Well, you should be used to my “Best of” posts by now. And rest assured, there will be other “Best ofs”as well. And since I’m a little short on other, more interesting / more personal scribblings, you will have to suffer through my yearly best and worst of anything I can think of articles. To make it even more boring, my awesome “Best of” list is limited to Netflix. Since A) I don’t have regular TV and B) I also don’t have anything else like Amazon Prime, Sky, Disney, Apple and whatever else is out there … So, here it goes!
1 Gotham: Oh boy, I loved this series. Even though I was sceptical at first because I knew it would be a dark series. Maybe too dark. But I started to enjoy it and its characters very much. Even some of the villains. Penguin is just adorable, no matter what he does. I didn’t like the Joker, though. Too psychotic. Bruce Wayne’s developing nicely and Mr. Pennyworth is just marvellous. Probably my favourite character of all with his British accent, style and awesome (fighting) skills. Jim Gordon is quite complex, trying to do the right thing with buddy Harvey Bullock in contrast. A truly great series.
2 The Arrow / The Flash / Supergirl – Universe: While having watched the Arrow in 2021, I enjoyed the spin-offs very much. Especially since they are “lighter”, funnier, tying in beautifully with each other. I love the crossover episodes most, of course and would have liked to really watch them in a row, jumping from one series to the other.
3 The Lincoln Lawyer: Having read the book ages ago it all came back while watching the series and I enjoyed it very much. What’s more to say about Michael Connelly’s creation? Lawyer Mickey Haller, finally back at work, a thrilling case, LA at its best and hopefully Netflix will adapt the other Haller books as well.
4 The good cop: Sadly, just one season available on Netflix. What’s not to love about Italian crookTony and his stuck-up police son? We all remember Tony Danza on “Who’s the boss?” What fun to watch him walking the tight rope between being a crook and remaining honest.
5 Wednesday: Awesome. Awesome, awesome, awesome. A brilliant young actress portraying the barely moving a face muscle “Addams family” teenage daughter, being shipped off to a new school of others with powers. Twists and turns wherever you look and I would have never guessed who the “monster” was until the very end. For once, a teenage series that didn’t annoy me thanks to annoying – well – teenagers.
6 Bridgerton: Of course, the Bridgertons are on my “Best” list as well. Again. I was a little disappointed at first that the handsome Duke wouldn’t be part of season 2. But since it revolved around the oldest Bridgerton brother, the other characters were only side charactersanyway. Wonderful settings, wardrobe, style and stories. But, and here is the big BUT, Kate was a bit annoying at times.
7 The Crown: well … what can I say. Well-madeagain, but I preferred the early seasons better. Maybe because the Diana drama is still fresh inmy mind and I suffered with them all when their marriage broke up. Thankfully, not everything evolved around the then Prince and Princess of Wales. The Margaret episode was quite lovely, as tragic as it was when one considers that she was not allowed to marry the love of her life. And the Al Fayed background was quite fascinating. Anyway, I dread the coming season with Diana’s tragic accident …
8 The Green Glove Gang: what a refreshing series from our neighbouring country Poland. Three elderly lady burglars hiding out at a retirement home. Being quite reluctant at first, they start to really care about the other residents, which is being reciprocated manifolds. A truly entertaining series!
9 The IT Crowd: I know, I know! Anything but new! But since I never watched it I took the plunge 16 years later and had quite fun with its British sitcom quirkiness.
10 Of course I also followed up on the new and partly final seasons of The Umbrella Academy, The Witcher, Virgin River, Locke & Key, etc.
Oh, by the way? Not on Netflix but old-fashioned DVDs, I immensely enjoyed Rowan Atkinson as “Black Adder”. Brilliantly hilarious! Have a great TV year 2023!
… with a book. Of course, it had to start with a book. Not so much the first two “Glück” mystery books taking place at the Wörthersee in Carinthia and in Vienna. But then, when I read the third one, where Martin Glück is solving a murder in Graz in Styria … it hit me. With full force. With memories flooding me. The desire to go home. To move back home before it’s too late.
Thinking of the many times I went to Graz to visit my friend, the wonderful time I always spent there, the many shopping trips … I miss it. I miss Austria. I miss my university town where my parents grew up, I miss my friends, my last remaining family, the food, the culture, the snow, the language … especially it’s the little things I miss. Going to the supermarket deli and ordering a Kaiser roll with whatever I want – with deli meat plus cheese plus pickles or tomato or hard-boiled egg or … an unthinkable concept here in Germany.
And I miss Vienna, the closeness to Italy, skiing, swimming in lakes, Hutter, Gartenrast and Arkadenhof, everything, just everything. I just miss everything.
And I realized there are only two things keeping me here. My job and my special friend. And I also realized that I can’t remain here for another 20 years until retirement. I couldn’t bear it.
Not too long ago, when I was on my way back from England, changing planes in Amsterdam to get back to Düsseldorf, the sight of an Austrian Airlines plane literally brought tears to my eyes and it took all my will power to not cry my heart out. And it’s not as if I had been unhappy, having just come back from the wonderful CrimeFest in Bristol. Still, seeing the Austrian Airlines plane … deep down my desire to go home is overwhelming and my thoughts are constantly there.
My greatest wish? Remaining in my job, just working from Austria instead of Germany. Basically, it doesn’t matter whether my home office (we’re still mostly working from home and home office is here to stay for our group) is in Germany or Austria. The problem is the tax issue. Which I had hoped could be solved when the take-over by the new company has happened, since the new company has subsidiaries in Austria. But, well, as it seems right now, this won’t be an option at the moment … maybe in a few months, a couple of years, never. So … I don’t have another but start looking for a new job.
What worries me, though? Despite my great desire to go home, how will I ever be able to leave HIM? The guy who has been in my life since 2015. He was there for me during my depression, my search for a partner, my relationship with my now-ex, my move back, rekindling our special friendship. This will be the hardest part … whether there will be a solution for us? I don’t know …
I’m disappointed! I’m really disappointed with myself! Compared to 2021 with 309 read books, I only managed 215 books this year. Even though my life has not been that different to 2021, with home office life, more quality time, going to bed early to read … so why, oh why, only so few books? Hm, I guess I have been watching a little more Netflix and DVDs. And often fell asleep early. And I did less after-work afternoon reading. So, there you have it!
However, let me reminisce about some of the English and American authors I read this year – since you won’t be interested in the Austrian and German books I devoured.
1.) Donald Bain: Yep, I’m still working through the Murder, she wrote books I have in my unread book storage. And I still enjoy Jessica Fletcher’s adventures all around the US and the world. Especially with Grand Dame Angela Lansbury’s death in 2022, those novels are even more precious to keep her memory alive. Even though she was a marvel on the stage as well.
2.) S.J. Bennett: The Queen, her Majesty investigates in “The Windsor Knot”. Having bought it a couple of month before the Queen’s demise, I only read it last month and could picture this grand lady residing at Windsor, walking her corgies. My opinion? A compliment to a terrific monarch!
3.) Emily Brightwell: I can hardly believe I only read three of the Mrs Jeffries Victorian mysteries. Where did the year go? Mrs Jeffries, her household and friends helping Inspector Witherspoon solve his cases without him knowing … lovely characters and it was not exactly my intention to only read three in the course of the year. I must still have about 10 of the series left. A joy every time!
4.) Simon Brett and his entertaining series surrounding aristocratic twins Blotto and Twinks(with Twinks being the clever twin). I came across him and his Blotto and Twinks series at CrimeFestand they are hilarious.
5.) Heron Carvic and some more of his quirky brolly-wielding lady Mrs Seeton, who always manages to cause chaos and get the villain in the end, also thanks to her prophetic drawings. What I like least? The time being the 70s. It’s just not my preferred era.
6.) Martin Edwards – who I also met at CrimeFest – and his new series with protagonists Rachel Savernake, heir and Jacob Flint, journalist. A fascinating woman with a fascinating past. I can’t wait for Blackstone Fell and Sepulchre Street to be available.
7.) Tim Glister and his two 60s spy thrillers – also fresh from CrimeFest. I loved them, diving into Cold War London, following Richard Knox. And I just discovered that his third book will be out next May! Yay! It’s already on my booklist, of course it is!
8.) Ann Granger: so many awesome series and I still have the one or other stored in my not-yet-read book shelf, like the Mitchell and Markby series orCampbell and Carter. However, I read most of her Inspector Ben Ross and Lizzie Martin mysteries, back in Victorian times and I love the way she switches writing between Ben’s point of view and Lizzie’s.
9.) T.E. Kinsey: Lady Hardcastle and Flo are on it again. And their latest adventure is already waiting among my Christmas gifts for myself. I also read his two books of his second series featuring the Dizzy Heights – a jazz band – in the 20s, who were introduced in one of the Lady Hardcastle mysteries. They are quite different in style, faster paced. But a great cast of characters and thrilling cases. Sadly, it seems, Tim won’t continue with the Dizzy Heights mysteries. All I can say … I loved reading them as much as I love the Lady Hardcastle mysteries.
10.) Andrea Penrose: Wrexford and Sloane mysteries of Regency London. Apart from the thrilling cases the unusual relationship between Lord Wrexfordand fallen on hard times Charlotte Sloane (and her two “adopted” urchins) with many secrets still to be discovered is quite fascinating and one just wants to read one after another to explore more of them.
11.) G.D. Sanders and his two novels surrounding DI Edina Ogborne, having been transferred to Canterbury Police. I enjoyed them very much – despite not being historical mysteries. Ed is a complex character and apart from her thrilling cases running against time, one likes to be part of her new life and how she will cope. I really hope more Ed books will follow.
12.) MJ Trow: one of the surprises this year. Lestrade– the inspector from the Sherlock Holmes stories – is the main character of this great series. I’ve only read one so far but I liked it very much and had to laugh out loud at times. The next ones are already on my wishlist for future purchases.
Of course, with 215 books under my belt this year, there were many other authors I enjoyed immensely: like Mick Finlay and his Victorian Arrowood character, Mark Ellis and DCI Frank Merlin in 40s London (both of whom I also met at CrimeFest), Carola Dunn and Daisy Dalrymple, Carole Lawrence, Lawrence Block, Amy Myers, Dorothy L. Sayers, P.G. Wodehouse, Bob Woodward, … not to mention many Austrian authors – mysteries, non-fiction and biographies.
Many, many books are still waiting for me to be read and every time I have to choose which one to read next is exciting in itself. What will 2023 bring? Which authors will dominate? Apart from the usual suspects? I will have to wait and see! Happy reading, you all!