Our group of crime fiction fans has this month chosen a theme to write about on Tuesdays: we picked Travel and Holidays/Vacations – in any way the blogger chooses to interpret it.
New and casual participants are always welcome: just send your link to me or one of the others, or put it in the comments below. Or you can do a guest blog for one of the regulars.
Thanks to Bev, as ever, for the excellent logo – that’s us going up the gangplank to murder…
Curt listed all the Tuesday Night Bloggers’ links over at his Passing Tramp website here, for week 1.
Week 2 links here.
Week 3 links here.
I’ve looked at a couple of different items this month - a Josephine Bell book, an Agatha Christie, and an obscure (but great) 50s book by John and Emery Bonett, set in a holiday hotel.
This week, in line with the theme of my blog, I’m going to take a look at clothes to go travelling in….
Let’s start with the train station. Big journeys tend not to start there these days, but they did in the Golden Age. So here is The Mystery of the Blue Train, Agatha Christie, 1928
Very perfectly dressed in a long mink coat and a little hat of Chinese lacquer red, she had been walking along the crowded platform of Victoria deep in thought.
The picture is Woman in Coat and Hat at train station, from a 1920s fashion magazine, from the NYPL.
Crime connection: she is also travelling with some very expensive jewels.
Or - this was my choice for a fashion editor travelling to and from Paris for the collections (see Murder a la Mode by Patricia Moyes).
--- photo by Toni Frissell from the Library of Congress: it is widely described, and has been for years, as being taken at Victoria Station. But in the world of crowd-sourcing correction, and in an unlikely conjunction of high fashion and trainspotters, it is now claimed for Paddington.
Crime connection: Who is smuggling the fashion designs?
But perhaps you, the murderer, the victim and the witnesses are all travelling by boat? With a pool and sunshine? You’re going to need some appropriate clothes:
These were chosen for the excellent Singing in the Shrouds by Ngaio Marsh.
Crime connection: there’s a serial killer on board.
Meanwhile, wealthy Linnet Doyle has a deceptively simple frock for her cruise down the Nile in one of Agatha Christie’s finest:
crime connection: Linnet should never have pinched her friend’s boyfriend…
Last week’s Tuesday Night entry showed some excellent beach outfits for your days on the sand, but we’ll just add this picture of holiday footwear:
But perhaps, like Harriet D Vane in Have his Carcase by Dorothy L Sayers, you want to go on a hiking holiday? People have told me that they remember Harriet as wearing trousers, but this is not the case – she is in a sensible skirt and a jumper.
Murder interrupts her holiday, and she needs more clothes – a dinner and dancing dress to please Lord Peter, and a vamping outfit for getting info from a suspect.
crime connection: Harriet has a murder to solve
Delano Ames published Murder Begins at Home in 1949 – contrary to the title, it is about a couple going away to stay on a ranch in New Mexico, and what I looked at in my blogpost was contrasting ideas of what constitutes proper riding clothes for those trips out into the hills - the world was changing just after the war:
crime connection: it’s very embarrassing when your holiday hostess is murdered...
One crime film. If you look like Grace Kelly, then you can be a ‘wealthy tourist’ in Hitchcock’s film To Catch a Thief and dress in this – possibly the most fabulous beach/holiday outfit of all time.
crime connection: jewel thieves again.
So there you have it – fashion bloggers and instagrammers often post pictures and collections of capsule wardrobes, or suggested packing lists: I think Clothes in Books readers can be confident that if they assemble all the outfits pictured today then they will be ready for anything, whether it’s sitting on the beach reading a crime book, or planning something heinous yourself.
However – one last tip – beware of: beach pyjamas, velvet stoles, large hats, distinctive shawls. And that's just the clothes. Also avoid: people who swim up to you in a quiet moment and somehow don’t seem to be helping you, professional dancers at the posh hotel, standing on cliff edges or under loose rocks. (H/T to fellow Tuesday-Nighter Kate Jackson - see her similar advice, channelling the Sainted Agatha, on her armchair reviewer blog).
Then you’ll be fine.