Book Club Picks: At Home in Mitford

So as you know I started a book club this year:

Every month we read a book and I do a little post on the book we read and discussed.

There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. I went first, the next month was someone choose Sandcastle Kings, and this month another member choose:

At Home in Mitford (The Mitford Years #1) by Jan Karon

This book is set in the fictional town of Mitford, North Carolina. The books center around the Vicar, Father Tim. Father Tim is turning sixty and feels like he should give up on being a minister. He feels as if his life is stagnant, his preaching dry, and that the community would be better off with a new rector. He promises one more year, but if things don’t change, then he will retire.

Hmm…

But soon things start changing in his life. A giant black dog shows up at his home and won’t leave. Barnabas, what he names the dog, is strangely only calmed down if one speaks a bible verse at him.

Then a beautiful woman moves in next door. She is scatterbrained, always in need of assistance, and stirs up feelings in the reverend’s dormant heart.

A painting found in an attic is donated to the church which may be a genuine Vermeer.

His best friends are going to have a baby, even though they are in their fifties; his secretary has started a romance with the mailman, he gets a holds-nothing-back housekeeper, and finds himself suddenly fostering a preteen boy.

Someone breaks into the church repeatedly, stealing nothing but food.

Hmm…

Then Father Tim gets word of a jewelry ring operating in the area with them smuggling them through customs in old antiques. Some of the jewels Father Tim finds hidden in an urn in the church. Could someone in the community be involved?

Miss Sadie is the last remaining member of the oldest and richest family in Mitford. She tells Father Tim the story of the love that got away and reveals a secret that has been hidden for over forty years.

So I really loved this book. I thought the characters were fun and realistic. The town felt like it could be your small town, and the characters, the people you know or interact with.

It was so cute how everyone cared about their town and each other-getting in everyone’s business to help out. It made me want to live there.

The back of the book hints at it being more of a mystery, but while there are elements that are puzzling I wouldn’t classify it as a mystery. Well, whatever it is it was a fun book and easy to love.

For more book club picks, go to Book Club Picks: Sandcastle Kings

Prom & Prejudice

psychPromjulietshawn

Prom.

Some of us loved it,

I love it!

Some of us hated.

Whether we planned for it

Or ignored it,

it is something that every person in public school in the United States encounters in their lifetime.

It’s true.

For me, I enjoyed prom. I tried to spend as little money as possible on everything and did extremely well. I had a beautiful blue gown, cost $2.50 at a thrift store sale, $8 to get it dry cleaned.

Oh yeah!

My shoes? Beautiful silver heels, extremely comfortable, and free-with the purchase of a bracelet for $8 (Kohl’s cash buy something $8-10, get something $8-10 free).

I like it.

Make-up? Free, my sister did it.

Yep!

Hair? Only $16 as I knew a hairstylist.

Limo? Free, my friend’s date father owned a limousine rental.

Sweet!

Dinner? Free, my friend had coupon that covered everything.

Awesome!

The most expensive thing? $25 tickets. So a total of $59.50, not bad.

But we don’t want to just hear about my experience. Oh no, this is a book review post:

Promandprejudice

Prom & Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

**Contains Spoilers**

Yes, if we go through prom, why not the Austen characters? (Or at least Pride & Prejudice Austen characters.)

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In Eulberg’s book Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, Caroline, Mr. Darcy, Charlotte, Mr. Collins, and Mr. Bingley all get an opportunity to go to prom.

Why not?

This book came out when I was a young adult and I just happened on to it accidentally, started reading and LOVED it! In fact I think it is one of the best modern adaptions.

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Bennet is a scholarship student at the elite prep school, Longbourn. She was recruited for her musical talent, as she is an accomplished piano player.

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Sadly, piano playing is the only nice thing about being there at the school. Everyone treats her horribly as they want her to “know her place.” They dump drinks on her, call her names, give her the wrong room when she asks for directions, etc.

HateYou

She does have two friends in the school, one is a fellow scholarship student, Charlotte, and the other is the incredibly nice Jane.

So Lizzie has just returned from Hoboken, New Jersey to the school from winter break. While she is thinking about the spring concert and her studies; every other girl at Longbourn and every boy at Pemberley (school for boys) have only one thing on the brain: prom.

To not have a date would be the biggest faux pas; so all are prepping and conniving to have the best date.

While Jane is excited for prom, she is also thrilled that Charles Bingley will be returning from England where he spent the previous semester. Before he left the two had been heading toward something, and spent the whole summer emailing and writing; so Jane is eager to see if they  will become more.

 At the welcome back dance Lizzie is pleased to meet Charles as he is extremely nice and appears to be perfect for her friend Jane. Unfortunately, his twin sister Caroline is a real jerk.

Charles also brought his best friend Will Darcy, who is attractive and seems like a good guy, that is until he finds out Elizabeth is a scholarship student and just takes off, major diss.

What a jerk

Later she overhears him saying how he spent a year in London to try and get away from those kinds of people.

Ugh

Elizabeth tries to leave, but is stopped by Colin Williams (Mr. Collins) the only other person nice to her and the most boring person she has ever met.

Blah, blah

Oh, Mr. Collins:

While her way at school is paid, she still needs money to fund everything else and works at the local coffee shop as a barista. She runs into Darcy there, but the fate is sealed. She is not going to like him for anything.

Charles invites Jane and Lizzie to come with him, Caroline, and Darcy as they are headed to Vermont to ski. Lizzie agrees to support Jane although she has no clue about skiing. She decides to just wait inside playing the steinway (piano), doing homework, and sipping hot tea.

The next day everyone heads out to the slopes while Lizzie decides to head to the bookstore to pick up a book for school. Darcy offers her a ride, but Lizzie doesn’t want help. She finally agrees and the two talk on the drive. Darcy doesn’t get why she is being so snobby and down about school, while Lizzie lets everything out about how people are treating her.

That night things go a bit sour as Charles is taking Jane out and Lizzie is to be stuck at the house with her two favorite people, Caroline and Darcy.

Those guys

Darcy isn’t so bad, but Elizabeth Lizzie has to be there while Caroline tries to impress him. She starts with commenting on his email writing, then doing yoga moves, etc. The conversation moves to involve only Lizzie and Darcy, but Caroline doesn’t like that.

They all return to school, and in Lizzie’s case work, and things are back to normal. However, Lizzie meets George “Wick” Wickham who is handsome, charming, and hates Longbourn and Pemberley as much as she does. Wick tells her that Darcy and he became very good friends, but when Darcy’s father was paying too close attention to him Darcy got jealous and had him kicked out.

Charles is having a party and invites all kinds of people. Jane and Lizzie are going of course, and because Jane is going, her sister Lydia squeezes her way in. Jane’s father recently lost his job and that has downgraded her status at the school. It doesn’t help that Lydia is all kids of crazy and embarrassing and can’t stop about prom or boys.

If only she followed this advice.

Wick was supposed to come to the party but changed his mind, leaving Lizzie sad and upset as she wanted to spend the time with him. However, Darcy pays quite a bit attention to her and even asks her to dance.

The night ends even worse with nonstop attention from Colin, Lydia doing a bad dance/rockette/cheerleader routine, and her coat getting stolen. Could things get worse?

The next day things get even worse, as Colin asks her to prom and doesn’t want to take no for an answer. He then insults her and says that she will have no one else ask her poverty-stricken patootie (I added that).

When Elizabeth gets home, she is surprised with a new coat. Life seem to be brightening up, but then the dark cloud comes back as Charles just breaks off contact with Jane as “things came up.”

Two weeks pass and no Charles. He just drops off the face of the earth and poor Jane is heartbroken.

Noooo!

To add to that, it turns out that Wick didn’t consider he and Lizzie a couple, but has been dating a wealthy Longbourn girl who’s family has great connections. What a jerk!

But strangely enough, who should come every day to the coffee shop? Mr Darcy. And not only does he see her every day bit he leaves a big tip.

One day as she was walking, she runs into him and his cousin Fitzpatrick, and discovers that he broke up his friend’s relationship as the girl wasn’t right. Lizzie hooks on that it must be Jane and Charles. She is furious!

She tells Darcy her hours and hopes that he will avoid her. It is the opposite as Darcy seens to come more than ever.

And out of nowhere he drops the bomb:

And he asks her to prom. Elizabeth Lizzie’s reaction?

She is furious with him for Jane, Charles, Wick, Longbourn, everything!

She goes to write an email to her New Jersey friends, but finds one from Darcy instead! His letter contains the following:

  1. He’s had scholarship kids in the past try and get things from him-money, connections, social status, etc.-so now he avoids them. He’s sorry to have been so rude to Elizabeth, but that has became his instant reaction.
  2. He wasn’t the one who really pushed Jane and Charles apart, although he didn’t try and have them be together either.
  3. The guy and girl he was talking about? It was Colin who wanted to ask Lizzie out again and Darcy thought it was a bad idea.
  4. He had Wick kicked out of school because of two reasons:
    1. He got Darcy’s young sister, Georgiana drunk to try to get her to have sex with him.
    2. He broke into their house and stole a bunch of things.

Elizabeth realizes that she thought Darcy was the prejudiced and prideful one, but it turns out that she was as well. Because he was rich she thought the worse of him, and because he hurt her pride she was willing to believe anything horrible that was said of him.

They both are.

Things get weirder as it turns out that Wick and Lydia are “together”.

I guess his rich girlfriend didn’t work out.

Lizzie sees this and is horrified as she now knows that Wick is a sexual predator, looking for young, freshmen girls. She goes to Jane and lets everything out. She is just as shocked when she hears it all.

They keep a tight leash on Lydia and argue whether or not to reveal what happened to Darcy’s sister to keep Lydia away from Wickham. They decide to wait as it isn’t their story to tell.

They are both pleasantly surprised when Charles comes with a bouquet and begs Jane’s forgiveness. And as she is so sweet and adorable, she forgives him.

 Midterms end and Lizzie heads home for break, but she gets an even better surprise. Her piano teacher, Mrs. Gardiner, gives her two tickets to see her favorite pianist, Claudia Reynolds.

When Lizzie and her mother go to the concert they are thrilled with the amazing music, and Elizabeth is floored when she discovers that Claudia Reynolds is Darcy’s mother.

She meets Darcy in his own setting and sees all pretense gone. She also meets his adorable sister and sees how cute their little family is.

The have a great time and even make plans for Darcy and Georgiana to visit her in New Jersey. Their fun trip is cut short when Lydia goes missing with Wick and Lizzie and Darcy set out to find her.

Darcy goes through everywhere that Wick would want to stay at and finds the two utterly wasted in a trashed hotel room. He uses his father’s money and influence to remove Wick and settle the bill.

The rest of the break is uneventful and quiet, with no calls from Darcy. It seems that now that she wants him, nothing is heard from him. Don’t you just hate that? When they return to school Charles has a big dinner party for their friends, but Darcy doesn’t sit with Elizabeth Lizzie or talk to her, no matter how hard she tries to get his attention.

Soon Lizzie’s recital comes up and she rocks (figuratively). Afterwards Darcy asks her out, telling her he was waiting as he didn’t want to break her concentration.

Aw!

However, they will not be going to prom but be going out to enjoy their night together.

I loved this book.

Even though they didn’t follow the book exactly I thought Eulberg was able to capture the life of the characters and bring across what Jane wanted.

The only thing I din’t like was Darcy didn’t take her to prom. Come on, you guys could have just dressed casual or not spent a lot of money. I mean seriously.

Totally!

But there is something that really surprised me. I spotted this in the acknowledgements:

“I’d especially like to thank Stephanie Meyer for being so enthusiastic for my writer life and having that conversation about Pride and Prejudice that led me to the idea for this book.

Stephanie Meyer?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Stephanie Meyer who wrote Twilight?

The horror!

I can’t believe I have to thank her for something good!

Well that aside, it is a fantastic book and I recommend it for any Austen fan.

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Brought Shame and Scandal to Pemberley: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode Two (2013)

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

For more Jane Austen quotes, go to Perfectea, A Perfect Cup of Tea or Tea for Two

For more on prom, go to Oh What A Night

Book Club Picks: Sandcastle Kings

So in my book club, we read a book for a month, then discuss it. There is no theme, other than with each month, a different member gets to pick a book, whichever one they want. I went first, so this next month was someone else’s turn. They choose:

Sandcastle Kings: Meeting Jesus in a Spiritually Bankrupt World by Rich Wilkerson Jr.

This book is part memoir about Pastor Wilkerson’s life, while mostly instructing how we can stop being sandcastle kings but connect better with God.

Sandcastle Kings, is the term Pastor Wilkerson uses to describe how we are when we try to control our lives instead of allowing God to have the control. We try and build and do all we can, but is like building out of sand; it is only temporary and too easily destroyed by everything. It make me think of the Doughnut Man song about the wise man and the foolish man.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27

In his book Pastor Wilkerson analyzes four different interactions with Jesus Christ in the New Testament:

  1. The Faith of the Centurion, Luke 7: 1-10
  2. Jesus Raises a Widow’s Son, Luke 7: 11-17
  3. Jesus and John the Baptist, Luke 7: 18-35
  4. Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman, Luke 7: 36-50

I thought the book was excellent and two stories really stood out to me:

The first was his interpretation of The Faith of the Centurion. 

When Jesus had finished saying all this to the people who were listening, he entered Capernaum. There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this,because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” So Jesus went with them.

He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.”10 Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

First we see that the Centurion respected the culture of others and instead of going straight to Jesus, he instead spoke to the Jewish leaders to have them request on his behalf. Then the Centurion sends a servant to tell him that he is unworthy to have him, unworthy to make such a request; this powerful man humbling himself before Christ, asking only for Jesus to say the word and knowing that his servant will be healed.

This spoke to me as how often to we have a cavalier attitude around Jesus and God. Often we don’t humble ourselves or treat Christ with respect, demanding, whining, sometimes only doing things if we will get something out of it. Here he, the Centurion, recognizes the power of God and also that the mercy He gives is not because of anything we do, but because God wants to. We need to remember that too, that God’s love is nothing because of what we do but because of His Love.

“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

In another part, Pastor Wilkerson, shares a story about how people treat things that don’t belong to them. For instance, when one stays in a motel they throw their wet towel on the ground, they don’t make their bed, they make messes, etc. People don’t treat things they don’t own or borrow very well. I’ve talked about that before-

With this it made me think of how we treat ourselves. God created us and we belong to him, but sometimes we forget our worth and treat ourselves horribly.

I thought it was a good, quick read, and of you are interested in developing a better relationship with God, or looking to read at Luke chapter seven in a new way, than this book is for you.

For more on my book club, go to Book Club Picks: The Secret Of Chimneys

For more on Jesus, go to He Has Risen

For more C.S. Lewis quotes, go to Perfectea, A Perfect Cup of Tea or Tea for Two

So Sandcastle Kings is not the only King I am going to talk about. We are going to discuss the King of Kings as today is Palm Sunday.

Just kidding, the Palm Sunday:

We are starting off with the Triumphal Entry of Christ into Jerusalem from the Florence Baptistery by Lorenzo Ghiberti.

“As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it.Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,

‘Hosanna!’

‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’

10 ‘Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!’

‘Hosanna in the highest heaven!’

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.” Mark 11:1-11

This piece was only created because of a contest. In 1401, Arte di Calimala (Cloth Importers Guild) proposed a contest to create gates for the Florence Baptistry. Originally the doors were going to depict scenes from the old testament, the challenge to show the sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22:1-18). There were seven finalists which included Lorenzo Ghiberti, Filippo Brunelleschi, Donatello and Jacopo della Quercia. Out of them Ghiberti won the commission, although later art historians found Brunelleschi’s work to be more impressive with his use of perspective.

They later changed the doors to being from the New Testament and it took Ghiberti twenty-one years to complete the twenty panels of the life of Christ and eight on the saints. He was forty-two when he finished.

Ghiberti, like Duccio, tended to cram his space with figures trying to showcase every one involved. In the center is Christ seated on the donkey mentioned in the text, surrounded by his disciples and the Jewish people praising him. We can see one laying his coat down for Christ to walk over.

In the middle background you can see the temple and to the far right, the fig tree that occurs in the next section of the bible, (Mark 11:12-26)

While this scene is crammed with figures , not as realistic as we would see in later artwork, it still is a beautiful piece that evokes movement (although squeezed) and full of amazing details. Look at the beards and hair on the figures heads, the leaves on the fig trees, the faces, etc. Ghiberti doesn’t have a whole lot of space to work with, as each panel is limited by size, but he creates some amazing pieces.

I also like how the donkey looks out at you, reminding and almost challenging you with the question “what would you do for the son of God?”. Well, what would you?

For more depictions of Jesus’ entry, go to Entry into Jerusalem

For more depictions of Christ, go to The Death of Christ

President of the “I Don’t Like Raoul Fanclub”

RaulStupidHead

So I really don’t like Raoul from The Phantom of the Opera.

I love the book The Phantom of the Opera.

But for me it is all about the Phantom, Erik

And one character I really do not like is Raoul.

Hate him

Now I’m going off the Raul in the book, I know they changed his character for the play, but I don’t really give a care about that. I like to stick with the original source material.

Raul is a pansy. I’m totally throwing that out there. He is a little wimp. He was raised by his aunts and older brother who catered to his every whim and never made him have to work for anything. Therefore he comes off a lot of time as sounding like a naive and silly little boy.

NO You Don’t

He and Christine knew each other as children, which I don’t think is a good idea to try and base a relationship on. I mean people change, they become different people. You can’t just walk into someone’s life and be like “I love you” outta nowhere like that.

Plus for a Mr. I love you so much, he sure doesn’t trust Christine Daaé. After she is spirited away by the Phantom (her own choice), Raul goes searching for her trying to find her. He goes to her old music teacher and companion Madame Valérius. She tells him that Christine has gone off with her music teacher, to study. At least that’s what she assumes, as she doesn’t even know where Christine is. And instead of Raul waiting to hear her side of the story or trusting her, he immediately thinks that she’s a slut.

“Oh what a miserable, little, insignificant, silly young man was M. le Vicomte de Chagny! thought Raoul furiously. And she, what a bold and d***able sly creature!” (pg. 87)

He’s just as bad as Christian in Moulin RougeI mean, yeah it doesn’t look good for her, but still when you truly love someone you trust and give them the benefit of the doubt. Especially someone who has never given you a reason to doubt. Jeez! Jerk!

Jerk

He then decides he is going to go out on the town and prove that he doesn’t need her and can do better. What a loser. Why would anyone want this guy?

How rude

I mean he is sooooo full of himself. Christine asks him to meet her at the ball and he does. She tries to tell him what is up, but he keeps interrupting her and going on about her infidelities. She decides to leave as he is being a blockhead.

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Raul follows her and overhears her pitying Erik, the Phantom. She keeps saying poor Erik over and over. And you know what Raul does? He keeps going on about himself and how he’s the victim.

“Why was she pitying Erik when Raoul was so unhappy?” (pg. 97)

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I don’t think the two are in actual “Love”, I always believed that they were playing at it. Mostly because they are so young and that Raul doesn’t really know what romantic love consists of.

“They kissed like a despairing brother and sister who has been smitten with a common loss and who meet to mourn a dead parent.” (pg. 108)

That does not sound like love to me.

This is how it ends in my mind.

PhantomoftheOpera&Raoul

For more on The Phantom of the Opera, go to Le Fantôme de l’Opéra

For more book-filled posts, go to Book Club Picks: The Secret Of Chimneys

Book Club Picks: The Secret Of Chimneys

So remember when I said I started a book club?

Well the first book we choose to read was The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie.

I love this book, but sadly very few have ever heard of it, let alone read it.

So when I brought out three suggestions for us to choose from-The Westing Game, The Looking Glass Wars, and The Secret of Chimneys I was ecstatic they choose Chimneys as it would finally give me people to talk about it with!

As I already reviewed it in December, as part of my 30 day challenge, I will only give a quick review here.

Anthony Cade is working in Africa when he happens among his old friend Jimmy McGrath. Jimmy has been hired to deliver a manuscript in London, and has some letters he wants to return to a woman who was blackmailed, but can’t do either as he has a mining deal set up. Anthony goes in his place and discovers that everyone from Parliament, to rebels, nationalists called the Red Hand, and more are after that script. It appears he really got himself stuck in the middle of a serious mire.

What have I gotten myself into?

He prepares to return the letters to a Mrs. Virginia Revel, to stop her blackmailing, but they get stolen and he sets out to try and help her.

Just another thing to get involved with.

Meanwhile, politician George Lomax is worried that some old secrets, especially those of a missing jewel, will come to light with the publication of the memoirs. He enlists the Lord Caterham to use the stately home of Chimneys as a place to secure an oil deal, and weasel the memoirs out of McGrath. He also engages the assistance of his beautiful, charming, cousin-Mrs. Virginia Revel, a widow.

As Virginia prepares from the weekend, she is blackmailed by a waiter who has letters with her signature, but ones she did not write. Weird.

She agrees to meet with the blackmailer again, only to find him dead in her house.

Not sure what to do, she asks a veteran she spotted on the sidewalk selling tracts to help her. He checks out the scene; deduces that someone is trying to keep her from Chimneys for some nefarious reason, recognizes the blackmailer as the thief of the letter, and helps remove the body. Who is this man? Why, Anthony Cade.

Virginia heads on to Chimneys to help smooth things over with McGrath and Prince Michael, the one brokering the oil deal.

That night, Anthony follows a note he found in the dead waiter’s pocket and heads to Chimneys. Exactly at the time specified he hears a shot. Who has been murdered? Who in the house is the murderer? Will they find the missing jewels? And who is this Anthony Cade?

So I don’t want to give the whole book away as you should really read it yourself. Instead I am going to go over our discussion, but there will be some spoilers.

**Spoiler Warning**

So the book contains 5 different plots

  1. The Memoirs of Count Stylpitch
    1. Everyone is afraid of what they might say and reveal to the world. All are after it to publish, surppress, discover, etc.
  2. The Blackmail of Virginia Revel
    1. Anthony is given letters written to a lover by a “Virginia Revel”. He hopes to return them, but they are stolen by a waiter who tries to use them to blackmail her.
    2. But in the end, it turns out that they are not really written by Virginia Revel at all, but someone is using her name.
  3. Vying for the Throne
    1. After the King and Queen of Herzoslovakia were assassinated, this left an empty hole on the throne. Prince Michael is a cousin to the deceased King and wants to become next to rule, but there is his cousin Nicholas who has a stronger tie and is in America who is also after the throne.
    2. But is his cousin really alive, or is this an impostor? And what about the revolutionaries who want no king?
  4. Missing Jewels
    1. Before Lord Caterham’s brother died, he had all the responsibilities of the land and parliament. He used to bring all kinds of officials to his home, Chimneys, and the King and Queen of Herzoslovakia stayed there, the Queen hiding the crown jewels that she stole somewhere on the property. They have been looking for them for years, but now hopefully Count Stiplych’s memiors will give them great clues to find the hiding place.
  5. Murder of Prince Michael
    1. Michael is shot in the night, but whodunit? With a household full of people there are plenty of suspects.

Something Agatha Christie always likes to stress in her books is how we never know people we meet, only what they tell us about them. When you meet someone for the first time and they tell you their history, you take it as is, never questioning them, but in reality they could be anyone. This is stressed in this book as well as their are numerous multiple identities. While all present themselves as something, a few characters hide who they really are:

  • Two characters are actually a prince
  • One is  a thief
  • One is a Pinkerton agent
  • One is an actress

Virginia is an amazing woman. She is living in the 1920s, but she does what she wants, refuses marriage for single life, assists in hunting down the murderer, is intelligent, capable, collected etc. She’s nobody’s fool.

“Why?’

‘I beg your pardon?’

‘I said why? You don’t boom the real English gentlewoman with every stray Canadian who sets foot upon our shores. What is the deep idea, George? To put it  vulgarly, what do you get out of it?’

‘I cannot see that that concerns you, Virginia.’

‘I couldn’t possibly go out for an evening and fascinate, unless I knew all the whys and wherefores.”

Virginia is a strong character who us not afraid to be feminine as well. I just love her.

And then Anthony Cade. Anthony is amazing. You just can’t help liking the man.

For more on The Secret of Chimneys, go to There Wouldn’t Be Any Difficulty in Finding a King: The Secret of Chimneys

For more Agatha Christie, go to With a Little Luck of the Irish: 17 More Irish Heroes

For more on my book club, go to I Started a Book Club

For more mysteries, go to Someone is Killing By Copying Old Murders!: Real Murders

I Started a Book Club

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So you all know how I enjoy reading:

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For years I’ve been trying to start a book club. I thought about doing one where we read a book, than watch the film version:

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But did that happen?

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Then I wanted to do a Jane Austen book club, where we read the books and the adaptations.

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But did I do that?

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Then I thought about doing a book club where we read the book and then do something like in the book; in essence “living” the book or acting it out. Like in Daring Chloe

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But did I do that?

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So finally I started one, but this one is simple. We read one book a month, each member having a month where they choose the book (any type), and then we meet and discuss it with good food.

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I don’t know how it will turn out, but if we make it to next year I’m planning on choosing Northanger Abbey or Persuasion to honor their 100th anniversaries.

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Right now the book we are reading is The Secret of Chimneys by Agatha Christie. I’ll post after our meeting to see how it turns out!

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Rainy Days Are Reading Days

I don’t know about you all but it has been raining so badly where I am at that parts of the community are on flood watch.

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But I don’t mind the rain, I LOVE IT!

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And you want to know why?

Why?

Why?

Because:

Rainy Days Are Reading Days!!!!!

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Yep:

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If people ask you to come over and do something, you can use the rain as an excuse; and then just enjoy your time snug and full of fun!

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Yep, that sounds like the perfect day to me.

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For more on rainy days, go to Every Month at the Quarter Moon There’ll be a Monsoon

For more book filled posts, go to Never a Lender Be…Because You Might Not Get Your Stuff Back in the Same Condition

Never a Lender Be…Because You Might Not Get Your Stuff Back in the Same Condition

Yes, I don’t know about you all but it seems like today’s world that we are living in is missing some crucial morals; such as respect and treating others and their belongings the same way you’d want to be treated.

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I mean I work in a library and I see it all the time. People borrow items and when they return them they are in horrible condition!

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They are written in, dog eared, wrinkled, water damaged, stained, and just beat up.

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It is horrible! When you borrow something you should treat it and the person with respect. Return it in the same condition as the one you borrowed it in.

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Or treat them bad.

It’s like people think because it doesn’t belong to them it is worth nothing and they can just toss it about.

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But just because you didn’t pay for it doesn’t mean it is worthless. It is actually worth more as someone else paid for  it and are trusting you to treat it right.

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Now I know you’re thinking well it is a library, there are too many types of people who are coming and going, too many hands, etc. But it isn’t just them, my friends have been doing it too.

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I lent someone a book I thought they would enjoy, and then I saw that they had open, but laying face down. That is the fastest way to get the spine broken and once that happens you can’t really fix it.

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Another friend returned the book with the pages all bent and folded.

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Someone returned a book to me horribly stained, and the back cover torn off.

The horror!

The horror!

And that is if they return them to you.

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I understand accidents happen, and sometimes you don’t mean to do something: but when did we get so cavalier about borrowing.

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This is not the attitude we should be having!

And it is not just books, clothes, cars, etc.; whatever. We need to stop being so disrespectful and treat others items not as we want our stuff treated, but better!

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For more book-filled posts, go to 30 Day Challenge: Literature Loves

When A Willing Victim Who Had Committed No Treachery Was Killed in A Traitor’s Stead, the Table Would Crack and Death Itself Would Start Working Backwards: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Day 30) Seven, Eight, Lay Them Straight: Straight means upright. Choose a book with a moral or strong moral character

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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia [Publication Order] #1) by C. S. Lewis

So I know this book comes “second”, after C.S. Lewis wrote The Magician’s Nephew, but technically it was first published, my copy says first; so I’m going with first.

Narnia was such a huge part of my childhood. We grew up reading the books and wanting to visit Narnia.

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I’m not kidding, I used to check any wardrobe I found in a furniture store, hotel, etc; in the hopes I would find it.

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It used to really bother my mother:

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Besides the books we knew the PBS miniseries by heart:

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And could quote it line by line. My favorites were this book, Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. As I grew older I realized that this isn’t just a great adventure story, but also supposed teaching about Jesus as Aslan, the Great Lionis a representation of him and follows the same themes of sacrifice, love redemption, mercy, etc.

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The book is set during WWII, and begins with the Pevensie children-Peter, Susan, Edmond, and Lucy, are sent to the country to escape the air raids. They stay with an interesting professor who has a very intriguing house.

The next day they plan to take a look around outside, but it rains.

They decide to explore the house, and Lucy heads to a wardrobe in the spare room. As she goes in she feels cold, continuing farther and discovers she is another land, Narnia.

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She reaches a lamp post when she is approached by Mr. Tumnus, a fawn. He clears a bit of her confusion up and invites her to tea.

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Lucy goes with Mr. Tumnus and begins to fall asleep when he plays his flute and tells her all kinds of stories.

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She wakes up with a start and sees Mr. Tumnus ccrying. It turns out that Mr. Tumnus is forced to work for the White Witch and keep a look out for any child of Adam or Eve (humans, God’s children). He is supposed to lull them to sleep and nitify her, but now that he has one he is afraid, feels bad, and can’t do it.

He helps her get back to the lamp post, leaving Mr. Tumnus with her hankerchief as a token, and runs back to the wardrobe. She arrives, ready to quell any fear of her disapperance as she was  away for hours, but no one cares.

In fact, to them it has just been a second.

Lucy is adamant that she had been away for hours, and when they all go to see about this wardrobe, nothing happens. No portal, no Narnia, no nothing.

It rains agaim and the siblings put together a game of hide-n-seek. Lucy heads back to the wardrobe with Edmond following behind her.

Now it is time tostop and discuss the personalities of the Pevensies. Peter is the edlest and sees him as the interim man of the house; overseeing the family and caring for them. Susan is the next, and she mothers the others; filling that role until they are home again. Edmond is mean, whiny, and likes to pick on his younger sibling Lucy. He has a very unhappy and rude nature. Lucy is the youngest and is extremely truthful, kind, and sweet.

So Edmond planned to makwe fun of her or scare her when he followed Lucy into the wardrobe, but to his surprise! He discovers that there is another world!

While Lucy heads off tp see Mr. Tumnus, Edmond is approached by a beautiful woman all dressed in white. She reveals herself to be the Queen of Narnia. She is belligereant and rude, until sge discovers that he is a human. Then she becomes kindness and sweet, giving him anything he wishes to eat or drink; all the while pumping him for information.

She is espechially interested in the fact that there are four of them, two girls and two boys. She promises Edmond more Turkisk delight and all sorts of things, if only he will bring his siblings to her house; along with hearing about the faun who was helping his sister.

Edmond does not realize that he has walked into the web of the White Witch, or Satan as she represents. Giving Edmond a taste of Turkish Delight that will make any who taste it desire more and more until they die. Like sin, once you do it grabs hold and hooks onto you.

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She shows him how to get to her home and then send him back to the lamp post. There he runs into Lucy. Lucy is so excited that Mr. Tumnus has been okay, the White Witch hasn’t gotten him, and they both made it to Narnia. She can’t wait until they tell the others.

But Edmond is not happy. He is very upset and sick to his stomach; sulky and deciding to be cruel.

“For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.” Acts 8: 23

He lies and tells them that he and Lucy were just playing a game, Narnia doesn’t exist. This upsets Lucy and has her treated poorly by Peter and Susan who vecome worried and think something is wrong with her.

They go to the Professor to ask for guidance, and we have one of the best comebacks ever.

“My dear young lady,’ said the professor…’there is one plan which no one has yet suggested and which is well worth trying.’
‘What’s that?’ said Susan.
‘We might all try minding our own business…”

One day the housekeeper has brought a group of people to look over the Professor’s historic house. They aren’t supposed to be seen in this time and hurry to get out of the way.

They stop in the spare room, but then the sightseers approach it. There is only one place left to go:

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As the enter the wardrobe, they get colder taking coats and discovering that the wardrobe has no back, but does go intoNarnia.

Peter and Susan apologize. Edmund tries to steer them correctly to the lamppost, reveling he lied. He had gone to Narnia before.

Peter appoints Lucy the leader and they hed off to see Mr. Tumnus. They get there and find the place an absolute mess and finding a note saying that Mr. Tumnus has been arrested for treason against Jadis, “the Queen of Narnia”.

They find themselves unsure what to do when they are approached by a robin. It acts as if it wishes them to follow him, and they do. There they run into a beaver, Mr. Beaver, who has the hankerchief given to Mr. Tumnus by Lucy. He was sent to keep an eye out for them and guide them.

They go to the Beavers’ house, getting everything ready for dinner. As they enter the home, Edmund notices one of the markers the White Witch showed him to find the wy to her home.

They discuss what to do about Mr. Tumnus, but Mr. Beaver is firm they can’t o anything; but will have to wait for Aslan to take care of it. He also tells them why the White Witch is after them, if sons and daughters of Adam and Eve sit on the thrones i Cair Paravel she’s done.

“When Adam’s flesh and Adam’s bone

Sits at Cair Paravel in throne,

The evil will be over and done.”

The Witch likes to pretend she is human, but she isn’t. So she will do all she can to destroy them.

While they are talking, they suddenly realize that Edmund is gone. They want to search for him, but the Beavers dissuade them. Edmund has gone to the White Witch, she belongs to him.

They decide to leave immediately for the stone table and hope they make it there before the Witch does.

Edmund headed off to see the White Witch. He isn’t evil and wants his siblings killed or turned into stone; in fact he doesn’t really know about that. He just likes the fact that they are going to be made lower than him, and he will be the High King.

He has to pass through a crepy courtyard full of stone statues (actually real people/animals that had been turned into stone).  He is approaxched by a wolf working for the White Witch. He brings Edmond in and Edmond sees that the Withch is evil. They head out to get the Pevensies.

The group head out an hide in an old beaver cave and the next day hear noises. They think it might be something wrong, so Mr. Beaver goes looking. He comes back joyful that t is Father Christmas! The White Witch’s power is weakening as she has kept him out for years.

And he has brought gifts to all:

“And now,’ said Father Christmas, ‘for your presents. There is a new and better sewing machine for you Mrs. Beaver. I will drop it in your house as I pass…As for you, Mr. Beaver, when you get home you will find your dam finished and mended and all the leaks stopped and a new sluice gate fitted…

‘Peter, Adam’s Son,’ said Father Christmas.

‘Here, Sir,’ said Peter.

‘These are your presents,’ was the answer, ‘and they are not toys. The time to use them is perhaps at hand. Bear them well.’ With these words he handed to Peter a shield and a sword…

‘Susan, Eve’s Daughter,’ said Father  Christmas. ‘These are for you,’ and he handed her a bow and quiver full of arrows and a little ivory horn. ‘You must use this bow only in great need,’ he said, ‘for I do not mean you to fight in the battle. It does not easily miss. And when you put this horn to your lips and blow it, then, wherever you are, I think help of some kind will come to you.’

Last of all he said, ‘Lucy, Eve’s Daughter,’ and Lucy came forward. He gave her a little bottle of what looked like glass…and a small dagger. ‘In this bottle,’ he said, ‘there is a cordial made of the juice of one of the fire-flowers that grow in the mountains of the sun. If you or any of your friends are hurt, a few drops of this will restore you. And the dagger is to defend yourself at great need…”

They are ready for what is coming:

 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Ephesians 6:10-13

He then presents them with a delicious breakfast.

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Edmond finds life with the “Queen” absolutely miserable. She treats him poorly annd cruelly, and all he wishes is to be back with his family. They start lagging intheir search as the snow begins to mekt and the power of the Queen starts to crack.

Spring has come and Aslan is on the move.

The children and Beavers arrive at the stone table and meet Aslan.He is a powerful lion; strong, kind, royal, strong, etc.

They tell them their story and about Edmond.

“Please-Aslan,’ said Lucy, ‘can anything be done to save Edmund?’

‘All shall be done,’ said Aslan. ‘But it may be harder than you think.”

Aslan takes Peter aside nd shows bhim the land, along with giving him advice. A wolf comes into the camp and attacks. All come to protect the children, but Aslan allows Peter to fight him.

After Peter kills him, Aslan sends the swiftest creatures to save Edmund.

Edmund had been forced to walk after they abondened the sled and has grown severely weary. The Witch has decided to kill him now as that will stall the prophocey. Theyare about to, when he is saved and spirited away.

The next day, the kids awake and find out that their brother is here and speaking with Aslan.

Aslan presents Edmund to his siblings and tells them to not speak about the past.

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However, the celebration is cut short when the White Witch sends a messanger to speak to Aslan. The Witch comes and demands Edmund, his treachary marks him as her property. Aslan takes her aside and speaks to her privately, offering something in exchange for Edmund. Himself.

Aslan gives Peter advice and goes on his own; followed by Susan and Lucy. He tells them to go hie as he presents himself to the Witch.

They tie him up and shave him. They jeer and mock, putting a muzzle on him. And she kills him.

After they all leave, the kids go to help untie him. They get help from mice that bite and chew at his restraints. They leave as the dawn nears, but as they go away they hear a load noise.

They go back and find Aslan! Alive!!!

“That though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of Time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.”

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Aslan goes and awakens all the statues; all rushing to help in the battle.

After the battle, in which Edmund fought bravely to help his family. They all go to Cair Paravel and are crowned kings and queens of Narnia.

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They governed Narnia for a long time and were beloved by all the people. Peter grew tall and was a great warrior; King Peter the Magnificent, the High King. Susan grew tall and gracious, being Queen Susan the Gentle. King Edmund remembered everything that happened and grew to be quieter and graver in council and judgement, being King Edmund the Just. And little Lucy grew to be sunny, light, bright, and all wanted her as their queen, Queen Lucy the Valiant.

One day, many, many, many, many years later they go out hunting. They find the lightpost, and he wardrobe and appear back in their world, time, and only a few seconds has past.

They try to go back, but they can’t go that way.

“Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia. But don’t go trying to use the same route twice.”

Nope they will have to wait for another way.

“And that is the very end of the adventures of the wardrobe. But if the Professor was right it was only the beginning of the adventures of Narnia.”

There Wouldn’t Be Any Difficulty in Finding a King: The Secret of Chimneys

Day 29) Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks: Sticks symbolize Power, Strength, or Judicial decisions. Choose a book that revolves around a powerful Ruler or Ruling.

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The Secret of Chimneys (Superintendent Battle #1) by Agatha Christie

I started reading Agatha Christie when my grandma gave me an anthology called Murder at the Manor, which had the books The Seven Dial Mysteries, Ordeal by Innocence, and Crooked House. I thought they were amazing novels and continued to read her books, mostly out of order.

I’m not sure how I was introduced to The Secret of Chimneys. I just remember a few years ago I found it at the library and wanted to check it out but couldn’t.

I immediately requested it, waiting until a copy came in. I started a few pages, but couldn’t stop reading and completely devoured the entire thing.

I thought it was incredible! It is a great mystery, fantastic adventure story, and just full of wit and witticism.

This counts double for this place on the list as the book not only centers on trying to find the next King of a Eastern European country but was written by the Queen of crime.

This book is one of her earlier novels, being the fifth mystery she has ever penned.

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So our tale of intrigue begins in Zimbabwe. Anthony Cade is thirty-two years old, handsome, well educated and traveled; and currently working as a tour guide. He runs into his old friend Jimmy McGrath, who needs help with something.

Before Jimmy can tell him the job, he first gives Anthony a history lesson. The Eastern European country Herzoslovakia has recently had some real civil unrest. King Nicholas IV married a music hall performer, and called her some outrageous name, and later after the marriage crowned her as Queen Varaga. The two were later assassinated and the prime minister, Count Stylpitch, left to France.

I’m getting out of here

Well one day, Jimmy was in Paris on one of his get-rich-quick schemes and saw some French toughs beating up a gentleman. Jimmy got involved and beat them up and the gentleman thanked him taking his name and going on his way.

Later Jimmy was contacted by the man and it turned out to be Count Stylpitch. Count Stylpitch has recently passed away and Jimmy was shocked when he received a package from the man. In the package is Count Stylpitch’s memoirs and a note that if they are delivered on or before October 13, then he will be given £1000. Jimmy unfortunately already has plans in a gold mine and needs someone else to do the job, promising to share £250 with Anthony if he will do it. Anthony agrees.

There isn’t time to change passage name or anything like that, so Anthony will just use Jimmy’s tickets. However, that’s not the only thing Jimmy needs him to do. One time when Jimmy was in Uganda and he saved a Herzoslovakian, strangely called Dutch Pedro. When he died from fever a few weeks later, he gave Jimmy “a gold mine” in papers. When Jimmy checked them out they were love letters from a Mrs. Virginia Revel.

Jimmy was disgusted at this idea of “gold mine”, blackmail and wants to return the items. There is no address on them and Jimmy had no plans or money to head to England, but with this free trip it seems like the best time.

Meanwhile in England, the death of Count Stylpitch has created a black hole in the government. George Lomax is trying to broker a deal with a British oil company and Prince Michael Obolovitch, contender for the Herzoslovakian throne. He wants to use the old historic Chimneys as the perfect meeting place, twisting Lord Caterham’s arm as he wants nothing to do with it.

George is worried about the memoirs as to what might come out, especially the disappearance of the Herzoslovakian treasures. He wants to get his hand at those remembrances and plans to use the feminine persuasion. He has just the right person in mind as well: widow to the Herzoslovakian ambassador so she knows the affairs, charming, intelligent: his cousin is perfect. His cousin Virginia Revel.

George returns home to complete the errand, but his lovesick assistant, Bill Eversleigh, manipulates his way into going to see the woman of his dreams, Virginia. Virginia agrees to go to a meeting with George, Bill also declaring his love for her; but Virginia isn’t interested.

George sends Bill to find out when the ship Granarth Castle is due to arrive. Unfortunately for George, Bill doesn’t pronounce Granarth correctly, and the worker thinks he says Carnfrae Castle instead, which is due next Thursday. Anthony, however, had arrived the previous day. Like they say, you can’t plan for everything.

Anthony has arrived in England under the name Jimmy McGrath and when he arrives at the Blitz Hotel, as per instructions, he is approached by a Herzoslovakian who wants the memoirs, Baron Lolopretjzyl. He wants to protect Prince Obolovitch from any bad press and is willing to pay £2000. When Anthony refuses, Baron Lolopretjzyl promises he will try another way.

Not good

Anthony is on his guard and decides as he has a week to take the work to the printer he will try and deliver the Revel papers instead. There are many Revels, (and she is under her husband’s name even though she is a widow), but he happens to luck onto her picture and discover which one she is.

Before he can journey to her, he is attacked by an Eastern European, a member of the Red Hand and after the memoir. He tries to pull  gun on him, but Anthony Cade is not a pushover, he takes him down lickety-split.

Later he is attacked by an Italian waiter, Giuseppe. He manages to stop Giuseppe from harming him, but Giuseppe takes off with the Revel letters.

Not good

Anthony has only been here a day and has already been approached/attacked by three people. What will the next day hold?

The next day Virginia Revel is approached by a man with letters. At first she doesn’t understand why he is here, but then he shows her the signature on the letters! That is her name!

What?!

The blackmailer wants £1000 for the whole lot, and Virginia tells him she will think on his offer and get back to him if he comes over at six the next day.

Now the weird thing is that first of all, Virginia never loved her husband and has enjoyed widowhood. She doesn’t think of herself as a saint or worry about her reputation to the extent of the woman in the letters. Secondly, she never wrote any such letters or had a lover named Captain O’Neil in Paris. This is all so strange and doesn’t make a bit of sense. But at the same time it is extremely thrilling, and Virginia is having fun being caught up in it all.

George arrives to discuss his meeting with Virginia and she tells him about the blackmail.

“[Forty pounds is] only what I pay for an evening dress. It’s just as exciting to buy a new experience as it is to buy a new dress–more so, in fact.”

George asks for her assistance in charming Jimmy McGrath in order to weasel the memoirs out of him. Virginia agrees, but warns that she can’t promise anything.

“I don’t charm as a profession, you know. Often I like people–and then, well, they like me. But I don’t think I could set out in cold blood to fascinate a helpless stranger.”

George was hoping that Virginia would just be a willing dupe to his plans, but she won’t get involved in anything without getting the whole story. She is smart, sassy, and doesn’t let anyone pull the wool over her eyes.

George changes his mind about Virginia and tries to get her not invited, as she will wreck all his plans, but it is too late. Lady Eileen “Bundle” Brent, Lord Caterham’s daughter, has already invited her.

This is not good

Meanwhile, Anthony has gone to the hotel manager and reported the theft. He decides not to call the police, and uses that as leverage to get the info on Giuseppe. Later he is contacted by Mr. Balderson of Balderson and Hodgkins Publishing, the company contracted to print the memoir. They wish to have the memiors now as there are many out there after them and they will not rest until they have finished the contract. They send a Mr. Holmes who pays him the £1000.

That taken care of, Anthony heads off to see Mrs. Virginia Revel and tell her the bad news. As he is heading out he is given a note sent by George Lomax asking him to wait to give the memoirs until he speaks to him and invites him to come down to Chimneys. Anthony writes a letter informing them that he already sent of the memoirs and cannot attend the function signing Jimmy McGrath. Exit McGrath, Enter Anthony.

Meanwhile, that day Virginia had been playing tennis. When she arrives home she sees a handsome man selling poems. So handsome, she wishes she had a real job for him or reason to have him stick around.

Virginia goes inside and finds the whole household gone!

Apparently they received a telegram from Virginia that she wanted her cottage set up as she decided that she was going to head down there for a party. The only one who remained was her french maid, Élise, as she would be needed to prepare clothing and dress Virginia.

Virginia calms down the maid and has her get things ready for Chimneys while she prepares to call the cottage, to set things right, and police to keep an eye on the house. She goes into the next room and sees the blackmailer! She had completely forgotten all about him. As she approaches him she sees that he is dead!

Virginia is unsure what to do and who to call to help. George? No, he is too stuffy and wouldn’t get caught in anything that could possibly damage his political career.

A stuffed shirt.

BIll?! Yes Bill! Oh darn, he already left for Chimneys.

Hmmm….

So Virginia goes outside and asks the handsome young man. She tells him the story of the blackmailing and coming across the body, and strangely enough he believes her and promises to help her. Who is this amazing young man? Anthony Cade.

It is too bad that Virginia and her maid didn’t find the dead man together, that would make things less complicated. As it is, it is pretty murky.

Anthony recognizes the man as Giuseppe, the waiter that stole the letters. Anthony looks at the pistol that shot Giuseppe and asks if it belongs to Virginia. She says no she has never seen it and never owned one in her life. Well that’s strange as this one is engraved, Virginia.

Not good

Anthony knows there are only two things left to do:

  1. Ring up the police, tell the whole story, and trust your position and blameless life.
  2. Try to dispose of the body.

Anthony starts looking through the body to see if there is anything on him to help with this determination. He lucks out finding a note that was caught in the lining of his coat.

Chimneys 11:45 Thursday

Virginia finds this odd as she was supposed to be there at Chimneys today, Thursday.

Anthony figures out that someone must have been trying to get rid of Virginia and keep her from coming to the party. They decide to go with plan B as calling the police means that they won’t be able to make it to Chimneys.Virginia gets rid of her maid, sending her off on an errand and telling her to meet her afterwards at Chimneys. They then decide to get rid of the body.

As they prepare Virginia asks him why a perfect stranger is being so kind, there’s no time for Anthony’s life story; they must be on their way. Virginia heads to Chimneys as she originally planned. Anthony goes on to hide the pistol in a tree, he then leaves the trunk in Paddington station, continuing onto Chimneys.

When he gets there he waits to see what will occur. At 11:45 he hears a shot!

He tries the windows to go inside, but all are locked. No one rises at the sound either. A light springs up in one of the windows on the first floor but then the whole place goes into darkness.

The next day it turns out that one of the guests was murdered! Count Stanislaus was found this morning by a maid.

Lord Caterham calls the police, but George insists that they must have the best, Inspector Battle of Scotland Yard.

from Dial “M” for Murder

When he arrives they bring in Anthony Cade as they found his boot tracks through the grass when he was out late that night. He’s brought to Chimneys where he tells his story. He changes a bit to leave out Virginia’s part, and lies saying that when he struggled with Giuseppe in the hotel, Giuseppe dropped a note about Chimneys which brought him there.

It is revealed that Count Stanislaus was not the one murdered but Prince Michael Obolovitch. When Battle has Anthony survey the area to look at where the shot came from, Anthony recognizes the body. But not as Prince Michael Obolovitch, but Mr. Holmes, the man Anthony gave the memoirs to.

So we have a dead prince, espionage, mistaken identity, a secret prince, thief unknown as he has picture perfect disguises, stolen and missing cultural treasures; a mystery and a treasure hunt. Anthony and Virginia team up to discover what the truth is.

I thought it was a fantastic book; it is fun, challenging, and just all around fantastic. I just love it and read it again and again.

Or 10th, 50th, 100th….

It isn’t anything like her later novels, but just all around a great adventure.

BookLifeNoBoredom