I hate posting to apologize for not posting

July 19, 2010

But that’s what this is.  I seem to have been focusing on the visual lately: art books, comic books, television shows, etc. Also I’ve been reading Nero Wolfe again, which I guess is always dangerous.

Can anyone tempt me back to the wonderful world of pre-1930 popular fiction? I’d love recommendations, especially for early motoring novels, like From the Car Behind, and most of the Williamsons’ output.


  1. Have you read any Ethel M. Dell’s??? The critics hated her.but she was among the most popular authors of the 20s.and her books are a bit over the top….but at least she compares favourably with Eleanor Gly….Most are pretty awful..but her style’s not bad…Iread something called Charles Rex ages ago and a couple of short story collections

    • I’ve actually been meaning to read Ethel M. Dell for four or five years, believe it or not. I read an article about her, Glyn, and E.M. Hull, and I managed to get to the other two, but not Dell. I think the one the article talked about was The Way of an Eagle.

  2. More Nero Wolfe is never a bad thing. Too bad that they extended the copyright thing as I think the first novels would just be out of copyright by now. I see that you discovered the Torchy books, unfortunately the non Torchy stuff by the same author isn’t as good.

    I did just finish two books recently. “About Peggy Saville” and “More About Peggy”. They were OK reads with my version having an amusing introduction about how boys would actually get more of the novels than the girls. One thing that jumps out at you while reading them is how rigid the social class system in England was back then and how commonplace servants were even for the middle class folks. You notice the Colonialism thinking going during the heights of the British Empire especially regarding status.

    I’m not sure if you have read Angela Brazil’s school stories but I just started reading them but they are a lot of fun so far. I do like reading boarding school stories though. You might also reread Understood Besty since you have probably forgotten how the story went by now.

    • The problem with Nero Wolfe is that once I start, I can’t stop. Those books have a disturbing tendency to eat my life.

      I’m sorry to hear that Sewell Ford’s non-Torchy books aren’t as good. I guess I’ll take them off my reading list.

      I’ve read a few Angela Brazil books–I prefer L.T. Meade, but Brazil does better names for her characters than pretty much anyone. And I have reread Understood Betsy recently enough to remember what happens in it. The Peggy books look like fun, though, and I’ll definitely check them out.

  3. Oh, I vote for the Automobile Girls, if you haven’t already – I’m really curious about the series!

    • I’m curious about the Automobile Girls as well! But I also really like reading series from the beginning, and PG doesn’t have the first one. Maybe I’ll try the Stratemeyer Syndicate’s Motor Girls series instead?

  4. Have you ever read “Enchanted April” by Elizabeth von Arnim? I’m not sure if it’s available online but it’s been reprinted a lot.

    • I’ve heard of The Enchanted April, and it’s definitely available online. It sounds really interesting, although I keep hearing “von Arnim” and thinking of this awesome feminist fairy tale.

  5. The Chauffeur and the Chaperone by A M and C N Williamson is really good. Two girls inherit a houseboat and tour Holland in it.

    Rudder Grange, by Frank R. Stockton, is about a newly married couple who move into a houseboat.

    Anything by Louis Tracy.

  6. I’ve read The Chauffeur and the Chaperone, and it’s not one of my favorite Williamsons–it’s a little too travelogue-y, and I wasn’t particularly interested in most of the characters.

    I looked up Louis Tracy and he sounds interesting. Do you recommend any particular books?

    • I really liked One Wonderful Night by Louis Tracy. It’s about a man who, on his first night in New York, finds a marriage license in the pocket of a murdered man’s coat and goes to find the woman whose name is on the license.

      The Stowaway Girl is about a girl who stows away on a ship to avoid marrying a man she hates. She doesn’t realize her uncle has arranged for the ship to be sunk so he can collect insurance.

      • Ooh, and the PG edition of One Wonderful Night has film stills! That’s always a plus.

  7. I’m about halfway through the Brazil girl school books and like you mentioned the names are great! My favorite name so far has to be Myfanwy. I knew it was Welsh from the spelling so that was pretty neat since I have some Welsh in the family history.
    I also like her use of dated British slang especially the use of the word crocodile for a lineup of schoolgirls marching to some location. I get the perfect mental image in my mind from the marching orphans in the picture books of Madeline.

    • A list of names I made after reading Merle the Monitress: Mavis, Merle, Bevis, Clive, Constable, Madox, Romola, Beata, Iva, Nesta, Aubrey, Tudor, Perugia, Lilith, Gabriel, Morland, Opal, Ginnifer, Fay, Muriel, Winnie, Lorraine, Nita, Tattie, Babbie, Maude.

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