Friday, 4 September 2009

Time to post the answers to the quiz. To save you having to switch between posts I will repeat the questions as well.

1. In which book does the reader first make the acquaintance of Peter Duck’s cave?
"Swallowdale", Arthur Ransome. Most people got Ransome, though some guessed either "Swallows and Amazons" or (perhaps unsurprisingly) "Peter Duck". One lone individualist suggested Beatrix Potter ...

2. These two doomed lovers unwittingly drink a love potion, with tragic consequences since the woman is about to marry another man. What are their names?
Tristan and Isolde (or Tristram and Iseult). "Morte d'Arthur", Thomas Malory. Not Romeo and Juliet as some people thought.

3. A chance encounter at a railway station leads to the hero being entrusted with a magical device which can produce, among other things, armies of miniature soldiers. What was it, and what was his name?
A magic box, Kay Harker. "Box of Delights", John Masefield

4. What does Justine lead us into, and what is unusual about the story which follows?
"Justine" is the first volume of the "Alexandria Quartet" by Lawrence Durrell. Much of the story which follows is told not sequentially as one might expect, but looks repeatedly at the same events from the viewpoint of different characters.

5. Who rings a long and complicated peal of bells at short notice one New Year’s Eve, and how does a subsequent flood help him solve a deadly mystery?
Peter Wimsey. "The Nine Tailors", Dorothy L. Sayers. Subsequently taking refuge from a flood in the bell tower, he realises that the dead man was in fact killed by the sound of the bells.

6. Which former army officer, who at one time advertised himself in “The Times” as being ready to resort to crime “if of a comparatively humorous description”, plays a key role in suppressing a plot to manufacture synthetic diamonds?
Bulldog Drummond. "The Third Round", Sapper. Raffles was a popular choice here, but the give-away is in the wording of the newspaper advertisement if you know your snobbery with violence.

7. Who proposes marriage to the wrong sister on an impulse, and finally seeks to undo his mistake by committing arson?
Mr Polly. "The History of Mr Polly", H.G. Wells.

8. Which book opens with a celebrated author in bed with his catamite when visited by an archbishop in honour of his 81st birthday?
"Earthly Powers", Anthony Burgess

9. Who bribes a milkman to lend him his uniform in order to run away to Scotland, leaving a stabbed corpse in his flat upstairs?
Richard Hannay, "The Thirty-Nine Steps", John Buchan. This was the only question that everybody got right!

10. Which two young men use the severed covers of a bible to brush a swarm of insects off the body of a naked English lady?
Harry and Fleury. "The Siege of Krishnapur", J.G. Farrell. Only one person got this right and since she's my wife and knows my bookshelves almost as well as I do, I'm not sure she counts. Shame on the rest of you, since this won the Booker Prize.

(Trumpets off. Enter a herald, booted.) I always loved that stage direction. When I first read it at the age of about ten I assumed it meant somebody was kicked onto the stage. Anyway ...

Absolutely nobody got maximum points. Nor did anyone get the name of all ten books. Perhaps my selection of reading matter was too eccentric. Closest by far was the novelist Jim Murdoch, whose own book blog, The Truth About Lies is well worth a visit. One of Jim's books is reviewed on my blog already, with another to follow shortly.

Thank you to everyone who responded. I will try another quiz later in the year.

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