Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy

I really enjoy reading a good book, and having had plenty of visits to hospital over the years, it has given me ample opportunity to do so. Recently I obtained an Amazon Kindle E-reader, so now I am able to get some great books without needing acres of shelving space. So To get the ball rolling, (as you might say) I decided to get Stieg Larssons excellent Millennium trilogy. I have heard lots of positive things about the books, but never got round to reading them until now

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The first book in Stieg Larssons Millenium trilogy is a crime thriller which tells the story of sacked investigative journalist/publisher named Mikael Blomkvist, who takes a job from a capitalist giant in order to find out what happened to the man’s long missing niece.

To help him, Blomkvist enlists the help of a brilliant yet mysterious computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander whose anorexic frame and antisocial nature hides a truly awful past. Together the pair form an entirely unconventional team in order to solve the mystery.

The Girl who Played with Fire

Book two of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy again features Mikael Blomkvist, the crusading publisher of the magazine Millennium,

This time Blomkvist runs a story that will expose an extensive sex trafficking operation in Sweden. However On the eve of its publication, the two reporters responsible for the article are found murdered, and the finger of suspicion points at his friend, the troubled genius hacker Lisbeth Salander.

Blomkvist, is convinced of Salander’s innocence, and so plunges into an investigation to find out the truth. Meanwhile, Salander herself is drawn into a murderous game of cat and mouse, which forces her to face her dark past.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest

The Final book in Stieg Larssons Millennium trilogy picks up immediately after the end of the second book, which ended with Mikael Blomkvist finding  Lisbeth Salander in an extremely critical condition along with a former Russian-agent-turned-gangster.

Eventually after a very long recuperatiion Lisbeth sort of recovers, but she soon finds herself in even more trouble, awaiting trial & facing jail for a very long time for the murder of the Russian agent-turned-gangster.

Meanwhile convinced of her innocence, Investigative reporter Mikael Blomkvist, who knows all of Lisbeth’s secrets and still cares about her, is desperately trying to help her while also chronicling a wider story

Upstairs Downstairs DVD Collection

Starting on Saturday 15th January in the Daily Mail newspaper there are 7 DVDs containing 13 episodes of the Classic 70’s Television series Upstairs Downstairs. The episodes are

Disc One:

ON TRIAL- In which A young girl calling herself Clemence is given a job as under-house parlour maid by Lady Bellamy. The staff are wary of her, and when she is caught selling food from the larder she is put on trial by her colleagues. Under intense questioning she reveals that she is not French and she is really just a poor illiterate cockney girl called Sarah. Upon learning this the staff take pity on her and she is befriended by Rose, the servant she shares a room with.

THE MISTRESS AND THE MAIDS – In which Lady Bellamy has persuaded her husband Richard to arrange to have her portrait painted by aristocrat turned bohemian painter Guthrie Scone. Sarah is sent to Stone’s house with some of the Lady’s dresses, and while there, Stone decides to start a portrait of Sarah and Rose, whom he has never met. He works on the two pictures simultaneously and when they are shown, it creates a scandal. Alongside the rather stately picture of Lady Bellamy hangs an erotic picture of two familiar semi-naked servant girls.

Disc Two:

BOARD WAGES – It is summer and the Bellamys are away on holiday with the principal servants, leaving Rose, Sarah and Albert behind. Soon the gin is produced and an argument starts up about which of the ladies of the house has the nicer wardrobe. Soon Sarah is dressed up in the Lady Marjorie’s clothes leading to the other servants dressing in their masters’ clothes and playing a game of make-believe. This is the sight that greets Lady Marjorie’s son James as he arrives home unexpectedly.

THE PATH OF DUTY:-Elizabeth Bellamy returns home from finishing school in Germany and is horrified by the vapid, polite London society that she is expected to enter into. Persuaded by her father to conform for the sake of the family, she relents and endures, without complaint, lessons in etiquette and deportment that culminate in a ball where she is to be presented to the King. Just before the vital moment she flees the ball and disappears for two hours, returning home where Rose is waiting up for her. The servant gives Elizabeth a piece of her mind and reminds her that she should carry out her duties without complaint just as a servant should. On hearing this advice, Elizabeth goes to her father to ask for forgiveness.

Disc Three:

A SUITABLE MARRIAGE -Elizabeth and Rose return home one evening after a concert to find that a certain Baron Klaus Von Rimmer, a friend of the people she stayed with in Germany, has called on her parents. The Bellamys like their guest and invite him to stay and assign Albert to be his valet. It soon transpires that the Baron is actually a spy who has tried to bribe Richard into helping his armament company to get a contract from the British Navy. This is not all, he has also seduced Albert.

A CRY FOR HELP:- Richard Bellamy discovers Mary, who has been made pregnant and abandoned by the son of her former employer. Enraged, he writes a letter to the man demanding maintenance for Mary and her child. The man threatens to sue and points out to Richard that his association with the servant girl would look bad in the press and could ruin his reputation. Reluctantly Richard lets Mary go with good reference and the sum of twenty pounds.

Disc Four:

MAGIC CASEMENTS -James Bellamy introduces his friend Charles Hammond to Richard and Lady Bellamy who are pleased that James is making friends with such a cultured man. Later, when Richard cannot attend an opera date with his wife, he suggests that Charles accompany Lady Marjorie. During the evening Marjorie is swept off her feet by the young officer and they begin an ill-fated affair.

I DIES FROM LOVE:- Emily and the footman from next door fall in love and are desperate to get married, but life is hard for two domestic servants and they could not possibly afford to get married. Mrs Van Groeben, the footman’s employer, tells him that he is to stop seeing Emily and he meekly complies. Emily is told the same thing by Lady Bellamy and is devastated. The day of a staff picnic, which is part of a drive to improve the working standards of domestic help, comes around and the footman makes it clear to Emily that it is over. Emily, distraught, hangs herself that evening.

Disc Five:

WHY IS HER DOOR LOCKED? – Mrs Bridges, the cook, appears to be acting irrationally and carefully locking the door to her room every time she visits it – it appears she is hiding something. Because of her emotional state, Hudson, using the master key, looks in her room and finds a baby which as it transpires, Mrs Bridges has stolen in a fit of emotional irrationality brought on by her feeling over the suicide of Emily.

A VOICE FROM THE PAST:- While administering charity work in London’s East End, Elizabeth and James come across Sarah, who has fallen on hard times after walking out of Eaton Place. Against James’s wishes, Elizabeth re-employs her, but in a lower position.

Disc Six:

THE SWEDISH TIGER – Eaton Place is the scene of a plot by the servant of a Swedish gentleman who is enjoying the Bellamy’s hospitality. He manages to seduce Sarah and by doing so gets her to help him in the crime. As the situation worsens it soon becomes apparent that he is planning to flee to Sweden and leave Sarah to take full responsibility.

THE KEY OF THE DOOR:- Elizabeth meets a group of radical, Left-wing revolutionaries and falls in love with Lawrence Kirbridge, a poet who is part of the group. Unfortunately he is living with Evelyn Larkin, an older attractive revolutionary, who doesn’t react well to Elizabeth’s attraction to her partner.

Disc Seven:

FOR LOVE OF LOVE – Elizabeth wants to move in with Lawrence and not get married, but after realising what this means in terms of position and the potential loss of income from the Bellamy family, Lawrence persuades her to go through a full society wedding. On the wedding day, however, Elizabeth begins to wonder whether she is doing the right thing.
You can get the discs with the paper each day at WHSMITH, TESCO (or Ebay next week 😀

“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”

In a recent poll conducted by Sky Movies HD, viewers voted the original Italian Job as the best British Film ever. Here is the full list

  • The Italian Job
  • Monty Python’s Life of Brian
  • The Full Monty
  • Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince
  • Bridget Jones’s Diary
  • Four Weddings & a Funeral
  • Love Actually
  • Trainspotting
  • Chariots of Fire
  • Gandhi

The top three men voted Best British Actors were

  • Sir Anthony Hopkins
  • Sir Laurence Olivier
  • Michael Caine

The top two women voted Best British Actress were

  • Dame Judi Dench
  • Dame Helen Mirren