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Search tags: Dorothy-must-Die
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review 2018-10-16 15:52
The Broodiing Lake by Dorothy Eden
The Brooding Lake - Dorothy Eden

One of the interesting things about these mid-century gothic romances is the surprising amount of time it takes to read a book that is so slender. This book was originally published in 1953 under the title "The Lamb to the Slaughter." This is actually a bit earlier than most of the gothics I read, which are generally from the 1960's.

 

In The Brooding Lake, Eden, who was born in New Zealand, returns to New Zealand for her story. Alice, the heroine, has been summoned to a tiny community near the small town New Zealand town of Hokitika by her friend Camilla, where she is meant to be a teacher for the small school there.

 

 

 

 

By the time Alice arrives, however, Camilla is no where to be found. Alice installs herself in the rundown cottage in the woods where Camilla has been living, finding no one there but a (very hungry) cat and a magpie who yells random concerning things like "lend it to me" and "get out." Alice finds a letter from Camilla joyously informing her that she is getting married.

 

Upon arrival, three men present themselves as possible suitors for our fair Alice: Dalton, the enigmatic, wealthy man who lives in a beautiful home with his friendly sister, Katherine, Dundas, and older widower who lives in a small house with his daughter Margaretta, and Felix Dodson, who is an old flame of Alice's who just happens to be a bus driver in the area.

 

As the book proceeds, things get weird as they do in gothic romances. On an exceptionally dark and stormy night, Alice is trapped in Dalton & Katherine's home when someone

(cough, Katherine, cough)

(spoiler show)

punctures the tires so Dalton can't drive her home. One of the servants, Tottie, whispers to Alice that she should lock her door. Alice fails to heed the advice and someone comes into her room at night, ties her hair to the bed post, and whispers creepy stuff like "Camilla is here" as she flees in terror into the night. 

 

The relationship with Dundas takes a turn as well, when Alice is clonked on the head with a branch during the storm and ends up in his home with Margaretta in charge of nursing her back to health. Dundas declares his love for Alice with a disturbing focus on her petite size - the whole thing was weird as all get out, and at one point had me convinced that Eden was going to make Dundas a cross-dresser, which would have been shocking indeed to the 1953 mind. Alas, that was not what was going on.

 

Anyway, the book comes to an emotional climax in a boat on the brooding lake, with a rather Ripley-esque few moments that Alice must handle. As is also the tradition with gothic romance, the story wraps up very quickly, in a few pages, with one of the suitors proving his love by saving the heroine, one of the suitors being exposed as a murderer, and one of the suitors leaving town. 

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text 2018-10-16 04:12
Updates
The Brooding Lake - Dorothy Eden

Page 84

 

Things just got super-creepy with Dalton and Katherine. Classic dark and stormy night, with disembodied voices whispering in the dark.

 

Page 63:

 

Still no brooding lake. However, the fair Camilla has been keeping at least four men dancing attendance on her. Somehow, I suspect that she has not eloped. I fear she has come to a bad end, and that Alice's digging around will not go well. 

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text 2018-10-15 15:43
Reading progress update: I've read 28 out of 190 pages.
The Brooding Lake - Dorothy Eden

I did start this, although I didn't get very far into it! I ended up doing a lot of projects around the house over the weekend, in addition to the book sell-back/sorting project that I have already mentioned. I also cleaned out our coat closet of decades worth of old coats, mismatched gloves and ratty baseball caps, and I decuttered our pantry shelves of everything that doesn't belong in a pantry/laundry room.

 

In the middle of that bustling activity, I mostly just wanted to watch movies. In honor of fall, I settled to complete the lovely annual autumnal Harry Potter rewatch, and watched the second half of Order of the Phoenix, Half Blood Prince and both Part I and Part II of The Deathly Hallows. I also made a bubbling pot of delicious turkey and bean chili and did the laundry. All in all, it was a lovely, busy, productive yet still relaxing weekend.

 

The first two chapters of The Brooding Lake are setting it up quite nicely. Our main character, Alice, has arrived for a visit with her friend, Camilla. In a bit of a confusing non-sequitur, it turns out that her bus driver is Felix, a lost love. It's unclear in the first few sentences if Alice recognized him when she boarded the bus or not, so that whole thing was sort of confusing. Our location is a bit obscure - it seems to be somewhere on the west coast of New Zealand, with reference to a glacier.

 

 

Above is Lake Matheson, which is apparently in the general area. It could be convincingly broody at dusk, possibly with some fog trailing about dramatically.

 

We haven't yet gotten to the brooding lake, however, Camilla is no where to be found. Just her cat and her parrot, randomly screaming "Get Out" are in the home... 

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text 2018-10-13 01:45
The Winner!
The Brooding Lake - Dorothy Eden

Although The White Fog had some late speed, this one ended up hanging on to win!

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review 2018-10-09 22:39
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club / Dorothy Sayers
The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club - Dorothy L. Sayers

Lord Peter Wimsey bent down over General Fentiman and drew the Morning Post gently away from the gnarled old hands. Then, with a quick jerk, he lifted the quiet figure. It came up all of a piece, stiff as a wooden doll . . .
But how did the general die? Who was the mysterious Mr X who fled when he was wanted for questioning? And which of the general's heirs, both members of the Bellona Club, is lying?

 

I’m still enjoying Lord Peter Wimsey and Dorothy L. Sayers. I am entertained by the mysteries that Sayers invented, but I think what I truly adore is getting to know Lord Peter and his history more fully with each installment. While I think that Sayers started out making Wimsey more like Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster (only in the first book mind you), but I am so glad that she turned right around and began to use him as her agent in both sleuthing and social commentary. Wodehouse’s Jeeves may completely run Bertie’s life, but Mervyn Bunter is a co-conspirator for Lord Peter.

Sayers starts in right away depicting the Bellona Club as a waiting room for death:

'What in the world, Wimsey, are you doing in this Morgue?' demanded Captain Fentiman, flinging aside the Evening Banner with the air of a man released from an irksome duty.

'Oh, I wouldn't call it that,' retorted Wimsey amiably. 'Funeral Parlour at the very least. Look at the marble. Look at the furnishings. Look at the palms and the chaste bronze nude in the corner.'

'Yes, and look at the corpses. Place always reminds me of that old thing in Punch, you know - 'Waiter! Take away Lord Whatsisname. He's been dead two days.' Look at old Ormsby there, snoring like a hippopotamus. Look at my revered grandpa - dodders in here at ten every morning, collects the Morning Post and the armchair by the fire, and becomes part of the furniture til the evening. Poor old devil. I suppose I'll be like that one of these days. . .'


An interesting issue in this work—what happens if one sibling leaves her earthly belongings to her brother if she predeceased him, but then they die at virtually the same time? Will anyone suspect murder if they are two elderly, unwell people? (This is why a string of nursing-home murders went undetected in Ontario—Elizabeth Wettlaufer had a nine year span of overdosing elderly patients with insulin before she was caught. All because health professionals just expect folks in nursing homes to die and are unwilling to look further).

All becoming much more relevant as the Baby Boom generation speeds toward nursing care and the funeral parlor.

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