Dear Reader #154

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

Find Me If You Can, Series 1, Episode 8 of The Rockford Files opens with an intriguing premise: a client, Barbara, hires Rockford to find her. She offers him no information about herself, so the task looks difficult. However, Rockford rises to the challenge.

Paul Michael Glaser, pictured, is suitably dark as the villain, while the overall theme of the story is noir-ish. Indeed, Chandler’s Marlowe would have felt at home on these mean streets.

Lots of great dialogue in this one. Rocky (Rockford’s father) on observing a cut near his son’s left eye, “Look at that gash – two inches to the right, and you’d have been missing that eye.” Rockford, “Two inches to the left and he would have missed me completely.”

📸 Wikipedia

By 1700 London was becoming the hub of an empire. This was reflected in the grand buildings and squares that developed in…

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Dear Reader #153

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Portuguese version of Operation Rose, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE, book seven.

The Big Ripoff, Series 1, Episode 7 of The Rockford Files is a strong episode with some noir touches. In the early episodes of the series there is a sense that Rockford is a ‘loser’ in that he’s always the one being ripped-off. That pattern changed as the series progressed and in this episode, financially at least, Rockford emerges as a winner.

Some neat dialogue, which sums up Rockford’s character. Marilyn, a model, “Is there anything you won’t do for money?”

Rockford, “I won’t kill for it, and I won’t marry for it. Other than that, I’m open to just about anything.”

📸Jill Clayburgh who guest-starred as Marilyn.

Welsh Football Legends

David Lloyd Bowen was born in Maesteg on 7 June 1928. His professional career as a club footballer centred on two…

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Dear Reader #152

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Italian version of Looking for Rosanna Mee, Sam Smith Mystery Series, book seventeen.

This Case is Closed, Series 1, Episode 6 of The Rockford Files is a feature-length episode. The series often featured ninety-minute episodes, which explored more complex plots, social issues, and included special guest stars.

The longer episodes also allowed for a slower pace of direction, and longer scenes, such as the car chase at the beginning of This Case is Closed.

Joseph Cotton, pictured, appeared in this episode. A leading Hollywood actor during the 1940s, Joseph Cotton’s theatre, radio, movie and television credits are numerous. He appeared in many classics including Citizen Kane and The Third Man.

After the Great Fire of London in 1666 many individuals presented great schemes to rebuild and revolutionise the city. These individuals included John Evelyn, Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke.

Their plans included replacing the…

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Dear Reader #151

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Dutch version of Operation Locksmith, Eve’s War, Heroines of SOE book two.

Tall Woman in Red Wagon, Series 1, Episode 5 of The Rockford Files is a ‘flashback’ story with Rockford recalling events after a bullet-inducing concussion.

Rockford’s printing press appears in this episode. One of the main features of The Rockford Files was the way Rockford teased information out of various people by impersonating numerous officials, his credentials always supported by cards freshly minted by his printing press.

There is no neat ending to this episode. I like that format and sometimes use it in my stories. In the main, readers and viewers like the author to wrap up all the lose ends, but in real life lose ends often roll on, and on…

📸A still from Tall Woman in Red Wagon.

The Great Fire of London in 1666 destroyed 436 acres of…

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Dear Reader #150

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

My latest article for the Seaside News.

The teleplay for Exit Prentiss Carr, Series 1, Episode 4 of The Rockford Files, was written by long-standing Rockford Files associate Juanita Bartlett (pictured).

This episode was set in the fictitious town of Bay City. Raymond Chandler set his 1940 novel Farewell My Lovely in Bay City, so presumably Exit Prentiss Carr was a homage to Chandler. Bay City also appeared in season two of The Rockford Files.

James Garner appeared in every scene in this episode. When that happens in detective fiction I think it makes for a stronger story, but obviously it’s quite demanding for the lead actor.

In the late sixteenth century, London had four regular companies and six permanent playhouses with plays performed every day except Sunday. The plays were popular with rich and poor alike with prices set to attract lower paid workers.

The authorities loathed…

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Dear Reader #149

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

The Countess, Series 1, Episode 3 of The Rockford Files saw another solid story from John Thomas James enlivened by crisp dialogue from Stephen J. Cannell. Joe Santos as the long-suffering Sergeant Becker appears in this episode.

In a phone call with Rockford, Becker implies that his wife’s name is Nancy. However, when that character appears later in the series, played by Pat Finley, her name is Peggy. Incidentally, she is one of my favourite side-characters in the series.

Mistakes in long-running series are inevitable. It’s hard enough for writers to keep track of events in real life, let alone in a fictional universe. The fact that fans notice any errors is a compliment to a series, I reckon; it highlights their deep commitment.

Susan Strasberg, ‘The Countess’.

The Dissolution of the Monasteries (1535 – 40) created great wealth for some, and more modest opportunities for others. The…

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Dear Reader #148

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

Betrayal, book one in my Ann’s War Mystery Series, has returned to the top of the Amazon charts. Many thanks to my readers for their support.

The Dark and Bloody Ground, Series 1, Episode 2 of The Rockford Files, introduced Gretchen Corbett, pictured, as attorney Beth Davenport to the series. The producers were reluctant to tie Rockford to a long-term ‘love interest’, so until much later in the series the implied on-off affair between Rockford and Beth was the closest the series came to romance.

Would The Rockford Files have worked with a permanent romantic interest? I think James Garner would have made it work, but I can understand why the producers wanted to keep Rockford ‘footloose and fancy free’.

Some days, you feel as though you’ve lost a week and a half…

In 1752 they had a problem: how to align the English calendar with Europe? Solution:…

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Dear Reader #147

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

Published this week, The Olive Tree: Fruit, book four of five in my Spanish Civil War Saga.

The blurb:

Christmas 1937. A respite from the fighting allows time for celebrations, and for passions to ignite.

Volunteer nurse Heini Hopkins can deny her feelings no longer: she is attracted to handsome surgeon, Dr Miguel Martinez. However, her love for International Brigades Volunteer Deiniol Price remains strong. What should she do? Which way should she turn?

Meanwhile, author Naomi Parker wrestles with her feelings for the Condor Legion’s ace pilot, Prince Nicolas Esteban. She also falls under suspicion as Luis Rodriguez, the Minister of Propaganda, hunts for a spy in his camp.

Book four in The Olive Tree: A Spanish Civil War Saga places Heini on the frontline where she battles to save Deiniol, and her heart.

My latest translation, the Spanish version of Operation Cameo, Eve’s War Heroines of…

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Dear Reader #146

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Italian version of Operation Broadsword, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE, book three.

This week, I started rewatching The Rockford Files. Most of the regular cast appeared in the pilot, including Stuart Margolin as Angel. Jamie Farr of M*A*S*H was considered for the part, and would have done a fine job, but Stuart Margolin made it his own. He portrayed the character so well with just the movements of his eyes. Around this time Margolin also featured in an episode of M*A*S*H.

The answering machine messages at the start are iconic. In the pilot, Luis Delgado (who appears as ‘himself’ in a marriage scene later in the episode) said, “Billings, L.A.P.D. You know, Thursday is Chapman’s 20th year, and we’re giving a little surprise party at the Captain’s. I think you should come. By the way, we need five bucks for the present…” Cue the…

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Dear Reader #145

Hannah Howe

Dear Reader,

My latest translation, the Portuguese version of Operation Cameo, Eve’s War Heroines of SOE, book six.

The Howes in America

Jane Jenkins was born on 24 August 1806 in Marcoss, Glamorgan. A seamstress, she married William Howe, brother of my 4 x great grandfather John Howe, on 7 May 1833 in St Brides, Glamorgan. The couple produced five children. William, a shopkeeper, died on 1 August 1848, and Jane’s life took a dramatic turn.

On 15 December 1851 Jane married William Williams. In February 1866 Jane’s mother, Ann David, died and this appears to have been the catalyst for the dramatic change because, aged sixty, Jane set off for a new life in America.

On 6 July 1866 on the ship Arkwright, Jane set sail for New York. She travelled with her husband, William Williams, William’s grandson, William (Billo) Johns, Eliza Davis, Mary Gibbs, Hugh Morris, John Tardy…

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