For the Title Alone

Yet another post because I came up with a title I liked.

This is definitely the opposite of when I try to write fiction, when I can be just as incoherent, but cannot create titles. At all.

But you know I’ve been reading this book  by M.C. Beaton, which she is writing under another name that I have not bothered to remember, in her same genre–mystery–with the same unlikable characters.

Which is weird, I usually only like books with likable characters. Books, TV, movies, ect, if I don’t like the characters I just don’t bother. Or I bother everyone else about how terrible and or ridiulous the book/show/movie is. But anyway, Beaton’s characters are unlikable, and irritating. But in high school, I read most of the Hamish Macbeth series…all, in fact, of the books my library owned, and enjoyed them. Recently, during the summer, I went through this libraries collection of Agatha Raisin books, tried a Macbeth mystery, and couldn’t stand it.

When I’d read the Macbeth in high school, I couldn’t stand Agatha Raisin, who is middle-aged, heavy-set, ursine with beady eyes.  See–it’s a memorable description, but so very mean.  That was the part I didn’t like.  All her characters too, seem to have love troubles throughout their series. But they are so ridiculous about it I get fed up, and give up. Admittedly, the characters are no more stupid than real life people doing the same thing. But I lose patience with them too. So I’ve liked the Agatha Raisin books recently enough that I could pick them up again despite the characters. (I must say, the characters are not badly drawn, just irritating, annoying, and mean. I don’t like mean. They’re generally unlikable, as far as I can tell, even to their friends.)

But like I said, I picked up a Beaton book, under another name, for another series.  And why does an author write under a pseudonym when just underneath, it has the author’s real name? This is a new series. And it’s “M.C. Beaton writing as ___!”  I just don’t get it.

Anyway. This new series takes place in Victorian England. Naturally.  Where else could you show off how delightfully ahead of her times the heroine is? Urgh.  There were plenty of intelligent women during Victorian times, and many of them were more enlightened than the period wished women to be. Nonetheless, there was a culteral reality to their attitudes, which most modern authors blow right past. Admittedly for mysteries especially, most authors will not probably spend years on their research, but is it really that hard to at least relate to histories realities?  In the subject of history itself, I’m not a fan of cultural relativism, but I think genre literature might benefit from at least a touch of it. Then again, it was the Victorian era, maybe today’s authors are attempting to emulate the gothic, lurid romance adventures of the day.

At any rate, the main character of this series is basically an upper-class, young, attractive Agatha, only she’s just as irritating. Lady Rose, is of course, a female activist horrifying her parents with her politics. To not be sent to India, she’s formed an engagement of convenience, whose other half she is conveniently in love with. Pardon–not so conveniently, neither will admit it. Oh, and he’s a policeman. (Um, Anne Perry?)

Now that was mean.

Still very typical of the modern day Victorian mystery. There are conventions of the genre, and even in 43 pages most of the highlights have been hit. Perhaps the trouble I’m having is that this particular book is not the first in the series. I’m not sure how far in it is, but we’re still being bombarded/smacked in the face with poor Lady Rose’s tribulations in being an activist during Victorian times…and the victim of an attempted assissination! She just can’t catch a break. And her companion, who I can’t quite recall, is either a former prostitute or a former actress–Victorian times, does it really matter–however, this at least, doesn’t seem to bother her parents. The parental units, by the way, are of course fully and foolishly intergrated into socities norms, and therefore not worth the words. Fortunately, Lady Rose managed to rise above her beauty and upbringing to be smart.

Back to the mystery. Never mind, I don’t want to talk about that because it’s kind of ridiculous actually. Only lady lovelier,  than Rose in her first season, the daughter of a Parson, is murdered looking like Lady of Shallot, and because she asked Lady Rose for help, someone is trying to kill poor Lady Rose while she shops for hats.

Ahh.  I’d almost forgotten the impetus for writing this today, at only 43 pages.

For Lady Rose’s protection, she and her companion are shipped to somewhere else in England that I cannot recall. They are fortunate to be able to catch a nap in a Pullman sleep car.  And we get a lecture on Pullman lasting a paragraph, complete with quote by Ambrose Bierce, about what happens when he dies. I really don’t care. No matter how quotable Ambrose Bierce may be–and he is very quotable.

Note: Wiki’d it.  Turns out this is an Edwardian mystery.  Who knew?  Still don’t like it much, and I still think it reads like a Victorian mysetry.  Ah well, I still intended to read it. Maybe it’ll get better. I’m at  nine hundred words and I don’t care to think about it anymore.


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