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Gang Roundup – August 2017

Hi everyone. How’s your summer going? It has been sweltering here in Italy, especially the last week. Which is unfortunate, because I’m having holidays – but I’m not going anywhere – and I had lots of things planned to do… and did very little because of that heat. But now it’s better, so I hope to catch up.

I did get a little ebook going, though. It’s a short story I wrote last January for a competition. You can download it here for free. It’s the first version of The Frozen Maze, a story for which I have plans. I’d like to expand it into a serial to appear on this blog. I’ve been wanting to write a serial for ages and never done it. Let’s see whether this is the time. If you read the story, do let me know what you think and what you’d like to see more. I’m still open to ideas. And if you feel like it, do leave me a review on Goodreads. It always helps.

So let’s start with our monthly roundup!!

GANG ROUNDUP (August 2017) monthly roundup particularly centred around stories set in the 'Diesel Era' (1910 - 1950s) - plus a couple more things

Foyle’s War

This is a British series that was aired from 2002 to 2015. Would you imagine I never heard of it? It’s set before, during and after WWII and it looks fantastic if you ask me.
The series rests on a fascinating idea: with a horrible war raging all over Europe and destroying the lives of millions of people, what’s the meaning of investigating ‘normal’, common crimes at home? Too interesting to pass it on. I need to hunt this down.

12 more period dramas you should be watching from around the world

A collection of period tv dramas and let me tell you, I’ve never realised how many are set during the Diesel Ear (1910s -1950s).

Many are completely new to me and sound interesting. I like historical detective stories, but also the others listed here sound very good. Velvet is the only one I can watch here in Italy.

The glittering highs and dark lows of 8 books set in the 1920s

If you, like me, live in a place where now is the heart of summer, you might have a bit more time to dedicate to reading. So why not take up a nice 1920s classic? I’ve read a couple of them already, one is on my TBR for this summer, and they all sound interesting. So there.

And while we’re at it, why not check out this other list of novels set int he 1920s? I fear to scroll down it because my TBR pile is already too tall. Really. But how can we resist a good book?

A Madras Miasma by Brian Stoddart

A MADRAS MIASMA (Brian Stoddart) Madras in the 1920s. The British are slowly losing the grip on the subcontinent. The end of the colonial enterprise is in sight and the city on India’s east coast is teeming with intrigue. A grisly murder takes place against the backdrop of political tension and Superintendent Le Fanu, a man of impeccable investigative methods, is called in to find out who killed a respectable young British girl

Madras in the 1920s. The British are slowly losing the grip on the subcontinent. The end of the colonial enterprise is in sight and the city on India’s east coast is teeming with intrigue. A grisly murder takes place against the backdrop of political tension and Superintendent Le Fanu, a man of impeccable investigative methods, is called in to find out who killed a respectable young British girl and dumped her in a canal, her veins clogged with morphine. As Le Fanu, a man forced to keep his own personal relationship a secret for fear of scandal in the face British moral standards, begins to investigate, he quickly slips into a quagmire of Raj politics, rebellion and nefarious criminal activities that threaten not just to bury his case but the fearless detective himself. 

I’m always on the lookout for novels set in the 1920s in unexpected places. This is the first novel in a series of mysteries set in India. Doesn’t it sound interesting?

Superintendent Le Fanu Mystery

Picture of the Day: The 1920s Selfie

Vintange Selfie 1920

I know, I know, like me, you’ll have seen this picture so many times. It’s quite popular on the net, but what can I say?

I like it a lot! It’s so incredible that for a time I even suspected it was a fake.
But then I found this site, where it’s stated the photo was taken in December 1920 and they cite the place and even the names of the people in it.

Well, you know, I always say the 1920s look and feel so much like us. Aren’t I right?

66 Vintage Photographs Documenting British Women at Work During World War I

British Women at Work in World War I - During WWI the British government became the first employer of women in the UK

During World War I, large numbers of women were recruited into jobs vacated by men who had gone to fight in the war. New jobs were also created as part of the war effort, for example in munitions factories.
The high demand for weapons resulted in the munitions factories becoming the largest single employer of women during 1918. Though there was initial resistance to hiring women for what was seen as ‘men’s work’, the introduction of conscription in 1916 made the need for women workers urgent. 

Yes, this is a part of history that we know. It was a turning point in the women’s fight for equal rights. But honestly seeing these photos impressed me. You don’t really understand what working in the heavy industry meant, especially at that time. Pictures are indeed worth more than any word.

13 Things You Don’t Know About the Thompson submaschine Gun

The Thompson submachine gun is an American submachine gun, invented by John T. Thompson in 1918, that became infamous during the Prohibition era. It was a common sight in the media of the time, being used by both law enforcement officers and criminals

There are a few things that are really iconic of the 1920s. If the flapper’s bob is one, and the martini cocktail glass is another, the Thompson Submachine Gun is certainly yet another one.

Compact and innovative (like the portable lipstick… I know, this is crazy), this was the preferred weapon of gangsters all over the USA. Let’s discover why.

King Edward VIII and the Nazis – An Update

Maybe this won’t come as a surprise to people who know about WWII better than I do, but I was surprised, and even kind of shocked to learn how favourably Great Britain looked at the Nazi Party.

I’ve noticed lately many alternate history series set in a Nazi-occupied Britain. I wonder whether these new facts emerging from recently released historical documents weight it. It doesn’t sound all that improbably that Britain could have associated herself with Nazi Germany at a certain point.

Ramona (Dolores Del Rio and Warner Baxter) Ramona is a 1928 American silent drama film directed by Edwin Carewe,[1] based on Helen Hunt Jackson's 1884 novel Ramona, and starring Dolores del Rio and Warner Baxter.

Dolores Del Rio in RAMONA (1928)

Let’s face it, Hollywood’s treatment of Native American ‘everything’ has always been problematic at the very least. So I was very surprised when I discovered this movie, which not only tells a story centred around Native Americans (they are not the usual villains in the background), but it was even directed by a Chickasaw director, Edwin Carewe.

Unfortunately, I have to say this film seems quite difficult to find.

Sarah Plugues Her Own Stuff

This had been another good month for my ‘stuff’, and still I wish I had been able to do more. There are more things coming up soon, so stay tuned.

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Sarah Zama

Yecheilya Ysrayl maintains a recurring feature of authors’ interviews on her blog, and she was kind enough to host me in July. I really enjoyed writing this interview. The first part is more about me as a person and as a writer, while the second part is more about my writing process and my stories.

Give in to the Feeling by Sarah Zama

So far, I had been lucky, most people who read and reviewed my book, Give in to the Feeling, liked it enough. I was wondering how I would react to a bad review, since it’s pretty obvious that, prepared as you might feel, it will be hard to take.
Well, this is my first 2-star review and to be honest is the best ‘bad’ review I could ever wish for.
Although David didn’t quite like the story, he made a good point of the reasons why and I was really interested in reading it, especially because he did touch upon an episode that bothered me while revisioning.
I wish all ‘bad’ reviews could be like this.

And so, this is all folks for this month too. I hope you’ve found something interesting in here. Do let me know int he comments.


  • Margot Kinberg
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 13:41

    I highly recommend Brian Stoddart’s work, Sarah. He really captures the atmosphere of India during the last years of the Raj. And if you do get a chance to see The Dr. Blake Mysteries, I recommend them, too. Very well done Australian series set in the late 1950s (I couldn’t help commenting on that, as that was one of the series on your montage). You’re right about Foyle’s War; it’s worth watching, too. Thanks as always for this interesting roundup!

    • Post Author
      Posted August 8, 2017 at 09:01

      Thanks for commenting on these series, Margot. Since I don’t know anything about them (yet) I’m happy someone can give an opinion 🙂

  • Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 15:23

    Hi Sarah – Foyle’s War is a great series … Re King Edward VIII – he was a weak character and the Nazis could groom him … pad his ego. He was a danger, but thankfully was held at bay by the British who were looking after the country – ie doing what they could to protect their people.

    Women in the Great War – they did everything … but after WW1 … they were often overlooked and treated very differently. Times were changing though … as they still are in so many ways …

    I’m glad that heat has eased off somewhat .. it sounded truly very hot and really uncomfortable … have a peaceful break – cheers Hilary

    • Post Author
      Posted August 8, 2017 at 09:03

      I think WWI was a turning point in so many ways, more so than people usually think. Maybe things didn’t change immediately afterwards, but they started to moving in a way that didn’t allow any going back.

  • Anabel Marsh
    Posted August 7, 2017 at 21:23

    Loved that collection of WW1pictures! I noticed some women were sensibly dressed in trousers, but most of them were hampered by long skirts.

    • Post Author
      Posted August 8, 2017 at 09:06

      That’s one of the things that I noticed too, and probably one of the things that most speaks of the time. Asking to anyone to work in such garbes in such an environment is crazy (can you imagine how dangarous that is?)… but then I suppose most of what happened in such factories at that time and before is crazy to our modern mind, so…

  • Cheryl Carter
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 17:33

    “Ramona” was one of my dad’s favorite books. It “is an 1884 American novel written by Helen Hunt Jackson. Set in Southern California after the Mexican-American War, it portrays the life of a mixed-race Scots–Native American orphan girl, who suffers racial discrimination and hardship. Originally serialized in the Christian Union on a weekly basis, the novel became immensely popular. It has had more than 300 printings, and been adapted five time as a film. A play adaptation has been performed annually outdoors since 1923.

    “The novel’s influence on the culture and image of Southern California was considerable. Its sentimental portrayal of Mexican colonial life contributed to establishing a unique cultural identity for the region. As its publication coincided with the arrival of railroad lines in the region, countless tourists visited who wanted to see the locations of the novel.”

    I didn’t realize there were five film adaptations of it. I have an original paperback that belonged to my dad. 🙂

    • Post Author
      Posted August 11, 2017 at 15:36

      I’d love to read the book. I need to hunt that down.
      Thanks for mentioning it, Cheryl 🙂

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