Category Archives: Litercurious Archives

Ian Fleming SOE And Operation POSTMASTER – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

TitleIan Fleming and SOE’s Operation POSTMASTER
AuthorBrian Lett
PublisherPen and Sword Military (February 19, 2020)
FormatKindle, Paperback
ISBN-10 / 131526760681 / 978-1526760685



Anyone who enjoys history or WWII military operations.


Ian Fleming and SOE’s Operation POSTMASTER: The Untold Top Secret Story, is a historical look at just one of the Special Operations Executive’s (SOE’s) missions in West Africa. The author draws parallels between this mission, the makeup of the SOE, and Ian Fleming’s James Bond series.

The story follows a small group of soldiers from Dunkirk through special operations training to mission “Operation Postmaster.” Brian Lett explains how Ian Fleming was involved with the SOE, how he knew the individuals involved, and how he incorporated certain characteristics from each member into his fictional character James Bond. Brian breaks down the makeup of the SOE and the code words and letters utilized during the time and how Ian Fleming incorporated those into his series.

Operation Postmaster is the tell of a small group of highly motivated soldiers from all walks of life and multiple nationalities banding together to accomplish a single goal. These soldiers trained in England and Scotland, and then went to work on the Spanish island of Fernando Po, now known as Bioko, off West Africa in the Gulf of Guinea. The story describes the trails and tribulations that the SOE went through just to be able to do their job. From the pushback of the Admiralty, to the international political scene.

The detailed planning, the timely execution, and the personal fortitude of the men is quite evident. The fact that they received almost no help from their own military only added to the tale. The British General Officer Commanding (GOC) West Africa Command refused to support the mission. The only way they could accomplish this mission was to get help from the Governor of Nigeria.


Operation Postmaster is sometimes thrilling, but for the most part it just tedious. This is in no part due to the author, but due to the lack of support from the British military. In order to tell the story, the author has to incorporate the long delays, the trials, and tribulations that the men had to go through. When the story really picks up it is very good. Overall, I found it an interesting read but one I could do without. The whole operation just seemed a waste of resources for little gain and the possible international ramifications. The way the story is told it seems that the whole operation was just to prove that the SOE could “do it.”

Although there are similarities between the code names of the soldiers and Fleming’s books, there is no evidence that he used this particular mission to from his James Bond 007 series. It is evident that he used his experiences working with the SOE for the background of his series, but I believe the author put too much emphasis on this one mission. My greatest disappointment is that Ian Fleming, although promoted heavily on the dust cover, features less than I expected.


My sincere thanks go to: The Author, NetGalley, and the Publisher, for affording me the opportunity to review Ian Fleming and SOE’s Operation POSTMASTER: The Untold Top Secret Story.

The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth – REVIEW

Litercurious Book Review

Title The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth: And Other
Curiosities from the History of Medicine
Author / Narrator Thomas Morris / Ruper Farley
Publisher Penguin Dutton; 1 edition (Nov 20, 2018)
Format Unabridged Audiobook, Kindle, Paperback, Hardcover
Time9 hours and 7 minutes
Language English     
ASIN # B07K1FC2C1  


Thomas Morris was a successful radio producer for the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) for many years. He is now a freelance writer and medical historian. His first book, The Matter of the Heart: A History of the Heart in Eleven Operations, wonthe Royal Society of Literature and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation award. The award is one of three annual awards, one of £10,000 and two of £5,000, offered to authors on their first works of non-fiction. Mr. Morris now lives in London.


This book is for everyone 16 or older. The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth is written for the masses and not just for those who want to learn about historic medicine. The book is full of individual cases hand-picked through time to provide the reader with a glimpse of common medical procedures, some uncommon medical procedures, and allot of very interesting cases.


The Mystery of the Exploding Teeth: And Other Curiosities from the History of Medicine, is a sojourn into some of the most interesting medical cases and the procedures used in those cases. It is told through the eyes of the people who were actually there. This book is a conglomeration of notes, letters, personal views of the doctors, and sometimes the patients. The author does a great job of finding the most interesting cases in history. There are some interesting cases that include various items escaping the bodies from all different places, some not very good places. How about the surgeries where the patient is not anesthetized and is an active participant? There is a chapter of patients who survived extreme injuries, some lived normal lives after their injuries.


After reading this book, I listened to the audible version and the narrator added so much more to the enjoyment. He does a great job with the inflection of his voice and the bits that are in French. The little jokes he throws in are awesome. This tome, at times, had me laughing, cringing, crying, and always wondering about the historic doctors and their sometime weird practices. The cases offer a wide variety of injuries and maladies; the causes of some of these will haunt me. I would definitely recommend this book to a friend.


Dr. Mütter Marvels by Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz  #Medicine History & Commentary #History of Medicine
#Trivia & Fun Facts

Dr. Mütter’s Marvels was established by Dr. Mütter who sadly died prematurely at the age of 48. He left behind an immense collection of medical oddities that form the basis of Philadelphia’s renowned Mütter Museum. Dr Mütter’s Marvel by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz is an insight into the dedicated surgeon’s career as well as his life and times. Aptowicz presents her view on Dr. Mütter’s medical practices and the prejudices he witnessed. Aptowicz draws upon Mütter’s speeches and lectures which reveals his humanist based approach.

Mütter Museum Historical Medical Photographs #Medicine History & Commentary #History of Medicine
#Trivia & Fun Facts

Mütter Museum: Historical Medical Photographs Is a cornucopia of high quality photographs taken by professional photographers. Between the 1860s and the 1940s, photographers took pictures of these oddities as records for physicians to share among medical colleagues. They also functioned, at the time, to demonstrate various techniques used in medicine such as micrography and X-ray. During the earliest days, they utilized the method of photography known as the daguerreotype. This processing method required the photographer to polish a sheet of copper plate with silver halide coated to a mirror finish, and treat it with fumes that made its surface light sensitive. There is much more to the Mütter Museum however, and it is not for the squeamish.

A Date With The Hangman – REVIEW

A Litercurious Book Review

A Date With The Hangman By Gary Dobbs
A Date with The Hangman by Gary Dobbs
Title A Date With The Hangman
Author Gary M. Dobbs
Publisher Pen & Sword Ltd. (February 19, 2020)
Format Hardcover
Pages 152
Language English
ISBN # 152674743X (ISBN-13: 978-1526747433)

The Author

Gary Martin Dobbs may not be familiar to you; however, Gary has a long track record of writing books, starting when he was just 15 years old. Mr. Dobbs also writes under the pen name of Jack Martin; perhaps some of you have read his western novels and crime fictions. If you enjoy the Western Genre, you can find more on his work at The Fantastic Fiction site. A couple of his notable crime fiction novels include: Granny Smith, and Deadly Frogs. He also has an online blog where you can find out more about the author and see some of the book reviews he’s written. Not only is he an accomplished author, but he is an actor as well; more information can be found on IMDB (International Movie Database). He comes across as a very personable and engaging character which makes reading A Date With The Hangman more like a talk with a friend, rather than a cold retelling of horror. I enjoyed how concisely Gary recounted ancient traditions, methods of executions, and the slow integration of newer technologies for killing. I consider myself well-read when it comes to the subject of true crime; but I still learned new details, facts, and other information from A Date With The Hangman that were overlooked in similar books.

The Target Audience

You will enjoy this book if you’re interested in: true crime, history, non-fiction, or if you are an avid consumer of literature that has: macabre themes, strong adult content, detailed descriptions of death, murder, and Judicial executions. Whilst the subject matter is gritty, the author Gary Dobbs manages to engage the readers interest immediately. A Date With The Hangman is one of those books you will quickly know if it appeals to you, and if it does you are in for an engrossing sojourn.

My Synopsis

A Date With The Hangman could be considered a primer for anyone who wants to understand the context, methods, and atmosphere of historic Judicial executions. The book begins by introducing the contextual factors upon which to build an understanding of ancient crime and punishment. The central theme of the book is the nature, methods, reputations, and the personal history of some of England’s most notorious hangmen. The descriptions of some of the executions are so detailed that you can imagine standing there and witnessing the event yourself.

Once the vivid descriptions of the executions are complete, we are provided with a plethora of small paragraphs detailing briefly the date of execution, name and age of the offender, the name and age of the victim (if available), their conviction, where the execution took place, and their executioner. Portions of the book are referenced to a tedious degree yet leaves no doubt as to the authenticity of the material used. Toward the end of the book, I was very pleased to see that Gary had included the intensity to which the ethics of execution became a political hot potato. He describes the years leading up to the termination of Capital Punishment in the late 20th Century, as society became disillusioned with the execution of people that were later found to be innocent.


This book is well written, with good prose, and produced in an uncomplicated but concise manner from an author who researched his subject. The subject matter is gripping, sometimes terrifying, but most of all educating.


Gary Dobbs will soon be releasing another in the long line of books called: The Reluctant Terrorist, part of the successful Granny Smith Series. Available at the time of writing on KindleUnlimited – Read for free.

Why not pre-order yours and get to the front of the line. Pen & Sword Ltd., are offering a special price for: A Date With The Hangman, ending soon.



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The Falcon Thief – REVIEW

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