[DWJ] Joan Aiken (was: Georgette Heyer)

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Tue Jan 8 09:09:13 EST 2008

Rachel wrote:

>In the later collection there's a witch who rents a room in town, which
>the music teacher hires, and I think sees his princess in the distance.
>The witch is trying to hatch a griffin's egg to mend the fireplace, and
>Harriet and Mark look after the griffin.
>Can't remember what it's called or which collection it's in though.
>(Moon Cake?)

That has to be 'Mrs. Nutti's Fireplace', and I have it in *A Harp of
Fishbones*, the Puffin collection that was published in 1975 (Cae 1972
hardback, I think).  The deal is that it is a room-swap between her room in
town and the music teacher's in the country, organised via 'Exchange and
Mart' or some such paper.  The girl the music teacher loves but can only
see through the window, since when he goes out by the door  he is back in
the house in the country, is called Sophie, which is why I remember it!

The infant Griffin (whose name is 'Furry') says 'thrackle' and 'gleep',
which  I swear I have met somewhere else.

I have just checked: I have three books of Aiken short stories, all from
Puffin: *A Harp of Fishbones and other stories* (1975), *A Small Pinch of
Weather and other tales* (1976) and *All But  A Few* (1974), which has in
it most of two earlier Cape collections, *All You Ever Wanted* and *More
Than You Bargained For*.  Between them these three contain fourteen stories
about the Armitage family, some more Mark and Harriet than others.


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