Thursday, August 12, 2021

A Pink Saturday Movie Star ... and Some Terrific Books!

Halfway through a marathon of Ann-Margret movies, I realized she must have worn pink more times on screen than any other actress! I figured she needed some representation on this week's Pink Saturday post!

I would say something obvious like, she's certainly pretty in pink! But, face it, she was pretty in just about any color!

I have some great books this week for you to think about when you're selecting a new read next! I've been a very lucky reader, with some very good ones this week!


I'm not sure if this is one of the most fascinating and interesting books I've ever read; or if it's one of the most disgusting ugly and warped views of humanity I've ever read. Either way, it's at the top of the list.

It takes place in 18th century Stockholm, in the absolute destitute areas of privation. Squalor, filth and casual brutal violence are the order of the day. A body has been found in the sewage pit of a river: a corpse that has no limbs, no eyes, and no tongue. The watchman, Mickel Cardell, an amputee ex-soldier and Cecil Winge, a brilliant lawyer, dying of consumption, turned consulting detective to the Stockholm police, are teamed to ferret out the murderer. First, they will have to find out who the mutated corpse was.

In another street in the same hellish location, a young woman has been falsely accused of prostitution and is sent to a "work farm" which is little more than slave lodgings and torture.

To this horrendous milieu a young man comes from the rural countryside to make his fortune - and is swiftly led to his destruction.

These four people - and the corpse - intersect each other's lives and change them, sometimes without being aware of it.

This is a bleak, bitter and cold - both figurative and literal - world for this mystery and character study to revolve in. The characters are not pretty - they do not rub elbows with admirable people - they do not hope to save the world or even believe the world can be saved. They certainly don't believe they can be saved themselves. But they all struggle on trying to survive. There are elements of it that reminded me at times of the pathetic existence of those in the novel Angela's Ashes, but this always managed to surpass the horror.

And yet, it was fascinating. Perhaps in the way you don't want to look at a traffic accident, but can't stop yourself. I just kept reading - voraciously - to find out what was going to happen next; and yet I almost dreaded to find out.

So, take from that what you will. Perhaps it will intrigue you and you'll want to try it. Or maybe you'll discern it's not your cuppa. For those who love a good mystery, this is not ever going to be included on a list of 'cozies!'

This was an interesting premise for a mystery/thriller. The setting is late 17th century Boston, and witchcraft trials are taking place around the New World settlements. Mary Deerfield, a young and beautiful widow decides to take a popular well-to-do man as her second husband. Unknown to her - or almost anybody in the city - he is a secret drunkard and violent wife beater who murdered his first wife in an unprovoked fit of rage. During one such rage, he brutalizes Mary and she decides she must divorce him; divorce at this time was no small matter and she was going to have her hands full. But, it gets worse when she is suddenly called out as a witch and she is not only fighting to get out of her marriage, but fighting to save her life from the bonfire execution decreed to all condemned witches.

This was melodramatic and passionate - and a ripping good story. There were chase scenes and hiding scenes and amazing surprises when characters expose parts of themselves I didn't expect at all.

If you want to have fun with an historical murder mystery/thriller, this is a good one. It's fairly short and a quick read. There's also a tad of romance in there, but not nearly enough to spoil it!

Oh, my! I finished this thoroughly enjoyable mystery early last evening - and I'm still chuckling over some of the turns of phrase and astute observations on the human condition generally and the film business specifically.

Pretty As a Picture is written from the point of view of a nebbish-y, OCD afflicted, neurotic and fiercely loner female film editor. Marissa Dahl ("as in Roald, not as in Barbie") is hired to edit a prestigious film by current Hollywood artiste bad boy, Tony Rees and is spirited away to a resort island where the filming is taking place in a retro grand hotel which was the scene of a murder years ago. And the roller coast ride begins!

Marissa is obviously somewhere on the spectrum, though it's never stated outright. However, her quirks, neurosis and psychologically required daily rituals are treated not only with respect and compassion, but often with self-deprecating humor that is never insulting or offensive. Autism is not really in my wheelhouse, but I feel as if I understand it a bit better after reading this book. And the education comes with many chuckles and at least one hearty guffaw in every chapter.

The mystery is confusing, infuriating, deliciously scandalous, and compelling - and, I have to admit, the resolution was out of my fact, I thought I had it all figured out and couldn't have been more wrong. I love that in a mystery!

Add to all that a fantastic (in all senses of the word!) array of secondary characters - from the actors, producers, crew and director of the film, to the man mountain bodyguard who has been assigned to protect Marissa on the shoot, to a pair of teen internet influencers who have turned to amateur detecting.

I also love the way the author has created a multi race cast of characters with race never being an issue. Sometimes in a description she will state whether a character is black or white or Asian - sometimes she doesn't. I decided about half way through the book that Marissa was black. I don't know why I decided that - nothing STATED that she was - I just 'felt' she was. Then, by the end, I thought she must have been white. It doesn't make any difference. But, it added to the 'unknowns' in the book.

But, on top of it all - oh, so so so clever and funny. I recommend it to any and everybody. Even teenagers can be urged to try it - there is little in the way of cursing (I don't really recall any, but I don't want to say that definitely) and no sexual activity described, and the pacing of the action will keep any young person interested.

I'm keeping this on my Nook 'top' of the list because in a few months I want to read it again...I'm sure I missed a few quips or jokes in there! 
Well, that's it for this week. Hope you enjoyed a little Ann-Margret this morning - and perhaps found a book that you didn't know about that sounds interesting to you.Thanks for stopping by Enchanted Revelries - be sure to check in at Beverly's Pink Saturday Blog Hop and check out all the offerings there this week! And then, go make something beautiful!

¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•´) Tristan

Enjoy a little Ann Margret in pink with your morning cuppa!





peggy gatto said...

Wow!!!! Loved the pink Ann!!!!!!! I may have to buy a book!!!! Your reviews are so wonderful! Such a bountiful Post ! thank you!

Lisa D. said...

I love Ann!

Buttercup said...

I like noir mysteries, but that first one sounds way too noir for me. I liked Hour of the Witch a lot. I was surprised to learn that Hartford was another place for witch trials. Want to do a little research about that. Hedgerow had me at the periwinkle door, too. Thinking that might be a great couch color, or maybe a side chair. Kind of thinking about a little apartment sprucing up.

Daniela said...

Hi Tristan Robin,
I want to thank you from the deep of my heart for visiting my Blog and writing such lovely words of appreciation.
Your webpage is so wonderful that I wished to follow you at once!
In the hope you'll wish the same for ~ My little old world ~
I'm sending hugs and more hugs to you
Xx Daniela

Bohemian said...

Ann-Margret was a Pretty Woman but I never thought she was a Beautiful one. She did Age quite well tho' and I'd think would have been Pretty regardless of what she wore.

My Tata's Cottage said...

Ann Margaret is one of the classiest woman to ever became a celebrity. Today, ugh. no one with her beauty and talent and she sure does like lovely in pink! I admire her caring for her husband all the days of his life whne he became so ill. She was super cute in those old elvis movies and I loved her in Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men. You have had quite a reading list. I am in the middle of a book right now. Happy Pink Saturday and have a great weekend. It is nice ot see you here.

Anne Robinson said...

Ann Margaret wa sand is still a favorite of mine. I love her in all that pink! She was such a different celebrity. Today all there is political bashing and hardly any talent. Give me Ann Margaret or an Audrey Hepburn anyday. Thank you for sharing. Enjoy a great weekend.

Jeanie said...

Ann Margret never ceases to amaze me. She was a darned good actress, too, not just a pretty face with great hair and legs. That last book -- Pretty as a Picture -- sounds right up my alley!