Sunday, June 10, 2012

Alter or mend eternal Fact

I was excited to see that the latest books in two fun mystery series just came out! (And once I paid my library fines, I could borrow them from the library.)

Elegy for Eddie is the latest in the Maisie Dobbs series. The series started out as a Great War survivors' tale, and this most recent book takes place in 1933. We all know what that means. Our psychologist investigator, as always, is caught between the vanishing world of London's South End and Britain's political and social elite. Between helping costermongers uncover the truth behind the death of one of their own, driving her trendy automobile around the horses in her old urban neighborhood, and trying to branch out and see the world before it devolves into another World War, Maisie's character is finally unraveling. It only took 9 books that chart her life over 19 years, but she's finally become a more nuanced and conflicted character than she's been in the previous books. The added painful irony of her finally finding her own personal freedom and peace is that it comes on the eve of another horrible world tragedy equally as traumatic as the one that first drove her into a stodgy, silent shell. It's not hard to deduce that there are several overlapping elegies running throughout the course of the mystery.

The other mystery-solving heroine I love is Molly Murphy. In the latest book in her series, she and her police captain are finally married and spending their honeymoon in a haunted mansion in Newport. Like Maisie, Molly is also caught between her humble, poverty-stricken background and the powerful world of Tammany Hall that she has been thrown into.

Maybe I'm drawn to these two characters (and a few other in certain series) because of those contrasts in background and circumstances. The tale of an honest class identity struggle can frequently walk a fine line with the overdone and untrue rags-to-riches tale; but maybe the internal existential battles that must necessarily be waged are the unacknowledged flip side of the latter.

Speaking of which, I'm excited to see the new The Great Gatsby movie coming out later this year.

And now I have "Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral" stuck in my head.

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