About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

The New Night Manager T.V. Series

Last night Sharon and I had a chance to watch the first episode of the current adaptation of The Night Manager by John le Carré being broadcast on the BBC. Ordinarily if I was going to write about a mini-series I would wait until it was complete but I decided to write about the opening episode to close out my two weeks of posts involving John Le Carré.

I was impressed by the first episode. It caught and held my attention.

From the moment Tom Hiddleston appeared on the screen he met my mental image of Jonathan Pine from the book. Hiddleston is tall enough, weathered enough, lean enough, handsome enough.

I thought it very clever to move the opening scenes in Cairo from the early 1990’s to the 2011 Arab Spring Revolution and the protests wracking Cairo. Indeed, it gave a clearer reason for Dickie Roper to be selling arms in Egypt. They could be used against the protesters.

I thought Aure Atika was convincingly sultry for Freddie Hamid’s older mistress, Sophie Alekan. Her secrets betrayed by Pine she forgave him but he could not forgive himself.

As in the book word of the proposed arms deal was leaked in London to Roper by one of the traditional British Intelligence agencies.

In the book the small new intelligence agency seeking to take down Roper was headed by Leonard Burr. In the series it is run by a woman, Angela Burr, played by Oliva Colman. It was interesting to see the shift in leadership a generation after the book was written. I saw no problems with the change in gender. In characterization I thought Colman looked properly rumpled. The Burr of the book is hardly a fashionable man.

The T.V. confrontation between Pine and Sebastian Ogilvy in which Ogilvy denigrates Sophie and dismisses any obligation of the British government towards her was more effective than the book as we saw the emotions playing out in Pine.

As the story moves to Switzerland setting the luxury hotel in Zermatt rather than Zurich was immaterial to me. In both locations the rich are carefully pampered.

Hugh Laurie as Richard “Dickie” Onslow Roper appropriately swept into the hotel with his entourage. He did not precisely fit my mental view of Roper. From the book I had envisaged Roper as a bigger, more robust man, with a booming voice.

I did take me a few minutes to move away from remembering Laurie as Dr. House. Thankfully in the role of Roper he does not use a cane.

In watching the episode I did accept Laurie as Roper. Laurie is clearly in command. He has the touch of world weariness I remember from the book. He does well at playing Roper’s role as a philanthropist while dealing in arms. He is equally of the right age.

The age difference between Roper and his girlfriend, Jeds Marshall, hits more strongly when you see them side by side rather than reading about them.

Elizabeth Debicki as Jeds is suitably lanky, lovely and languid. For some reason I imagined her as a brunette with hair flowing down her back. Jed’s short blonde hairdo works well on Debicki. At 6’ 2 1/4” she has the height I expected from the book.

What is most impressive about the casting is that the “bad” guys are average to good looking rather than bad by appearance alone.

I thought the script well written. The characters have distinct voices and speak intelligently. I was not surprised that le Carré was involved with David Farr in the writing of the series.

You can see developing through the first episode Pine’s commitment to doing right and his desire to stop Roper, called the “worst man in the world”, by Sophie. He will be an easy recruitment by British Intelligence in the next episode.

Most interesting to me was that le Carré’s sons, Simon and Stephen Cornwell are executive producers of the production.

My Australian blogging friend, Bernadette at her fine blog Reactions to Reading, occasionally compares a book with its adaption on screen. It is not always clear which is the better.

I am greatly looking forward to the rest of the mini-series. I have found the changes from the book to be well done and I am excited to see what further changes are ahead. If the remaining episodes are as good as the first it is going to be a great mini-series and be very profitable even though it is the most expensive mini-series in BBC history.
Le Carré, John – (2000) - Single & Single; (2001) - The Constant Gardner (Second best fiction of 2001); (2005) - Absolute Friends (Best fiction in 2005); (2008) - Mission Song; (2009) – A Most Wanted Man; (2016) - A Quartet of John Le Carré; (2016) - The Night Manager and The Writing of and Reaction to The Night Manager

Sisman, Adam - (2016) - John Le Carré and John Le Carré as Real Life Spy 


  1. I'm very glad you enjoyed the first part of the adaptation, Bill. So often a TV or film adaptation leaves a lot to be desired. Or perhaps that's just because I'm a picky purist. I'll be interested in what the rest of the series is like.

    1. Margot: Thanks for the comment. This adaptation left me impressed as do most British adaptations.