super Mysteries which always involved two cases that ended up connecting at some point in the book. I loved these as I loved the pairing of the two sleuths and as before-mentioned, Nancy and Frank. Sorry Ned. Of these books I loved: Double Crossing (#1), Nancy goes on a cruise to visit George, the activities director. When she gets there she discovers that Frank and Joe are undercover trying to discover who is robbing the guests. The three detectives also come upon a double dealer, selling American secrets. Will the three find the thief and save America’s security? A Crime for Christmas (#2)Nancy and Bess are visiting New York City, doing a little Christmas shopping; when they run into Frank and Joe. The Hardy Boys are once again on a case, trying to catch a Cat Burglar team. The four also meet a guest staying there, who turns out to be a crown prince and find themselves caught in the middle of a coup. Dangerous Games (#4), Ned calls in Nancy, George, Bess, Frank, and Joe to help protect a sister and brother from Scandinavia competing in the Games tournament. All go undercover and try to find out who could be sabotaging the two. When one of their supervisors starts investigating an old unsolved murder involving the athletes gathered, he is almost killed, leaving the detectives to solve that case as well. Hits and Misses (#16), Bess is competing in a talent TV show with Nancy tagging along. The two discover an amnesic girl and try to find out who she is, a situation that won’t be easy as many are trying to kill her.  Frank and Joe are visiting an old friend and trying to figure out who would steal the masters of the singer Angelique. The two cross paths and discover that their cases as more closely related than they would have thought.

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From 2004-2012, they came out with a new series of Nancy Drew that I was also a fan of. I liked the series, but nowhere as much as I loved the ’80s one. In this Nancy became an environmentalist, scatter-brained, forgetting everything, detective. She also worked with and against the Chief of police more. George was updated to not only being athletic but super tech-savy. Bess was no longer curvy on a diet, but perfectly formed interested in makeup, clothes, and super handy at fixing things. I didn’t care for this series as much as most of the mysteries were really lowkey. For instance in one Ned wants to fly, but then keeps avoiding it; as it turns out he is afraid of heights. In another one George keeps avoiding a certain spa, when it turns out the reason is that she applied for a job there and was turned down. In one they are reenacting the Civil War, and a website like Ancestry.com is ripping people off telling them they are all descendants of Union generals who did amazing things during the war. Boring.

Then they had the graphic novels and I LOVED these! I highly recommend the whole series if you have yet to read them. These involved the same updates from before, but switched from lowkey crimes to high, scary, and at time supernatural ones. I HIGHLY RECCOMMEND THEM!

I’ve read a few of the original books, but can’t get really into them as they are so easily solved. Oh well.

Then there are the films. I reallu liked Nancy Drew: Detective and Nancy Drew…Girl Reporter which came out in the 1930s. In these Nancy is fast talking, crime solving girl who is eager to prove her mettle and will not let chauvinistic comments bring her down. In this Ned and Nancy aren’t dating, and he tends to be her unwilling assistant. These films are funny and adorable and can be viewed on Youtube if you wish.

There also was a film in 2002, Nancy Drew, starring Maggie Lawson. In this Nancy is going to college to be a journalist, but I didn’t like the film at all. I thought they made Nancy sorta brainless and mean to Ned, completely ignoring him.

And then there were the Nancy Drew video games. I never bought these but borrowed them from the library, played them, and sent them back. Secrets Can Kill didn’t work as it had a scratch, but the beginning was great as it really puts you in the mystery. Stay Tuned for Danger I knew as I had read the book. The Final Scene was great, as I had never read the book. In this Bess is kidnapped, and you have to solve the mystery before the theater is demolished with Bess inside! And the last game I played was Danger by Design, in which Nancy goes undercover to infiltrate a Parisian designer, Minette. It was thrilling and hard.

And now finally:

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Now I absolutely loved this show!

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I came upon this series when I bought a VHS at a library sale. Afterwards, I discovered the series online (youtube) and watched the whole thing. I love the mysteries of Nancy and the Hardy Boys; with the crossover episodes being the best. Unfortunately, both actresses who played Nancy Drew left the show, leaving it just The Hardy Boys. I highly recommend this show as well as I think it was absolutely fantastic and wish there were way more episodes of them. Not to mention I love Parker Stevenson and Shaun Cassidy.

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This also has one of the best intros. It starts off with the book covers of both series appearing in time to creepy music. It then switches to clips from the show in combo with book covers. It’s fantastic.

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fangirl casual fan diehard fan consume me love it

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For the previous post, go to Please Excuse My Dear Fan Lady

Stay tuned for part 11

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For more of my favorite music, go to Sisterly Roles

For more book-filled posts, go to Adventure Time

If Only It Was the Picture Who was to Grow Old, and I Remain Young: The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945)

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If only it was the picture who was to grow old, and I remain young. There’s nothing in the world I wouldn’t give for that. Yes, I would give even my soul for it.

So my roommate has been reading The Picture of Dorian Gray and I decided that it was the perfect time to include a post on this film version of the book.

So The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favorite classics novels, and this movie did a pretty good job of keeping things pretty similar only making a few changes.

So Dorian Gray is a handsome, wealthy, young man living in 19th century England.  While he is an intelligent and educated young man he is very naive and easily manipulated. He is also a people pleaser, and easily changes his opinions and views to suit what others think.

He is having his portrait done by the accomplished artist Basil Hallward. One day, Basil’s friend Lord Henry Wotton stops by right before a painting appointment. Basil tries to get rid of his friend as he knows that Lord Henry’s cynicism will destry Dorian. In fact Basil has been trying to keep them apart for a long time now. However, it doesn’t work as Dorian shows up for his appointment while Lord Henry is still there.

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Dorian is quickly taken with Lord Henry’s “wisdom” and “philosophy”.  Lord Henry tells Dorian that the only life worth living is one dedicated entirely to pleasure. Lord Henry convinces Dorian that youth and beauty will bring him everything he desires, and that once its over his life is too.

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Dorian becomes depressed at this and nothing Basil says will help him. While Dorian is being painted he wishes that his portrait could age instead of him. He makes this statement in the presence of a certain Egyptian statue, which supposedly has the power to grant wishes. (In the book, there is no mention of an Egyptian statue, in fact in the book they never explain how he stays young forever.)

Dorian’s wish is granted and his soul is transferred to the painting. Now the painting ages instead of him.

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Now that Dorian is only after beauty and pleasure he goes and visits a tavern and falls in love with Sybil Vane, a singer/entertainer. (In the book she was an actress who performed wonderfully and Dorian fell in love with her acting). Dorian hasn’t told Sybil what his name is yet, she refers to him as Sir Tristan her knight. Sybil is played by Angela Lansbery. Donna Reed really wanted this part, but was given Gladys instead.

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Unfortunately, when Lord Henry finds out he is none too pleased. He gives Sybil a “virtue test” which she fails. (In the book Sybil couldn’t pretend to suffer or be in love with her fellow actors as all her love and emotion for Dorian eclipsed them).

The next morning, Lord Henry informs Dorian that Sibyl killed herself. Dorian is freaked out and feels guilty but copies his mentor Lord Henry and acts indifferent. He goes to the opera right after and lives it up. That night, Dorian sees a change in the portrait.  It now has a cruel look to him and Dorian hides it away, afraid that others will see it.  He continues his sinful and heartless life.

Time passes by and Dorian is now entering into his 40th birthday. He still looks as young and beautiful as ever. The painting has now become atrocious and is locked away from everyone. Dorian has even gotten rid of his old servants who might see it.
Ivan Le Lorraine Albright's famous painting of the decayed Dorian Gray - which took approximately one year to complete - is now owned by the Art Institute of Chicago, where it has been on display for many years.

Ivan Le Lorraine Albright’s famous painting of the decayed Dorian Gray – which took approximately one year to complete – is now owned by the Art Institute of Chicago, where it has been on display for many years.

I can’t reveal the rest of the film as if you haven’t read the book it will give away the ending. You should definitely read the book and check out this film.
One thing that is extremely different about this film is that they add an additional relationship. In the movie Basil has a niece, Gladys (played by Donna Reed), that has always had a crush on Dorian and now that he remains young and she has gotten older they are able to connect.
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What else is really interesting is that the movie is black and white except for four times when Dorian Gray’s picture is shown in color.
Sorry to end so abruptly but I’m telling ya that you need to check the ending out for yourself. I would hate myself for ruining it for anyone out there.
Here’s a cover page I made for my facebook this year for my countdown to Halloween.
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For more on Oscar Wilde, go to The Two Times to be Over