Trying to find a book…

April 19, 2018

…About which I remember very little.

There was a girl who designed spoons. I think there were other girls (who possibly lived in the same building with her) with other artistic endeavors. I’m pretty sure it took place in London. Does that ring any bells for anyone?

ETA: After some strategic googling, I found it: Helen Vardon’s Confession, one of R. Austin Freeman’s Doctor Thorndyke mysteries. The part I remembered is not central to the plot, and the main storyline is amping up my anxiety, so I may not finish it.


  1. Doesn’t ring a bell, but try the Booksleuth forum on Abebooks.com: http://forums.abebooks.com/discussions/AbeBookscom_BookSleuthreg/abesleuthcom

    • I might, eventually, but I thought that the readership of this blog might have a more focused knowledge of the kind of book I’m looking for.


  2. You don’t mean OUR SPOONS CAME FROM WOOLWORTH’s by Barbara Comyns do you?

    • No, I’ve heard of that but the summary doesn’t ring any bells. And the spoons in the book I’m thinking of definitely didn’t come from Woolworth’s.

  3. Sorry, not ringing any bells…. and it sounds very much up my alley, so if I *had* read it, it ought to be reverberating.

    (in other words: if you do find it, please post! :-) )

    (Incidentally, “The Lad with Wings” by Berta Ruck is definitely not the book you seek, and is kind of an idiotic book in a number of ways [oh, so many ways], *but* features The Ladies’ Residential Club for independently-living women which is sort of fascinating in conception and execution.)

    • I don’t trust Berta Ruck, but that sounds fun. I was just rereading the London part of The Story Book Girls the other day and wishing for more of that kind of thing.

      As for the book I’m looking for, I sort of feel like the stuff about women artists wasn’t the main thread of the book? Which is probably why I’m having a hard time finding it.

      • Yes, I 100% support not trusting Berta Ruck (at least, as far as sexist idiocy is concerned – I haven’t read her quite recently enough to remember other systemic issues other than a penchant for wild implausibility – and this one also has a Romantic Heights Are the Highest Heights problem with an ending that made me want to kick the female lead with a great deal of force and emphasis), and The Lad with Wings (US-titled The Boy with Wings, but in the book he’s The Lad with Wings, so I forgot the Project Gutenberg title) is definitely not an exception to the “he just… she just… what??? noooo” thing, but then there is this sort of fascinating housing establishment that I wish the book were about. Also a wartime airplane development hangar run by a woman which I would also like a book (albeit probably a book not by Berta Ruck) about.

        Aka: I will take my fascinating semi-communal living situations where I can get them, even when they are not the main thread of the book, although of course where they are prominent and well done, that’s even better. :-) I do hope you find your “lost” book!

        (also, yes, I would like more of The Story Book Girls – any part of the book! – but haven’t found anything online by the same author, sigh.)

        • I found it, but I regret finding it. See above.

          • Aw, sorry to hear that. The quest for good books continues! (and yes, the Berta Ruck fun communal living stuff is also 100% unnecessary to the storyline. One wishes that it could be lifted out and placed in another book.)

  4. Her metalwork is somewhat relevant to the plot, as it’s used against her as evidence that she was a receiver of stolen gems and gold. In any case, it’s a Thorndyke novel, so rest assured that everything will turn out fine for the protagonists at the end. The real murderer invariably ends up getting caught by Thorndyke, or committing suicide after giving a full confession. And the main protagonist gets married.

    I love Thorndyke, but have you read Flighty Phyllis by the same author? A girl decides to dress up in her male cousin’s clothes and have masculine adventures. It’s a short, funny novella, and Freeman goes into a lot of detail about what such an imposture would require in early 20th-century London.

    • Yeah, I vaguely remember how it ends now. The early stuff with her dad is just really stressing me out. I haven’t totally given up on it, but every time I go back to it I feel kind of panicky.

      I have not read any of Freeman’s non-Thorndyke books. Flighty Phyllis sounds fun, but my faith in his ability to write women is…limited.

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