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gertrude

October 2018

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reading

March Books



Nothing but light reads this month.

A Blunt Instrument, Georgette Heyer. Unfortunately I guessed the solution to this one pretty early on in the book.
Penny Plain, O Douglas. She is incomparable for reading in bed.
The Dangerous Islands, Ann Bridge
Beswitched, Kate Saunders
Emergency in the Pyrenees, Ann Bridge. Julia is now married to Jamieson and the fool packs off his wife, six months’ pregnant, to a remote house in the Pyrenees. Author and reader curse his idiocy and unfortunately I had to abandon the book because I couldn’t bear to read about Julia’s problems (more would be a spoiler) while feeling ill. Don’t read this if you’re pregnant. So snuck back to the ever-welcoming safety of
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding. Watched the film, again, as well.
Bridget Jones, The Edge of Reason
Duplicate Death, Georgette Heyer. Reuses the Kane family characters from an earlier novel.
The Double Comfort Safari Club, Alexander McCall Smith
True to the Trefoil , a celebration of fictional Girl Guides, edited by Tig Thomas
The Torso in the Town, Simon Brett. Another case for Carole and Jude and I’ve obviously read several since this one came out. It doesn’t matter where you pick them up, though.
Detection Unlimited, Georgette Heyer. The last of the ten I bought and probably the least good.

Wishing for Tomorrow, the Sequel to A Little Princess, Hilary McKay.
I’m a huge admirer of Hilary McKay; I love her Exiles series and the books about the Casson family. Even so, I was doubtful whether even she could pull off a sequel to such a perfect fairy tale as Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess. I wrote about that book fairly recently here and was interested to find that Hilary McKay quotes the very same transformation scene passage in the new book. Things have changed at Miss Minchin’s Seminary. Sara and Becky have gone; Ermengarde feels deserted; Lavinia reveals hidden depths; Miss Minchin is behaving very strangely. The best change is the introduction of a new character, Alice-who-won’t-be-called-a-kitchen-maid. She couldn’t be less like downtrodden Becky: refuses to sleep in the attic, fails to polish the brass plate, deals with the girls as though they were her little sisters and threatens to walk out at any moment. I loved this book, which would almost stand alone if it weren’t for all the references to Sara. It’s also full of surprises and I recommend it.

Priorsford, O Douglas another re-read.



Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains, Catriona McPherson. I was a little disappointed in Bury Her Deep, especially after enjoying The Winter Ground so much. This new book is a great improvement and grabbed me from the start. It’s 1926, the year of the General Strike (this is relevant). Dandy poses as a maid (with Grant’s help, of course) in order to help a client. She is right on the spot when 'orrible murder is committed in a house full of potential suspects, most of them servants. These books are not really cosy murders; as in After the Armistice Ball, the hints of sexual horrors are quite disturbing even if they turn out to be misplaced. I still like Dandy and Alec (and Bunty!) a lot.
Murder on the Flying Scotsman, Carola Dunn. Excellent, loved it. This is a lovely series.
The Guide Adventurers, Margaret Middleton. Four girls from well-to-do homes decide to try living on the cheap for two weeks by camping out. They can’t do this as Guides (rules!) although they use their guiding skills. The dialogue is very good but the story far-fetched. I’m assured this isn’t her best book so I’ll look out for others.
The Hanging in the Hotel, Simon Brett . Carole and Jude are right again.

Comments

I am foolishly pleased that my last first year placement is going to be in Peebles - I will be having an O Douglas re-read in preparation! Ann Bridge is an author I keep meaning to try - can you recommend a good one?
Lucky you! I turn back to O Douglas over and over again.

It's a while since I read any Ann Bridge except the two I've mentioned here. Peking Picnic is the most famous.