The Big Four: “I have met people who enjoy a channel crossing; men who can sit calmly in their deck chairs and, on arrival, wait until the boat is moored, then gather their belongings together without fuss and disembark.”
Detective: Hercule Poirot
Published: January 1927
Length: 282 pages
Setting: London, Southampton, Devon, Surrey, Paris, Hatton Chase (fictional), Worcestershire, Belgium, South Tyrol (Italy)
Returning from Argentina after an 18-month absence, Hasting finds his old friend, Detective Hercule Poirot ready to depart for South American himself. He has been summoned by a client, Abe Ryland, who is a powerful man and in urgent need of his services. But when Poirot finds a dishevelled, emaciated man in his bedroom with no clue as to how he got there, his departure is delayed. As the man mutters Poirot’s name, while writing the number 4, Hastings speculates on a crime syndicate named The Big Four, whereupon the man reveals the possible players:
I drew The Phoenix and the Turtle, a poem by William Shakespeare, for my Deal Me In Challenge, and after reading it, I’m so confused. Fortunately, I pulled up an article on it which said it is one of the more confusing poems in English literature, so I feel a little better. But only a little. Let’s see what I can discover about it ……
“The Mole had been working very hard all the morning, spring-cleaning his little home.”
Like many readers, I read The Wind in the Willows as a child and was completely charmed by the adventures of Ratty and Mole and Badger and Mr. Toad and the other creatures who populated Grahame’s captivating tale. Yet like any children’s book read as an adult, you wonder if it will have the same effect now as then. Would I relate to its characters, be able to vividly imagine its setting, to become part of the story instead of simply experiencing it? Fortunately, I found time had diminished none of its magic. From the moment that Mole discovered the river and began “messing around in boats,” I was there. I could hear the fresh wind rushing through the reeds and the splash of the water as Mole fell out of the boat. I could feel the warmth of Ratty’s snug house and the fear of Mole as he trekked through the Wild Woods. And what became appreciated once again became familiar and what became familiar became loved.
Oh, what a year! Life just continues to hand out twists and turns and often it’s hard to keep up. But keep up one must and while running, I’m making a slow foray back into the blogosphere!
How is everyone doing? Is the going getting easier? Are the characters beginning to stick in your mind? Now we move to more battle scenes with interesting exchanges and the gods are plotting against each other.
My goodness, I was starting to get nervous. I’d participated in this challenge since the beginning of my blog, which means approximately 6 years. I was worried that it wasn’t happening this year but Karen posted the sign-up post yesterday and I’m thrilled. It’s one of my favourite challenges, even though I haven’t done splendidly with it the last couple of years. However, this year is a new year and I will try again!
Cardsharps (1594) Caravaggio
The Deal Me In Challenge 2020 is here! I completely failed at this challenge last year but it doesn’t mean that I can’t try again. And how can I miss its 10th Anniversary? Jay at Bibliophilopolis is hosting this amazing 10th challenge, where you choose 52 short stories for the year, each linked to a playing card, and then draw the cards each week to see what you’ll read.
The Blue Carbuncle
Two days after Christmas, Watson calls on Sherlock Holmes only to find him scrutinizing an old battered hat. Holmes reveals that Peterson, a commissionaire, saw a man with a goose over his shoulder being assaulted by some ruffians. The man raised his cane to defend himself and broke a window behind him; when he saw Peterson running towards him, he hastily fled, leaving his hat and the goose behind. Peterson sought Holmes for help finding the owner of these treasures, but the only physical clues they discover are a tag on the goose, reading, “For Mrs. Henry Baker” and the initials H.B. inscribed on the inside of the hat.
I’m trying to read some Christmas stories to get in the mood for the season and I’ve had this book, aptly titled Christmas Stories, waiting for me since I saw O’s postings last year, and I decided to order it immediately. It’s a lovely collection of stories, mostly from classic authors like Dickens, Gogol, Trollope, Tolstoy, Cather, etc. The Story of the Goblins Who Stole the Sexton is the first story in the collection and it goes like this …
Lily awakes the next morning still exhausted but with a clearer view of her circumstances. Gus Trenor would need to be repaid the nine thousand dollars he has given her and she feels a tired weariness at her predicament. “She was realizing for the first time that a woman’s dignity may cost more to keep up than her carriage; and that the maintenance of a moral attribute should be dependent on dollars and cents, made the world appear a more sordid place than she had conceived it.”