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Tell us of your favorite author(s)

Discussion in 'Arts & Entertainment' started by Zkribbler, Aug 2, 2019.

  1. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Warlord

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    I am binge watching John Mortimore's Rumpole of the Bailey. (I also own three volumes of his collected short stories.)

    In the usual courtroom drama, the main character is a handsome, insightful defense attorney, in a murder trial, adeptly defending an innocent client :please:. Always, the truth comes out, and the defendant is acquitted. :sleep:

    In comparison, Rumpole is a crusty, blubbery, hard-drinking, cheroot-smoking, irascible English barrister, sometimes defending murder defendants but more often just minor villains. Sometimes he gets his clients off; sometimes not. Sometimes they're guilty; sometimes not. But in Mortimore's stories, there is always an undertone of bittersweet regret. :sad:
     
  2. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    So he's similar to Columbo, except that Columbo always solves the murder?
     
  3. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    Not really! Rumpole is a normal, fallible, human being, whose job has nothing to do with the truth. Columbo is an omniscient deity with no personal life who is solely focused on the truth.
     
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  4. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    He does have a personal life. We just never see it (he's always talking about it).
     
  5. Bugfatty300

    Bugfatty300 Buddha Squirrel

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    Just looked at my bookshelf and theres' only two books written by the same author: Barbara Tuchman. So I guess she's my favorite by default.

    It's interesting that one of her books (Distant Mirror) was approachable and very readable but I needed a dictionary to get through the other (March of Folly) and often had to read sentences multiple times.
     
  6. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Virago

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    Lewis Grassic Gibbon, author of Sunset Song, first novel in A Scots Quair.
    Its about Chris Guthrie, a woman living in rural Scotland in the early years of the 20th century.
    Heres a clip of the film trailer. I haven't seen the film but it won't have been as good as the book, ofc.

     
  7. EnglishEdward

    EnglishEdward Chieftain

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  8. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    He's always talking about it, but there's no indication that it actually exists. (Peter Falk assumed that it didn't and that everything Columbo told his suspects about his personal life was designed to trap them.)

    Columbo is not only never seen outside work, he's never even seen away from the suspects. You never see him at the police station or talking to colleagues except when arriving at the crime scene. (Apart from one or two occasions in the very first episode, I believe, before the style had been established.) He exists, as far as we can tell, only in the field. He always wears the same clothes. He has no boss, no subordinates. He never receives any kind of promotion despite his astonishing success rate. He has no private life. He has no first name. He is apparently omniscient, aware of who the murderer is as soon as he sets eyes on them, and everything he says and does from then on is intended solely to trick them into giving themselves away. His forgetfulness, his chaotic personal habits, his naive admiration for the great and the good, his innocent questions that insinuate themselves into the suspect's anxiety, are all acts. Nothing he ever says or does tells us anything about his actual character, if he has one at all - he has no apparent likes or dislikes, no personality at all except the role he plays to entrap his suspects. He has no doubts, no suspicions, no distractions, no ruminations. He has no inner life at all. He needs no pipe, no classical music, no time for his little grey cells to think, no sidekick to discuss the case with.

    Columbo is not a normal character. He is inhuman. He is some kind of avenging angel, an avatar of truth and justice. I suspect he is summoned into existence by the cosmic forces of order the moment a murder is committed, only to be dissolved again once the murderer is caught, ready to be re-summoned again next time.
     
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  9. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    So I must have imagined the TV series about his wife (played by Kate Mulgrew)... :huh:
     
  10. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Warlord

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    Both Rumpole and Columbo dress like unmade beds and can be very irritating.
    But Columbo is a straight murder mystery, albeit we know who did it [the fun is watching Columbo figure out how this week's "perfect murder" was pulled off.]

    I would guesstimate about half of each Rumpole episode deals with matters outside the case, which gives his stories a much more "human" feel. He never faces the super geniuses that Columbo faces each week. He deals with receiving stolen goods, drug sales, rape, divorce. art fraud, libel. etc.
     
  11. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    Columbo was part of my TV-watching life before I crossed firmly over into watching science fiction instead of cop shows. There was a transition period when William Shatner was the guest star/murderer, and I did enjoy that episode.

    One of the appealing things about Columbo was that the audience could follow along to try to figure out exactly which seemingly minor thing was what tripped the villain up and led Columbo to go from suspicion to certainty (in the Shatner episode it was the murder victim's watch; the victim habitually set it 5 minutes fast, but Shatner's character didn't know that and in trying to cover up the time of the murder, he set the watch to the correct time).
     
  12. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Warlord

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    My favorite is still the pilot episode. Gene Barry returns home from his business trip [read "alibi"] but fails to yell out, "Honey, I'm home!" when he comes in through the front door.
     
  13. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    Well, that was clearly a terrible idea, and the producers evidently realised it because if you recall they fairly quickly dropped the conceit that she was Columbo's wife and changed her name. I'd regard it as ill-conceived fan fiction.
     
  14. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    Of course it was a terrible idea - I never actually said I liked it, just that I remember it. Even at that time, I realized that it was ridiculous that she could be Columbo's wife.

    To tie this into the OP... I used to have a couple of Columbo paperback tie-in novels (can't remember who wrote them). :p

    And to get completely bizarre... there's a parody song about Columbo, based on the tune of "They Call the Wind Mariah" (They Call the Clod 'Columbo').
     
  15. Ozbenno

    Ozbenno Fly Fly Away Moderator Hall of Fame Staff

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    Quoted for truth!! Love both his sci-fi and non-sci-fi works. The Wasp Factory and Player Of Games are my favourites. Bonus points because he was a Civ fan as well.
     

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