Monday, September 5, 2011

Investigating Cap'n Dan

Here is the spine from my edition of Susan Muddles Through, with an illustration of when Susan, Bill and Midge pry open the box of lobsters that Cap'n Dan leaves on the roadside for the bus to pick up and transport to London. Susan is convinced that the box contains a cache of stolen diamonds that the wicked Cap'n Dan is smuggling to London. However, no diamonds are found and she is shocked to learn that the lobsters are transported alive to be cooked fresh. Once the box is forced open, the lobsters prove to be quite spry and escape all over the road. As there are no diamonds in the box, the cousins are forced to concede defeat and try to put them all back. Unfortunately, Gabrielle and Pea-green arrive and catch them in the act. All of the lobsters but one are returned to the box. The remaining lobster is confiscated by Gabrielle, who promises to cook Lobster Thermidore for dinner. Susan is far from impressed. Chapter 7, Gossip, rounds off with her reaction to her enemy's culinary skills: "And cook it she did, all very fancy, and they had it for supper. Susan thought that it was absolutely ghastly and would have preferred fish-cakes any day."

Gossip is a packed chapter that starts off with Susan and Midge's visit to the local gossip, Mrs. Macalister, and ends with the hilarious scene with Susan trying to foil the evil Cap'n Dan's smuggling exploits, which turn out not to be proven in this story, although Mrs. Macalister affirms that he did his fair share of smuggling during the War.

Cap'n Dan is an old swindler who conned Susan's landlady, the widowed Mrs Macdonald, out of two hundred pounds, but the old crook is outfoxed in the end. And all thanks to an old shell box... Thanks to Susan, Wee Sandy can go to a decent school...