osprey_archer: (books)
[personal profile] osprey_archer
What I’ve Just Finished Reading

I galloped through Have His Carcase and Gaudy Night, and enjoyed them so thoroughly that I lent them straightaway to Emma and therefore cannot quote from either of them, more’s the pity. Although in the case of Have His Carcase this is not such a problem, because it’s easy to discuss its virtues without reference to direct quotes: it has one of the most perfect twist endings to a mystery that I have ever read. Everything’s a horrible muddle up to the end, and then one little detail comes into focus – absolutely unexpected and yet perfectly foreshadowed – and all is illuminated.

Gaudy Night, though, could bear quoting, and extensive quoting, and I want to read it again and bookmark the relevant quotes about the contemplative life – the life of the mind vs. the life of the heart (insofar as they are set against each other) – the way that this thematic argument intertwines and somewhat obscures the mystery (at least to Harriet’s mind) and yet is integral to it.

…also, I want a story where Harriet Vane and Agatha Troy meet. They have so much in common! They’re both prickly artists, both pursued by detectives who are tragically awkward about love (although Alleyn at least has the dignity not to propose to Troy every five minutes), and both at one point in their lives murder suspects, although Troy only sipped of the cup that poor Harriet drank nearly to the dregs.

Perhaps Peter commissions Troy to paint Harriet’s portrait. (Harriet doubtless hates the idea, but acquiesces on the ground that if she must be painted by anyone, it might as well be Troy.) Murder, inevitably, ensues.

What I’m Reading Now

I spent most of yesterday reading C. S. Lewis’s Surprised by Joy: The Shape of My Early Life sitting either on a lakeside bench shaded by a weeping willow or in a white wicker rocker by the open window, and it has proven itself more than equal to both settings. I ought to write more about it; perhaps later.

And I’m about halfway through a reread of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, and alas it is still no more than moderately pleasant. I had thought that perhaps I read it before I was ready for it, but maybe it simply was never going to be the L’Engle book for me. It just spells everything out, emotionally speaking – Meg meets Calvin and almost instantly there’s absolute trust and he’s pouring his heart out to her – and I guess I want more emotional tension between characters, never mind they’ve got cosmic evil to fight.

What I Plan to Read Next

Busman’s Honeymoon is next in queue!

And then, I think, I shall have a crack at E. Nesbit’s The Railway Children. I am a little concerned that one Nesbit will lead to another – and with Nesbit there seem to be absolute piles of others for it to lead to – but after all there are worse things.

Date: 2017-07-12 04:49 pm (UTC)
minutia_r: (Default)
From: [personal profile] minutia_r
Perhaps Peter commissions Troy to paint Harriet’s portrait. (Harriet doubtless hates the idea, but acquiesces on the ground that if she must be painted by anyone, it might as well be Troy.) Murder, inevitably, ensues.

I would read the shit out of this, please.

Date: 2017-07-12 06:58 pm (UTC)
minutia_r: (Default)
From: [personal profile] minutia_r
Awww, man. If only.

Date: 2017-07-12 06:01 pm (UTC)
landofnowhere: (Default)
From: [personal profile] landofnowhere
I loved /A Wrinkle in Time/ when I was a kid, but I picked it up again maybe five years ago and had the reaction of "maybe now I understand why it got rejected by so many publisher" (I was at a library where I didn't have borrowing privileges, and I didn't get that far into it).

I did listen to the audiobook of /A Wind in the Door/ about the same time and found it to be still good, though.

Date: 2017-07-12 08:34 pm (UTC)
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
From: [personal profile] lost_spook
…also, I want a story where Harriet Vane and Agatha Troy meet. They have so much in common! They’re both prickly artists, both pursued by detectives who are tragically awkward about love (although Alleyn at least has the dignity not to propose to Troy every five minutes), and both at one point in their lives murder suspects, although Troy only sipped of the cup that poor Harriet drank nearly to the dregs.

Yes, indeed, this should be a thing! Absolutely.

I'm glad you're enjoying them; I said Gaudy Night was the best. I read GN first and wanted the series set in women's 1930s academia where possibly Harriet or someone might solve a mystery if they had time and I was rather disappointed to have to follow Peter about solving murders instead, good as many of those are.

I am a little concerned that one Nesbit will lead to another – and with Nesbit there seem to be absolute piles of others for it to lead to – but after all there are worse things.

Oh, yes! You could definitely do a lot worse than lose yourself in Nesbit for a while. I haven't re-read The Railway Children for many years, but it as a child it was definitely one of those re-readable classics that justify the name.

Date: 2017-07-13 08:19 pm (UTC)
lost_spook: (Northanger reading)
From: [personal profile] lost_spook
Murder is lovely, of course, but it would be absolutely fine if Troy just painted Harriet's portrait and they compared notes on being murder suspects and wives of detectives.

I don't think they should have to be suspects again. I don't think either of them would appreciate it, and Troy never enjoys having to get people hanged. There could be theft or minor crime and everyone expects them to solve it because of their connections.

Or murder, obviously. They are plagued by murder - Harriet falls over bodies on beaches and Troy can't get on a canal boat without encountering one. :-)

(BUt I'm just saying, I would also enjoy just them meeting for coffee in a ficlet or anything really as long as it was a thing.)

Date: 2017-07-12 09:17 pm (UTC)
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
From: [personal profile] sovay
They’re both prickly artists, both pursued by detectives who are tragically awkward about love (although Alleyn at least has the dignity not to propose to Troy every five minutes), and both at one point in their lives murder suspects, although Troy only sipped of the cup that poor Harriet drank nearly to the dregs.

Great. Now I want this, too. Can you make it happen?

I am so glad you are enjoying Sayers.

and I guess I want more emotional tension between characters, never mind they’ve got cosmic evil to fight.

How do you feel about A Wind in the Door? That's the one that left the strongest impression on me.

Date: 2017-07-13 06:57 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey)
From: [personal profile] sovay
Oh, this is a terrible idea. But I still kind of want to.

Do it do it do it.

Date: 2017-07-13 11:48 pm (UTC)
landofnowhere: (Default)
From: [personal profile] landofnowhere
Thanks for the Wind in the Door link!

As mentioned upthread, I felt that the book held up well when I listened to it on audio ~5 years ago. I may be biased by that, but it's also one of the ones that I remember most vividly (though I remember much of A Swiftly Tilting Planet fairly well despite not having read it since I was a teenager). The Mr. Jenkins sequence you mentioned is one of the most memorable bits, but also: the opening where Charles finds what he thinks are dragon droppings but turn out to be cherubim scales grabs me more than the opening of Wrinkle, Proginoskes is my favorite non-human L'Engle character; the farandolae stuff; Echthroi is a great name (and I was excited when I learned that "echthros" is actually the greek for "enemy").

Date: 2017-07-14 06:02 am (UTC)
sovay: (I Claudius)
From: [personal profile] sovay
Thanks for the Wind in the Door link!

You're welcome!

As mentioned upthread, I felt that the book held up well when I listened to it on audio ~5 years ago. I may be biased by that, but it's also one of the ones that I remember most vividly (though I remember much of A Swiftly Tilting Planet fairly well despite not having read it since I was a teenager).

I do have a surprising stray amount of Planet in my head. The bits that don't work really don't work, but I think passages of it are more ambitious than anything else in the Murry novels, like the broken poetry of the chapter from Chuck's brain-damaged perspective. I learned "Saint Patrick's Breastplate" from it.

Proginoskes is my favorite non-human L'Engle character; the farandolae stuff

Yes! On both counts. The green-black heart-beating abyss of Yadah.

Echthroi is a great name (and I was excited when I learned that "echthros" is actually the greek for "enemy").

Yes! And specifically a personal enemy: a πολέμιος is a political enemy, someone you might be sent to fight, but an ἐχθρὸς is someone who hates you. Someone who is hateful. "Sky tearers. Light snuffers. Planet darkeners. The dragons. The worms. Those who hate." The only part of that I object to is the calumny against dragons, though I know how L'Engle means it.

All of that book just works.

Date: 2017-07-13 06:54 am (UTC)
ladyherenya: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ladyherenya
Hurray, I'm glad you enjoyed Gaudy Night! And add me to the list of people who want to read about Troy painting Harriet's portrait, because that would be amazing.

The Railway Children is the Nesbit I remember the most strongly, out of the few that I've read.

Date: 2017-07-16 01:02 pm (UTC)
ladyherenya: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ladyherenya
Maybe they could provide alibis for each other without being seriously considered as suspects? Or without being seriously considered for very long? Their stories corroborate with someone else's or some detail comes to light immediately after they're questioned which makes it obvious that neither of them could have done it - like the estimated time of death is changed.

Peter and Alleyn could just be tied up elsewhere in the country with other cases. It'd perhaps depend on how quickly the case gets solved and how much the press knows. I could see Troy and Harriet both deciding that, under the circumstances, not to worry their husbands right now.

Date: 2017-07-17 01:34 pm (UTC)
evelyn_b: (litficmurder)
From: [personal profile] evelyn_b
I'm late to this party, but as you may already be aware, I'm so glad you're enjoying the GDR and that you've allowed yourself to be peer-pressured into writing A Tale of Vane and Troy. <3 I am delighted by how much Harriet is going to hate the idea of having her portrait painted, even if it doesn't lead to another close encounter of the corpse kind, which it almost certainly will. OH WELL.

Apparently there will be a movie of A Wrinkle in Time? I haven't re-read it in years, but I loved it as a kid. I liked that giant brain that couldn't deal with being loved.

Date: 2017-07-17 03:18 pm (UTC)
evelyn_b: (litficmurder)
From: [personal profile] evelyn_b
Oh, Harriet. If you didn't want your picture painted and to be tripping over corpses 24/7, you know what you shouldn't have done. :|

I'm looking forward to more of the story! There is going to be more of the story. . . right?

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