I am delighted to have my friend Mary Fairchild here today.Mary is an avid reader and very crafty with knitting and crocheting.
I first became acquainted with Charlotte MacLeod’s books in the mid-1980s. A good friend was moving to the west coast and gifting me a portion of her immense fiction library. In the second box I found a copy of Wrack and Rune and the love affair began.
Back in the dark ages, aka the time before the internet, getting one’s hands on books was not quite as simple as it is now. My local brick and mortar store (this is a phrase I’d never heard of until Amazon came into existence) could special order books and then the wait began. I’m a bit of a nutter on reading series in order so for me to really enjoy this book was very unusual and it was also a challenge for me to find the other titles of her books and the order in which they were published. The next book that I stumbled across, after devouring the Peter Shandy series over the course of a couple of years (again, no Amazon or internet access) was The Withdrawing Room. It was in a box at a tag sale along with a copy of Murder goes Mumming by Alicia Craig. I grabbed them both because the art work was very similar and I didn’t realize that they were the same author. What a delightful surprise.
For a few years I worked part-time in a used book store which was a bit of Heaven and a bit
dismal on the paycheck. I managed to amass a few more of her books and I was introduced to Bowker’s Books in Print. This massive set was the easiest way to find authors and titles at the time. Very cumbersome, but a very handy item. In some ways I think it’s a bit sad that we no longer have to rely on a print book for our information because there was something a little magical about opening the book and embarking on the quest for information. My greedy, impatient side thinks otherwise.
It’s been many, many years now since I first cracked the spine on Ms. MacLeod’s book, but they are a treat that I’ve enjoyed immensely over the years. Her quick wit, eloquent writing, and delightful characters will stay with me for a long time to come. Just after Christmas I began the Grub-and-Stakers series again and I can only say that until you have spent time with Charlotte MacLeod’s characters there really is no way to describe the charming experience that you are missing. Brew a cup of tea, pull up a chair, and lose yourself in the stories of one of the most entertaining mystery writers I know.