East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Jane Austen and the Wolfman

It was ten months ago that I mentioned The League of Extraordinary Ladies Writers, a crowdfunding project of the French publisher Les Moutons Electriques – a series of novellas pitching famous writers against classic monsters.
At the time I was too broke to support the crowdfunding, but even without me the project landed 195% of the target figure, and despite some delays due to the COVID-19 thing, now the books have finally hit the shelves.

And how could I resist?
After all, it’s for a good cause – to wit, the improvement of my shaky French skills.
So I went, and bought myself a copy of Jane Austen contre le Loup-garou

And boy do I need exercise!

But the good news is, when the story is intriguing, well-written and smart, we feel compelled to go on even if some words baffle us. Marianne Ciaudo, who wrote this 130-pages romp, is certainly a fine writer.

And so off I am, to 1800 Hampshire, in a story that, for its patently ridiculous premise, is turning out to be tight, suspenseful and scary, with more than a nod at the old Hammer movies.
And a great exercise.
Looks like I’ll have to get the whole series, in the end.
But Jane Austen comes first…

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The Haunting of Pemberley House

pemberley-coversmallThere was only one man who could write a pulp homage to gothic romance, dragging in references from Jane Austen to Edgar Rice Burroughs, from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Lester Dent, and beyond, while making it deliciously naughty.
And that man was, of course, the late lamented Philip José Farmer.
The Evil in Pemberley House by Farmer and Win Scott Eckert – who completed the novel based on Farmer’s outline and notes – is exactly that: a P.J. Farmer tour de force featuring subtle (and not-so-subtle) references and tongue-in-cheek plot twists, feeding both the old master and his readers’ obsession for the pulps and the icons of popular literature.

The plot in brief: Pat Wildman, daughter of world famous adventurer/crimefighter Doc Wildman, moves to England after the loss of her parents. She has inherited old Pemberley House, with its ghosts and its curses, and carries a number of unresolved issues herself.
But what is happening really in Pemberley House, and what connections have the events that Pat is witnessing with the history of her family? Continue reading