Uncategorized,  Week in Review

TSS 9.20.09 – Busy Week

Well, this week was a busy week for ALL book bloggers, but I am afraid that the busy-ness in other areas of my life prevented me from participating as much as I had wanted in BBAW. My typical school day this week (I only work on Mondays – Wednesdays – Fridays) was to leave the house at 7:15 am and arrive back home around 5:15 pm. I then had about 8 hours of grading on Tuesday (no joke — I started at 8:30 am – took a 1o minute lunch – and made myself stop at 4:30 pm) and then another 6 hours of grading on Thursday. There was simply not enough hours in the day to accomplish all that I had hoped. I did manage to add about 10 more new blogs to my reader, though, and I am very much looking forward to following these new cyber friends in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

I began reading a book that I just picked up from the library last weekend, The Suspicions of Mr. Wichler by Kate Summerscale, and I am enjoying this non-fiction book. I was first introduced to this title by Jackie of Farm Lane Books and I have been interested in reading it for quite some time. It is a true account of the murder of a young boy in Victorian England at the same time that Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins were writing their enormously popular serialized mysteries. In fact, these two authors are mentioned several times in this book, giving their personal commentary on what they think actually happened. I have not finished the book yet (I have about 60 pages to go), but as of now the murder is unsolved, although the most likely suspects appear to be the boy’s father (who could have been having an affair with the nursery maid and when the young toddler woke up in the middle of the night and spied them together, the father felt that he had to silence the lad so that he could not tattle to his mother of this indiscretion) OR the toddler’s sixteen year old half -sister who possibly inherited her deceased mother’s propensity for madness. This true story definitely has all the makings for a sensational thriller with the cast of characters, the gothic-style house, and the Scotland Yard detective.

The book also mentions Edgar Allan Poe’s famous detective, M. Auguste Dupin. I believe that I have mentioned on this blog before my embarrassment for never having read Poe to date, but my extreme desire to do so for Carl’s RIP IV challenge. Well, I decided that Saturday was the day to put my plan into action. I dusted off my Kindle (which I am sad to say has not seen much action since the spring) and downloaded a free version of Murders in the Rue Morgue, the story that introduced this protagonist to the world. I was immediately engrossed in the novel and remained fascinated at M. Dupin’s deductive reasoning skills. This is considered a “locked room mystery” in which the crime happens in a closed-in area that appears to have no possible means of escape. While there are some gruesome details of the double murder, I found that I was not adversely affected by them as my mind was constantly trying to predict what clue (or clew, as Poe wrote) Dupin would discover next. The story is told from an anonymous friend’s point of view (similar to the Sherlock Holmes stories being told from Dr. Watson’s point of view). This first person perspective allows us, the reader, to feel as though we are alongside this great detective observing his investigation and thought-process first hand.
I was so taken with this first introduction to Poe, that I quickly downloaded the two other Dupin short stories: The Mystery of Marie Roget and The Purloined Letter. I hope that I can find time this afternoon to complete this trilogy, before I have to think about grading more papers.

13 Comments

  • JoAnn

    One of the books I bought at the library sale was The Suspicions of Mr. Whichler. Maybe this would be a good follow up to my current read, The Woman in White.
    Hope this was an extra heavy grading week and not your usual load!

  • Paperback Reader

    Poe is one of my favourite storytellers and I enjoyed the M. Dupin stories. If I remember correctly these inspired Arthur Conan Doyle to write Sherlock Holmes and Poe is credited with creating the detective story.

  • Literary Feline

    I wasn't able to get around as much as I wanted this past week for BBAW. We should all be allowed a paid vacation for the entire event, I think. Maybe even an all expense paid trip to an exotic locale? 😉

    I am glad to hear you are enjoying Summerscale's book. I do hope to read that one as well eventually.

    I haven't read murders in Rue Morgue. I am glad to hear you enjoyed it, Molly.

    I hope you have a great week!

  • Sandy Nawrot

    I liked Whicher, but wasn't totally in love with it, only because I think with this book, you need to be 100% engaged because of the serious level of detail. It is amazing to learn how many wonderful works of fiction it inspired!

  • ds

    I loved "Murders in the Rue Morgue", went through a serious Poe "phase" as a kid…I have seen this Whicher book written up on so many blogs, that I may have to bite the bullet and read myself (but when?)I think my College Student has a copy, which means there's not only ready access, but it's free–and no due date!

    Thank you so much for stopping by the window today, and for your kind remarks.

  • Meghan

    I enjoyed Summerscale's book myself! I read it a little over a year ago and I thought it was quite interesting, especially how it was tied into the literary scene. Poe's M. Auguste Dupin is another favorite of mine; I discovered him in college and just loved the stories. =) Hope you can read them before more papers attack. =/

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