Miss Blaine's prefect and the golden samovar

Olga Wojtas

Book - 2018

Never underestimate a librarian. Comfortably padded and in her middle years, Shona McMonagle may look bookish and harmless, but her education at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls has left her with a deadly expertise in everything from martial arts to quantum physics. It has also left her with a bone-deep loathing for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, that scurrilous novel that spread scandalous untruths about the finest educational institution in Edinburgh. Her skills, her deceptively mild appeara...nce, and her passionate loyalty make Shona the perfect recruit for a new and interesting project: Time-travel to Tzarist Russia, prevent a gross miscarriage of romance, and - in any spare time - see to it that only the right people get murdered. It's a big job, but no task is too daunting for a Head Girl from Miss Blaine's.

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Subjects
Genres
Detective and mystery fiction
Mystery fiction
Published
New York : Felony & Mayhem Press 2018.
Edition
First U.S. edition
Language
English
Physical Description
246 pages ; 21 cm
ISBN
9781631941702
1631941704
9781631941863
1631941860
Main Author
Olga Wojtas (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Present-day Edinburgh librarian Shona McMonagle responds to the call when Miss Blaine, founder of the Marcia Blaine School for Girls, recruits her to time travel to czarist Russia to complete a mission. But before the mission is completed, Shona must figure out what it is; presumably her education at Miss Blaine's school will help her do that. Sure enough, Shona quickly comes to believe that her mission is to marry off wealthy heiress Lidia Ivanovna to the proper suitor. However, someone is out to prevent a successful resolution, and there are numerous attempts on Shona's life. Firmly set in Russia with fascinating details of the life and times of the people, from princesses to serfs, woven through the story, and with Shona cleverly using historical clues gained from conversations to piece together facts about her new environment, this humorous romp includes plot twists and well-delineated, quirky, characters. Readers will eagerly await future installments. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

DEBUT Shona McMonagle is librarian of Edinburgh's Morningside Library, just down the road from the Marcia Blaine School for Girls, where she received the finest education in the world. She loathes getting requests for a novel presumably based on the school but riddled with errors and assumptions about its distinguished alumnae. So whenever an order arrives for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, she hides the copy away to keep it from sullying the name of Marcia Blaine, defending the honor of her alma mater. Shona's honor, her knowledge, skills, and loyalty all make her an elite recruit of a distinctly different sort, thus Marcia Blaine herself sends Shona back in time to tsarist Russia on a secret mission, where she must use all of her instruction in all sorts of murdery circumstances. VERDICT This absolutely delightful time-traveling murder mystery is perfect for fans of Jasper Fforde and Genevieve Cogman's "Invisible Library" series as well as Russian history fans who enjoy stories with a sharp sense of humor.—Julie Kane, Washington & Lee Lib., Lexington, VA Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

At the outset of Scottish author Wojtas's marvelous first novel, middle-aged librarian Shona McMonagle, who was once head girl at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls, is approached by the school's namesake, Marcia Blaine, who asks her to travel in time to czarist Russia and complete a mission. That Miss Blaine has been dead for centuries and doesn't divulge the mission's details are of no consequence to Shona, who, thanks to the "finest education in the world," can handle anything from martial arts to Scottish country dancing. (Miss Blaine's school, of course, featured heavily in Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which Shona holds in disdain for its untruths about her beloved school.) Once in Russia, Shona doesn't know what year it is or who the czar is, but she quickly inserts herself into society, where Russian nobles have begun to drop dead at an alarming rate. In this laugh-out-loud farce, Shona, a spark of energy and obtuse confidence, proves she really is, as Miss Brodie would say, the crème de la crème. Readers will appreciate the skill with which Wojtas mirrors Spark's style. (Nov.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

At the outset of Scottish author Wojtas's marvelous first novel, middle-aged librarian Shona McMonagle, who was once head girl at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls, is approached by the school's namesake, Marcia Blaine, who asks her to travel in time to czarist Russia and complete a mission. That Miss Blaine has been dead for centuries and doesn't divulge the mission's details are of no consequence to Shona, who, thanks to the "finest education in the world," can handle anything from martial arts to Scottish country dancing. (Miss Blaine's school, of course, featured heavily in Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which Shona holds in disdain for its untruths about her beloved school.) Once in Russia, Shona doesn't know what year it is or who the czar is, but she quickly inserts herself into society, where Russian nobles have begun to drop dead at an alarming rate. In this laugh-out-loud farce, Shona, a spark of energy and obtuse confidence, proves she really is, as Miss Brodie would say, the crème de la crème. Readers will appreciate the skill with which Wojtas mirrors Spark's style. (Nov.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

At the outset of Scottish author Wojtas's marvelous first novel, middle-aged librarian Shona McMonagle, who was once head girl at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls, is approached by the school's namesake, Marcia Blaine, who asks her to travel in time to czarist Russia and complete a mission. That Miss Blaine has been dead for centuries and doesn't divulge the mission's details are of no consequence to Shona, who, thanks to the "finest education in the world," can handle anything from martial arts to Scottish country dancing. (Miss Blaine's school, of course, featured heavily in Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which Shona holds in disdain for its untruths about her beloved school.) Once in Russia, Shona doesn't know what year it is or who the czar is, but she quickly inserts herself into society, where Russian nobles have begun to drop dead at an alarming rate. In this laugh-out-loud farce, Shona, a spark of energy and obtuse confidence, proves she really is, as Miss Brodie would say, the crème de la crème. Readers will appreciate the skill with which Wojtas mirrors Spark's style. (Nov.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Shona McMonagle may look bookish and harmless, but her education at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls has left her with a deadly expertise in everything from martial arts to quantum physics. It has also left her with a bone-deep loathing for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the novel that spread scandalous untruths about the finest educational institution in Edinburgh. These skills make Shona the perfect recruit for a new and interesting project: Time-travel to Tzarist Russia, prevent a gross miscarriage of romance, and – in any spare time – see to it that only the right people get murdered.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Shona McMonagle may look bookish and harmless, but her education at the Marcia Blaine School for Girls has left her with a deadly expertise in everything from martial arts to quantum physics. It has also left her with a bone-deep loathing for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the novel that spread scandalous untruths about the finest educational institution in Edinburgh. These skills make Shona the perfect recruit for a new and interesting project: Time-travel to Tzarist Russia, prevent a gross miscarriage of romance, and – in any spare time – see to it that only the right people get murdered.