In the thirteenth part of Maskerade, I’M NOT READY. I AM NOT READY AT ALL. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld.
I THOUGHT I KNEW WHAT WAS HAPPENING. I WAS WRONG.
SHE KNEW. I KNEW. I WAS SO READY TO ACCEPT THIS. All the pieces fit… except a huge part didn’t fit. Agnes knew it, but I wondered if her denial made it harder for her to believe the truth. If Walter was the Ghost, then he had to be the killer, even if it meant that she couldn’t fathom him being a murderer. If something is uncomfortable, that doesn’t make it untrue.
You know what does make it untrue? Observable reality. Reality that isn’t a trick, reality that stands right in front of Christine and Agnes, that bows to them, that wears a white mask and holds a black cane with a sword in it. When the Ghost showed up, I figured that Walter realized that Agnes had put all the pieces together and wanted to make sure she kept quiet. Had he heard her tell Christine? Probably so.
And even then, Agnes still makes a last ditch effort to empathize with him:
“You want to be something else and you’re stuck with what you are,” said Agnes. “I know all about that. You’re lucky. All you have to do is put on a mask. At least you’re the right shape.”
Maybe it would work? I thought. Maybe she would reach Walter and he’d feel less alone and maybe he’d remove the mask and maybe he –
The Ghost lowered the sword, opened a door in a piece of scenery painted to represent a castle wall, bowed ironically and slipped away.
Walter rounded a corner.
NO. NO! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE. HOW CAN THAT – oh my god.
Walter isn’t the Ghost. WALTER ISN’T THE GHOST.
Pratchett doesn’t just include new characters for the sake of it. Remember when I thought Henry Slugg was just a silly vignette? So I’m expecting that Henry and his mother aren’t just here for the humor, though I did love all the commentary on the absurdity of theater etiquette and culture.
I’VE GOT MY EYES ON THEM.
A Night at the Opera
I’m so glad I have more of this book left because I cannot get enough of Granny and Nanny at the opera. THEY ARE SUCH A DELIGHT. But it’s not just them, of course. The surprise appearance of Corporal Nobbs and Detritus is SUCH A TREAT, especially since they are both clearly the worst people to send to be undercover at the opera. I bet Angua would have been a lot better at it. NO MATTER. One of the things that makes me so excited about what to come is that Pratchett has populated the theater with variables. It’s the set-up not just for a great resolution of the mystery, but as a way to maximize just how chaotic and hilarious this is going to be.
There’s Greebo, who is only as dependable as there is food to keep him distracted. (And if Granny is pulled away from Box Eight, who’s to say Greebo won’t go off on his own?) Nobby and Detritus are also there, being the worst at disguises, and probably drunk off whatever Nanny gave him. (Which is still a little creepy for my tastes. There’s a lot of casual drugging in this book.) There’s the Librarian manning the organ, and André is off doing… I don’t actually know. Guiding the orchestra? Mr. Salzella and Mr. Bucket are most certainly going to play a huge part in this, too. What about Señor Basilica??? Can’t forget him either! AND DON’T FORGET THE CHANDELIER, TOO.
But none of these characters provide the actual start of the night’s endless chaos. It’s Mrs. Plinge who sets everything into action. Now I understand why Nanny inched her way into the staff unofficially: she wanted to get as close to Mrs. Plinge so that she could observer her reactions after it was revealed that someone bought Box Eight for the night. And you know what? I didn’t expect this:
The old woman’s hand came up holding a bottle of champagne and then came down hard in an effort to launch the SS Gytha Ogg onto the seas of unconsciousness. The bottle bounced.
Then Mrs. Plinge leapt past and scuttled away, her polished little black boots twinkling.
JESUS CHRIST, WHAT IS GOING ON. Oh, I knew what this was: Mrs. Plinge was well aware that she needed to warn the Ghost that someone was in his box. She knew the Ghost’s identity, and she is about to lead Nanny straight to the culprit.
THE OPERA HAS BEGUN AND MY SOUL ISN’T READY!!!
Diane Duane is still offering a massive discount on the first 9 books in the Young Wizards series just to this community, so please take advantage of this deal while you still can:
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