Miss Benson's Beetle by Rachel Joyce

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 10:19am -- JGranatino

On a day too much like all the other days, Margery Benson snapped when a cartoon depicting her as a frumpy matron hit too close to home. Unable to get any support from her fellow teachers, she quit and stormed out, taking the PE teacher’s boots on the way. Facing humiliation and possible legal action for her petty theft, she decided the time was right to pursue her dream – discovering the elusive gold beetle of New Caledonia, a legend her father told her about when she was a little girl. She studied insects in earnest, knew the techniques necessary to capture and pin them and of course, she had her trusty guide book. Margery put an ad in the paper for an assistant, eventually hiring the flamboyant Enid Pretty in desperation, who obviously had no usable skills for the expedition. Enid also carries a mysterious locked red valise and is obsessed with news of a murder in London and of the suspicious wife now on the run.  As Margery and Enid fumble their way through the wilds of New Caledonia, they are followed by a sketchy former POW with PTSD who is convinced he should be leading the expedition, to the point of dispatching and replacing Margery’s assistant. And he’s catching up. Highly recommended for Rachel Joyce fans, with flawed, colorful characters completely out of their element.

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