Friday, April 1, 2016

Notes on Northmead Nuisance

This week I'm rereading New House at Northmead and I’ve noticed some parallels between this book and earlier Jane Shaw stories. The author was known for reusing locations (four stories set in Binic, four on Arran, three in South Africa, etc.), but less has been written about her reusing plot devices. Here are some examples:

1. In Susan’s Helping Hand, most of the story is set on Cousin Barbara’s farm. One day, the characters build a bonfire and roast potatoes. In Northmead Nuisance, the characters pay some visits to Aunt Abbie's farm where they also build a bonfire and roast potatoes in it. However, the part about the potatoes is told very briefly, while in SHH, this scene is described in great detail.

2. In Susan’s Helping Hand, the Mad Collector is stealing valuables from wealthy people. In Northmead Nuisance, Aunt Abbie’s community is also suffering from a string of thefts. This time, someone is raiding the poultry farms in the district and helping themselves to chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks.

3. In Susan Pulls the Strings, Susan falls into a freezing duck pond and ends up in bed for several days with flu. In Northmead Nuisance, Judy falls into the pond at Aunt Abbie’s farm. However, she is immediately bundled off to a hot bath and does not even catch a cold.

4. In the Susan books, the not-very-bright Susan has problems with big words and mispronounces them (fizzy-fist instead of physicist, jelly night instead of gelignite, etc.). This joke is rehashed in Chapter 6 of Northmead Nuisance. Lynette is testy during a nocturnal excursion and says “I don’t care if she’s blowing up the school with sticks of jelly-night.”