"And over the years every time Farnham has been at Whistlecreig and there’s been any sort of mystery, I remind him he stands to lose ten quid if he doesn’t beat the police. I’m waiting for that one perfect case that baffles him.” -Anon, Sir, Anon by Rachel Heffington
Hello friends and fellow bibliophiles! Today I have the pleasure of hosting Anon, Sir, Anon on its tour around the blogosphere. Rachel gave me the delightful task of sharing favorite quotes and whatnot with you all, so if you're still waffling over purchasing this lovely mystery, I hope the delightful little snippets here will convince you!
This statement elicited a chuckle from her companion. “Old ways die long deaths. I suppose Farnham is no one’s real landlord but he is a Farnham and they’ve headed the land from time out of mind. Folk still respect him for his bloodline and breeding.”
“I’d rather they respect him for his decency.” Vivi spoke in a low voice, feeling it was rather bold of her to state a less than flattering opinion aloud.
“Pouting? Has your uncle set you off your tea, Vivi? He’s an odd boy but you won’t hear anyone criticize his mettle. Give him a chance.”
“I didn’t expect a lecture from you.”
“At your service, madam.” Jimmy tipped his cap. “Perhaps I ought to go into business as a young ladies’ finishing school marm. Now, Viv, don’t get cross. Where were you off to? I can be your chivalrous escort before meeting Michael at the Lark & Eagle.”
“Miss Langley certainly is not a fiz-gig.” Farnham offered Vivi his arm and drew her through a knot of damp, sparkling-eyed young people toward a table draped with bunting.
“I take it I’m to be glad I’m not a ‘fiz-gig’?”
“Quite.” Farnham smiled at a young girl behind the table. “Two glasses of lemonade, if you please.Thank you.” He handed one glass to Vivi and raised the second in his left hand. “To my niece, who is anything but a wild, brazen flirt.”
“For what Thou hast given us, liege Lord, we thank Thee and ask that our lives might be of service to Thee,” Farnham prayed in an elegant, soothing voice that seemed to treasure the holy words. “In Thy Son’s magnificent name do we pray. Amen.”
“Tell me, Miss Langley, are you one of those nature-spiritualist people who eat nothing but dried fruit and hot water and apologize to the Earth for taking even that much from Her bosom? No? Good, because I was going to tell you that I’ll have none of that here. We eat fish. We eat poultry and lamb and pork and whatever we take a fancy for. Allen raises cabbages and he doesn’t weep a little weep over each plant as he decapitates it and takes its head to steam in a pot.”
“You have gone too far if you accuse me of murder, Miss Langley.” He whispered the last words close to her ear and when he drew back, his eyes were too bright. “You come to my room without provocation. You insult me. I agree to answer three questions and you accuse me of murder. And what do I get from this, O purity? What gift will you lay at my feet for my cooperation?”
“Allen is a butler.” She smiled that curious smile of hers where the left side of her mouth
quirked upward, and removed a tray of puddings from the oven. “And butlers resent housework.”
“He’s never complained.”
“They never do, but they retaliate in a million different ways. I know, dear, I took over
household decisions for Mama on my twenty-third birthday. Ours invariably rubbed Father’s black shoes with brown polish until we discovered that he’d been made to cook muffins for breakfast every Thursday. Put him right off his tea and the inner peace of the household was intricately bungled till I figured out where things had gone awry.”
“You don’t know how to shoot.”
“No? I hardly think it matters at point blank range.”
Her voice ended in resignation and Farnham wondered how many times in his niece’s life she had used that term: “sensible woman”, to kill one or another of her hopes and dreams.
“In my day,” Farnham offered, “there was a delightful practice called conversation. You ought to take lessons sometime--you’d enjoy it.”
"'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.'"
Anon Sir Anon is packed with wit and plenty of laugh-out-loud moments. It also contains plenty of moments to reflect, though the mystery doesn't lose it's snappy pace. And the area surrounding Whistlecreig, best of all, is packed with characters that will stand the test of time in further mysteries. From the buxom Mrs. Froggle to the jolly Doctor Breen, to the flirtatious Cora.
I think what makes this mystery special is the way Rachel is able to transcend ages in her characters. There are no children, but there are college-age folk and older folk--and she stays true to all of them. The college-age folk are true to life, caring about things like a good time and a village dance and little banter back and forth. And the older folk are steady, crotchety, able to see life through the eyes of experience, yet with struggles and ailments and faults of their own.
My favorite characters as I read the novel were definitely Jimmy Fields and Farnham. Farnham with his ulcers and his "Oh bang"--which may not be the best expression, but he uses it to keep himself from saying worse things, so I love him for it. And Jimmy--with his cheery demeanor and carefree country boy air.
And Doctor Breen and Farnham with their gentleman bets were the pink of British middle-aged perfection. ;)
I also had a last minute favorite. But that would be telling things...
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And you can pick up a copy of Anon, Sir, Anon on Amazon. It would make a lovely just-because give for a bibliophile if you already have one. :)
Blessings, Lady Bibliophile