So, you might remember that the first set of tablets they tried were spectacularly unsuccessful – to the extent that I landed up in hospital. Well, the reason I haven’t been around lately is that tablets number two made tablets number one look positively benign – the sooner we draw a veil over that the better. Now I am on tablets number three which, I have to say, so far don’t appear to be having any evil side effects, in fact, they don’t appear to be having any effects whatsoever. Grrr! Gnashhh! and whatever other sounds of frustration you can think of. I believe there is a tablet number four, but at the moment am quaking even at the thought of exploring it.
Still enough of that. One of the things that has made life bearable over the past few days is Radio 4’s new weekday series, Foreign Bodies. Have you come across this? Mark Lawson is charting the social history of Europe through the medium of detective fiction. On Monday he was in Belgium talking about Poirot and Maigret and yesterday he was looking at postwar Germany through the eyes of the Swiss writer, Dürrenmatt. I haven’t yet listened to today’s broadcast, which I believe is about a Czech author, Josef Skvorecky, of whom I know nothing at all. There will be fifteen of these programmes, over three weeks, with an omnibus edition on a Friday evening. Looking down the list of forthcoming writers there are several that are new to me, so I’m hoping that I’m going to pick up suggestions for reading over the long winter nights. The only problem may be accessibility. The local library service is definitely short on the Dürrenmatt front. Still, perhaps the series will prompt publishers to (re)-issue the works in the UK and libraries to buy them.
In addition the BBC are planning to dramatise all ten of Sjowall and Wahloo’s Martin Beck novels. I don’t know how frequently these are going to be broadcast, but they’re starting this Saturday with the first in the series, Roseanna. The cast list looks impressive and The Bears and I are already laying stocks of tea and buns to be consumed as we curl up by the fire to listen in.