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 Post subject: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2018, 00:36 
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We head into the penultimate year of the series with this week’s book: Redheads at the Chalet School, first published in 1964 and covering the winter term following Jane. Fourteen year old Flavia ‘Copper’ Letton is forced to leave her High School and go into hiding at the Chalet School under her birth name of Flavia Ansell to avoid the attention of a criminal gang her detective stepfather is on the trail of. Notable events:

Detective Inspector Letton escorts Copper by train to Besançon, where she is to be met by two mistresses from the CS, at which she has been enrolled. He instructs Copper not to acknowledge him or say goodbye to him, and says she will learn in time why she is being sent away like this. He says she will be known as Flavia Ansell at school, not Flavia Letton, and must get used to it. He also gives her a note for Matron, instructing her to cut Copper’s long red pigtails off.
At Besançon, Copper is met by Miss Wilmot and Miss Ferrars, and they drive her to the school, showing her the sights along the way.
Copper finds herself placed in Upper IVa with Jack Lambert as her sheepdog, and after a couple of weeks feels fairly settled into CS life, getting used to the languages rule and finding herself up to standard in the work.
The Fourths join up with the St Hilda’s girls – now relocated to their own building at Ste Cecilie – and go on a ramble up to the Rösleinalp with Len, Rosamund, Ted, Miss Wilmot and Miss Ferrars. As the girls disembark from the mountain train, an American tourist stares at them, especially the red-haired girls such as Meg Walton, Val Gardiner and Copper. The same woman later approaches a group which includes Copper and is led by Len. She asks the way to the station, and Len directs her pleasantly, but instinct stops her giving away any information about the school when the woman makes some leading remarks about it.
As Len is leading her group back to meet the rest of the party, they encounter a viper in the middle of the path, and she kills it with a tree bough then tosses it into the bushes. When they rejoin the mistresses and the rest of the girls, she recounts both incidents, and Miss Ferrars and Miss Wilmot exchange glances when they hear about the American woman. Len sees it and wonders, and when they get off the mountain train back on the Platz, she spots the woman again.
Miss Wilmot and Miss Ferrars report the events of the ramble to the Head, who, after long consideration, decides to tell Flavia the truth about her relocation to the CS in order to put her on her guard. She sends for her and explains that her stepfather was largely responsible for a member of a criminal gang being hanged for murder, and that the rest have vowed to get him back where it hurts – through Copper. She has therefore been sent to the CS to more or less go into hiding. The Head warns her not to go off alone and to stick with as many people as possible when out, and to pay no heed to anyone attempting to lead her off, no matter what message they bring.
Upper IVa hold a meeting to discuss what they should do for the Saturday evening entertainment when it is their turn to host, and Copper proposes a miming play. Taking inspiration from her own situation, she suggests the story be about a man whose son is kidnapped and held for ransom by a gang. The girls are delighted with the idea and the story.
Upper IVa hold their play, but are disgusted when the audience roars with laughter at it instead of treating it as the thriller they had intended. Miss Ferrars explains that they had left it too late to decide what they were doing to rehearse properly, and so they over-exaggerated in places until it became farcical.
Gretchen von Ahlen develops toothache, and a tooth inspection is held which results in a group of girls, including Copper and Len, visiting Herr von Francius in Berne. They have Mittagessen at a restaurant, and afterwards go to a salon to wait for the school coach to pick them up. Two strangers walk in, and Len recognises one of them as the American woman from the Rösleinalp. The woman asks her if there is a Flavia Letton at the school, a girl with long red pigtails, as she is looking out for the daughter of a friend of hers whom she only knows is at school in Switzerland. Len, backed up by Matron Henschell who arrives in time to hear, tells her that there is no one by that name at the school.
Back at school, Matron asks Len for the full story, which Len gives, but Matron does not enlighten her any further, and reports the matter to the Head.
The next afternoon, the Head catches Len in the library and asks her to come to the study that evening to discuss what happened the previous day. Len is agog with curiosity, and even more so when she sees someone deliberately peering in through the library window. She is unable to see who it is until Gaudenz appears and challenges the stranger, and she realises that it is the American woman. Gaudenz escorts her off the premises, and Len is more curious than ever.
That evening, Len goes to the study, and Miss Annersley explains Copper’s situation to her. She warns Len against trying to emulate Jo’s exploits in Princess if anything should happen, but to fetch someone in authority instead.
Jo, who has thus far been away from the school thanks to an outbreak of chickenpox at Freudesheim followed by a visit to Montreux, arrives back and pays the Head a visit, bringing the news that Josette is engaged to the brother of a friend from Sydney University, and that Sybil is likely to follow suit shortly with a doctor’s son who is in the Australian Navy. The Head in turn tells her about Copper, and although Jo is unable to offer any fresh ideas, she does agree to take Copper and Barbara Hewlett for half term, and to host her new girls’ tea party in order to meet Copper properly. She also suggests the school get a dog as a guard.
Val Gardiner, kept in to redo her geography prep, is fetched by Prudence Dawbarn to go for a run around the playing fields as she has missed the walk. While Prudence goes to drop the work off at the staff room, Val gets into her outdoor things, then, fed up with waiting, sets off on her run alone. Prudence goes after her, but doesn’t know which way she has gone when she reaches the playing fields.
Val reaches the entrance to the motor road, which is off limits to everyone except Seniors, and runs into the American woman, who introduces herself as Mrs Borden and greets her as Flavia Letton, seeing her red hair. Val, who is in a naughty mood, plays along and pretends she is Flavia going by the name Val, until Prudence arrives and sends her back inside.
Jo comes along just then with the twins in the pram and runs into Mrs Borden, who asks her more questions about Copper and the school, mentioning that she thinks she goes by the name Valentine or Valerie now. Jo, well on her guard, answers vaguely and gets away as soon as she could. Wondering what put her onto the name Valentine, she suddenly remembers Val Gardiner and her red hair, and hurries to warn the Head. However, just then the alarm is raised; Val is missing.
Val, smarting from having to report herself for running off from Prudence, decides to sneak off to the San to see her brother Peter, in whom she has been confiding a lot recently. When she gets there, however, she finds that he is in the X-ray room, and she dares not wait for him. She starts back by the mountain wall path through the pine woods, but soon tires and stops outside a chalet to rest. The door opens a man comes out. Seeing her and her red hair, he invites her inside with an offer to run her back to school, and something in his face frightens Val into obeying.
The man gives Val a glass of milk spiked with a sleeping draught, then wraps her up in a rug and drives her to Berlin, where he has contacts. They arrive there three days later, where Mrs Borden is waiting. She recognises Val, whom she now knows through enquiries is not Copper but a relative of one of the San patients.
Copper, meanwhile, has been feeling horribly guilty, believing that it is her fault Val has disappeared. Jack notices how down she is, and Copper ends up giving her a brief outline of her story. Jack consoles her with the remark that as Val had her outdoor things on when she vanished, she must have been breaking rules by being out of bounds, therefore it is largely her own fault that she was snatched, and certainly not Copper’s. She then remembers that Val had been in a lot of trouble that morning, and that when she is in trouble she goes to see Peter at the San. They dash off to tell the Head about their hunch.
Val, still drugged, is returned after six days, when a Mr Barr brings her to the school, having found her left in his compartment on the Paris-Basle train after he vacated it for a few minutes, with a note pinned to her stating she be returned to the Chalet School. As Mr Barr was heading to the San to visit a patient there anyway, he decided to bring her himself. It transpires that not only is he an old acquaintance of Jack Maynard’s, but he is also working with Inspector Letton and is stunned to learn that Copper is at the CS, and that Val was mistaken for her.
When Jack and Miss Annersley return to Mr Barr in the study after assuring themselves that Val is all right, Mr Barr shows them a paragraph in one of the newspapers he had been reading. The article states that the notorious drug trafficker Heinie Mannstein and his wife Louella – Val’s kidnapper and Mrs Borden – have been found shot dead in Western Pomerania, presumably by the head of their gang, known only as The Boss.
Val soon comes round and is treated coolly by everyone, as it has been agreed not to make too much fuss of her because of her disobedience. She is sent to the study where Miss Annersley drags the full story out of her, and tells her that her experience was her own fault, as it would never have happened if she hadn’t run off. She impresses upon the horrified Val, who has been as much of a problem as Prudence Dawbarn since her arrival, that she is on her last chance at the school and will be expelled if she doesn’t improve.
Half-term approaches, and Miss Annersley receives a telegram to say that Inspector Letton will be coming to visit on the Friday. Feeling uneasy about letting Copper go to Zurich with the rest of her form, she arranges with Jo that she spend the day at Freudesheim instead.
The Friday arrives and the girls go to Freudesheim. Miggi, one of the maids, ushers in a man calling himself Inspector Letton, but when the door closes he instead turns a gun on the Head and reveals that he is looking for Flavia Letton. The Head repeatedly states the school does not have a girl of that name, but the scene is interrupted by Copper herself, Len and Bruno, who come up to the window, see what is happening and dive in to help. They, along with Rosalie, Gaudenz and the real Inspector Letton, who turns up in the middle of the scrimmage, manage to subdue the man – Manley, aka The Boss.
Copper sustains a broken collar bone, Rosalie is punched on the nose and Len is left bruised and aching from restraining Bruno, but otherwise nobody is hurt, although the Head, who has been strained all term, is badly shaken. She tells Len off for jumping in to the rescue with no regard for her safety, but thanks her as well.
The Inspector takes Manley off to England, then returns to explain the full story to an audience of Copper, Len, Jo, Matron and the Head. He explains that many years ago, his grandfather was a judge who sentenced a crooked policeman called Manley to fifteen years of hard labour, forging in him a hatred of the law, and especially the Lettons. He had three grandsons – Sam, Heinie and Walter, who all grew up to be as criminal as their father and grandfather before them. Walter was the brother who was caught by Inspector Letton and hanged for his crimes, causing Sam and Heinie to swear revenge. Heinie and his wife were shot by Sam after messing up over Val, and Sam was the gunman caught in the study, and the head of the gang. By an unlucky coincidence he had infiltrated the police force and forged a rivalry with Inspector Letton which the arrest of Walter had capped. He was the leak which had allowed the gang to find out that Copper was at school in Switzerland. Before he can stand trial for his crimes, however, he dies in a prison hospital from a long-standing illness, which the fracas in the study had accelerated.
Copper and her stepfather spend a week on holiday at Die Blumen at the Tiernsee, and Copper returns to school in time for the giving out of the Christmas play, written by Jo, with the principal part played by Jane Carew. The term ends with the play’s performance, which is a great success.

So, thoughts on Redheads? What do you think of EBD’s attempt at a school story thriller? Thoughts on Copper? What about Val’s kidnapping and the gang’s various attempts at trying to get hold of Copper? Thoughts on the showdown in the Head’s study?

May I just say how awesome Gaudenz is in this book? :D I've also learned a new expression: 'careful dragooning'. As for the rest...what on earth had EBD been reading/watching when she wrote this? I mean, points for trying something original, and I do like Copper, but it was a bit out there. Heinie just assumes that Val is the right girl and kidnaps her because she has red hair? And puts a train ticket into her pocket when he returns her so that the railway isn't cheated out of a fare, even though he's a hardened criminal? Come on!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2018, 01:52 
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I know there are a lot of coincidences in this book and it is a bit mad but I enjoyed it. I liked Flavia and I liked her stepfather and his great concern for her and their bond.

Bringing murder and hanging into the book was a bit different for EBD. It must have been around the time that hanging was banned in Britain and I wonder was that the reason EBD brought it to the forefront.

It might have been a bit yeuch but I do like EBD's compassion at the end of the book when she had sympathy for the bad guy.

I am not a great fan of Val Gardiner but I don't think what she did in going to see her brother when she was in trouble was so very bad. She was also very fond of him and he had been very ill. I would have thought she might have got a bit of sympathy and understanding anyway on that score as might other girls in the same position.

The CS at that point must also have been like a prison so little freedom had the girls. It is interesting it had to take a visit to the dentist to get the girls away from the Platz. In earlier years at least they got some freedom to go shopping.

Turning to other parts of the book, it was a bit hard on Madge two of her daughters marrying Australians. I would also have liked to have seen more of Rosamund as head girl and her feelings on being in this role.

Len also does not work for me in a main person role. She is not a leader and she is so perfect it is unbelievable.

On the whole, a good book though.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2018, 02:02 
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I will scream this on my death bed - IT WAS NOT VAL'S FAULT SHE WAS KIDNAPPED.

Deep breath.

Yes, I am overly invested in this storyline. But it simply makes no sense. Miss Annersley mishandles the entire situation right from the beginning.

To me, the only reason you would NOT call the police is because Miss Annersley knows damn well she shouldn't have accepted Copper as a student and endangered other girls.

And calling the police would also highlight the lack of proper supervision at the school. Joey even tells Miss Annersley point blank that they need to keep a closer eye on red headed girls and Val was allowed to blithely walk out of the school gates.

Why didn't Val's mother call the police? Did the school ask her not too and told her they were handling it?

And EBD totally slurs over the part about Miss Annersley telling Val's mother exactly WHY Val was taken.

Or did her mum accept the excuse that Val was taken because she just happened to be outside the school property and FOR NO OTHER REASON.

Or at least for no other reason that Miss Annersley wants to explain. And she was kind of hoping the kidnappers would realise their mistake and return Val voluntarily rather than just kill the girl. So for SIX days she lets Mrs Gardiner and the school be in agony wondering what had happened to Val.

Presumably it was all to avoid having this conversation: "You've known all term that a nutter was after red haired girls and you deliberately chose NOT to tell me!?" screams Mrs Gardiner as she dials her lawyer.

And unbelievably Miss Annersley also has a go at the man who has a sleeping Val wished on him for not calling the school sooner! Come to think of it, if you had a drugged child dumped on you, wouldn't you call the police and let them handle it?

Sorry for all the shouting but I detest the way the Val kidnapping was handled to blame the poor girl.

And the extremely convoluted story Insp Lenton tells is so confusing, I gave up trying to keep track of all the names.

And such lovely kidnappers who have guns that don't shoot and buy train tickets for girls they accidentally kidnap. :D

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Last edited by Joyce on 06 Feb 2018, 10:00, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2018, 08:46 
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I love the fact that it's Gaudenz, rather than a doctor, who gets to be the hero!

It's a rather silly story - the fact that the kidnappers give Val rich, creamy milk, and put her train ticket in her pocket as obviously a bunch of people who were OK with kidnapping and drugging a child wouldn't dream of fare-dodging - but it has the merit of being a bit different. I agree that Miss Annersley is very harsh towards Val, though.

I'm sorry that Sybil and Josette are both shoved out of the way - although I like to think that they were both very happy. We got a description of Daisy's wedding and one of Peggy's wedding, and I suppose it would have got a bit much to have had every single MBR clan wedding in detail, but we hear next to nothing about Sybil's wedding (in Adrienne), which the Maynards don't even go to, and we aren't even told when either Josette's wedding or Primula's wedding is taking place. The Russells are completely sidelined, and that's one of my biggest bugbears about the Swiss books.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2018, 13:14 
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I also like this book, on the whole. It is nice to see a new girl who likes science, rather than being artistic and Jack Lambert comes across more like the girl I think EBD meant her to be (rather than the nasty bully she was in 'Jane'). The point about the kidnappers buying Val a train ticket had never occurred to me before, but it is quite comical. The fact that Samuel Manley doesn't hang but meets 'a greater judge' is very typical Chalet School. Does anyone know what set EBD off on this track? Were thrillers for children the next big thing when this was written?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2018, 16:20 
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It's a sort of modernisation of Princess, isn't it? But whereas Princess works on its own level, Redheads is a farrago of nonsense, first to last! Even with Aquabird's excellent precis, I still can't quite get the back story, and the Val element has me seething in its unfairness in the same way Eustacia's adventures did in Tyrol. The book is just too silly for me, which is a shame because Flavia has the makings of a good CS character.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2018, 18:09 
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Just checked and the last hanging in Britain took place in 1964 which was the year this book was published. There was bound to have been a lot of talk and it presumably went through Acts of Parliament too so I wonder if this got EBD onto the Redheads track?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2018, 18:16 
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The last chapter with the backstory about Inspector Letton's grandfather is unnecessarily confusing. All EBD needed was some criminal to swear revenge against Letton for putting him/a loved one away and boom, there's the motive. The generational feud doesn't enrich the story. EBD goes on a spree of long-lost connections in the Swiss books and I feel this is somehow part of that, but I struggle to figure out how.

I do rather like this book though, and I give EBD props for trying something different. The part where Heinie and Lou are found executed in the woods is unexpectedly grim, and the plot to turn Copper into a drug addict is a sinister idea.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2018, 21:54 
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I liked this book but the whole val kidnapping thing was very strange.
She is kidnapped , drugged , with the possibility of being made a drug addict and it's all her fault because she broke bounds, her mother is even ordered not to make a fuss of her, nowadays she would be in counselling / therapy , families would be suing left right and centre, questions asked in Parliament, but Miss Annersley shuts the whole situation down . :roll:


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2018, 22:16 
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This was the very last book of the series I acquired and I really wish I hadn't bothered, other than for completeness. I have no idea what EBD was on when she wrote it. Heavy painkillers perhaps?

Talk about a hop-out-of-kin!

I really can't see that it wasn't Val's fault that she was kidnapped. Had she obeyed the rules, then she wouldn't have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. I also don't think that her mother would have even thought of suing the school. And schools were prisons in those days and we thought nothing of it.

The whole police/crooks thing is to me silly beyond belief.

Rant over!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2018, 22:43 
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I don't see that there'd have been any justification for suing the school anyway. It wasn't their fault that Val wandered off: she wasn't a toddler who should have needed constant supervision. And, even if she'd had permission to be out of school, the kidnappers would still have been around, and the school wasn't responsible for who else was nearby.

I'm very uncomfortable with the school blaming Val, though. It's like saying that it's someone's fault that they were abducted because they shouldn't have been out after dark, or they shouldn't have been walking about on their own. If you run off to climb a mountain on your own, like Grizel did, then, OK, you're putting yourself in danger, but I can't see that anyone could reasonably have expected there to be a gang of kidnappers, looking for a girl with red hair, roaming the quiet, isolated Gornetz Platz :roll: .

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2018, 22:48 
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Alison H wrote:
I don't see that there'd have been any justification for suing the school anyway. It wasn't their fault that Val wandered off: she wasn't a toddler who should have needed constant supervision. And, even if she'd had permission to be out of school, the kidnappers would still have been around, and the school wasn't responsible for who else was nearby.

I'm very uncomfortable with the school blaming Val, though. It's like saying that it's someone's fault that they were abducted because they shouldn't have been out after dark, or they shouldn't have been walking about on their own. If you run off to climb a mountain on your own, like Grizel did, then, OK, you're putting yourself in danger, but I can't see that anyone could reasonably have expected there to be a gang of kidnappers, looking for a girl with red hair, roaming the quiet, isolated Gornetz Platz :roll: .


And they can't really blame her for taking glasses of milk from strangers when the Chalet girls are ALWAYS taking milk from strangers!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Feb 2018, 23:18 
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I like Copper and her relationship with her Dad. She's one of those nice, sensible, ordinary girls, in the Kat Gordon/Jo Scott style. I hope she gets her scholarship, even if she isn't academically brilliant. She's the kind of girl who'd be an asset to the school; a dependable prefect, when the time comes.

EBD gives us a range of step-family relationships, with the Cochranes at the other extreme. On the whole I think she presents step-families favourably - we have the Christies, the Trelawney-Careys, and now the Lettons.

I don't mind the daft plot. It's no dafter than some things that were on tv in the '60s, and aimed at adults!

What I don't like is that there are so many things we don't get - no classroom scenes, no pranks or mishaps, no prefects meetings, nothing about Rosamund as Head Girl, no staffroom scenes, no Nell Wilson, barely any role for any girl who isn't Copper, Jack or Len. There's lots of Len, a small part for Con, and Margot doesn't appear until the end, and then barely.

And does this whole book go by with no mention of Mary Lou???

If I was Madge, I wouldn't be too happy about Josette's engagement either. She's only just turned eighteen (so younger even than Len is when she gets engaged), and she's planning to get married and settle down on the opposite side of the world from most of her family, with a man nine years older than she is who must be her first serious boyfriend, if not her first boyfriend of any kind.

Josette's age is correct here, but it makes nonsense of her having been Head Girl two years before - she'd have been only just sixteen when she was appointed. If EBD had to have Josette and Maeve as HGs, they should at least have been the other way round, with Maeve before Josette.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 07 Feb 2018, 00:55 
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Yes, EBD really messed around with Josette's age but she is just over a year older than the triplets so she would be 18 at the time of Redheads.

In Wins the Trick i.e. in Josette's last term as head girl EBD specifies that she will be 17 shortly and Maeve is a year older. Maeve was actually older than Josette but EBD then spoils it a few pages later by saying Josette will be 18 in the September.

I liked reading about the back story of the criminals.

I don't think Miss Annersley shines quite as much as usual in this book. I don't have the book to hand but does she not dismiss one of the incidents regarding the gangsters i.e. when one of them is nosing around the library and Len reports it?

It does seem with this book that we get the bare bones and none of the usual extras that help to make the books ( some of them!) so enjoyable.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 07 Feb 2018, 01:29 
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In Wins the Trick i.e. in Josette's last term as head girl EBD specifies that she will be 17 shortly and Maeve is a year older.

EBD gets in a real muddle with Head Girls at this time. Josette was too young and Maeve was too old.

I don't know how they justified appointing Josette as HG when she was only just sixteen, when there must have been girls at the school who were nearly eighteen.

Maeve is, or should be, more like two years older than Josette. At the beginning of Exile, so in February 1938, we're told that Second Twins are toddling around, or words to that effect, so they're at least year old, if not older, then. They must have been going on two when Josette was born in autumn of '38.

The triplets came a year after Josette, so Maeve is around three years older than them, which would mean she turned nineteen sometime early in her year as Head Girl.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 07 Feb 2018, 03:42 
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Maeve and Maurice are actually a bare four years younger than Rix and Peggy. Mollie tells Jo she is pregnant with what turns out to be the younger twins, when she and Dick give Jo a typewriter for her 18th birthday.

In Peggy Maeve is only about 10 but she should have been 12.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 07 Feb 2018, 09:09 
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Location: Manchester
I don’t mind a 16 year old HG - Peggy, Jo herself, quite a few girls were that age. Disbarring the Special Sixth (and later sending all the oldest girls to St Mildreds) should mean girls are Head in the year they become 17 rather than the year they become 18.

However. EBD then mixes herself up about St Mildreds, and it becomes a finishing year after school rather than a specialist final year. And then she starts having 18 year old HGs again. So by the time we get to Josette it seems odd and wrong that she should be so young.

EBD was inconsistent. Who knew :D ?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 07 Feb 2018, 16:55 
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Having a say in the Sale theme
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Joined: 19 Jan 2004, 21:07
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Location: Cambridgeshire
Sorry, I could never get the hang of this book, it was all far too confusing for me, plot, characters, the lot.

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A certain edge when she spoke of Mrs Maynard, certainly, but, after all, not everyone could love Joey.
'Life,' said Marvin, 'don't talk to me about life!'


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 07 Feb 2018, 17:58 
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Attending the Fifth Form Evening
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Joined: 04 Jan 2012, 06:47
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It's true that Val wouldn't have been kidnapped had she stayed in school ... but being kidnapped and drugged is a harsh consequence for breaking a rule! I think the head could have acknowledged the nuances of the situation rather than blaming Val for what happened to her. I also think being kidnapped and dosed entitles you to a bit of fuss and petting.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Redheads at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 07 Feb 2018, 18:13 
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Joined: 08 Feb 2005, 15:50
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Perhaps she didn't want Val to think she'd done something special and spread the details far and wide among her pals. And she'd had a shock herself...

But then it strikes me that Hilda isn't Hilda in these last books - certainly not the Hilda of the Armishire period. It's as though EBD created these two strong people, made them Heads, and then had no idea how to continue their career - so split them up, and disappeared one into the wilds of St Mildred's and made the other a rather dictatorial person, even a bit of a cross-patch, which she wasn't earlier. What happened to her famed understanding of her pupils? I think this - and the other later books - is where EBD's gifts are shown to be fading...

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