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Friday, June 11, 2021

Comic Cuts — 11 June 2021


You'll be pleased/amazed [delete as applicable] that I have had a trouble-free week as far as technology is concerned. We've spent the week enjoying the sunshine and getting in some nice walks in the morning and evening — the same old route but now back up to length as we can now walk along the tow path and back through the woodland trail without drowning in mud, and back through the park.

It's a nice walk and nice to meet some of our old dog-walking friends along the way now that the sun is tempting them out of the house a little earlier. I've even thrown a couple of balls in the park for friendly pooches. It might not sound like much fun, but we've been stuck in the same house, going nowhere, for fifteen months, so the slightest variation is something to celebrate. I'm off to the dentist for a check-up today (Friday), and even that's something to look forward to.

The most excitement I had all week involved some chairs. Mel has two computers, one of which we have used for meeting up with friends on Zoom calls and playing boardgames. If you watched the Lawless convention recently, where I disappeared from one room and reappeared in another at the beginning, that was me switching from my computer to one of Mel's.

While the computers work, the furniture needed replacing. We have been using a busted swivel chair (it won't go up or down anymore) and a hard-as-nails folding chair for our Zoom chats, which leaves us both needing to carefully stretch after use, thanks to the lack of support and slightly stooped posture we both have on these chairs. On Saturday, as bits of us cracked and  clicked when we stood up after two hours, we agreed — not for the first time — that new chairs were needed.

Fast forward to Tuesday and my regular run down to the Post Office after what had proven to be a bit of a slow weekend on eBay (most of my sales end on a Sunday evening when people are often about at home). The queue wasn't too bad, and it was outside in the sun, so that, at least, was a positive to take away. Wandering back home afterwards, I spotted a couple of chairs outside the local library and wandered by... only to turn around when I noticed a note flapping in the breeze. "Free to good home."

Two perfectly good swivel chairs, better padded, better condition than what we currently had. I grabbed one and hauled it back to the house, turned around and went back for the second, fingers crossed that nobody else had spotted it in the meantime. It was still there... for about ten seconds before it was also hauled away back to our lair. I sneaked them into the house quietly so that they were waiting when Mel came down for a cup of tea. Her face was a picture. (Sadly not a picture I caught on camera.)

This is the kind of thing that's getting us excited these days. I was looking forward to the partial eclipse, but it went from sunny, sunny, sunny, to thick cloud cover just in time for us to miss the whole thing.

Our column header this week is the third and final cover reveal for the trio of collections by Andrew Forrester, Jun. First published in 1863-64, these were part of a popular literary sub-genre of the time known as Casebook stories. They began in 1856 with Recollections of a Detective Police-Officer by the pseudonymous 'Waters' — the now-forgotten author William Russell, whose later books included Leaves From the Diary of a Law Clerk (1857), Experiences of a French Detective, adopted from the Mss of Theodore Duhamel (1861), Experiences of a Real Detective by Inspector F., edited by ‘Waters’ (1862), Autobiography of an English Detective Volume 1 (1864), and Leaves From the Journal of a Custom-House Officer (1868).

Russell and others covered a spectrum of working environments, from railways to post offices, in search of subject matter to write books about. They were mostly short story collections, masquerading as true stories. Volumes featuring police detectives was a popular sub-genre, which expanded in 1864 to feature female detectives, with Andrew Forrester, Jun., penning one of two early examples. Did it beat Recollections of a Lady Detective into print? You'll have to read the essay at the back of the book to find out! It should be available in a week or two.

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