Saturday, August 24, 2013

Susan Muddles Through

In Chapter 12 of Susan Muddles Through, Susan finds the proof that Mrs. Macdonald does not owe any money to the crooked old skinflint Cap'n Dan.

Quote of the Day

Susan gave a little shriek. While certainly enthralled with accounts of the Mad Collector's exploits and eager as she was to be mixed up with any sort of excitement, she hadn't quite bargained for coming to such close quarters with him as this.
"But does that mean, then," said Charlotte slowly, "that Miss Frame is the Mad Collector?"
"That little dainty Dresden shepherdess!" gasped Susan. "Oh, surely not!"
The others began to giggle rather hysterically.
"Well, after all," gasped Midge eventually, "she has a bicycle."

From SUSAN'S HELPING HAND, Chapter 9, Curious Behaviour of an Antique Dealer.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Threepenny Bit Frontispiece

A cleaned up version of the frontispiece of Threepenny Bit, showing the shop where the le Roux family open a coin dealer business.

Quote of the Day

The three girls left her to her sulks. They had already decided that she was homesick - homesickness took people in the queerest ways, everybody knew that - so it was better not to bother her too much but let her thaw gradually.

From NORTHMEAD NUISANCE, Chapter 1, New Girls.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Susan Reels Back

An illustration from Susan and the Home-made Bomb. Susan reels back as she enters the Gascoignes' rumpus room. The smell of Peregrine's chemistry experiment is too much for her. She describes it as a mixture of rotten eggs, drains and a dead rat.

Bill's Hobbies

Throughout the Susan series, Bill Carmichael is renowned for being mechanically minded and good with his hands. He makes a special flap in the kitchen door to allow Susan's cat Chang to come and go at will and often works with Meccano models. However, in the last two books of the series, he takes an interest in philately and starts to build a stamp collection. A friend of his from school called Stobbs helps him. The stamp collecting ties in nicely with the fact that Susan and Midge are pursued all over Venice by desperate stamp traders in search of the Shilling Deep Green. It is Bill and Stobbs who confirm the value of the stamp by telegram.

Quote of the Day

Shirley looked at her coldly. "I think that you can leave Gabrielle in my hands now, Susan, don't you? I'll see that she does all the proper things."
Susan meekly said, "Yes, Shirley, of course," and thought with envy of a cosy tea by a study fire with, probably, luscious cakes - a first-day privilege for prefects - and dismally of common-room tea of cocoa, and buns known as Brother Where Art Thou, on account of their shortage of currants.

From SUSAN'S TRYING TERM, Chapter 1, New Girl.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Susan and the Spae Wife

A queue forms outside the spae wife's tent at the fĂȘte. But Mirren the spae wife will be taken ill and Susan will step into her shawl.

Quote of the Day

"Only four of them!" Caroline would say in surprise, discussing them with Sara and wondering why, for all their good-nature, they didn't like them better: "they always seem to be more like a dozen to me."
"Maybe it's the comic times they visit at that annoys us," Sara suggested. For the Duvals had a curious habit of paying a morning call just when Louise had announced lunch. They would swarm in, kiss Madame many times on each cheek (and Sara always insisted that once she saw Miette kiss her on the back of the neck when she couldn't get in at the front).

From BRETON ADVENTURE, Chapter 4, Sara Catches a Burglar.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Places in Jane Shaw: Venice (The Tetrarchs)

On the way out of St. Mark's in Chapter 4 of Where is Susan, Miss Thornton introduces Susan to the Tetrarchs. Susan describes these porphyry figures as "such dear little chaps".

Jane Shaw Encyclopedia: Miss Thornton

Miss Thornton is an artist who appears in Where is Susan? When Susan and Midge are entering St. Mark’s, the “beautiful Russian spy” is turned away by the beadle. A tall Englishwoman carrying painting gear explains to the girls that the spy’s entry is barred due to her inappropriate backless dress. Susan decides that this woman is a schoolmistress. On the way out, in an attempt to avoid being detected by the mysterious spy, Susan and Midge separate and Susan latches on to this tall woman and borrows her stool to use as a “hat”. Her suspicion that the woman is a teacher is apparently confirmed when the woman corrects Susan’s grammar. The woman thinks that her new companion’s behaviour is rather odd but takes a liking to her and offers to see her safely to the pier where she has arranged to meet Midge. She is surprised by Susan’s knowledge that the horses at St. Mark’s are Greek and gives her a charcoal sketch that she has made of the statues. Susan is delighted and grateful as they part company. Later, when Charlotte sees the drawing she informs her cousin that her new friend is no school teacher. She recognizes the signature, Thornton, as being that of a very famous artist, a woman far above the class of the Gascoignes’ stepfather, Sam Pilkington. At Selina Gascoigne’s party, Miss Thornton is happy to see Susan again and describes her as a friend, which has Gabrielle seething with jealousy. Miss Thornton is important to Susan because of the drawing (which she cherishes and has framed) and the fact that she provides Susan with one of the few opportunities she has to get the better of Gabrielle.

Quote of the Day

There were two things that worried Penny when she went up to bed in her turret room at last, worn out with excitement and that most exhausting evening. She could not find the roll of exposed film that she had seen when she had come upstairs to fetch the torch; and she wondered why there had been a Loden cape hanging over the back of a chair in a dark corner of the kitchen.

From FIVEPENNY MYSTERY, Chapter 4, The Stranger Comes. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Matchmakers

Jill, Tina and Jennifer celebrate Elizabeth's engagement.

Quote of the Day

"I saw him," said Robert. "At least I saw a man row away from Belinda and I rowed after him, dodging and keeping in the shadows - I liked that - and he went on board the Miranda, which was moored in Luss Straits, and then I came back to Belinda for my book and went and stepped in the blooming old paint, or you'd never have discovered me-"
"Oh yes, we would," said Pips.

From THE CREW OF THE BEINDA, Chapter 16, The Footprint of Blood.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Crooks Limited

The last illustration in Crooks Limited, when Ricky and Fay tumble out of the wardrobe. Throughout the story, the artist mixed up Ricky and Fay, making Ricky a brunette and Fay a blond. Other than that, the story is very good.

Quote of the Day

Ricky, ready to promise anything, bolted her apple dumpling, normally one of her favourite puddings and one that she liked to linger over, and flew to the telephone. She rang Fay, the more hopeful, first, and poured a confused jumble of excitement, hopes, fears and sheer rubbish into her ears.

From CROOKS TOUR, Chapter 1, Excitement at Last?

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Matchmakers: Tina

Tina is caught on the mountainside and is spotted by a troop of baboons. This story is the only Jane Shaw short story set in South Africa. It was published in the Collins' Girls' Annual 1959 and lavishly illustrated.

Quote of the Day

For one awful moment I thought that Madame was going to burst into tears. Her face sort of puckered up and her eyes went all dewy. Then she held the puppy up to her face. He put out a tongue and licked her, and she laughed rather shakily, and came out with a great long excited speech like a burst of machine-gun fire. There was a rather long pause, then Clarissa said, "Oui."
We then beat a hasty retreat.
"Cluck, did she like him?" Thomas said.
"Oui," said Clarissa.

From LOOKING AFTER THOMAS, Chapter 5, Thomas's Catch.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Jane Shaw Encyclopedia: The Splinter of Glass

The Splinter of Glass is a play written by Miss Maxwell-Perry, the new English teacher at St. Ronan’s, in Susan’s Trying Term. It is based on Hans Andersen’s Snow Queen. The leading role of Kay is given to Gabrielle Gascoigne and the part of Gerda goes to Susan’s friend Elizabeth Rogers. The play is described as poetical in some parts and "screamingly funny" in others. On the night it is performed, The Splinter of Glass is attended by influential friends of Selina Gascoigne’s: Lady Harrington, Julian Barwith and Tony Cassel, the latter two being producers. Mr. Barwith is so impressed by the play that he decides to produce it for a television broadcast. He wants to transport the play to London but is convinced by Miss Phillimore, the head mistress at St. Ronan’s, to film the play at the school. The play is broadcast live on the last day of term. 

Quote of the Day

Midge wondered if she was Italian, but her neighbour, when she asked him, said not. Russian, he thought, but he spoke so slowly and oddly that Midge turned sharply to look at him. He was slumped forward in his seat, his arms dangling. Oh help, she thought, what next? With quite an effort she heaved him up again. "Aren't you feeling well?" she asked him.
"I think I've been poisoned," he said, slurring his words.
"Oh, go on with you," said Midge, "I thought the snacks were delicious.

From WHERE IS SUSAN?, Chapter 1, Sunday, September the Third. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Crooked Sixpence illustration

The local orphans enjoy a car ride.

Quote of the Day

"Goodness, I do think the French are nice," said Ricky, as they hurtled down through the streets of Montmartre towards the Rue du Mont Thabor, carefully enunciated to the taxi-driver at least five times. "So kind and trusting."
She changed her tune a little when the taxi-driver, not pleased with his tip, shouted furiously after them as they ran blushing into the hotel. "Well, mebbe they're not all kind," she said as the driver's furious yells made the girls wince painfully. "But at least Madame Raoul up at Montmartre is---"

From CROOKS TOUR, Chapter 7, On to Paris.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Jane Shaw Encyclopedia: Elizabeth Rogers

Elizabeth Rogers is a pupil at St. Ronan’s. She has black hair and is known to her friends as Liz. She appears in all three stories set at the school: Susan’s School Play, Susan at School and Susan’s Trying Term. She was a friend of Midge’s before Susan and Tessa’s arrival at the school and becomes friends with both of them too.  In Susan at School, Elizabeth joins Susan, Midge and Tessa when they go to House Night as the Loch Ness Monster, which they refer to in code as the L.N.M. to avoid other pupils knowing about their idea. When Susan discovers what she thinks is the school’s famed lost treasure, Ronan’s Heap, Elizabeth identifies one of the pieces as a Georgian copper jug. Elizabeth’s greatest attribute is her acting skills. However, she often loses the best part in plays to Hermione Pennington-Smith, a spoiled prefect who is given the roles because her father is Clerk to the Governors. However, the teaching staff will never admit that the reasons for not giving the part to Elizabeth are political. In Susan’s School Play, Elizabeth is passed over for the role of Ariel in The Tempest and the mistress in charge, Miss Crumbles, explains that it is because Elizabeth is young and has more years ahead of her for leading roles, while Hermione is in her final year. However Liz is called in at the last moment to replace Hermione, who unbeknownst to everyone else, has been locked up in a shed by Peregrine Gascoigne. Liz gives a brilliant performance. In Susan’s Trying Term, Elizabeth is passed over yet again in favour of Gabrielle Gascoigne, who is awarded the leading role in The Splinter of Glass by Hermione (who seems to have had a year added on to her school career). But Liz shows little resentment and is happy to have the part of Gerda in the play. Again, she gives a brilliant performance. Liz hopes to go to drama school, although her grandmother is opposed to this plan. However, after a television producer decides to film the play for the small screen, everyone is sure that the grandmother will relent and let her pursue her dream. Elizabeth is very dedicated to acting and, much to Susan’s bewilderment, can often be found rehearsing in a corner all alone and learning chunks of poetry for the fun of it. She also has an internal alarm clock that never fails. She tells herself what time she wishes to wake up and she does. Susan describes her as a “first-class waker-upper”. She is also generous with chocolate.

Quote of the Day

Tessa seemed to be taking this criticism very calmly - mainly because she had not heard it. She sat and fiddled with the potato peeler which she was supposed to be using to gouge out the inside of the turnip. "What I can't understand," she said, "is why Susan wakened me up to tell me that there was a fire in the museum when all the time there wasn't. I've been puzzling about it ever since..."

From SUSAN'S TRYING TERM, Chapter 10, Hallowe'en.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Tall Man

This is the frontispiece of the last of the Thomas books, The Tall Man, published in 1960 by Nelson.

Quote of the Day

In New House there was a lone survivor too. Celia Manson, although she was in the same form as Fiona and Katherine, being in a different house, didn't know them very well, and she was feeling definitely unnerved at the thought of at least a fortnight's quarantine in their alarming company. After all, not only were they cousins and as thick as thieves, they were the Moochers, who although they had only been a year at Pendragon Manor had made such a stir that their fame - at one time their ill-fame - had penetrated to all the other houses. One way and another Celia, who was a gentle and diffident creature, looked forward to a few weeks in their company much as she would have looked forward to a fortnight spent with a couple of Gorgons.

From THE MOOCHERS ABROAD, Chapter 1, Three Letters.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Aunt Lucy

Aunt Lucy in the short story Susan's School Play.

Crooked Sixpence Blurb

Where is Susan?

Quote of the Day

Bill insisted on taking Susan immediately to the back door to show her a little swinging panel that he had made in it for Chang, so that he could get in and out when he liked without the door being opened. Susan thought it was extremely clever and the neatest little gadget she had ever seen, and was sure that Chang would like it as much as she did, if not more.

From SUSAN PULLS THE STRINGS, Chapter 2, Troubles.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Tall Man

Quote of the Day

Susan and the Carmichaels were strongly against going to the wedding at all.
"I'd rather go to the pictures," said Midge at breakfast that morning.
"Dressing up on a Saturday!" said Bill.
"Weddings make me cry," said Charlotte. "But not Selina's."
"Do we have to go?" Midge muttered.
"Well of course," said Aunt Lucy firmly. "We were invited. We accepted. Naturally we must go. Besides," she added unwisely, "you'll enjoy it."

From SUSAN MUDDLES THROUGH, Chapter 1, The Wedding.