A Proper Education for Girls, Elaine Di Rollo. *L This is a rollicking good read, which gets off to a promisingly gothick start. An enormous Victorian pile stuffed to the rafters with 'the collection' and elderly relatives. A bullying father, more than half mad. Twin sisters who've had an extraordinary education. A doctor with terrifying ideas on how to 'treat' female maladies like independence of spirit. Will both girls manage to escape? The publishers haven’t done the author any favours with the horrible cover. Ignore it; the book is good fun.
Delay of Execution, Hazel Holt *L
The trouble with the Sheila Malory mysteries is that I read them too quickly! In this one, Mrs Malory is appointed literary executor of an old friend. She plans to write a biography but discovers things about the late author which she thinks should not be printed. (Shades of Nicola Beauman and Elizabeth Taylor!) She is not the only one with an interest in suppressing the truth and the result is another murder for her to investigate.
Someone at A Distance, Dorothy Whipple *L
I could hardly put this book down. It starts with an unusually convincing description of happy, prosperous middle class family life. The sudden way in which it comes crashing down is brilliantly explained. It’s tougher stuff than you’d expect; the effect on the teenage daughter is heartbreaking, although she is as manipulative in her own way as the villainess of the piece. Odd Girl Out by Elizabeth Jane Howard (1972) has many similarities with this book.
These books all came from the library and if ever I see the Whipple on the sale trolley, I'll snap it up. How I regret now selling this lovely first edition of another of her books.
Still, I was hard up at the time. Oh, besieged? More work on the house has just started and there's a man downstairs.