MISS BLAINE'S PREFECT AND THE GOLDEN SAMOVAR
by Olga Wojtas.
This may be a first novel, but as this dark yet humourous tale unfolds, the reader becomes aware of the skill with which it is written. There is a light playfulness throughout and delightful Scottish sprinklings of humour.
Shona, the main character, is a middle aged, yet feisty Morningside singleton who attended Miss Blaine's school for girls in Edinburgh. Chosen by Miss Blaine for her aptitudes and accomplishments, Shona embarks whole-heartedly on a time-travelling mission to imperialist Russia. We are drawn into the wild coterie of serfs, counts, princesses and even a 'floor mop' pooch where everything, with a drop of storydust, makes magical sense.
There are references to Muriel Spark's book 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie'. The interweaving of fiction with fiction is delicate and amusing, keeping the reader keened to the main character's inner workings of her mind. Shona proves to be a sleuth with romance and forensics as her guides.
I guarantee you will feel transported to another time slip with this engaging adventure of humour, history and homicide.
The paperback edition is published by Contraband and priced £8.99. The book cover design is by Ken Leeder.
Review written by Nordann Lyshelt.