This week I’m reading Lady of Ashes, by Christine Trent. This is a historical mystery set in the Victorian era, revolving around Violet, a female undertaker, and her husband Graham, who is, uh, a male undertaker. And, I suspect, a gunrunner, although that is currently unconfirmed.
I’m pretty sure I picked up this book from BookBub or the Goodreads Deals email list by glancing at the cover, seeing “Victorian” in the description, and assuming it would be a steampunk novel. Which it’s not. But that’s okay, I like a historical mystery, too. Zeppelins not required. Plus the cover reminds me of the artwork “Beauty of Darkness”, which I can no longer find online, but which was for the longest time the wallpaper on both my Mac and my phone.
Anyway, the book may not have steam-powered airships or cog-driven computers, but it does have “crape”. Lots and lots of “crape”.
While the pallbearers did their work, wearing black gloves and crape armbands, Graham somberly opened up the door to Mrs. Stanley’s carriage, put down the steps, and helped her and her daughter out, tipping his black crape–wrapped hat at them.
So I looked it up and, yes, “crape” is a perfectly legitimate way to spell “crêpe”, and does specifically refer to the fabric used in mourning. But I have somehow never encountered that spelling before, and, this being a novel about Victorian undertakers, “crape” is showing up all the time. This is a frequent irritation because, every single time, for the first instant after I see “crape”, it registers on my brain as “crap”, or worse. It drives me, to use another alternate spelling, just a tiny bit batshite.
But other than that, I like the book well enough so far.
Speaking of feeling irritated, Richard from my current project, Father’s Books, spends a lot of time in such a condition:
Richard sat there feeling unsettled, unable to figure out why he had driven down here, two hundred miles from home, to witness the death of a man he hadn’t seen in fifteen years and hadn’t heard from in nine. By all rights, he should’ve just gone to the liquor store on the corner for a bottle of champagne and celebrated that the world was one asshole poorer.
Hey Richard. If you think you’re unsettled on page two, just wait until you get to page two hundred.