Maybe it is a reaction to the loss of my childhood home or maybe it is a coincidence but I have been indulging in a certain amount of nostalgia lately. Having put most of my possessions into storage most of my reading until the last couple of weeks had been either borrowed or picked up in charity shops (I don’t have a functioning e-reader just now), There were a few exceptions which I hope to get to write up at some point – the wonderful “Notes from an Exhibition” by Patrick Gale and “Elizabeth is missing” by Emma Healey but there has been a heap of frothy, forgettable chicklit that probably isn’t worth remembering.
However, captivated by the covers (think old school railway posters) I picked up a couple of the British Library collection of vintage crime fiction, then got a reduced Nikki French with a paper, I then went to London and bought a couple more contemporary books at the station and todant to a discount store and bought, amongst other things, a set of Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers series.
They are a hoot with modern eyes, though rather oddly the money but nothing else has been updated which is a bit weird. Apart from the distrust of foreigners, their strange accents and funny ways there are gems such as “Alicia didn’t see why she should give up Darell’s companionship completely just because Sally had come back. Why not a threesome until Betty returns?”
I intend to talk more about the vintage crime novels when I have finished the book on forensic by Val McDermid (one of the other recent puchases. however they do have some things in common with the Blytons in the attitudes to foreigners, women though the Hey is perhaps rather more tongue in cheek. Nevertheless it is less substantial than Sayers’ Gaudy Night published the same year.
Thoughts of both books were with me when I visited Oxford for the first time in ages last week. There is a certain pleasure, which I experienced also when reading two of Graham Hurley’s Faraday’s novels last year, in reading books well located in a familiar place. And then I walked down Pembroke Street and found a reminder of my favourite literary landscape, but the Story Museum was closed and, though I uttered password with far less hesitation than Gandalf, the doors remained shut,