The Field of Blood by Denise Mina on BBC

I really enjoyed watching the adaptation of Denise Mina’s book The Field of Blood which was on TV on Sunday and Monday evenings. I haven’t read the book so I don’t know how faithful it was to the storyline but it did have a great cast of actors, have a look here.

It was set in Glasgow in 1982 and everything was so recognisably of that time, it was quite nostalgic really. Paddy Meehan’s home brought it all back, white pyrex dishes and all – now very collectable btw!

Has anybody read the book? I read Denise Mina’s Still Midnight recently and although I love crime fiction (but not the gory type) and Glasgow so the book should have been an all round winner for me, somehow it failed to hit the spot. It didn’t have that sense of place which for me is the signature of Scottish writers, very weird when you consider what a strong character the city of Glasgow has.

Can anybody recommend a Denise Mina book which I should try reading?

Still Midnight by Denise Mina

Still Midnight cover

This is one of the books which I picked up on my last visit to the library. I’d been meaning to read something by Denise Mina for years but this one didn’t live up to my expectation so I’ll leave it a while before trying another one, just in case this one is not as good as the others.

It’s a crime novel set in Glasgow but it doesn’t have the feeling of Glasgow the way a book by Ian Rankin or Alexander McCall Smith exudes the atmosphere of Edinburgh. University Avenue which I’ve frequented for 35 years or so was unrecognisable. Apparently the students are all tall and tanned!!

There’s nothing much in the way of humour, no smart ‘patter’ between characters and in fact there are very few characters who are even mildly likeable and that always makes it very difficult to enjoy a book. You could say that I have no right to expect humour in a crime novel but sans humour – it just isn’t Glasgow. Christopher Brookmyre manages to do it in his crime novels, although he sometimes takes it a wee bit too far.

It’s the story of the Anwar family who have a small corner shop and when the father is kidnapped a ransom of £2,000,000 is demanded, but they don’t have anything like that kind of money.

I saw the ‘twist’ in the story from a long way off. The blurb has Val McDermid (another Scottish crime writer) saying ‘Denise Mina is set to carve a niche for herself as the Crown Princess of Crime.’ Which I thought was the funniest part of the book, I suppose Val sees herself as the Queen of Crime then!

Library Loot (and mobile phones)

I had a phone call from my local library the other day letting me know that a book which I had requested was ready to be picked up so I strolled along there and had a look around to see if there was anything else worth taking out. It’s often quite slim pickings but this time as you will see I ended up borrowing quite a few.

1. The Brandons by Angela Thirkell (Joan Kyler mentioned this author and I thought I’d give her a go.) This is the one I requested.

2. A Matter of Trust by Robin Pilcher. I’ve enjoyed quite a few of his mother Rosamunde’s now so I thought it would be interesting to see what he is like.

3. Still Midnight by Denise Mina. I’ve been meaning to read something by her for ages because she’s from Glasgow and sometimes appears on the Friday Newsnight review.

4. An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson. Jo at The Book Jotter is reading this author so I thought I’d give her a go.

5. News From Nowhere by William Morris. This one was on a prominent stand shouting ‘borrow me’. I knew that Morris wrote poetry but this is ‘Chapters from a Utopian Romance’ – could be interesting.

6. Secret Gardens (the Golden Age of Children’s Literature) by Humphrey Carpenter. He wrote the Mister Majeika books which were so popular when our sons were wee. I keep having to get this book out to check information, I think I’ll end up buying it.

So, as you can see, quite a haul. Now I just have to read them all.

Making my way to the crime section I had to go past a chap who was just beginning a call on his mobile/cell phone, a bit strange I thought because I assumed that people wouldn’t use them in the library. Silly me! I actually turned away from him and walked to another area because I didn’t want him to think I was listening in!

However he proceeded to yell into his phone whilst walking all around the library. The first thing he said was ‘Hello, it’s about consolidating a loan!!’ I was flabbergasted, he continued to answer all the personal questions that were obviously being put to him – the upshot of which is that and I everybody else within the library couldn’t help hearing it all. Name, address, employment details, personal numbers, how much debt he had – the lot.

Talk about being cavalier with your own security! I couldn’t believe it. I’m not a great one for speaking on the phone much and to me a mobile phone is for emergency use only. It’s beyond me why people use them for such inane conversations, like the people who block up the aisles in supermarkets while they phone someone to ask what sort of frozen peas they should buy. Birds Eye or Tesco’s own brand? they yell. Make a bloody decision, I scream. In my head.

For some reason a lot of people who have their phones clamped to their heads most of the time seem to think that nobody can hear what they’re saying and so they’re completely unaware that they are invading other peoples’ space.

I think it’s similar to people who think that nothing bad can happen to them because they have a camera in front of them, or they think that they can’t get in the way of people, like that idiot photographer who jumped in front of a marathon runner to get a photo of him and tripped the poor runner up.

Heigh-ho! I just felt the need to share that and have a bit of a rant. Now I’m off to get some reading done.