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Friday, 14 February 2014

THE GATHERING MURDERS TRANSLATED INTO CZECH

I am pleased to say that The Gathering Murders, which was the first of my West Uist crime series, featuring Torquil McKinnon has been translated into Czech.



I am pleased with the cover.

Here is one of the first reviews (Please note, this is a Google translation from Czech to English)

Murders in the Hebrides ( Keith Moray )
Published: January 29, 2014 | 

Review by Michael Turková

Keith Moray Murder on HebridáchKdyž Ann Cleevesová proved that even the small Scottish islands can deliver quality thriller , has broken the way for other authors. Keith Moray chose Hebrides , namely fictional West Uist , so who read Shetland Black raven from Cleevesové may also compared.

The hero is the young inspector Torquil McKinnon, who is preparing for a bagpipe competition during the annual literary festival. He is known to his friends as Piper. The literary festival and highland gathering on the island brings a diverse mix of tourists, writers and fans to the island - and a mysterious villain, who, according to the prologue has just murdered their relatives. 

Keith Moray simply writes about the Scottish islands without frills, but is quite optimistic - a lot of Gaelic, golf and enthusiastic young people. However, police on the island consists of three people with a low average age, and none of them are  melancholy - but that does not want to touch Inspector Perez , I loved it and I hope that they come from other parts of Shetland series ... But just cops Torquil , Morag and Ewan are quite balanced and happy nature.

We have , however, several candidates to be murdered. Fiona is a hot tip, the author of detective stories inspired by real cases and persons. Her next book is said to be about someone from the island Oddly enough, the first corpse will be a different kind of writer , also a participant of the festival, poet Ranald Buchanan.

New episodes investigation par excellence, západouistský police force is busy, and even have to take on auxiliary constables (although the Drummond twins only seem to share a brain cell.) Island is closed , no one is allowed to sail because, as possibly explained Sergeant Driscoll officer McPheeovi " Ewan , dear, right now they are in the West Uist suspects absolutely everyone ! "

But as the investigation goes always slow addition of three people and an island full of suspects , it was necessary to increase the risk escalate adversity really dramatize the plot . Author accomplish the threat Dudáková superior that the quest have 24 hours - before they will lift the embargo , the suspects leave and arrive commander, will take over the case and the buggers . Time is running ...

Murders in the Hebrides is a straightforward thriller that does not even attempt to play something else. Although they are quite manage to subtly show life on the island as it is today. When the modern era struggles with ancient legends and superstitions of the seal where men Selkie investigating inspector who travels around the island on a motorbike and a leather jacket. I enjoyed every page and in the spirit marveled at how the author managed to tangle ties and motives of a few key characters , as featured here . And until the last chapter, I believed that there was finally a Scottish thriller that is NOT depressed. I hope that we will see other cases pipers McKinnon and his two-member division - good reading can please , though rainbow ends and alpenglow ...

Original: The Gathering Murders, 2006
Translation: Michal Frost
Published by: Lykeion , 2013
216 pages

Sunday, 2 February 2014

JOHNNY GUITAR - A WESTERN MOVIE WITH A DIFFERENCE


“The Beauty and the Beast of westerns, a western dream," 

Francois Trauffaut






I went to see this movie at a special showing at the Grand Theatre in Leeds last night. Before it started we had an introduction by Dr Lee Broughton, who is the Lever Trust Early Career Fellow in World Cinema at Leeds University.  He has studied the movie and provided a background to the Western movies of the period and highlighted just how unusual a movie it was, given the state of American politics and how they were reflected in the cinema in the 1950s. And indeed it is an unusual movie, with singing cowboys and female gunslingers.

It was made in 1954 by Republic Pictures, an independent studio. Nicholas Ray directed it and it starred Joan Crawford, Mercedes McCambridge, Sterling Hayden and Scott Brady. There were also a strong cast of Western stalwarts, including Ward Bond, Ernest Borgnine and John Carradine.

The screenplay was credited to Philip Yordan,  based on a novel by Roy Chanslor. But in fact, the screenplay was written by Ben Maddow, who had been blacklisted during the MacArthy era, because of past left-wing sympathies. Republic were making a lot of cheap movies and Maddow would have been offered the lower paid 'blacklist rate.' That was an interesting piece of social history, because it demonstrated that blacklisted writers could still work, but they just weren't credited.

The plot is fairly simple, but it stands out because of the strong female characters and the reversal of the traditional Western movie roles. Also, the title song co-written by Peggy Lee and Victor Young, and sung by Peggy Lee is quite haunting.

In 2008 Johnny Guitar was selected for preservation in the United States Film Registry because it was considered to be culturally, historically and aesthetically significant. I can quite see why it was. It isn't the greatest Western ever made, in my opinion, but it was unusual and it certainly made an impact on me.