Unlike the Pittsburgh Symphony Book Club, which is a part of my job as a music librarian, my other book club is an outside of work affair. I know, one would think we librarians would get enough book learnin’ at work, but sometimes we need a little more on the side. And my private club reads non-music books so it’s different from my work responsibilities. Therefore, I was caught unawares when a music item came across my desk and seemingly spoiled a book for me.
For my private club, we’re currently reading Wilkie Collins’ 1860 novel “The Woman in White.” It’s a big book (my library copy is 609 pages), but once you get going, it’s an intriguing page-turner with seemingly polite gentlemen conspiring to seize a lady’s fortune. It’s a mystery told from multiple perspectives and one doesn’t know who’s manipulating whom and who might be victimized.
Back to my desk and the scene of the crime. I had the CD to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “The Woman in White” in my hand and just as I was realizing that it was based on the Wilkie Collins book, I flipped over the case, and saw a song titled “_____ Tells of _____’s Death.” Oh, noooooooo! I was only a third of the way through the book and I didn’t want to know beforehand who might die!
Then, the next day at lunch, I was putting the book on my book stand when I accidentally saw a blurb before the inside title page that said, “…The Woman in White is also famous for introducing, in the figure of _____ _____, the prototype of the suave, sophisticated evil genius.” Argh! I had intentionally skipped the introduction so that the story wouldn’t be ruined beforehand, but the two-sentence blurb had lashed out at me like a snake.
Luckily, there have been enough twists and turns in the plot to keep things very interesting and I now am less than a hundred pages from the end. Until I get there, please shield my eyes, fill my ears with wax, and tie me to the mast of the ship. I want to get to the end of the book without any more spoilers!