Ford Madox Ford is one of those writers whose life spanned two centuries. He was born in 1873 and died in 1939. His novel ‘A good Soldier: Tale of Passion’ was written in 1915 and is rated as one of the great books of the twentieth century. The original title of the novel was ‘The Saddest Story’. His publishers suggested a different title as World War I was in progress. On the spur of the moment Madox Ford suggested ‘The Good Soldier’ and the title found immediate acceptance with the publisher.
The good Soldier is a tale of love and passion. Critics are of the view that the novel is perhaps based on the personal life of Madox Ford in which he faced intrigue and adultery. The novel is set just before the onset of World War I and relates the tale of Edward HV ANIMATIONS Ashburnham, a soldier. Edward is the tragic figure in the novel despite seemingly having a happy married life. Along with Edward, Ford creates two American friends of Edward.
Madox Ford relates the story in a unique way. He incorporates flashbacks. These are not in any chronological order, but form a part of the style of Madox Ford, which is unique to him. The story is related by an American John Dowell. Basically the novel delineates the sexual relationships between two couples, one American and the other English. The narrator of the tale John Dowell is the only person the reader can approach as he is the one who is relating the story. As a reader reads the book the story develops a macabre atmosphere.
Madox through the narrator John Dowell gradually reveals a world that leads to insanity, death and despair. In this respect the novel makes heavy reading. As the reader reads the book, Madox Ford brings to the fore the many vicissitudes of life and the relationship that dominate a man and a woman the most, the sexual relationship. The novel is a powerful statement of human life and after reading it one wonders that Madox Ford himself must have led a life in which his dream was not fulfilled.
The novel is a powerful statement of life by Madox Ford. In 1998 the modern library ranked ‘The Good Soldier’ 30th on its list of the 100 best English language novels of the 20th century. Most critics rate it as one of best novels written in the last century. Madox Ford collaborated with Thomas Hardy and also befriended Hemingway. It was one of his regrets that he was not given recognition by these two worthies, though Hemingway wrote a chapter on his meeting with Madox in a restaurant in one of his books.
Reaching back in time to the roaring 20’s in southern California, author James Stewart’s debut work, Mystery at the Blue Sea Cottage, offers a compelling view of the intricacies of an unsolved homicide, the murder of young and beautiful, interpretive dancer, Fritzie Mann.
Based on years of research, this true-crime narrative poses an adept tracing of the history of this once sensationalized murder mystery brought forth through a multi-faceted lens which explores not only the murder but journalistic behaviors, the investigative processes during that era, and a Hollywood sex scandal connection as well as exploring the culture of the time.
Piquing the curiosity from the outset, this work of true crime immediately draws the attention into the fascinating backstory of Fritzie who, for the most part, was a seemingly sensible but “modern” woman in her early twenties who worked to help with her sick sister’s medical bills by dancing. However, to her family, there was an air of mystery in her life when it came to her romantic associations, relationships or dating.
Fritzie’s tragic story starts with the initial discovery of her body with a severe bruise on her forehead on a nearly empty stretch of beach. Initially unidentified as a corpse, it was not until several clues leading to her identification, including a note on a card stating “I am Fritzie Mann” along with other identifying but not immediately associated belongings strewn around the beach, began to build up to her true identity especially once the connection was made that she was a well-known exotic dancer. Her death quickly became front page fodder and grew into one of the most sensationalized news stories at the time in Southern California.
Additionally, the ensuing investigation seemed to lead to a path of evidentiary twists and turns, as clues led to inconsistent theories about her death; Was she murdered? Did she commit suicide? or Did she drown? Moreover, she was discovered to be in “delicate condition” adding more confusion and scandal as to the real reason for her demise. Albeit, once it was discovered that she actually was murdered, Who did it? and Why? became the prevalent questions which then changed the tone of the investigation and introduced several interesting suspects including a Hollywood actor whom Fritzie’s mother insisted was the actual murderer. Moreover, what follows within the narrative is a well- organized, thoroughly detailed work which takes the readers through the intimate details of the life and death of Fritzie as well as bringing to the edifying forefront the culture and lifestyle at the time which did seem to embody a seamier side.
Overall, I enjoyed Mystery at the Blue Sea Cottage. I found it to be a completely engrossing true crime read set in an era when life, love, womanhood and murder were perceived very differently from current modern life. I was captivated by the detailing of the police work, autopsy scenes, investigation methods, culture of the times, and insight into the secrets and scandals played out in the roaring 20’s Hollywood. I do highly recommend this book. It is well worth the read and I personally would love to see it made into a movie.
I was having the blues in the cool, chilly weather. I was depressed and in a fix what to do. Then it struck me why not choose to do one of my favorite things. And that is going over my favorite author Sidney Sheldon’s novel and writing a review on it. Here I provide a review for one of his great works, “The Tides of Memory”.
In the storyline, an enigmatic, overpowering Lady, Alexia De Vere, by name, becomes the home Secretary in London and is relishing moments of great victory. She has a painful past behind, but this is not the time to resurface it. Alexia is having the culmination of her career, and she is outrageously happy about it. As days go by, her husband starts to plan to throw a party at their exquisite residence, celebrating three hundred years of De Vere’s history. Both Alexia and De Vere’s friends, fellow mates, and acquaintances are invited.
When the day of the party arrives, their son Michael has a terrible accident and goes into a coma. The party is naturally canceled as De Vere’s family mourns over their son. Their daughter Roxie is confined to a wheelchair after an attempted suicide over another issue much earlier.