library bulletin

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I have to admit, this book was nothing like I imagined it would be. First of all it was set in the late1950's.(I think. I'm not sure it really ever said. The book was written in the the late 50's so I kinda assumed.)
Second of all the title really threw me. So I did a little digging.

The title, Nine Coaches Waiting, is a quote from a Renaissance play by Cyril Tourneur called "The Revenger's Tragedy." In the play, the coaches are a symbol for the tempting offer of life at the palace extended to a poor girl, and in Nine Coaches Waiting each "coach" is represented by a ride in a car. The title refers to The Revenger's Tragedy, in which a poor girl is seduced by a rich man's servant who promises her unbelievable and absurd wealth - not just one coach waiting to transport her, but nine. Linda is of course a poor woman overawed by the splendours of a noble estate, but the connections are fairly sparse. Stewart uses the quotation in a structural way, dividing the novel into "coaches" rather than parts, each having a journey as a central aspect. Below is the excerpt from The Revenger's Tragedy where the quote was taken...

VINDICI:Oh, think upon the pleasure of the palace: Secured ease and state, the stirring meats, Ready to move out of the dishes, That e'en now quicken when they're eaten, Banquets outdoor by torch-light, musics, sports, Bare-headed vassals that had ne'er the fortune To keep on their own hats (hats were removed as a sign of respect) but let horns were 'em, Nine coaches waiting. (Coaches were popular places for love-making)Hurry, hurry, hurry!
CASTIZA: Ay, to the devil.
VINDICI: [Aside] Ay, to the devil!--To th' duke, by my faith.

Castiza is the only one worrying seriously about the Devil. The rest have their eyes on the court and its pleasures. The Revenger’s Tragedy is disturbing because it reveals an unsettling truth about the true nature of world. It shows us a society for which Christianity provides a convenient frame of reference to remind themselves and us of good and evil, sin and divine punishment, heaven and hell, but it is in truth, a society that pays only lip-service to such concepts and is in love with the pursuit of wealth, pleasure and power to such an extent that in practice Christian teaching and morality are ignored.

In Nine Coaches Waiting when Miss Martin first meets Leon de Valmy she has the thought,

"Then I told myself sharply not to be a fool. This was the result of Daddy's intriguing build-up and my own damned romantic imagination. Just because the man looked like Milton's ruined archangel and chose to appear in the hall like the Demon King through a trap door, it didn't necessarily mean that I had to smell sulphur."

Through out the book Miss Martin continues to compare Leon de Valmy to the 'Demon King' which I believe is in parallel with the plot to The Revenger's interesting! Leon represents the pursuit of wealth, pleasure, power and immorality! He is indeed the Demon King!

I really quite loved this book, however there were times throughout that I wasn't sure why. It has a little bit of a "Perry Mason" feel and I pictured it in black and white but the author's descriptions were so vivid and wide that it seemed extremely colorful at the same time. Apparently this author was quite popular in the 50's and is still alive today.
There is quite a bit of French in this book and in the beginning I tried to look things up but as the book went on I sorta just guessed because you could pretty much picture what they were saying. In the end when all the excitment was going on I could almost hear that loud schrill telephone ringing from Perry Mason.

We had a lot of participation with this book. The most so far! It was great and I hope you all enjoyed it.

We had ratings of 4 stars across the board and I agree with that as well. This book had romance, suspense and everything a good thriller needs and not one bit of bad language or offensive material. (If you didn't get a chance to read it and want to, I will send you my copy).

Thanks so much you guys....

More later

Thursday, January 26, 2012

City of Love Part 3

The last movie I picked is one of my favorites this year. It is also happens to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture. It's "Midnight in Paris" starring Owen Wilson.


Gil and Inez travel to Paris as a tag-along vacation on her parent' business trip. Gil is a sucessful Hollywood writer but is struggeling on his first novel. He falls in love with the city and thinks they should move there after they get married, but Inez does not share his romantic notions of the city or the idea that the 1920's was the golden age. When Inez goes off dancing with her friends, Gil takes a walk at midnight and discovers what could be the ultimate source if inspiration for writing. Gil's daily walks at midnight in Paris could take him closer to the heart of the city but further from the woman he's about to marry.

This movie is obviously not set in the 50's but it is in Paris and it will make you fall in love with the City. It's a Woody Allen movie and it is just sooo good.



More later...........

City of Love Part 2

The second movie I picked was "Funny Face" starring of course Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire.


Fashion photographer Dick Avery, in search for an intellectual backdrop for an air-headed model, expropriates a Greenwich Village bookstore. When the photo session is over the store is left in a shambles, much to the salesgirl Jo Stockton's dismay. Avery stays behind to help her clean up. Later, he examines the photos taken there and sees Jo in the background of one shot. He is intrigued by her unique appearance, as is Maggie Prescott, the editor of a leading fashion magazine. They offer Jo a modeling contract, which she reluctantly accepts only because it includes a trip to Paris. Eventually, her snobbish attitude toward the job softens, and Jo begins to enjoy the work and the company of her handsome photographer.

This movie is just too great....set in a bookstore of all places. Sigh....


City of Love

Our book is set in mid 1950's Paris so I decided to pick some movies that were set in Paris around that time.

The first one I picked was "Charade" starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. It is an Alfred Hitchcock movie so I couldn't resist.


Regina is about to divorce her husband when she finds that he has been murdered after converting every penny they owned to cash, which is also missing. She meets Cary Grant who changes his name every 15 minutes or so and is interested in her husband's money, which seems to have come from a WWII payroll he stole. His partners in crime are also very interested in where the money is, as he stole it from them as well. Everyone assumes Regina MUST know where the money is. The situation becomes more tense when the searchers begin turning up dead.

Love this movie! But of course I love all things Audrey Hepburn-Cary Grant-Alfred Hitchcock:)


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The History of Hot Chocolate

In the book we are reading this month "Nine Coaches Waiting", Belinda Martin, the governess, gives Phillipe hot chocolate each evening before he goes to bed. I thought that since everytime she does that it makes me want some, it will be our task for the month. It sounds so delicious and the perfect treat for January.

Here is a little history of Hot Chocolate:

Back in the days of the Aztecs, cocoa beans were valuable not only for culinary importance but also as currency. Cocoa beans were often given as gifts during important ceremonies and festivals. Even so, they also used the roasted beans to make a chocolate drink. Their version is much different from the hot chocolate we know today. The Aztecs actually drank it cold, flavored with wine and chili peppers, and not at all sweet.

Chocolate was discovered and brought to Europe in the early 1500's by the explorer Cortez. After its introduction in Spain, the drink began to be served hot, sweetened and without the chili peppers. The Spanish were very protective of their wonderful new beverage, and it was over a hundred years before news of it began to spread across Europe.

When it hit London (in the 1700's) , chocolate houses became popular and very trendy. It was the English who started adding milk to their chocolate and it was enjoyed as an after-dinner beverage.

I hope you all enjoyng this book. More later:)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

"If there is a thing I truly despise, it is being addressed as "dearie". When I write my Mangum Opus, A Treatsie Upon All Poisons, and come to 'Cyanide', I am going to put under 'Uses' the phrase" Particularly efficacious in the cure of those who call one"Dearie'."

-Flavia de Luce-

Flavia, eleven and the youngest of three sisters, discovers a body in the cucumber patch at her family's estate. Buckshaw in the town Bishop's Lacey. Just before he dies he utters the word "Vale". Precocious and wise beyond her years, Flavia does not tell all to the police and is determined to solve the murder herself.

It is the summer of 1950 and at the once grand mansion of Buchshaw, Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intriged by a series of inexlicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and a mystery begins. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins when muder comes to Buckshaw. "I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn't. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life."

To Flavia, the ivestigation is the stuff of science: full of possibilities, contadictions, and connections. Soon her father, a man raising his three daughters alone, is seized, accused of murder. And in a police cell, during a violent thunderstorm, Colonel de Luce tells his daughter an astounding story-of a schoolboy friendship turned ugly, of a priceless object that vanished in a bizarre act of thievery of a Latin teacher who flung himself to his death from the school's tower thirty years before. Now Flavia is armed with more than enough knowledge to tie the two deaths together, to examine new suspects, and begin a search that will lead her all the way to the King of England himself. And to prove her father's innocence.

This book was so much fun and has an interesting story behind it. The author was 70 years old when he wrote it. There are currently 3 more books in the series. I loved this book because it was from a different point of view and was a book I could recommend to anyone without fear of offending.

My rating 4/5 stars