Friday, March 16, 2012

The Misses Moffet Mend a Marriage: A Victorian San Francisco Story by M. Louisa Locke

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Obtained from: Personal Kindle Library
Read: March 12, 2012

This short story, set in 1879 San Francisco, features two elderly dressmakers, Miss Minnie and Miss Millie Moffet, who face a moral dilemma of no small dimensions. They turn for advice to Annie Fuller, a widowed boardinghouse owner who supplements her income as a clairvoyant, Madam Sibyl. For those who have read Locke’s two full-length Victorian San Francisco mysteries, Maids of Misfortune and Uneasy Spirits, and her other short story, Dandy Detects, this is an amusing glimpse into the lives of Annie Fuller’s two most eccentric boarders. For those unfamiliar with Locke’s mysteries and the late nineteenth century world they portray, this is just a taste of things to come.

═══════════════════════════ ❧  ═══════════════════════════

Much to the distress of Nate Dawson, the Moffet sisters have been permanent fixtures of Annie Fuller's boarding house since its introduction in Maids of Misfortune. However, despite their constant presence, we readers haven't been privy to much of their story or character. Locke remedies this in her delightful short, The Misses Moffet Mend a Marriage. 

First of all, I love that these two elderly women are so much more perceptive than people give them credit for. As unmarried ladies of a certain age, they are assumed to be naive in and uninterested in the workings of the world. The revelation is almost surprising to their young landlord but I found it highly amusing. 

On the same note, I love how these seemingly sheltered ladies handle a rather delicate situation. Where most would run, wild-eyed, fingers raised in accusation, the Misses Moffet play old school. Their tactics are subtle, but infinitely more effective and less damaging than an open confrontation of the issue. It is a skill that has sadly fallen by the wayside in my opinion. 

As always I am delighted with Locke's work. Short but sweet and more than worth looking in to.

═══════════════════════════ ❧  ═══════════════════════════
Annie was speechless. Until now she had thought of these elderly ladies as complete innocents, delicately reared in the South, living a narrow sheltered life, and taking care of their bachelor brother until they were forced to support themselves upon his death. She was quickly revising that image.
═══════════════════════════ ❧  ═══════════════════════════

No comments: