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Sorry this is a bit later than usual, been feeling a bit off today. This may be also shorter than usual, for the same reason.


And here we shift a bit in the background story (which also necessitates a somewhat shorter and more simple mystery again, since we're getting more framing device). Which is one reason I do think The Thirteen Problems is the better title for the book as a whole, because the Tuesday Club really is only half of the book. But I digress.

I like the whole "well, of course I don't want to speak ill of the dead, so will now proceed to do so with gusto" vibe.

I'll admit I don't *quite* get the sense of how the wallpaper is: the way they talk about the other flowers being applied and such, but it also kind of just sounds like a wallpaper with flowery artwork like you'd usually find? I don't know!

I don't know who I sympathize with here, if anyone! The victim was, well, a victim, so I have some sympathy, but she's also not a very sympathetic character. The husband was being so damn stubborn - even if he didn't want to believe in the supernatural, it was obvious that SOMETHING was going on, and at the very least if his wife was that frightened (and *being* frightened like that by someone), he could have had the decency to move, or at least figure out a change of rooms for her! Not to mention that it was a bit stupid of him to be using poisons on a day before the night when something was bound to happen, but oh well.

I like this story though in general, other than the unsympathetic cast. The solution is fairly ingenious, and even with a somewhat shortened story we have enough characters to at least give some room for guessing at the culprit. Now I wonder... do nurses count as servants? Hrm.

Although we do get a bit of a coincidence at the end again, when Sir Henry just so happens to know about the Nurse, who has done her act again and been arrested, to nicely wrap it up with a happy(ish) ending. Except for the victim, naturally.

Vocabulary:

(I feel somewhat odd adding this sectio, since we're all on the computer and others could look it up - but I know I forget to myself, or just don't bother sometimes, or whatever. So.)

Fichu (which Miss Marple is wearing, made of lace): "A fichu is a large, square kerchief worn by women in the 18th century to fill in the low neckline of a bodice. The fichu was generally of linen fabric and was folded diagonally into a triangle and tied, pinned, or tucked into the bodice in front." This is, in full, according to Wiki Pete. And makes one wonder why they didn't just then wear, y'know, a more covering dress. Although I guess maybe it was more subtle and psychological - drawing attention to the area, and the fact that they have something to cover, even while they're technically being modest and covering said something.

Blench: I thought this was just a misspeaking on Mrs. Pritchard's part, which isn't too great a leap, but apparently not. It means to flinch, draw away from, etc. Although I also see it's said to be a variant of "blanch," as well, and I guess either would work here.



Edit: Oops, borked the cut tag initially.

Comments

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(Deleted comment)
stormfeather
Aug. 16th, 2010 09:08 pm (UTC)
This was before psychology, but after nagging.

Oh wait, wrong book!

(And I guess technically it was after psychology, but before it got quite as big.)

And agreed on the litmus paper - it seems so weird, but... it's neat! It's one of the reasons I like this story despite the characters - it's just so... out there!

(Fichu, I choose you!)
annewashere
Aug. 16th, 2010 08:54 pm (UTC)
I love that you're doing the vocab section. I never bothered to look that shit up, and so skimmed without really knowing.
stormfeather
Aug. 16th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC)
Sweet, I will definitely try to keep it up in future postings then, if it actually helps. :)
(Deleted comment)
khedron
Aug. 17th, 2010 07:07 am (UTC)
I'll admit I don't *quite* get the sense of how the wallpaper is: the way they talk about the other flowers being applied and such, but it also kind of just sounds like a wallpaper with flowery artwork like you'd usually find? I don't know!

I think it's ordinary flowery wallpaper, with little bits of litmus paper cut out and pasted on top of the relevant flowers. How often are you going to look to see if wallpaper has been tampered with? Anyway, litmus paper cut-and-paste on top of wallpaper, and then the nurse would come and hold up smelling salts to the relevant flower at the relevant time. That's my guess, at any rate. Or maybe you were asking something else?

Vocab section: Please, do continue!

I do think it's unfortunately coincidental that Nurse Copling continued her killing spree with the same modus operandi. If only she'd varied her technique, then the connection between smelling salt containers and cyanide would have been more vague! Oh well.

I don't really get smelling salts. Wikipedia says they were commonly in use up to WW II, and are still used for unconscious athletes or fainting people. But, "They were widely used in Victorian Britain to revive fainting women, to the extent that in some areas police constables would carry a specific container of them for the purpose."? Really? Is this one of those "corsets => fainting epidemics" type stories?
stormfeather
Aug. 20th, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, I meant to say... I have no idea on the smelling salts thing! I suspect it might have been partly just environment - if the women were brought up to be delicate and sheltered away from any little thing, then any brush up against Real Life in its more sordid aspects would probably have a bad effect!

Well, plus I lean toward the idea that maybe a lot of these women were "swooning" or whatever because it's expected of them, and they want to show that they're properly delicate or whatever.

However, all of this is completely from an armchair psychologist and not-even-an-armchair-historian viewpoint!
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