The Famous Flower of Serving Men

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Thursday, December 09, 2004
The Famous Flower of Serving Men by Deborah Grabien - This is the second novel in a series, and I enjoyed it very much! I think I enjoyed it more than the first, actually. I was just trying to decide why this one was superior, and I think part of it comes down to the fact that it is a world already in place. Not that this is set in some fantastic other-world, just that the main characters are recurring, and they've already been introduced, as has the basic premise. This premise ties together hauntings with old English folk ballads. I love how they refer back to the ballads, and have even sought them out to hear for myself - but I have to confess that I find that part of these novels to be the weakest. It seems a little "oh, well that must be it, then." Lest it sound like I am not enjoying the hell out of these books - let me reiterate I AM enjoying them immensely. I used to read a lot of mysteries, but they sort of got all samey for me. This is different, and compelling, and I hope there are many more. In fact, if I had more ready cash this holiday season, I can think of at least three people I would buy the first two books for and hope to get them as hooked as I, so we could all talk about it. But, to get back to my point - it seems like the hauntings were more directly tied to the song in the first novel (The Weaver and the Factory Maid), and in this one it was "oh, well, it is this AND another thing, and the song."

Something Grabien does very well is get a lot of information, be it about the layout of the room, or the features on a face, across in very few words. She does that balancing trick that is so hard - just enough information to let the reader fill in the rest, done so skillfully that the reader isn't even AWARE that it is happening. I probably wouldn't have noticed beyond 'good book' if it weren't for the fact that I read it right after nano, and was more attuned to lots of writerly skills I don't posses.

Anyway - cracking good read! Great for a rainy day. Get yourself some of these tunes (I think I found mine on a 2 part collection called Troubadours of British Folk I can't remember what the first disk is called, but the second is Folk into Rock.
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