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Wednesday Failure to Read

What I've Just Finished Reading

Nothing! I've fallen completely behind. I had the stomach flu for a little while and now I have an omnious swollen feeling in my ear and throat. In between, I've been unboxing and shelving books, and occasionally reading them, but nothing finished.

What I'm Reading Now

I found a great book called Etiquette in Canada (by Gertrude Pringle) -- a 1949 reprint of a book from the 30s, including, among other things, a hand-wringing introduction about how embarrassing it was when the Prince of Wales visited Canada and everyone used the wrong form of address. Most of the instruction is notable for how inappropriate it is to Mrs. Rachel Lynde's Avonlea (or just about any L. M. Montgomery setting); there's a lot of aspirational city-dinner-party material that presumes an unlimited stationery budget. There are many small notes about things people do that Gertrude Pringle's circles find coarse, but which may or may not be considered rude in general. And the author is convinced that it is a major social sin to be photographed in evening dress, a prohibition I have never heard of before. Does anyone know what this is about?

The Invention of Murder is still great. The Untelling is also still great. The Silmarillion, too. These books have done nothing to merit my neglect.

What I Plan to Read Next

Inspector Alleyn fans! If I have resolved to read the Alleyn books in order, is it worth it to order A Man Lay Dead, the first book in the series, from Amazon, or should I just skip it for now and read the second book? The library has most of the rest (including KILLER DOLPHIN) but not that one. Amazon tells me it's both a weekend-at-the-country house mystery AND a Light-Hearted Murder Party Gone Wrong, and those are plot elements that I like. Are there valuable clues to his personality in the first book that I will miss out on if I skip it? Please advise.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 28th, 2015 04:36 pm (UTC)
Aw, hope you feel better soon! (Those books are full of germs. *nods*)

is it worth it to order A Man Lay Dead, the first book in the series, from Amazon, or should I just skip it for now and read the second book?

I would have to re-read A Man Lay Dead to answer your questions properly, but... it is worth ordering it to put off reading the second book a bit longer! (I'm a bit prejudiced against The Nursing Home Murders.) Probably if you want to do the thing properly, you may as well. I think there is some brief intro for Alleyn and it does explain at least who Nigel and Angela are, and they're going to keep cropping up for quite a few books. And it is quite fun. (Read it, skip book 2! ;-D)
Jan. 28th, 2015 07:54 pm (UTC)
The invaluable orderofbooks.com tells me that the second book is actually Enter A Murderer and The Nursing Home Murders is #3 (both published in 1935). What's wrong with The Nursing Home Murders, if you can give me a non-spoilery account?

I guess I'll order, then! I keep hoping it'll turn up in one of my book boxes and save me the trouble, but apart from completely dominating the tiny New Zealand Fiction section of the university library, Marsh is not well-known in this town.
Jan. 28th, 2015 08:28 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's right. I always forget that. I'm pretty sure Enter A Murderer is fine, too. There's nothing really wrong with The Nursing Home Murders as such; it's just the one where she got so wrapped up in the technical aspect of the murder that it gets really dry in places & I tend to skip over it in my re-reads these days.

Well, it might do, mightn't it? It is the first, after all... ;-)
Jan. 29th, 2015 01:46 am (UTC)
I don't think I ever read the first Inspector Alleyn book! So I can offer no help.

But I agree with lost_spook that The Nursing Home Murders isn't one of her best. It's dry, and while it's been a while since I read it, I feel like it might be one of the books with weird eugenics stuff too? Some of her earlier books have a "hereditary insanity" angle that is totally skiffy from a modern perspective.

Marsh clearly realized this too, because there's at least one of her later books that turns that trope on its head.
Feb. 2nd, 2015 12:29 am (UTC)
Well, we'll see what happens! I just found out I could get the first three books as a single book for only $2. Normally I am not a big fan of the Massive Omnibus, but it was a good deal and will save me the trouble of going to the library.
Jan. 30th, 2015 01:21 am (UTC)
Sorry to hear you've been sick. *hugs* "Etiquette in Canada" sounds like something I need to get my hands on.
Feb. 2nd, 2015 12:28 am (UTC)
Thanks! It's really a gem in some spots, though I'm sure it is not at all applicable on PEI outside Rarefied Charlottetown Circles and within the orbit of the notorious Pringle family.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


blase ev

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