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Mrs Cavendish
Posted by: Anonymous User (
Date: June 30, 2007 01:59PM

This is my first posting so forgive me if this shows my ignorance.
I am re-reading the entire 'Next' series in preparation for 'First among Sequels' I have got to my favourite chapter in LIAGB, chapter 25. With the help of the readers guide I have filled the gaps on the characters I have never been able to place, but who is Mrs Cavendish? She is asked on page 273 to explain the missing Canterbury Tales, and is dressed in 'fabulously outrageous clothes'.

Mrs Cavendish in 'The mysterious affair at Styles' (Christie) is the front runner, but on googling the name I found this:

Young Mrs. Cavendish and the Kaiser's Men, by K. K. Beck
"Not just a simple murder mystery or mistaken-identity kidnapping, it also includes airplanes (a recent invention), zeppelins, the desert, a rich man with a sumptuous private rail car (put in just for fun really and having nothing much to do with the plot), a plucky reporter, various spies (some beautiful and deadly), a precocious little brother, flaming arrows, romance, old love affairs, and all sorts of similar stuff."

This sound so FFordian, I am really tempted to think it is her.(although it was published in 1988 and probably isn't classical enough). Has anyone read it? Is it worth the postage from abe books who seem to have a copy. It doesn't ever seem to have been published in the UK.

Any thoughts?

Re: Mrs Cavendish
Posted by: SkidMarks (
Date: June 30, 2007 03:11PM

Welcome Helen. Help yourself to pie. All the usual selections in all the usual places, more or less.

Some of the sellers on have copies of Young Mrs. Cavendish and the Kaiser's Men ranging in price from under 4 to over 30. When I looked there were 9 available.

I can't help you with any opinions on the book, though, not having read it.

There is a Mrs. Cavendish in Agatha Christie's "The Mysterious Affair at Styles"
and one of the survivors of the Titanic was a Mrs. Cavendish, but I suspect that the former is more likely than the latter to be the Mrs. Cavendish in LIAGB.

My favourite Cavendish moment - and one of my favourite bits in all of Mr. Fforde's books - is the had had and that that sequence in WOLP

Re: Mrs Cavendish
Posted by: Anonymous User (
Date: June 30, 2007 04:36PM

It's great isn't it? Even when you read it again really slowly it pickles the eyeballs. I've just looked at it again, and she's Lady Cavendish by then! Curiouser and Curiouser.

On further investigation, K.K Beck is Kathrine Kristine Beck Marris, thriller writer and wife of Michael Dibdin. Amongst many others she has written the wonderful sounding 'Body in the Cornflakes'. Might just take a punt on 'Mrs C and the Kaiser's Men' Anything with Zeppelins in can't be all bad!

I'm enjoying the fforum - I do seem to have wasted the best part of a wet Saturday tho'.

Re: Mrs Cavendish
Posted by: SkidMarks (
Date: June 30, 2007 05:38PM

Unfortunately Michael Dibdin died earlir this year.

Re: Mrs Cavendish
Posted by: MuseSusan (
Date: June 30, 2007 11:56PM

Hi there! Can't help you on the Cavendish front, but welcome to the fforum!

Re: Mrs Cavendish
Posted by: Anonymous User (
Date: July 01, 2007 04:52PM

Thank you both, it's nice to be here. I spotted Mr Skidmarks'(apostrophe in the right place?) comment in Nextian Chat about the long (long) awaited release of Mr Branagh's Hamlet on DVD. I seem to have fallen among friends!

Have you seen 'As You Like it?' My husband managed to get me a copy from Italy (thankfully with an English Language option) on E-Bay. It is great, particularly Brian Blesssed and Kevin Kline, but suffers a bit from a lack of the man himself on screen I think.

I hadn't spotted Michael Dibdin's departure. Sad, he can't have been much of an age.

I will keep you posted about my foray into Mrs Dibdin's works.

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