Guilty Pleasures: Beth Groundwater

I have to admit my Guilty Pleasure is Terry Gilliam movies, ones he directs and writes. My all-time favorite of his is essentially a heist movie, and thus is appropriate for this blog: Time Bandits (1981). I have a warm regard for the bumbling dwarves, who while employees of the Supreme Being designed a foul-smelling tree and were demoted to the job of repairing holes in the spacetime fabric. Instead, they use the map of the holes in spacetime to travel to the days and places of Robin Hood, Napoleon Bonaparte, King Agamemnon, and the Titanic as well as legendary times and steal historical treasures. Even though I know justice must be done, I always guiltily root for the dwarves, hoping they’ll get away with the loot.

I have been delighted with Gilliam’s vivid imagination since his early days with Monty Python’s Family Circus (I was and still am a huge fan of that series). I look forward to each of Gilliam’s film releases with great anticipation. I have to admit that The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988) is a close second to Time Bandits in my heart. I remember during the first time I watched it, I kept saying out loud, “How in the world did he come up with THAT?” These two movies, along with Brazil (1985) form Terry Gilliam’s Trilogy of Imagination, about the “craziness of our awkwardly ordered society and the desire to escape it through whatever means possible.”

The latest Terry Gilliam movie I’ve seen is The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassum, featuring now-deceased actor Heath Ledger, and the actor friends who stepped in to finish his role with a very creative twist: Jude Law, Colin Ferrell, and Johnny Depp. That, too, was an excellent movie, but I often find that a creative person’s first work is my favorite (such as John Grisham’s first novel, A Time to Kill), so Time Bandits is still my favorite Gilliam film. I can’t wait to see the next one, though!

I wish I had just ten percent of the imagination that Terry Gilliam has. It must be very interesting living inside his head. But, I have to be content to live inside my own, where I dream up future adventures for the two protagonists of my two mystery series: 47-year-old gift basket designer Claire Hanover and 27-year-old whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner.


Beth Groundwater writes the Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series (A Real Basket Case, nominated for the 2007 Best First Novel Agatha Award, and To Hell in a Handbasket, released in May, 2009). She also writes the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures mystery series starring whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner. The first, Deadly Currents, will be released in March, 2011. Beth lives in Colorado and enjoys its many outdoor activities, including skiing, hiking, and whitewater rafting. She loves talking to book clubs, too, and not just for the gossip and wine! Please visit her website at and her blog at