Alice in Wonderland: the Freudian version, in Ruth Galloway # 9, The Chalk Pit

Sometimes, self has questions. Such as: How did she get to Book # 9 in the Dr. Ruth Galloway series? She only started Book # 1 in April, while she was in Northern Ireland of all places. You’d think she would be so taken with the surroundings (beautiful) that she would not have time to be into a new mystery series. But for some reason, she got hooked.

Every book in the series, self reaches a point where she says, Oh no, I can’t. This isn’t possible. I have to stop reading. But here she is.

In this book, Judy Johnson, DI, interviews a witness and immediately pegs the woman’s accent as “South African” and self wants to know how Judy can be so certain when Judy has never, ever left England, much less ever been to South Africa, and as far as self knows, there aren’t too many self-identifying South Africans in Norfolk, England for Judy to pick up any sort of acquaintance with the accent.

But only a few pages later, we are in a play, where Ruth’s young daughter has a small role, and this play and its director are so inspired! Sublime! The director is talking about the id and about Alice in Wonderland being on acid — to Kate’s daughter, a six-year-old! And Ruth is standing there, and doesn’t know what to think. But her daughter is so disarmingly enthusiastic about playing the young Alice (not yet hooked on acid), so Ruth suspends judgment and watches from the sidelines, and the scene is absolutely hilarious! It goes on for quite a few pages. It is a fully realized scene, it is served up in the middle of this novel, and has no relation to anything that comes before and after, much less any connection to the mystery, but it had self absolutely rolling on the floor!

And then, on p. 105, Ruth and Harry Nelson — who lead completely separate lives — have their moment. Which is to say, they bump into each other, by accident. This is always the point (in every book) at which the book’s tension picks up. It doesn’t matter how implausible the meeting — in The Chalk Pit, it’s a Saturday, and Ruth and her daughter are sightseeing, in the same place where Harry and his wife and daughter are shopping. See how perfect that is?

Side Note: Self borrowed most of the books from the library, which is a good thing. She just looked at the price (of the hardback, which she checked out of the library): $27.

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