Black Maria... and the next one

Neil Ward neilward at
Thu Jul 27 19:09:57 EDT 2000

A trip to Edinburgh today gave me sufficient time to polish off Black Maria
[Aunt Maria in the politically correct US]. I finished it on the plane and
during the taxi ride to my meeting, overheard a radio chatshow discussion,
posing the question: 'Who has the most power - men or women?'.  One caller
was suggesting, "I think women have more power these days - they've learned
how to control the men".  Synchronicity again?  I'm beginning to wonder.  

I really enjoyed this yarn, particularly the character development.  Miss
Phelps toppling over and conducting conversations from the floor made me
giggle, and I loved the increasingly catty remarks aimed at Aunt Maria by
the hapless holidaymakers, making the control she eventually exerted over
them even more chilling.  I picked up some vague connections to the short
story The Master, which DWJ claims laid the foundations for Fire & Hemlock,
but which is much more associated with this book (wolves, dreams, inanely
smiling 'jester', mind games).  

I'm getting used to introspective, pugnacious children taking the lead in
DWJ stories.   

Anyway, back at Edinburgh airport, I found A Tale of Time City in Books
etc., so I've started that now!  I hardly paused for breath before turning
the page.  On the plane back, one of the cabin crew was called Christian.
'Oh no, DWJ' I thought to myself, 'you're too late this time.  I'm already
onto the next book...'



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