“Did you have trouble with the weather yesterday?”
“Um…yeah. I was supposed to ride with M, but we made an executive decision that the inclement weather conditions were too hazardous.”
“….’Cause it was pouring down rain and M said ‘screw it, ain’t gonna.'”
“F….udging rabies certificates.”
“Is his signature George Williams K, or just George K?”
“It’s actually George Washington, but there ain’t no one who can read his handwriting. Including him.”
“I’ll clean up after myself…it looks like a tornado hit the inside of this vehicle.”
“It’s starting to look like a real state vehicle, I thought.”
The splendor falls on castle walls And snowy summits old in story; The long light shakes across the lakes, And the wild cataract leaps in glory. Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying, Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying. dying, dying. O, hark, O, hear! how thin and clear, And thinner, clearer, farther going! O, sweet and far from cliff and scar The horns of Elfland faintly blowing! Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying, Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying. O love, they die in yon rich sky, They faint on hill or field or river; Our echoes roll from soul to soul, And grow for ever and for ever. Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying, And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying. - Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Talon Marc Archuna, King –
With his own hand:
It has been said that the Duke Riando of Jalra is my heir and has all my love. With my own hand, I say it is a base lie. Let those who speak it be punished according to law, for they speak against my house and my honor.
Let it be known that the lord Riando of Jalra harbors ambitions above his station, covets my royal throne, brings comfort to our enemies in the weakening of our state. He has brought false charges and false witness against those who are to me true, loyal, trusty, and beloved. He has accused many of his own sin, that is treason.
Let it be known that the man Riando is enemy of the crown, possessing no more his priviledges, rank, honors, titles, lands, or name. Let him be stripped of all arms and remanded to gaol to await full sentence. Let those who give him allegiance, succor, shelter, or honor be likewise taken and likewise done.
It has been said that I have no son.
With my own mouth I say that I have.
Let it be known that the true offspring of my body are now and in perpetuity my heirs and rightfully shall receive all that I hold by the right of my name, my blood, and the holy mandate.
Given this day in the presence of witnesses and signed with my hand and seal.
– I have it on good authority that dirt doesn’t show up on white cars.
– Eh, it’s only a little dusty.
– It depends on the kind of dirt, honestly.
– It’s going to rain tomorrow.
– It rained yesterday and it’ll just get muddy again on the back roads.
– It’s Friday, it’s just going to sit in the driveway and be clean until we go back out again on Monday.
– It’s Monday. It’s just going to get muddy again right away.
– It’s white, it doesn’t really show dirt.
Laura is a 1942 novel by Vera Caspary, better known for the movie starring the lovely Gene Tierney and the “Ohhh, okay, ooooo, I’m seeing it now. He fiiiine” (direct quote) Dana Andrews, not to mention Cliffton Webb, Judith Anderson, and a pre-horror icon Vincent Price. The movie is a film noir classic, for a very good reason, but the book is pretty darn good too.
Plot: up-and-coming detective Mark McPherson is assigned to the murder of advertising executive Laura Hunt, who has been killed at the door to her apartment…by a shotgun blast to the face. That nails down the means; the opportunity came due to some rather inconsistent behavior on Laura’s part–canceling two dinner arrangements and ostensibly leaving town, only to return to her own home afterwards.
The obvious suspects are the two closest men in her life: the smug and supercilious Waldo Lydecker, her mentor; and the charming but resentful Shelby Carpenter, her fiance. Not on that list but rounding out the cast are her loyal maid Bessie, and an aunt (Judith Anderson fleshed out the role a lot more in the movie.)
As for the motive, there isn’t one. Laura was, McPherson discovers, sincerely valued by her relations, employees, peers, and many friends; owed money to no one but her (already wealthy) aunt, and had, overall, no shadow on what McPherson can’t help but realize was an attractive, vibrant character.
And then Laura turns up, alive–she did go out of that night, on vacation, and hasn’t been back since; had no radio or newspapers, took no phone calls, and didn’t see anybody or receive visitors at her country cottage from the time she left the train station. One hell of a weak alibi–especially when the body is identified as a model from her ad agency–a model who had a completely public and unrequited crush on Shelby Carpenter. And then evidence appears that shows the crush was not, in fact, unrequited.
But if Laura didn’t kill Diane Redferne, who did and why?
– Fast, solid story with a hell of a twist (…now spoiled beyond belief, alas),
– Strongly drawn characters
– Evocative mystery
– The initial reason for murder is much clearer in the book than the movie: the sequence of events that pushed (spoiler for a 60+ year old novel) Waldo over the edge the first time is set up nicely. In the film, the murder is just kind of…random.
– There’s quite a bit of snarky humor, especially in Waldo’s portion; but some of the situational humor had me snickering.
– Strong female characters existed before #CurrentYear. Laura manages to be convincingly sweet, kind, and thoughtful, while also being ambitious, clever, hard-working, a self-made woman–who also struggles with jealousy, disappointment, and poor taste in men.
– The multiple first-person POV doesn’t work all that well. What makes it worse is that Waldo is a twerp and a third of the novel is from his perspective.
– It’s unfair to add this, but Ms. Caspary couldn’t really write action scenes. Still, there is a nice finality to how Lydecker finally goes down.
– McPherson in the film feels a lot more proactive than the book, not to mention did we mention Dana Andrews was fine?
Rated: Four shotguns out of four.
Paid a visit to the sanctuary today. On the schadenfreude front, there has been 110% staff turnover since I left last year (AHAHAHAHAA), the excess domestic animals have been moved out of the intern house (DEO ME VINDICE), and all feeding of the big cats is done strictly in pairs (HAhaha….ouch.)
On the not so much, several of the cats have passed away. Willie and Stripey, at least, were quite old (both were hitting their 20s, which is about the limit for captive big cats and twice what they’d usually make in the wild), but it was a real shock to find that Jazzy had succumbed to renal failure and died early this year. Jazzy wasn’t even six years old, and she was everybody’s sweetheart.