Friday, April 10, 2015


Longtime critique partner Jeni and I have been trading book recommendations lately, and THE SCANDALOUS SISTERHOOD OF PRICKWILLOW PLACE was her latest suggestion. The cover perfectly captures the tone of the book, so feel free to stare at it for a while before you read on.

When the odious headmistress of St. Etheldreda's School for Young Ladies and her oily brother keel over dead after Sunday dinner, the young ladies of the aforementioned school know that, if they sound the alarm, they'll be investigated for murder (or, worse, sent home). So they do the only thing a group of somewhat well-bred young ladies might do: they bury the victims in the vegetable garden and try to convince the townsfolk that their headmistress and her brother are still very much alive. If they're to succeed, they'll have to fool the doctor, their domestic, and their headmistress's elderly beau--and pray that her heir, the fabled Julius Godding, doesn't show up.

Is it irreverent? Uh-huh. Is it implausible? Yes. Did it make me smile and laugh out loud more than once? You bet it did. Ms. Berry was clearly less interested in developing the characters in her ensemble cast than in plunging them into the most absurd situations imaginable and watching them fib, grease, and connive their way out. And I enjoyed every second.

THE SCANDALOUS SISTERHOOD OF PRICKWILLOW PLACE totally reminded me of Arsenic and Old Lace, so if you like your comedy dark and your farces Victorian, definitely check this one out.

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