Before we get to that, can we talk?
We are on Spring Break here, otherwise known around this house as Spring-drive-your-mother-up-a-wall-because-you-have-opposite-temperaments-week. Oh, my goodness friends, I am feeling like A Terrible Mother.
I, a tried and true introvert, gave birth to one of the strongest extroverts I've ever met. As a baby she cried and cried when I turned my back to cook something and as a toddler stood next to me and screamed for about a year and half while I blew my hair dry. Now it's mom?...Mom?....MOM??....MOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! about every 4 minutes. She talks unceasingly. She climbs on me and touches and pokes me and talks in my face and tries to lick me (sorry). She cries and pouts and whines when she's not winning a game. She badgers me and argues about anything and everything. I faced an hour-long onslaught on why I wouldn't take her to dairy queen for lunch. She even hand copied text from their website about how delicious their food is.
"Mom they have wraps! And sandwiches that use waffles instead of bread!!"
"Someday you will understand why that is not a good thing."
When I took the car to Tires Plus:
"Bring a book in case they ask us to wait."
"What do I need a book for? If we have to wait I'll just talk to YOU!!!!"
God help me. I love her more than anything, I'd lay down right now and give up every organ or drop of blood for her. But I wish she would just 'find something to do!' that didn't always involve me. Thanks for listening. She's now on a play-date so I am thrilled to be able to string two thoughts together without interruption.
Back to the books!
So, Elizabeth Cadell. Have you heard of her? This is the author I teased you with a couple posts back whose vintagey looking books I came across at the library. As you can see, I chose The Corner Shop written in 1966. This book definitely fits into that same sort of category as D.E. Stevenson though this book in particular is a little edgier, more mysterious, funnier, and rather a farcical comedy of manners.
Take for example our first meeting with our heroine, Mrs. Lucille Abbey, on a train:
'she had her own method of dealing with burly gentlemen who pushed; her capacious handbag....could in cases like this become a lethal weapon. One jab from the brass-bound end, and the gentleman, like all his pushing predecessors, gave way. As always, her quiet, deceptively mild air lulled the victim's suspicions and led him to conclude that it had been an accident.'
'She was aware that she was slim, blonde, and beautiful-but her looks, though they might be alluring, were also misleading and raised hopes which she was constantly constrained to crush. She had a clear brain, sound common sense and a capacity for hard work; why these sober attributes had been encased in so fancy a package she had never been able to understand; she knew only that she looked far warmer than she felt.'
Funny stuff! Lucille runs a business that sends secretaries out on jobs and when one client goes through three perfectly good secretaries in odd circumstances Lucille decides to find out whatever is the matter. She finds herself in the country where the rather odd 'professor' is sorting through his deceased father's papers and mother's things. A series of events puts Lucille in the middle of an art heist after which she travels to Paris to help her aunt and meets a bunch of quirky people. There's a lot of running around in Paris then and the plots become briefly complicated and intertwined and eventually we see how all the pieces and characters come together. It's really well done for a humorous book that reads quickly, and I told my husband that if I were move clever I would try to write a screen play based on this material.
I still don't know much about Elizabeth Cadell, thought I did find this fan site. She was writing books from the 40s to the 80s! I'm definitely going to be reading her again.