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So Many Bad Books
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Gail K.



Joined: 19 May 2007
Posts: 1292

PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I, myself, can feel an Eleanor (Elinor?) of Aquitaine obsession coming on. After I'm done with Llewellyn of Wales, of course. Who needs modern history when you can immerse yourself in medieval times?

Who is Constance Kent, Mrs. Fairfax? I love "intellectual" murder mysteries.

-Gail
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MrsFairfax



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 1069

PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gail K. wrote:


Who is Constance Kent, Mrs. Fairfax? I love "intellectual" murder mysteries.

-Gail


She's the confessed murderess in the case that inspired Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone and Dickens' The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Kate Summerscale's The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher concentrates on the role of Jonathan Whicher, one of Scotland Yard's 8 original detectives, in determining who slit the throat of 3 year old Saville Kent (Constance's half brother) and tossed him in the servants' privy on the 30th of June, 1860.

Her thesis is this case was the turning point in popular opinion about detectives and marked the real beginning of literature's long fascination with detective mysteries. She includes really fascinating samples of the immediate media coverage and excerpts from period novels. She's convinced Whicher was the model for Collins' Inspector Cuff. Her conclusions, or rather her representation of Mr. Whicher's conclusions, about whodunnit and why and why Constance confessed 5 years after the fact are very different from Sharyn McCrumb's, so that was interesting. But both agreed that Saville's crib went to Madame Tussaud's for display. Definitely a history, not a novel, but fun read nevertheless.

You might like the Louise Pennys I'm reading, starting with Still Life. No romance, but a marvelously evoked Quebec village and a wonderfully decent detective hero. Lovely prose.
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Gail K.



Joined: 19 May 2007
Posts: 1292

PostPosted: Sat Aug 23, 2008 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the detailed background and book recs, Mrs. Fairfax! I'm not typically one for detective stories/ mysteries...but the psychology/history behind them, maybe. Very Happy

-Gail
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