St Kilda Blues

St Kilda Blues by Geoffrey McGeachin (Penguin, 2014); audiobook read by David Tredinnick (Playaway, 2014) Though the investigation itself is commonplace, McGeachin immerses his protagonist in the details of history, presenting a time capsule of Australian—in particular, Melburnian—culture in the late 1960s. Stolid ex-WWII bomber pilot Charlie Berlin shows mettle worthy of the character study.    

Reach for the Sky

Reach for the Sky: The Story of Douglas Bader DSO, DFC by Paul Brickhill (W. W. Norton & Company, 1954); audiobook read by Robert Hardy (Chivers, 1991/2010) Brickhill is firmly eulogistic (though not without cause) in detailing the extraordinary feats of double-amputee fighter pilot Douglas Bader, and also something of English life itself in the interwar period and during World…

SS-GB, Series 1

SS-GB, Series 1 created by Len Deighton (BBC, 2017) In the alternative history of 1941, England is occupied by Nazi Germany. Though nominally independent, Scotland Yard detective Douglas Archer must reconcile his place working for the oppressors. A realistically conceived historical drama that plays to its strengths, unconstrained by audience expectations.    

The Great Escape

The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill (Faber & Faber, 1951) Brickhill’s eyewitness description of the infamous tunnel break from German POW camp Stalag Luft III — enshrined still further by the film of 1963 — remains a sincere and clearly written record, and a lasting testament to its protagonists’ spirit, ingenuity and sheer perseverance.    

42 Word Review: Doctor Who – The Nemonite Invasion by David Roden

Doctor Who: The Nemonite Invasion by David Roden (BBC Audio, 2009) Donna is afforded some romance but this WWII base under siege story is otherwise unremarkable; worse, its narrative throws off sparks of cliché and relies on the Doctor having wilfully unleashed an already contained menace (which he then — brainwave — seeks to re-contain).