RogerBW's Blog

The Fat Lady's Ghost, Charlotte Macleod 06 January 2023

1968 mystery. Corin Johansen moves to Boston to be a designer, and finds her rented room is cheaper if she agrees to use the kitchen… There's a ghost, you see.

Or maybe not. This is after all fairly early in MacLeod's writing career when she was still trying to be moderately serious, so although the boarding house's owner turns out to be a former circus leopard- and lion-tamer (now reduced to mere ocelots), the mystery is a real one, with stolen jewellery and an assault with "one o' them new pocket gas guns".

The other half of the story is a sort of negative bildungsroman, as Corin comes to realise that she's not all that great shakes as a designer (though almost everyone else is impressed with her work) and what she really wants to do with her life is keep house as the wife (and model) of a genius painter. I suppose there are people who feel that way (and waste a term at design school finding out, taking a place away from someone who might actually have benefited from it) but these are not in general characters I want to read about.

Combine that with a fairly straightforward mystery, and there isn't all that much to this book; and it's pretty short, only a novella by modern standards though it was published independently. A passing amusement with a sour and dated undertaste.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1