Wednesday, November 30, 2005

But What Would Miss Manners Say?

Since yesterday's SPT post was about reading I suppose it's only appropriate that today I mention a thing or two about a book I just finished last night. The book is "Rituals of the Season" by Margaret Maron. It's the latest in the Deborah Knott series of mysteries. One of the things I like about this series is the settings. J did some work in North Carolina years ago, early in our marriage, and we both spent several months there and still have friends who live there. When the characters in this book say things like "Oh it won't a real cat*" I can hear the accent in my head, which is fun. (*translation: "oh, it wasn't a real cat") In this installment, I liked the personal story of the relationship between Deborah and Dwight, but felt like the mystery was a little weak and scattered. Only a little though. Overall, I still liked it. I'd give it a solid B grade. One of the things I enjoyed most about this book, though, were the chapter epigraphs, all of which are quotes from "The Ladies' Book of Etiquette", written by Florence Hartley and published in 1873. Here's my favorite:
"Avoid exclamations; they are in excessively bad taste and are apt to be vulgar words. A lady may express as much polite surprise or concern by a few simple, earnest words, as she can by exclaiming "good Gracious!" "Mercy!" or "Dear me!""
Um, so I'm guessing Florence wouldn't approve of "Sonovabitch!", right? Or "DammitJim!" (gotta be a Star Trek fan to get that one)? Probably not even "MotherPusBucket!" or "That sucks rocks!". Well. Dear me!