I was unwell with a nasty fever/sinus infection last week. Nothing seemed to help–Sudafed, Acetaminophen, human sacrifice–and I ended up lying in bed and moaning, grateful that I didn’t owe someone a powerpoint presentation on new packaging strategies for an air freshener or something. When my forehead stopped trying to expel my eyes from my skull, I read an Angela Thirkell that cheered me up mightily. Pre-war British fiction featuring scones and stout boots and genteel cruelty and village bazaars make, amongst other things, for great convalescence reading, and Elizabeth Jane Howard, Wodehouse, Richmal Crompton and E.F.Benson are perennial favorites of mine. The one thing their books don’t have is a nice juicy murder, but they do contain plenty of back-stabbing and much character assassination.
Most of these authors are out of circulation, out of print, and out of fashion, but if, like me, you have an inexplicable predilection for their ilk, do check out Katrina’s CPR Book Ceilidh. Katrina (someone please give her a medal) has undertaken the task of performing CPR on books and authors languishing unread, by posting links to reviews and generally championing their cause. A.J.Cronin! Mary de Morgan! Arnold Bennett! Do join the Ceilidh and add your favorite overlooked genius to this list.
Due to the aforementioned illness (call it a cold if you must), all scheduled reviews have been pushed back a week. If you are an author waiting for a review: my apologies for this delay, and I’ll get them out double quick.
My blog reached a watershed of sorts over the weekend: 24000 spam comments. Is this normal? If not, why am I getting so spammed? What makes this peculiarly shameful is that I have only 1200 legit comments. Please consider commenting more often; you will be saved after the rapture.
Have you heard of Reena Virk? Virk was a fourteen-year-old South Asian girl from BC, Canada, who was murdered by a group of her peers. From Wikipedia:
“On the evening of Friday November 14, 1997, Reena Virk was invited to a “party” by her friend near the Craigflower Bridge, west of the city of Victoria, British Columbia.
While at the bridge, it is claimed that teenagers drank alcohol and smoked marijuana. Virk was subsequently swarmed by a group later called the Shoreline Six. Witnesses said that one of the girls stubbed out a cigarette on Virk’s forehead, and that while seven or eight others stood by and watched, Virk was repeatedly hit, punched and kicked. She was found to have several cigarette burns on her skin, and apparently attempts were made to set her hair on fire. This first beating ended when one of the girls told the others to stop.
Virk managed to walk away, but was followed by two members of the original group, Ellard and Glowatski. The pair dragged Virk to the other side of the bridge, made her remove her shoes and jacket, and beat her a second time. It is believed that Ellard forced Virk’s head under the water and held it there with her foot until Virk stopped struggling.
Despite an alleged pact amongst the people involved not to “rat each other out,” by the following Monday, rumors of the alleged murder spread throughout Shoreline Secondary School, where Virk was a student. Several uninvolved students and teachers heard the rumors, but no one came forward to report it to the police. The rumors were confirmed eight days later, on November 22, 1997, when police using a helicopter found Virk’s partially clothed body washed ashore at the Gorge Inlet, a major waterway on Vancouver Island. Media sources indicated that Cst Chris Horsley of the Saanich Police was the officer who located Virk’s body.
The coroner ruled the death was by drowning. However, an autopsy later revealed that Virk had sustained significant injury, and that the head injuries were severe enough to have killed her if she had not been drowned. Virk was 14 years old.”
The Toronto Women’s Bookstore is hosting an event on 24 February about a new book on Reena Virk’s life and death, titled “Reena Virk: Critical Perspectives on a Canadian Murder“. The event description says “The murder of British Columbia teen Reena Virk shocked Canadians and inspired much commentary on bullying and “girl violence,” but the media coverage persistently ignored race and related issues. This collection brings together ten chapters by established and emerging scholars in order to grapple with the difficult and at times ugly implications of Reena Virk’s murder for Canadian national identity. The focus is on how race and racism intersect with relations of power such as gender, class, age, and sexuality within the Canadian national imaginary.”
This event runs from 6:30pm – 8:30pm, and I’m hoping to attend. Do let me know if you plan to be there as well.