Cover of The Bad Miss Bennet
The Bad Miss Bennet: A Pride and Prejudice Novel by Jean Burnett. Pegasus (October 19, 2012). ISBN: 978-1605983721. Pages 272. Hardcover. List price $25.95. (Amazon: $20.10 / Kindle: $12.99).

I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Bad Miss Bennet. I’ve read books where Lydia is redeemed to one degree or another but none where the author just doubled down on her behavior and attitudes.

In The Bad Miss Bennet by Jean Burnett, Lydia is a recent widow. Wickham was killed at Waterloo. She doesn’t really miss him as her love for him burned out years ago — but she hates wearing mourning colors, especially black. She resentful of having to live with Elizabeth and Darcy in the boring countryside. So, she makes arrangements to live in London with friends.

In London, her friends are deep in debt and help arrange card games in order to cheat and gain money to support their lifestyle. Lydia is very good at cheating at cards, having learned the fine art from Wickham. Eventually, there are repercussions and they need to find a new venue. Lydia eventually gets drawn in by a confidence trickster, finds a dead body in her quarters, and has many other other adventures — some quite upsetting (to the reader not necessarily to Lydia). Her life is one misfortune after another all blamed on others and nothing to do with her actions.

I had a difficult time reading this because I disliked the character of this instance of Lydia Bennet. She had no redeeming qualities. Even when she did something nice for someone it was in order to further her own plans. She’s given opportunities and chances to change her life but whether she couldn’t recognize the possibilities or chose to misinterpret them, she ignored them and continually reached for the new best thing. Mostly it all boiled down to being able to thumb her nose at her relatives (especially Darcy and his sister, boring Elizabth) and prove she’s better than they are — so there .

I would have liked a Lydia with more depth — one who learns from her mistakes or at least has an inkling that she made mistakes. Time after time she makes the same ones hoping for a different outcome. While time has past for her, she’s basically the same as the Lydia we met in Pride and Prejudice. Her character fixed as Austen wrote her.

Burnett has managed to set Lydia into an interesting time period and because of her character flaws examined some of the politics and social changes at that time in history. She also left the ending open for a sequel. The Bad Miss Bennet is true to the original character of Lydia, extrapolating to a what she would be like after years of Wickham’s influence. The writing will draw the reader in but you may not enjoy the characters or care that much about what happens to them. Lydia is the viewpoint character and all impressions of other people are colored by Lydia’s thoughts and beliefs.

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Both issues went up today and you can read them at the following links:
GumshoeReview.com for reviews of mystery, thriller and related materials, and
SFRevu.com for science fiction and fantasy reviews, news, etc.

Enjoy.

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Gumshoe Review‘s June issue now online
Contents:

Editorial License:
Just the Facts – June 2011 by Gayle Surrette

Columns:
US Books – Gumshoe Staff
Graphic Novels/Manga – Gumshoe Staff
Zines & Short Fiction – Gumshoe Staff
Review of Crimewave Eleven: Ghosts
News – Gumshoe Staff
Conventions – Gumshoe Staff

US Book Reviews:
As the Crow Flies by Maris Soule
Counterfeit Madam: A Gil Cunningham Mystery by Pat McIntosh
Felicity’s Gate: A Rounder Brothers Mystery by Julian Cole
The Hypnotist: A Novel by Lars Kepler
Jericho Cay: A Bay Tanner Mystery by Kathryn R. Wall
Purgatory Chasm: A Mystery by Steve Ulfelder
Stagestruck: A Peter Diamond Investigation by Peter Lovesey
Why Didn’t You Come for Me? by Diane Janes

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We got back from Balticon then had May 31st to get everything finalized and up for the zines. We managed to get them both online and active but needing a few additions and fixes on June 1st. Not a problem since that’s the usual way. However, the stress of having to do so much in such a short time made me think the house was really hot.

Yesterday, June 1st, the temperature outside was, with the heat index, 110 degrees — inside it was 90 with the AC set to 75. Guess the day before it was hot inside the house afterall, since the outside temp was nearly as high. As if heat that made it difficult to focus and think straight wasn’t bad enough — we lost power for a few hours. But we called the heat/AC guys and they should come today sometime (evidently lots of people have AC problems when the temps go up).

So, while the outside temp is barely 70 right now it’s 78 inside. I’ve got the fans on and I’m waiting for the repair guys and really hoping it’s something they can fix. Meanwhile, I still have all the updates to do — and I’m trying to convince myself that below 80 is much much better than 90 and besides I’ve got power.

I think myself is trying to lie to me. So, if you’ve looked at SFRevu.com — check back there’s more to come. Gumshoe Review is now finalized (but if you know of news of interest to mystery readers or upcoming conventions let us know).

Hyperion Avatar Turns out that our new[ish] air handling system seems to have sprung a leak. We’re told that the coil on this particular model has flaw in a small percentage of the coils. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be anyway to determine which are the ones that will last for decades, and which will last for a year. This one appears to be the later. The unit is still under warranty, so we’ll get a new coil and a new supply of coolant, and hopefully this one will be one of the good ones. At least it should last through the summer. And if the last two days were any indication, it’s going to be another scorcher.

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Can you believe that after noting here that Earth Hour was coming up and getting all excited about it — well, I never got a chance to do anything about it. We had a planning meeting that day, and it was in DC. After the meeting, because we were there and it was supposed to snow, this years Capclave Chair and Hyperion and I met to discuss strategies for the Capclave website and Blog and online publicity.

Once that was done it was about an hour Metro back to the car and then we had to do the weekly shopping in Waldorf. By the time we headed home it was nearly 8:30 and by the time we got home it was nearly 9:30 p.m. We kept light to a minimum but in the past we’ve turned them all off and either read by candle light or oil lamp. So, we’ve been very careful the past few days to turn lights off when we leave a room and not use one if not necessary. Okay, we do that anyway but I’m being compulsive about it now.

Meanwhile, SFRevu and Gumshoe Review go live with the new issues on April 1st so I’ve been working steadily on getting things ready.

What’s making everything more difficult is the lack of energy. I’ve got problems with energy levels anyway and after fighting the flu for the past 3 1/2 to 4 weeks — I feel like walking across the room is the equivalent to running a quarter-mile. It’s weird when you stand up and suddenly all our energy drains out and all you want to do is curl up on the floor and sleep. I find myself looking down to see if I can see the energy leaking out of my heel. I’ve taken to wearing shoes and socks instead of going around in just my socks in case that will help hold in the energy. Haven’t seen anything leaking out of my heel — but really it feels like it should be visible.

But, the good news is that while I was sick, Spring sprung. One day last week — I think it was Wednesday — I looked out the window and the pear trees had flowers, the forsythia was blooming, the daffodils along the woodland path were in bloom, and the chives and some other herbs were showing signs of growth. Spring happened. I just sat with my coffee and contemplated how nice it was to just wake up and see such signs of spring all around me. It’s a great change from all the grey dreariness that came before with rain, overcast skies, and blah days.

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It seems that it’s been quite a while since I did an update. Partly it’s because I’ve been busy. Partly because I’m been a bit under-the-weather. And, partly because everything I’m trying to do has a “but first…” clause.

But first you have to do this before you can do that but before you can do that thing you need to do this other thing. I swear I’m in the midst of some sort of infinite loop part of my life. Eventually, I’m sure I’ll make a break out of this loop — there’s got to be a stop condition somewhere.

Meanwhile, I started a scarf. I needed something I could do a little bit on when I’m waiting for CPU cycles to finish up. I’m trying to break myself of wasting time playing games. If I knit while waiting at least I’ll have something to show for all those 15, 20, 30 second time wasters.

We’re also gearing up to get the February issues of SFRevu and Gumshoe Review up and online for February 1st, 2011. Gumshoe Review will have a new original short fiction story by Douglas Campbell in February. Since it’s near the end of the month most of the reviews and content materials are coming in to be formatted and proofed. It should be a great February issue.

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Gumshoe January 2011 now Online @ www.gumshoereview.com

Senior Editor: Gayle Surrette
Editor Emeritus: Ernest Lilley

Editorial License:
Just the Facts – January 2011 by Gayle Surrette

Original Fiction:
At the Abbey of St Dymphna by Elizabeth Creith

Columns:
US Books – Gumshoe Staff
Graphic Novels/Manga – Gumshoe Staff
Media – Gumshoe Staff
Zines & Short Fiction – Gumshoe Staff
News – Gumshoe Staff
Conventions – Gumshoe Staff

Manga /Graphic Novel Reviews:
Who Stole Mona Lisa? by Ruthie Knapp

US Book Reviews:
A Play of Piety (A Joliffe Mystery) by Margaret Frazer
A Stranger in Mayfair (Charles Lenox Mysteries) by Charles Finch
A Truth For a Truth (Ministry is Murder) by Emilie Richards
Blood Heat (Blood Lines) by Maria Lima
The Damage Done by Hilary Davidson
Death and the Running Patterer: A Curious Murder Mystery by Robin Adair
Falling More Slowly: Detective Inspector Liam McLusky by Peter Helton
Frozen Assets: Gunnhilder Mystery Series by Quentin Bates
India Black by Carol K. Carr
Love Songs from a Shallow Grave: A Dr. Siri Investigation by Colin Cotterill
Mr. Monk on the Road by Lee Goldberga
The Pericles Commission by Gary Corby
Rogue Island by Bruce DeSilva
Rogue Threat by A.J. Tata
The Sleepwalkers by Paul Grossman

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We worked during the day and managed to get SFRevu and Gumshoe Review up online for January 1st, 2011. Gumshoe has another original short story this month, “At the Abbey of St Dymphna” by Elizabeth Creith.

We added another couple of reviews today but their basically complete now. However, remember each zines has a news column and that will be updated throughout the month depending on when we get news items.

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