The Spiral Stair

I’m eking these books out, very slowly. I love Joan Aiken’s short Arabel books, from across a distance of over 35 years. I’m all ready to read the next one, but might just be able to contain myself. Not sure, though.

The Spiral Stair is all about when Arabel and her raven Mortimer went to stay with Uncle Urk and Aunt Effie, because her father was having his various veins seen to. Her mother put her on the train, after checking with the bowler-hatted gentlemen in her compartment that they’d see her off safely at the stop for Lord Donisthorpe’s zoo. The way you did in those days. Leave your child in the care of two zoo thieves.

Joan Aiken and Quentin Blake, The Spiral Stair

Because that’s what they were, and it’s lucky that Arabel and Mortimer were staying at the zoo, and could keep most of the animals safe, with the help of Noah the Boa.

The doughnut machine was useful too, as was Lord Donisthorpe himself. The archetypal, elderly and lordly gent with an adventurous sense of humour.

And I imagine that Arabel’s dad’s veryclose veins were all the better for her little absence.

(There’s something so reassuringly, slightly crazy about Quentin Blake’s illustrations.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s