Archive for May 12th, 2010

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

May 12, 2010 @ 7:51 pm | Filed under:

I Capture the Castle.

Read it. (You said I should.)

Loved it. (You knew I would!)

Shall we talk?

One afternoon when we were having tea in the garden, [Father] had the misfortune to lose his temper with Mother very noisily just as he was about to cut a piece of cake. He brandished the cake-knife at her so menacingly that an officious neighbour jumped the garden fence to intervene and got himself knocked down. Father explained in court that killing a woman with our silver cake-knife would be a long, weary business entailing sawing her to death, and he was completely exonerated of any intention of slaying Mother. The whole case seems to have been quite ludicrous, with everyone but the neighbor being very funny. But Father made the mistake of being funnier than the judge and, as there was no doubt whatever that he had seriously damaged the neighbour, he was sent to prison for three months….(I can remember the cake-knife incident perfectly—I hit the fallen neighbour with my little wooden spade. Father always said this got him an extra month.)

Dodie Smith (1896-1990) was an English novelist and playwright. I was quite surprised to discover that she was the author of The Hundred and One Dalmatians. Now I’m imagining that plot (I only know the Disney version) told in her irresistible prose, and I’m dying to read it. Are all her books as captivating as I Capture the Castle? Where has she been all my life?