August 6, 2012

The Eye Of A Spy

Whenever I read a book/story, I like to see how the author goes about his or her descriptions. Reason is, that's usually the "slow" part of the reading for me, and one I often find myself skipping...  unless something about it catches my eye.

I am now in the midst of this lovely novel, The Scarlet Pimpernel, written by the Emmuska Baroness Orczy (what a terrific name!).  A precursor to the masked hero stories, it is filled with action, intrigue, life-threatening situations (which abound in a revolutionary France overshadowed by the guillotine), and marital bliss (or lack thereof).  A definite recommend for those who enjoy both thrillers and old classics (a la Jane Austen).

And now a small excerpt that describes how a talented spy pays attention to the smallest details...

"Half-empty glasses littered the table, unfolded napkins lay about, the chairs--turned towards one another in groups of twos and threes--seemed like the seats of ghosts, in close conversation with one another.  There were sets of two chairs very close to one another--in the far corners of the room, which spoke of recent whispered flirtations, over cold game-pie and champagne; there were sets of three and four chairs, that recalled pleasant, animated discussions over the latest scandal; there were chairs straight up in a row that still looked starchy, critical, acid, like antiquated dowagers; there were a few isolated, single chairs, close to the table, that spoke of gourmands intent on the most recherch√© dishes, and others overturned on the floor,that spoke volumes on the subject of my Lord Grenville's cellars."

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