Thursday, February 17, 2005
Reading Journal - "The Babes in the Woods"
The over-riding constant in this book was rain--so much rain that there hadn't been anything like it in Sussex in living memory. When two teenage siblings go missing along with their weekend chaperone, their rather unstable mother is convinced that they have drowned. Inspector Wexford feels certain that is not the case, but is at a loss as to what has actually happened to them. Eventually the woman who was supposed to be looking out for them, is found dead in her car in a ravine, but the weeks drag on without any sign of Sophie and Giles. All this time, we are finding out, bit by bit, just how dysfunctional their whole family is--as well as many bizarre facts about the dead woman. A fundamentalist-type religious group figures into the equation, as well as a very eccentric, pot-smoking granny. When the grandmother has a stroke, Sophie reappears, having called the EMTs, but she refuses to say where her brother is.
I had some of this mystery figured out even before the Inspector did, but he beat me to the identity of the actual murderer.
I decided to take one of Alberto Manguel's suggestions and improve my vocabulary by jotting down words I did not previously know, along with their definitions. These were Demesne, Virago, Etiolated, Distrait, Zeugma, Syllepsis, and the one that intrigued me the most was Simnel Cake. I went online to find a recipe, which I pasted into the small booklet on the right side. The cover for that was made by wetting a piece of Arches Text Wove paper and dropping on diluted Plaka paints and diluted Holbein Pearl Gold gouache. Then the wet paper was picked up and shifted around to get the colors to mingle. Of course, the scan doesn't do it justice, but in person it is so shimmery and beautiful.