Friday, November 14, 2014

A peak into Brat Farrar

I am brain-dead and should be working on a conference presentation, so this week I am going for a classic mystery for Book Beginnings on Friday, hosted by Rose City Reader. Here is the beginning of Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey ... 

"Aunt Bee," said Jane, breathing heavily into her soup, "was Noah a cleverer back-room boy than Ulysses, or was Ulysses a cleverer back-room boy than Noah?" 

"Don't eat out of the point of your spoon, Jane." 

"I can't mobilise the strings out of the side." 

"Ruth does." 

Jane look across at her twin, negotiating the vermicelli with smug neatness. 

"She has a stronger suck than I have." 

"Aunt Bee has a face like a very expensive cat," Ruth said, eyeing her aunt sideways. 

Bee privately through that this was a very good description, but wished that Ruth would not be quaint. 

"No, but which was the cleverest?" said Jane, who never departed from a path once her feet were on it. 

"Clever-_er_," said Ruth. 

"Was it Noah or Ulysses? Simon, which was it do you think?"

"Ulysses," said her brother, not looking up from his paper. 

BTW - for the confused, a back-room boy is someone who does a lot of work in a type of job where they are not often seen by the public.  And no, I never quite figured out what Jane was getting at either but breakfast table conversations can be like that.

For The Friday 56 hosted at Freda's Voice we pick up Brat Farrar on page 56 ...
"Did you know that Clare was a school nowadays?"
He had nearly said yes, when he remembered that this was merely one of the things Loding had told him, not one of the things that he was supposed to know. 

"What kind of school?"

"A school for dodgers." 


"Yes. Anyone who loathes hard work and has a parent with enough money to pay the fees makes a bee-line for Clare. No one is forced to learn anything at Clare. Not even the multiplication table. The theory is that one day you'll feel the need of the multiplication table and be seized with a mad desire to acquire the nine-times."

I adored the BBC version when I was a kid


  1. The breakfast conversation was rather tedious, wasn't it? But the Friday56 made me curious about the school and what it has to do with the book's plot. I haven't heard of this mystery or the TV series, but perhaps it never aired in the U.S.
    My Friday post features THE 13 OF HEARTS.

    1. It was a BBC and A&E Television Networks adaptation that aired in 1986. I think it took a turn on Mystery on PBS too, which is how I believe that I saw it.

  2. This one sounds so delightful! Thanks for sharing...I enjoyed the dialogue.

    Here's mine: “THE TWILIGHT HOUR”

  3. How interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  4. LOL @ a school for dodgers.
    Happy weekend!


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