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Not-So-Very-Nice Goings On at Victoria Lodge…
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Not-So-Very-Nice Goings On at Victoria Lodge

by Philip Ardagh

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In this clever little book, the author has written a silly story around illustrations from issues of The Girls' Own Paper that appeared in the 1890s. For instance, you know those decorated/illustrated drop cap letters that used to start off chapters or sections in publications of old? Early in the story we see a picture of a lovely begowned lady standing by the letter "M"; the "narrator," Thelma, helpfully explains that her "tragic tale began when my eldest sister Edith was tending to the letter M in the shrubbery. We had a number of letters in our garden and it was her duty to feed and water the consonants from J to T."

How funny is that? And the plot (and shrubbery!) thickens when sinister attempts are made on Thelma's family's lives, such as when her younger sister is playing the piano when her music teacher "was shot through the window by a markswoman in a hot-air balloon," a moment that's illustrated with a drawing of a woman dramatically holding her hand to her forehead while leaning to look out a window. It's hard to convey how well this little set-up works just by describing examples, but it really does work, and I laughed out loud a couple of times. ( )
  amysisson | Jul 20, 2015 |
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Who is waging a deadly war against the family at Victoria Lodge? How did a land-mine come to be hidden under Grandma's reading chair? Why is Papa so interested in the pretty young maid? And is it strictly necessary to subject all visitors to body searches?… (more)

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