Posts Tagged ‘herbertgeorgejenkins’


The Rain-Girl

August 6, 2015

So, I should have written about Herbert George Jenkins’ The Rain Girl a couple of weeks ago, when I read it. I looked it up after Tasha gave it a good review on The Project Gutenberg Project because I obviously like Jenkins (actually I haven’t written about him much, have I? Searching my blog, I’m seeing no John Dene, no Malcolm Sage, no Bindle…) but halfway through I started wondering if we were reading the same book. Richard Beresford, the protagonist, isn’t as charming as he or anyone else thinks he is, and his pursuit of a young woman he’s barely met seemed creepy and borderline insane. Like, in that slightly unhinged Eleanor Hallowell Abbot way.

I said that on Twitter–that his attempts to track her down were creepy–and Tasha replied that he has to find the girl somehow, but I disagreed. I would have been pleased for her if he hadn’t found her.

Things change somewhat when the girl, Lola Craven, reappears. Beresford still bugged me, but she seemed to genuinely like him, and the heroine throwing herself at an oblivious hero isn’t something I see too often.

And here’s the thing: by the time the book ended, I was rooting for them. I was even charmed. And I don’t remember why. All I’ve retained is my completely justifiable lack of warmth for the main character.


Love Insurance

May 18, 2013

I was in the mood for something light and funny the other day, so I went to see what the internet had to offer in the way of non-Charlie Chan novels by Earl Derr Biggers. I found Love Insurance, which was exactly what I was looking for, except in that it didn’t really thrill me in any way.

The premise is kind of excellent, to a point, and if the book had revolved around Owen Jephson, underwriter for Lloyd’s of London, I think I would have liked it more. Jephson specializes in insuring incedibly peculiar things: he’s insured an actor against losing weight, a duchess against rain at her garden party, etc. I want very badly for Herbert George Jenkins to have written a book about Jephson, but sadly the world doesn’t work that way. And Biggers is more concerned first with Allan, Lord Harrowby, who wants to insure his wedding date, and then, more centrally, with Dick Minot, who Lloyd’s sends to Florida and protect their assets by making sure that Harrowby’s wedding to the beautiful Cynthia Meyrick goes as planned. Minot, inevitably, falls in love with Cynthia almost at first sight, and that’s only the first of many complications — there are jewel thieves, long-lost relatives, blackmail, and a society matron who hires a guy to write bon mots for her. And that list barely scrapes the surface. Read the rest of this entry ?


Patricia Brent, Spinster

November 17, 2011

Here goes possibly the nicest of the reader recommendations from week before last. Thank you Mark; I am exceedingly grateful.

I tend not to deal well with characters who seem to go out of their way to mire themselves in difficulties, but Patricia Brent, Spinster — by Herbert George Jenkins — did it so charmingly that I can’t really bring myself to complain. The title character overhears some of the catty older women at her boarding house gossiping about her — and, incidentally, adding a few years to her age — and tries to get back at them by casually referring to a fiancé over dinner that night. She’s not ready for the questions they throw at her, and she ends up being a lot more specific about the fake fiancé than she intended. Like, to the point of making up a name, rank and regiment for him. This is sort of embarrassingly awkward, obviously, and then it gets worse. Patricia goes out to dinner the following night for a nonexistent date with the fictional Major Brown and some of her fellow boarders follow her, which, a) aren’t you glad you’re not friends with them? and b) things are now acutely, humiliatingly awkward. Read the rest of this entry ?