Monday, July 31, 2023

Kitchen Thoughts for July 2023

In My Kitchen This Month

Another quiet month with lots of home cooking but not much new in my home and kitchen. The only real cooking challenge was a multi-day power failure. Fortunately for us, we installed a natural-gas generator several years ago, because summer thunderstorms and winter ice emergencies routinely take out the electric lines. Only part of our house is powered by the generator, though: the electric stove is not generator-powered. Consequently, I had to make meals in the microwave, the toaster oven, or other small appliances Believe me, I am very aware at how lucky we are to have what we do have, in comparison to neighbors without power, and to many others throughout the world. NO complaints!

While my culinary month is quiet, food issues of national and international importance have been in the news in July. Various events and official actions will have a large impact on worldwide food policies and global hunger. So in this post, I’ll just describe my own food happenings a little bit and then proceed with a summary of several important current events.


We enjoyed lots of fresh fruit.

Celebrating Paris in July, I made one French dish: classic ratatouille from the cookbook by
French chef Raymond Olivier. My usual recipe -- very similar -- is from Julia Child (blogged here).

Many more Asian dishes included these stir-fried snow peas.

Summer barbecue time: grilled chicken thighs, pineapple and red bell pepper — really delicious!

And once we made hamburgers with all the usual fixings.

Beautiful Serving Pieces (I wish they were mine)

I don’t have any new kitchen tools or serving pieces this month, so I thought I would
share some images from the 20th century collections of the Detroit Art Institute.
I love this silver tea service from 1938 by designer Harry Bertoia.

Also from the DIA: this Still Life by Jean Metzinger from 1925.
Coffee, liqueur, an apple, and (an item you’ll never get in my kitchen) cigars.

Finally, from the DIA, this Viennese liqueur set from 1909-1916.

Issues and Problems of our Threatened World

Food and Politics in the USA

Congress is working on a reauthorization or revision of the 2018 farm bill, which controls many aspects of agriculture and which provides US government assistance for food-insecure families. Federal programs such as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and emergency food assistance programs that supply families and food banks are all on the line. The existing farm bill expires in September, so either a complete new farm bill or an extension of some sort must happen soon. Individuals and organizations that deal with hunger in our society are pressuring for improved government support for nutrition programs, and other interests, such as big agriculture, are competing for allocation of federal money.  Here is the previous allocation:

Ultra-Processed Food and More Politics

A controversy about ultra-pasteurized food has emerged from a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This report shows that global hunger is an extreme problem, but slight progress in decreasing food insecurity has been made this year. The study also suggests that a better diet for people around the globe would include less ultra-processed food. Food manufacturers are objecting to the critique of ultra-processed foods because they make lots of money by selling them — to say it in the most simple way.  The FAO report states:

“Healthy diets are essential for achieving food security goals and improving nutritional outcomes. A healthy diet…is based on a wide range of unprocessed or minimally processed foods, balanced across food groups, while it restricts the consumption of highly processed foods and drink products.” (source)

And another controversy, this one about artificial sweetener. As readers of this blog may know, I do love Diet Coke and drink a can of it for lunch often, which is moderate consumption. You probably are aware of  a pronouncement from yet another UN organization, this time the World Health Organization, which has called out Aspartame, the key to the flavor of Diet Coke. This report calls Aspartame a possible but not proved carcinogen. 

NOTE: I’M NOT LISTENING. I will continue to drink Diet Coke.

Drought and War: Bad News for Global Food Supplies 

A parched corn crop (source)

Michigan, where I live, is not experiencing a severe heat wave this month, but other parts of the country and much of the world are suffering from terribly hot weather, bad enough to threaten crops and jeopardize the world’s food supply:

"Successive heatwaves threaten nature’s ability to provide us with food, say researchers, as they warn of an 'unseen, silent dying' in our oceans amid record temperatures scorching the Earth. … The climate crisis doesn’t just increase atmospheric heatwaves but oceanic ones too, harming coastal communities and threatening another key food source for humans. Heat stress causes dramatic die-offs, such as the 2021 'heat dome' along Canada’s Pacific coast, which killed an estimated 1 billion marine animals." (source)

Besides natural disasters, the war in Ukraine has taken an ugly turn, with Russia withdrawing its promise to allow essential grain shipments to continue to supply food to a large number of dependent countries. This too threatens the world food supply:

"Russia unleashed drone and missile attacks on Ukraine’s export infrastructure [on July 17], including silos containing hundreds of tons of grain and vital port structures. … The effect of these Russian attacks is to make it harder for Ukraine to resume shipments if and when current or future diplomatic efforts to revive the agreement from which Moscow withdrew succeed. World grain prices rose 17 percent in eight days after Russia pulled out." (source)


Neil Gaiman's Good Omens 2.
Great series, new this week, binged all 6 episodes already.

Blog post © 2023 mae sander

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Ending Paris in July

 Murder and Roast Chicken

Paris in July” has been a fun blog event hosted by Emma at Words and Peace this year. I’ve read a few books about France, and taken a few backwards looks at visits to Paris from the past. It’s been fun to see what books other readers chose, and I have a few new ideas of what to read.

Several reviewers mentioned the book Mastering the Art of French Murder by Colleen Cambridge, which was published earlier this year. Despite my efforts to concentrate on fiction written in French, I couldn’t resist this fictional portrayal of Julia Child in her earliest days in Paris, long before she wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking and became an icon of American food lovers. While author Colleen Cambridge has a rather loosey-goosey approach to historical research, it’s an amusing murder mystery. 

The novel begins with a murder in the basement of Julia and Paul Child's Paris apartment building at their famous address on Rue de l'Université. The year is 1949, early in the Childs’ time in France. The victim (fictitious, of course) had just left a party in the Childs’ apartment, and the plot involves finding out who murdered her and why. Good starting point!

Julia Child, as a character in the book, is always cooking. She is obsessed with a sudden series of failed mayonnaise preparations — and also, it seems with sex. She gives a few cooking lessons in the course of the novel: an omelet that’s not over-cooked; a roast chicken made beautifully brown because it’s smeared with butter; a superb ham; and the mayonnaise. Her culinary efforts all seem very much like episodes of  “The French Chef” from the 1960s and 70s -- or references to her original cookbooks. A few iconic scenes in the neighborhood food market also give the Julia Child character a chance to demonstrate her expertise.

I’ve read quite a few Julia Child memoirs and biographies, as well as using her original cookbook, and the novel doesn’t really add anything, or make the character more vivid than the prototypes — which a good fiction book in my opinion would do. Further, Paul Child was virtually absent from the narrative, though Julia’s sister did play a bit part. Ultimately, the reality-based characters in the novel don’t do much to help solve the murder mystery. A bit disappointing.

Julia, her sister, and Paul, needless to say, were real. Their neighbor, Tabitha Knight, who narrates the book and acts as an amateur sleuth in the mystery plot, is entirely the author's invention. Tabitha is a half-French half-American newbie in Paris, visiting her very rich grandfather. He lives in an elegant private home across the street from Julia and Paul with his lover, whom Tabitha views as her uncle. They are portrayed in an entertaining way: both of them had been active in the resistance just a few years earlier, though now they seem very aged and frail.

Tabitha's mother and grandmother had left France over 30 years before the time of the novel, having moved to America when her mother married a native of Detroit. There Tabitha was raised, and there she spent World War II working in the Willow Run bomber plant. She went to Paris because she had lost her job when the war ended — something that happened to large numbers of the female work force that unceremoniously became unemployed when the men came back from the war.

The action in the book is fast-paced, and Tabitha is constantly witnessing crimes and getting into terrible danger from the murder gang (if you want to call it that — no spoilers here). She’s very resourceful, cool-headed, and clever with tools thanks to her experience on the assembly line. Although a Paris police detective and his staff are working on the case, she beats them to the evidence and the guilty parties every time. That’s the good part of the book!

Just one thing: there are too many anachronisms for my taste, though I’m highly aware that most best-selling authors and their readers and editors are completely indifferent to this type of error. But here are a few details that could be checked with a casual google search, so they bother me. I know that they don’t matter to the intended audience of the book. Don’t read them if accuracy isn’t your thing —
  • A reference to a 1946 Thunderbird when the first Ford Thunderbird was a 1955 model, released in 1954. (p. 69)
  • Several references to the use of plastic bags in various contexts, some quite significant to the plot, when they weren’t available for at least a decade after the time of the novel. (p. 6 and elsewhere)
  • Casual use of the word “gay” to describe the grandfather and his partner, a usage that existed in obscure circles but not used as in the novel until much later. (p. 61)
  • This quote from a villain: “all of it has been going on right under their very noses for months now, and they know bupkis.” (p. 228) This yiddishism, bupkis meaning “nothing,” was invented in America, but did not appear in ordinary Americans' speech for decades after the time of the novel. Admittedly, I can’t rule out that the author may have been signaling that this villain is Jewish, and therefore using Yiddish slang, but that would be odd in the context. Also the spelling “bupkis” became common much later, hinting that the author didn’t check any sources.
In sum, it's a good read, fast paced, and amusingly makes use of the real and very famous couple Julia and Paul Child. A good find for Paris reading.

Review © 2023 mae sander

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Dreaming of Paris

 What I dream of when I dream of Paris...

The Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum, November, 2018.

In July of 2018, I wrote a blog post titled “What I dream of when I dream of Paris.” Now, after another month participating in the blog event titled Paris in July, I would like to revisit that topic, and add some further thoughts to that post. I’ve been back to Paris once since then in November of 2018 — like everyone in the world, I’ve had my travel dreams disrupted by the pandemic and its aftermath, so I haven’t had a chance to visit there recently.

The back of Notre Dame Cathedral. The photo was taken in 2014, but this must have been my first look
at Paris from the back of our motor scooter.

Paris has been my dream city for many years, since the first time that I saw it. I was on the back of the Lambretta motor scooter on which we were wandering around Europe in the 1960s. The scooter wasn't safe on big roads (I have no idea if the REALLY big autoroutes had even been constructed back that far in time). So we came in through a series of rather run-down neighborhoods full of not very interesting post-war buildings. Until suddenly we were scooting alongside the river and coming right up to the back of Notre Dame de Paris. I was breathless! (Breathless: a perfectly-named movie about Paris from a few years earlier, 1960.) We found a very cheap hotel on the Quai de la Tournelle which directly faced Notre Dame. 

I dream of the Cluny Museum as it was for many years, and of the new and expanded interior
and presentation as we saw it in 2018.

From our favorite Unicorn Tapestry at Cluny.
One of the first museums we went to was the Cluny Museum, to see the Unicorn Tapestries, which I'd been reading about for years. Breathless! We've gone back to Cluny on every Paris trip, except when it was under construction.

We mostly ate meals in student restaurants because Len had been enrolled in the  University of Grenoble, and we had special cards that entitled us to this privilege. But we had received a wedding gift of a 100 franc note, which we used for one real high-end meal at a serious restaurant. I wish I recalled what we ate, but all I remember was that it was amazingly delicious, and we were surprised that the waiters and so on treated us as honored guests, not as the poorly dressed student wanderers that we were.

In 1976, we spent most of a year in Paris, living in a very small apartment on Boulevard de Grenelle. Our balcony looked out at the elevated metro train -- noisy! especially when a terrible heat wave hit the city in late May.  The famous Poilâne bakery was across the street.

The sidewalk in front of the bakery could be seen from our balcony, though the facade was mostly hidden behind the metro. Sometimes we could see a long line of people waiting to buy the famous bread. And early in the morning, we could watch the deliveries of cords of wood to the cellar door that gaped in the middle of the sidewalk. Poilâne was famous for its wood-baked bread, and the ovens were in the cellars where the wood was being delivered. In the photo from inside the bakery, taken in 1976, you can see the elevated metro and dimly make out our building across the street.

We ate Poilâne's bread often, as well as the fantastic croissants, apple turnovers, rolls, and other Poilâne products that can be seen in the photo. Recently, we have been enjoying a new cookbook by the current owner of this famous bakery.

Under the elevated tracks facing our building, city workers constructed the temporary stalls for an open-air market on Sunday and another day, maybe Tuesday: a good place to buy produce to prepare in our tiny kitchen. Right around the corner from us was a wonderful shopping street: Rue de Lourmel. I remember specialists in fresh fish who would tell me how to cook what I bought, specialists in exotic fruit and vegetables, and especially an amazing cheese shop called Cantin. This original Cantin shop doesn't seem to be on Rue de Lourmel any more, though there's another Cantin owned by the daughter of the original owner.

The memorial at the Vélodrome d'Hiver (Wikipedia).
Sadly, there is another landmark on Boulevard de Grenelle in the other direction, beyond the huge concrete building where we lived that year. This is the site of the Vélodrome d'Hiver, or indoor bicycle racing arena, which was torn down in approximately 1959, and replaced by other huge middle-class apartment buildings in solid concrete. The Vel d'Hiv is mainly remembered in history as the site of a huge round-up of the Jews of Paris in July of 1942. Something like 13,000 people, including 4000 children, were herded into the arena without food, water, or sanitation, and held for days before being shipped off to Auschwitz. I often walked past the monument and thought about this collective horror. Depressingly, the signs commemorating the past were often defaced by right-wing fanatics, but at the time I thought they were special to France. Now I'm thinking again of those families torn apart forever in 1942, and putting it together with what's happening to many innocent immigrant families in our own country -- in 2023. This is not a dream of Paris, but a nightmare.

Place Dauphine in 1615. A very historic location! (Wikipedia).
We've also made many shorter visits to Paris. I recall a specific day when I was alone because Len had to fly back on a different plane. I had lunch alone at a restaurant near the historic center of Paris on the Ile de la Cité in Place Dauphine. This is quite near the office of Inspector Maigret, where he sometimes has his lunch. Yes, I know he was fictitious, but for me he's a real Parisian. I was seated at a table with another tourist, a German woman, and had a very interesting conversation in French, our mutual language, about what we liked about Paris. I don't know why it was memorable! But it was.

On both long trips and many short ones, I searched for hours in a quest to collect Mona Lisa parodies, which I've posted on this and other blogs many times. I looked in antique shops, bouquinistes (that is, those book stalls along the Seine), specialists in old paper, and modern card shops. Sometimes I found a few wonderful items, sometimes not. But it's always good to have an obscure goal that takes one out of the tourist routine!

In 1976, I also followed the guidance of a book that a friend gave me. Its title was Paris Inconnu, and it described the history of very old and deteriorating buildings throughout Paris. This book is now very obsolete because most of these buildings have since then been restored and serve as museums or high-end office space or apartments worth millions of euros. The Picasso museum and the Jewish museum of Paris are both in such restored buildings. I'm amused to recall how I peeked into slummy courtyards to look for Renaissance archways and stone carvings visible behind rows of garbage cans and parked bicycles.

Another friend that year introduced me to a book titled Paris pas Cher, which explained how to find bargains. She was especially fond of one recommended store that had mid-level designer clothing and other not-quite-high-end clothing in rejected lots from the manufacturers -- who still made clothing in Paris then. Dresses, blouses, and kids' clothing, particularly by design house Cacharel, were often sold with the center of the label cut out (or in French, dégriffé) so that a person who knew labels could recognize it, but so it was clearly designated second-quality. We found quite a few nice things shopping there. (The edition that I still have is from the next long stay in Paris, as shown.)

A favorite restaurant just around the corner from our 1989 apartment.

Paris, Len's campus workplace at Place Jussieu (Wikipedia).
I'll just mention that in 1989, we spent a full year living not far from the same place, in a relatively unpleasant apartment on the ground floor of an otherwise nice building next to a very nice little restaurant where we ate often. As in 1976, Len was visiting at the University of Paris in the ugliest complex of buildings we've ever seen. But it was a wonderful year with more visits to great restaurants and fabulous museums, discoveries of food, wine bars, art, books, and a growing familiarity with subway stations and obscure neighborhoods. Above all, during each stay in Paris we enjoyed the company of many Parisian friends and many visitors who also appreciated Paris.

Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude Stein
On our most recent trips to Paris, we have stayed in a hotel in the area around Montparnasse, near the huge skyscraper (which made the Parisians vow never to allow another towering building in the center). It’s an amusing neighborhood, and a wonderful walk towards the Latin Quarter and many of the museums and other attractions. Each time we walked that way, we stopped at the house where Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas lived in the first half of the 20th century. Their influence on American ex-pats is renowned,. This had special resonance with me because in high school, I did. a term project on Gertrude Stein, and her work helped me create an early vision (or dream) of Paris.

Our hotel in Paris, the last night of our 2018 stay.

Well, that's my wrap-up of memories of Paris, particularly the small things rather than the ones that get on everyone's list. You know the list. You can find it in any guidebook: the Louvre and the Mona Lisa, the Eiffel Tower, Impressionist museums, a walk on the Champs Élysée, a dinner cruise on the Seine in one of the famous bâteaux-mouches. In fact, we've never done a dinner cruise on the Seine, just watched the brightly lit boats go by as darkness fell and the lights of Paris came on. In that first hotel when we stayed on the quai, spotlights from the passing boats would shine into our eyes when we were trying to sleep.

I'm sure I've written down some of these thoughts before, though not recently. Paris in July is a great idea! And I thank Emma at Words and Peace for organizing many bloggers for this year’s blog event.

Blog post © 2018, 2023 by mae sander

Friday, July 28, 2023

The Detroit Institute of Arts

We often enjoy a few-hour visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts, which is just under one hour drive from our house. On our most recent trip we spent quite a bit of time in an exhibit of photos by the Ghanaian photographer James Barnor. We found his work to be splendid in the way he used lighting, the way he engaged his subjects, and the way he framed and selected the images. We also found that the photos were informative about the mid-twentieth century history of Africa, especially of Ghana, and of the immigration of Africans from the former British colonies to London, where Barnor also worked.

Official description of this extraordinary exhibition: “The DIA (Detroit Institute of Arts) proudly presents the exhibition, James Barnor: Accra/London—A Retrospective, a comprehensive survey of the work of Ghanaian photographer James Barnor whose career spans more than six decades. A studio portraitist, photojournalist, and Black lifestyle photographer, Barnor was born in 1929 in the West African nation of Ghana. He established his famous Ever Young Studio in Accra in the early 1950s and devoted his early photography to documenting critical social and political changes that animated the nation on the cusp of independence from Britain.” (source)

The artist’s photos were displayed in frames, and also in some cases, enlarged to mural size for the exhibit rooms.

The artist’s place of business in Akra, Ghana, “Ever Young Graphic Studio” where he made photo portraits.

Mike Eghan at Piccadilly Circus, London, 1967. This and the next photos come from the DIA website.

Ray Ankrah, 1971.

Studio Portrait, 1950s

Sister holding brother, 1979

In a video of the artist that we watched in the exhibition, he described how pleased he was to capture this one shot of a baby that he said only pushed himself up once, and then never did it again during the photo session.

The Diego Rivera Murals in the Great Court

I visit the famous Diego Rivera murals each time I am at the DIA, and they seem new and wonderful each time. On my recent visit, I was there in the early afternoon and the light was especially beautiful.

A small panel of the auto workers eating lunch.

From the Native American Collections

Photos of the places of origin of the art works are displayed as murals.

Blog post © 2023 mae sander
Photos as credited; original photos © mae sander\
Shared with Sami’s Monday Murals.

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

“What is a game?” Marx said. “It’s tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow. It’s the possibility of infinite rebirth, infinite redemption. The idea that if you keep playing, you could win. No loss is permanent, because nothing is permanent, ever.” (Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, p. 336)

Gabrielle Zevin is a very popular author whose books I had only vaguely heard of until my sister gave me this one! Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is about a group of electronic game designers who get together while they are in college in the mid-1990s. They play games together and create new games that become widely successful and make them rich, but not very happy. The setting for the first part of the book is Boston, where the characters, Sadie, Sam, and Marx, are enrolled in MIT and Harvard; later they all move to LA — these locations are important in creating the atmosphere of their lives and their relationships.

As in any good novel, the characters are complex. Their experiences before and during the roughly 25 years covered in the novel involve a number of tragedies. Gaming and inventing games sometimes, in some ways, gives the characters an escape from reality, such as disability and pain, illness or even death of beloved family members, bad exploitative relationships, but not poverty — they aren’t poor, ever. Each character also has some very fulfilling and loving relationships. The author is very skilled at depicting their lives, their problems and successes, the games they devised, and the way they worked on games. I liked the technical descriptions as well as the imagining of the game environment and in-game characters.

Here is the character Sam, who says: “I am, as you know, a bottomless pit of ambition and need. But I also want to make something sweet.” (p. 70) 

“With his sweet, roundish face, light-colored eyes, and mix of white and Asian features, Sam looked almost exactly like an anime character. Astro Boy, or one of the many wisecracking little brothers of manga. As for his personal style: Sam looked like Oliver Twist, during the Artful Dodger years, if Oliver Twist had been from Southern California and a low-level pot dealer instead of a pickpocket. Sam had dark curly hair that he wore parted in the middle and bluntly cut, just above his shoulders. He wore cheap John Lennon–style wire-rimmed glasses and one of those rough hemp striped parkas that are sold in Mexico. His blue jeans were holey and faded to almost white, and he paired his Teva sandals with thick white athletic socks.” (p. 53)

Here is the character Marx:

“But for Marx, the world was like a breakfast at a five-star hotel in an Asian country—the abundance of it was almost overwhelming. Who wouldn’t want a pineapple smoothie, a roast pork bun, an omelet, pickled vegetables, sushi, and a green-tea-flavored croissant? They were all there for the taking and delicious, in their own way.” (p. 92)

Here is the character Sadie:

“She liked playing games, seeing a foreign movie, a good meal. She liked going to bed early and waking up early. She liked working. She liked that she was good at her work, and she felt proud of the fact that she was well paid for it. She felt pleasure in orderly things—a perfectly efficient section of code, a closet where every item was in its place. She liked solitude and the thoughts of her own interesting and creative mind. She liked to be comfortable. She liked hotel rooms, thick towels, cashmere sweaters, silk dresses, oxfords, brunch, fine stationery, overpriced conditioner, bouquets of gerbera, hats, postage stamps, art monographs, maranta plants, PBS documentaries, challah, soy candles, and yoga. She liked receiving a canvas tote bag when she gave to a charitable cause. She was an avid reader (of fiction and nonfiction), but she never read the newspaper, other than the arts sections, and she felt guilty about this. Dov often said she was bourgeois. He meant it as an insult, but she knew that she probably was. Her parents were bourgeois, and she adored them, so, of course, she had turned out bourgeois, too.”

I know few if any individuals in these characters’ age group, and I know nothing whatsoever about electronic games. I was familiar with one game that preceded the lives of the characters — a text-only adventure and exploration game called Cave that ran on mainframe computers, before personal computers were invented. While many people could access these computers at once, the Cave game only worked for one person at a time. I remember playing Cave on a “terminal” that printed out all the commands and responses as you went along. You probably don’t even know what I’m talking about.

Sadie, especially, admires this early game because it was ahead of its time and had a special feature they liked. Sadie says:

“In order to solve the problem of going from the caves to the cabin, the programmers invented this special command, Xyzzy. … When you use the Xyzzy command, you can magically switch between two places. … it’s genius, actually. It’s the best part of the game, because it acknowledges that the world you’re playing is not the real world. And since you’re not in the real world, you don’t have to move as if you are in the real world. But that’s what I want our game to be like. I want it to be like Xyzzy. Only instead of toggling between two places like in Adventure, the game should toggle between two worlds. Like, in one world, you’re this ordinary person living an ordinary life, and in the other world, you’re the hero. And the game lets you play both sides. I haven’t worked everything out yet. It’s early.” (p. 142)

These characters all live in their games — the ones they invent, and the ones they play, and in a way they continue to do so almost until they are middle-aged. This is so far outside my own reality that it’s amazing, so I enjoyed it very much. Besides liking the way that the author presents the story, I enjoyed the way that each character viewed life in general, in the context of playing so many fantasy and adventure games. 

I know NOTHING whatsoever of gaming: not the popular or unpopular games and not the culture of gaming among the age group in the book or any other age group! These things, at the center of the novel,  made me enjoy the book tremendously because they were so unfamiliar. Indeed, I never knew if the games being described in very great detail were actual games, ones the author made up, or games bearing no relationship at all to truly existing games in the real world — or if you like, in the world of actual games.

Review © 2023 mae sander

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Agatha Christie

 An amusing Agatha Christie film: Why didn’t they ask Evans?

A 2022 re-creation of the Agatha Christie novel.

Lots of great old cars in this BritBox series! 

We liked it so much that we watched the 1980 version:

Vintage cars were also a big attraction in this version.

John Gielgud played the role of the vicar. Many scenes involved taking tea!

We enjoyed both of these versions of the classic Agatha Christie thriller! The plot was very much the same in both of them, but the endings were different, and the dialog was different. The sets, costumes, and old cars all seemed quite carefully chosen to emphasize the time frame, around 1930, though I don’t know enough to catch any anachronisms or inconsistencies. Altogether,  it was fun to watch them one after the other even though each one is around 3 hours long. It is amazing that Agatha Christie’s novels appeal to one generation after another, and new dramatizations keep being made.

Review © 2023 mae sander