Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Foyle's War - The Cage - Episode Review

If one is a detective, it’s a fairly certain occupational hazard that your privacy will be violated by a man—wounded in some manner—stumbling into your office, gasps out a cryptic phrase to the tune of “Purple Elephant!”, and falls dead.

“This man has been murdered, Holmes!”

It had to happen. Except, in this case, the man stumbles into a hospital, gasping out the phrase “Ten I!” Meanwhile, a woman gets a mysterious phone call, promptly disappearing and playing merry hell with operations at MI5.

Things are a bit less chaotic than episode one—Foyle is starting to settle into his new job (because, let’s face it, he has nothing to do in retirement but fish and drink scotch), Sam is finding her feet as Foyle’s secretary, and Adam has begun awkwardly campaigning in the dastardly world of politics. And how’s life at the work place? Horowitz has spun a world of lies, interdepartmental spying, and blackmail. Needless to say, Foyle doesn’t fit in. Though actually, he does a bit. Foyle isn’t above using a little misdirection, but it’s still his tenacity that gets him through.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Dean's Watch Review/Quotes

Sometimes you run into a book that has to be savored. The Dean's Watch, by Elizabeth Goudge, is such a book. I told my dad, on finishing it, that she must have been a person who deeply loved the beauty of creation. She loved it so much, that when she describes the world, you can feel the joy pulsing just beneath the skin of the words. Like all artists, the creation process is a deeply important part of her view of God, and is intrinsic to the theology of The Dean's Watch.

The setting is a remote mid-nineteenth-century town in England and its grand cathedral. The cathedral Dean, Adam Ayscough, holds a deep love for his parishioners and townspeople, but he is held captive by an irrational shyness and intimidating manner. The Dean and Isaac Peabody, an obscure watchmaker who does not think he or God have anything in common, strike up an unlikely friendship. This leads to an unusual spiritual awakening that touches the entire community.
Elizabeth Goudge's books are hard to find, but well worth the search. The book is, in essence, a small story, about small people, but is contrasted against the majestic looming symbol of the Cathedral which is the city which is faith itself. Goudge has great talent in taking the most unsavory characters and finding something likable - even lovable - about them, furthering the novel's primary theme: Christian charity, to love even the unlovely.

My only complaint about the book would be that it is slowly paced, and sometimes tedious. Pressed by work, I don't have the time to review more fully, but even better, I chose some of the choice quotes.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Foyle's War - The Eternity Ring - Episode Review

TV shows, after a few years, often slip into a well-worn groove. All the actors know their place, their character, and things move along with an enjoyable professionalism, albeit a slightly predictable one. Foyle’s War was axed in 2008, but in 2010 the show was, to use a hackneyed phrase, back by popular demand. In the previous finale, the detective had retired (again), and there is no war to be Foyle’s. There was no groove to be well-worn. In 2010, without the war, Foyle had lost his bearings. Sure, the reboot was unpredictable, but had lost its sense of place and was moving into dangerous territory with Foyle's background.

However, series 7 has returned Christopher Foyle to familiar ground: wartime corruption and intrigue. At the same time, the world is radically different. Episode 1 opens in the New Mexico desert with the test of an atomic bomb. This ain’t The Body in the Library. It’s the Cold War, and the stakes have been raised—the Soviets are the new enemy. Foyle is trapped into working for MI5 in a dilemma worthy of an Alex Rider novel (which would make sense, Mr. Horowitz.) Foyle is called upon to investigate a Russian defector and a possible band of spies: the Eternity Ring. Thus ensues a twisty espionage caper, probably a bit too complex, but thoroughly enjoyable.