I loved mysteries. I love the puzzle of figuring it out along with the heightened emotions surroundings it. One of the best for me is a book called Naked Once More by Elizabeth Peters. It’s a book I re-read every couple of years. Why you ask? Is it brilliant? No, not really. Oh don’t get me wrong, the writing and characters are above par for the genre. No, what I love is it features a smart woman creating another strong woman (one with feminist qualities to boot!) Most of all, I love encountering a cool librarian. Don’t get many of those, and Jacqueline Kirby sure made us look cool.
By the time we read the (sadly) last book, Jake metamorphosed into a writer of romantic fiction. How did that leap happen? All I can say is, read the series (see, shameless librarian). Anyway, she’s a writer who gets hired to write a sequel to a book called Naked In the Ice. The author went missing and has just been declared legally dead. A writing challenge, as the book proved both a critical and commercial success, AND a mystery to solve. How could she refuses?
Today, when feminism taking hold again, Jake deserves re-discovery. Why? Because she’s a mother to two children you know exist, and who start in the series in their late teens/early twenties, but never meet or hear much about. Nor do we know anything at all about their father. She exists in the now. Also, because she’s a middle aged woman who enjoys sex and handles her relationships like an adult. How about her obvious intelligence and wide-range of academic, popular culture, and other tidbits she gets stuck in her head. Oh, and the purse. What about the purse?
Jake always carries a huge bag stuffed with God knows what, weighs between five to ten pounds at any given moment and comes in handy as a weapon or if she needs tools. Somehow she makes the purse a statement piece, but not from a fashion standpoint. No, it represents a woman who takes on whatever life throws at her with brains and wit, and style if possible.
In short, she’s my idea of an ideal librarian, one whose standard I shot for but never achieved, and I still want to be her when I grow-up.