Thursday, May 22, 2003

WooHoo! Long weekend coming my way! One of the perks to this whole public librarian gig is definately the holiday time. General rule of thumb - when there is no mail delivery I typically have the day off.

And let me just say how happy I am to have the long weekend. I have hardly been reading at all lately, and it's beginning to annoy me. Why? Because I'm reading a rather intriguing historical mystery - Point of Honour by Madeleine E. Robins.

The heroine, Miss Sarah Tolerance, is a "Fallen" woman in Regency London. The daughter of nobility, Sarah has the nerve to run off with her brother's fencing instructor. When her lover dies - Sarah is left with nothing. Everyone figures she should just get it over with and become a prostitute (young noble women tend to have no other marketable skills), but our fair heroine is too smart for that. She instead goes into business for herself as an "agent of inquiry." Think private investigator and you'll get the idea. Her wealthy clients come to her because she gets the job done while being painfully discreet.

Miss Tolerance is hired to track down an antique fan that was once given to a courtesan. Seems like a simple enough task, except her client isn't being entirely truthful with her. For one thing what is so blasted important about a fan? And for another, why are so many people interested in finding it?

Sarah appeals to me as a heroine because she is very intelligent, unconventional, and is great with a sword (thanks to her lover). She kicks butt, deduces with the best of them, and isn't afraid to lurk about in darkened, slimy corners.

This story is also oh-so-proper English in tone, which appeals to the Anglophile in me. Nobody actually comes out and says what they want or feel because good lord - what of their reputations? The Victorians always appealled to me because underneath all those manners I get the feeling they were quite "naughty." Robins is depicting Regency London in much the same way.

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