By Popular Demand: The Queen’s Not There Yet

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All right, everybody, you asked for it: another installment of Oy, Rodney by Violet Crepuscular: Chapter CIV.

As Lady Margo tries to find out who is Queen of England at this time, Princess Didi visits Scurveyshire incognito to get the lay of the land. When she approaches the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard, Constable Chumley promptly arrests her. “Ye come alang wi’ me, lass,” he says, “ye’ll not be wilmin’ by yon brawnnick gulsen.”

“You fool, take your hands off the daughter of the Queen!” Her protests are to no avail, and she is deposited in the local lockup.

Meanwhile Lord Jeremy Coldsore, awaiting his marriage to Lady Margo, fobs off his creditors with a promise that the Queen herself will pay his bills. “Her Majesty is to be an honored guest at my wedding, and will spend the night in the Royal Suite of Coldsore Hall.” He does not mention that no one has spent the night in the Royal Suite of Coldsore Hall since 1603, when the Duke of Dobley went in one night and never came out.

Having convinced Lady Margo that he and the American adventurer Willis Twombley are one and the same and that it therefore doesn’t matter which one of them appears at the wedding as the groom, Lord Jeremy’s peace of mind is rattled by Twombley’s off-hand question: “Say, Germy, was you really jist a foundling left on the steps of this here hall? Margo says so.”

This is the first Lord Jeremy has ever heard of it. “I am sure the lady has me confused with someone else,” he replies.

“Someone else besides me?”

“Please, Sargon!” Twombley believes he is Sargon of Akkad. “Please concentrate on the arrangements for the wedding! I’m growing rather concerned about the vicar. Ever since recovering from his conniptions, he skips everywhere instead of walking, and makes cryptic remarks about some writhing tentacles he thinks he saw under the pool. I fear his mind may be unsettled.”

“Oh, he’ll be all right for the wedding,” Twombley says. “Anyhow, it’s your turn to go to Margo’s tonight for supper. Try to be cheerful, ol’ hoss! Soon as the Queen gets here, we’re goin’ to get hitched and all your troubles will be over.”

Given the prodigious length of the rest of the book, we are at liberty to doubt the accuracy of that prediction.

And we still don’t know who the dickens “Rodney” is.

The Queen Will Visit Scurveyshire

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The news today is just awful, as usual, so turn we unto something a little less awful…

In Chapter CII of Oy, Rodney by Violet Crepuscular, everything has been disrupted by the startling news that the Queen plans to visit Scurveyshire.

“What queen?” wonders Lady Margo Cargo.

“It don’t matter–a queen’s a queen,” replies her fiancee, the American adventurer Willis Twombley, who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad.

“But this is wonderful, Sargon! If we have her as a guest at our wedding, she may help you get your empire back!”

“Well, maybe. But listen, l’il gal, I got to tell you a secret, and you got to keep it. Okay?”

“I can keep a secret, my dear. I always forget secrets before I can tell them.”

Twombley takes a deep breath. “L’il gal, it’s like this. You know Lord Germy Coldsore?”

“I’ve known Lord Jeremy all his life,” says Lady Margo, “ever since he was a foundling left on the doorstep of Coldsore Hall.” Anyone else would be floored by this shocking revelation, but Twombley lets it slide right past him.

“Here’s the secret: me and Lord Germy, we’re the same guy. So when you marry me, you’ll be marrying him, too.”

“Oh, Sargon, how can that be? You don’t even look like him.”

“That’s on account of my secret Akkadian powers of illusion,” Twombley explains. “I can look like me and him standin’ side by side at the same time. Been doin’ in for years. I had to learn it because, you know, bein’ king of Akkad, I got a lot of enemies. Especially them Babylonians–they’re always tryin’ to do me in. You don’t mind, do you?”

“Mind what?”

“Me bein’ Germy, too, and you marryin’ him and sayin’ it’s me. That’s okay with you, ain’t it?”

“Whatever you say, Sargon dear.” At this point she has to pause and rearrange her wig.

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Sargon of Akkad: add a cowboy hat, and his resemblance to Willis Twombley is easily detectable.

Meanwhile Constable Chumley, guarding the wading pool in the vicar’s back yard, reports that “I seen a perby divvil of a throll peekin’ out from under yon pool, and it skeered the limmins out of us!” No one is quite sure what he means.

‘Oy, Rodney’ Gets Serious

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I don’t know what possessed me to write that headline. Sorry.

In Chapter LXXXXI of Oy, Rodney by Violet Crepuscular, the jovial shepherd known as Mack the Jovial Shepherd goes missing overnight. His sheep are nonplussed. The next day he is found floating face-down in the vicar’s backyard wading pool. There are tentacle marks all over the body. Constable Chumley shakes his head and opines, “Aye, me gangers, ’tis a murragh dally-dooly ront, so I tell ‘ee.” The townspeople continue to believe they really ought to get a constable who speaks English.

Meanwhile Lord Jeremy Coldsore is horrified that the American adventurer, Willis Twombley, who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad, is going to marry Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in all of Scurveyshire. Lord Jeremy was supposed to marry her, as his only hope of staving off bankruptcy and losing Coldsore Hall. How this came about is very difficult to explain, and Miss Crepuscular finally gives it up as a bad job.

Willis comforts his friend. “Donchew worry none, Germy! Oncet me and Lady Margo is hitched, you and me, we’ll jist change places an’ the ol’ gal’ll never know the diff’rence!”

To everyone’s surprise, the vicar suddenly recovers from his conniptions and declares himself anxious to perform the marriage between Lady Margo and Sargon of Akkad, Ruler of All Mesopotamia. This is accompanied by a sinister smile that he never had before. When asked what he saw when he peeked under the wading pool, he only smirks and says “What conniptions?”

The other mysterious stranger who came into the book a few chapters ago hasn’t said or done anything yet.

Lord Jeremy’s Wooing, Part 2

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Once again we turn to Violet Crepuscular’s epic romance, Oy, Rodney, Chapter LXXVI. Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad, has sworn eternal friendship to Lord Jeremy Coldsore, who in an absent-minded moment, distracted by his own troubles, was the first to call him Sargon.

Mr. Twombley is now in Lady Margo Cargo’s parlor, to plead with her to marry Lord Jeremy.

Lady Margo takes out her glass eye, polishes it with the hem of his dress, pops it back into the socket. “Really, Mr. Twombley, doesn’t Miss Crepuscular know this scene has already been done, in The Courtship of Miles Standish?”

“Who, ma’am?”

“Also, sir, you talk funny.”

Twombley crosses his eyes. “Why, ma’am, that there’s jist my Akkadian accent comin’ out. Ah cain’t help it, thass how we talk. You just close yore ahs and make believe it ain’t me but Lord Germy who’s a-talkin’ to you.” Lady Margo closes the only eye that needs closing. Twombley finds the effect unnerving, but proceeds.

“Dear Lady Margo, Ah declare yo’re jist about the purttiest filly in all this land of England or wherever we are, and Ah would be the happiest man on earth if you and me could mosey on down to the parson and git hitched.”

Lord Jeremy is crouched under the bay window, listening from the outside. This is his last chance to stave off ruin and bankruptcy. Marriage to Lady Margo will save Coldsore Hall. And Twombley seems to be doing very well.

“Why, Mr. Twombley, no one has ever spoken such words to me before!” Lady Margo gushes. She makes a coquettish gesture that causes her wig to be crooked. “Very well, my dear man, if you insist! We shall visit the pastor and get hitched, as you put it, this very afternoon! At my time of life, I can’t afford to shilly-shally.”

Twombley does not know what to say. Lord Jeremy shrieks, then faints.

“Don’t be alarmed, dear, it’s just a screech owl in the garden,” Lady Margo coos.

We don’t know if the wedding comes off. I peeked into the next chapter and it’s not in there. That chapter is mostly Miss Crepuscular complaining about certain deficiencies in her diet.

Lord Jeremy Proposes Marriage, Almost

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What with all the computer agita yesterday–and more this morning, on the other machine–I thought I might dip into Oy, Rodney. And this is what I read.

The vicar’s smart-aleck nephew, Desmond Wiggly, goes out to the backyard wading pool and doesn’t return. There are drag marks leading under the pool. Constable Chumly is summoned. He examines the scene and remarks, “I tell ‘ee, them’s a right rawn figgety shawm,” and declines to investigate further. There is serious talk of replacing him with someone who can speak recognizable English.

Lord Jeremy Coldsore, meanwhile, realizes that the only way he can stave off ruin and bankruptcy is to marry Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire. As a pretext for seeing her, he returns her lost glass eye. She invites him into her parlor and serves him extremely unpalatable biscuits baked by her grandmother in Bedlam. His appetite is not improved as she pops the one glass eye out of the socket, wipes off the one he has returned to her, and pops it in.

“Surely, Lord Jeremy, you must have had another reason for coming here to see me,” she coos. Lady Margo is big on cooing.

Jeremy nods: for him, this is the moment of truth. But all he can manage to say is “Abba-dabba-gmmph.”

Meanwhile there is a new mysterious stranger in the neighborhood. This one looks like Ralph Meeker. No one knows what he’s doing there.

More on ‘Oy, Rodney’

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I didn’t feel well yesterday, so I read a bit more of Violet Crepuscular’s dauntingly long romance novel, Oy, Rodney.

Faced with bankruptcy and ruin, young Lord Jeremy Coldsore hires a mysterious stranger whose only talent is performing imitations of persons whom most people have never heard of. He avoids giving his name, but his impression of Pete Runnels would really wow everyone if they only knew who Pete Runnels was.

Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire, insists on going out to check her mailbox and has a nasty fall. The termites have been at her wooden leg again. Jeremy is still trying to find the right way to propose to her. “Here is how Pete Runnels would do it,” says his new adviser. But Jeremy gets tongue-tied.

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(In case you were wondering)

Willis Twombley, the American adventurer who claims he’s Sargon of Akkad, sues to get his ancient empire back. An unscrupulous solicitor takes his case.

Two pages of Chapter LXXIII are completely black, indicating two nights in which nothing happens.

The vicar, recovering from his conniptions, can now say, “Rodney! Rodney!” No one knows what he means; nor is anyone else willing to peek under the backyard wading pool to see what he saw.

Please stop criticizing my choice to display the cover of Lord of the Tube Socks. My copy of Oy, Rodney is one of those books with the cover torn off so it can be sold cheaply.

Back to ‘Oy, Rodney’

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I have read some more of Oy, Rodney, but I don’t seem to be any farther along in it. I think gremlins come in and add pages to it when no one’s looking.

Young Lord Jeremy Coldsore, in a desperate attempt to recoup his family fortune, has entered into a scheme with a mysterious stranger to introduce wild marsupials to the Scottish highlands. The koalas don’t like it. Jeremy is still trying to marry Lady Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire, but he will have to hurry because bits of her are falling off.

American adventurer Willis Twombley has discovered proof that he really is Sargon of Akkad. They still don’t believe him.

The vicar is recovering from the conniptions he suffered when he sneaked a peek under the backyard wading pool to see what was making the queer noises. The experience has so disturbed his brain that now he can only speak backwards.

So far no character named “Rodney” has  appeared in the story. After some 400 pages, this is annoying. I am beginning to suspect that “Rodney” is either a rabbit or a hamster: author Violet Crepuscular has dropped certain dark hints that it might be so. I’ll be very much put out if he turns out to be nothing at all.

NOTE: I still haven’t found a reproducible picture of the cover art for Oy, Rodney, so for the time being, Lord of the Tube Socks must suffice. We happen to know that Ms. Crepuscular has read this book and approves of it.

More on a Moronic Romance Novel

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I couldn’t find a picture of the cover of Oy, Rodney by Violet Crepuscular, but take it from me, it’s very similar to the one for Lord of the Tube Socks.

I read Oy, Rodney when my heel spur hurts. It’s the epic story of the romance between Lord Jeremy Coldsore and the aging but still quite homely Dame Margo Cargo, the richest widow in Scurveyshire, who is also being courted by a man who looks like Ed Begley, but isn’t. I’ve just come to the part where Lord Jeremy is discomfited by his discovery that the whole Coldsore family has been bankrupted by unwise bets on whether the Duke of Dodder will come back from the dead, once the heat dies down. He didn’t, and the noble house of Coldsore is flat broke.

Meanwhile, the vicar has peeked under his backyard plastic wading pool and gone into conniptions. We are not told what he saw.

Another mysterious character has entered the story, an American adventurer named Willis Twombley, who thinks he is Sargon of Akkad. The other characters are pretty sure he isn’t.

There are only some 400 pages left to go, and we still don’t know what Dame Margo proposes to do about her bunions. Jeremy has not yet gotten up the courage to ask for her hand in marriage. It’s exciting because it’s the only hand Dame Margo has. A goat chewed off the other one.

P. S.: Robbie went to the vet this morning for her checkup, and everything seems to be going well with her treatment. I have been careful not to let her read Oy, Rodney.

I Wouldn’t Let My Dog Read This Book

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All right, so I don’t have a dog. I wouldn’t let my cats read it, either.

Oy, Rodney! by Violet Crepuscular is one of those awful romance novels, but with an added twist: the author has hired goons–formal job description, “literary consultants”–to go into bookstores and make thinly veiled threats. The plot ain’t nothin’ to write home about, either.

Can young Lord Jeremy Coldsore, 5th Viscount Atropine, win the love of the aging but still quite homely Dame Margo Cargo, the richest woman in Scurvyshire? Or will the mysterious stranger who looks like Ed Begley, but isn’t, get in first? What is the awful secret concealed under the Vicar’s plastic wading pool? And how come there’s no character in this book actually named Rodney?

I haven’t read the book, so I can’t answer those questions.

A Book to Make Me Wake Up Screaming

Those publicists just can’t stop barking up the wrong tree.

I have been invited to review a book “set against the mysterious and sexy backdrop of Southern Cuba”–actually, she lost me right there–that “follows the young Thalia Vandergruen as she searches for her true identity with the help of trusted clairvoyant Sofi…”

Stop already. Have you ever known anyone actually named “Thalia”? I haven’t. And what’s with “Sofi”? That’s not how you spell Sophia, or Sophie. And she’s a clairvoyant. Uncle! Uncle!

But wait, there’s more. If you think those are silly names, Thalia meets this guy named “Yahriel–” (You should see how my spell check is reacting to these names. You’d think Joe Collidge wrote this.)

Stop, I can’t take any more. And this by a supposedly best-selling author. I checked: she’s a real person. I’m not giving her name because I prefer not to hurt her feelings. And anyhow the issue is not her, or her particular book, but the kind of drivel that keeps oozing out of our publishing industry. This example is pitched especially to women, in the category “women’s fiction.” But I will not have that said about women.

“What sets it apart,” concludes the publicist, “is the author’s signature smart bent and social conscience.” Great merciful heavens–does that mean what I think it means? The poor defenseless reader! I can’t think of anything good to say about “social conscience” in fiction.

I’m always looking for books to read and review, but this will not be one of them.