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Tag: crime

Agatha Christie wrote lots of könyvek

Wednesday, 3 June, 2015 0 Comments

This year marks what would have been the 125th birthday of Agatha Christie, who was born on 15 September 1890 and died on 12 January 1976. She wrote six romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she’s best known for the 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections she wrote under her own name, most of which involve the investigations of Hercule Poirot, Jane Marple, Parker Pyne and Tommy and Tuppence Beresford. She also wrote the world’s longest-running play, The Mousetrap.

Note: The plural of the Hungarian könyv (book) is könyvek.

Budapest train station


A most excellent film

Thursday, 26 March, 2015 0 Comments

According to statistics, 1981 was the most dangerous year in the history of New York City. This, then, is the time and the place in which director J.C. Chandor stages A Most Violent Year. Crime is rampant, corruption is rife, danger lurks on the mean streets and the winter cold is pervasive. Despite these obstacles, Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) is determined to corner a share of the oil heating industry. His wife, Anna (Jessica Chastain), comes from Mafia stock and is the power behind the throne, but she has her Mrs Macbeth moments of doubt about her man. He lacks the native killer instinct needed to survive in America’s concrete jungle, she feels. Yes, he’s handsome, clever and ambitious, but he refuses to carry a gun. She is wrong, of course, and one of the great things about this film is that it shows how little we understand each other, no matter the intensity of our relationships.

Abel Morales: “You should know that I have always taken the path that is most right. The result is never in question for me. Just what path do you take to get there? There is always one that is most right. And that is what this is.”


Claude Monet and the Syrian connection

Wednesday, 19 June, 2013 0 Comments

This evening in London, Sotheby’s will auction 72 lots of Impressionist and modern art in one of the most anticipated sales of the year. When all the bidding’s done, Sotheby’s expects to have raked in more than £75 million. Undoubtedly, the star of show is Claude Monet’s gorgeous depiction of The Palazzo Contarini in Venice, which he painted during a three-month stay in the city in 1908. But it’s complicated.

Monet

What the Sotheby’s auction catalogue does not mention is that this particular Monet is from the collection of Helly Nahmad, a character for whom the adjective “colourful” was coined. The Nahmad family hails from Aleppo in Syria and its members operate art galleries in New York and London. Their collection of 3,000 works, including 200 oil paintings by Picasso, is valued at $5 billion by Skate’s Art Market Review.

Much to the surprise of its posh patrons, however, the Helly Nahmad Gallery in Manhattan was forced to shut its doors earlier this year after it was raided by US agents on the grounds that its owner was running a high-stakes gambling ring that catered to celebrities and the very wealthy. On 16 April, Helly Nahmad was charged with racketeering and money-laundering conspiracy. According to the indictment, Nahmad ran an operation that used illegal gambling websites to generate tens of millions of dollars in bets each year. The gambling ring was supported, in part, by the gallery, states the indictment. After such unpleasantness, it is a relief to lovers of modern art, no doubt, that the Helly Nahmad Gallery is open for business once more. The proceeds from this evening’s sale of The Palazzo Contarini painting, which should be spectacular, surely will comfort the proprietor during his difficulties.