[78-L] "I must have some music to clear my brain"

Lloyd Davies all_my_linx at yahoo.ca.invalid
Fri Nov 6 11:49:53 PST 2020

Miss Madelyn Mack (c. 1910) was a fictional lady detective whom Hugh Greene 
considered a rival of Sherlock Holmes.  American author Hugh C Weir claimed 
to have based her on Mary Holland, a genuine detective of the day.
A defining character trait of Mack was her penchant for fine music on recordings.  
I will be posting her adventures on my website and would like to match her 
fictional listening habits with contemporary recordings, preferably ones available 
on the Internet.
Any recommendations would be appreciated:

Episode 01: The man with nine lives
   We had breakfasted late and leisurely. When at length we had finished, 
Madelyn had insisted on having her phonograph brought to the rosegarden, 
and we were listening to Sturveysant’s matchless rendering of “The Jewel 
Song” - one of the three records for which Miss Mack had sent the harpist 
her check for two hundred dollars the day before. I had taken the occasion 
to read her a lazy lesson on extravagance. The beggar had probably done 
the work in less than two hours!>>>

Episode 02: The missing bridegroom
   Madelyn pushed back her chair with a quick gesture of satisfaction. 
"How often must I tell you that nothing is trivial - in crime? That answer 
atones for all of your previous failures, Nora. You may go to the head of 
the class! No, not another word!" she interrupted as I stared at her. 
"I don't want to think or talk - now. I must have some music to clear my 
brain if I am to scatter these cobwebs!"
   I sank back with a sigh of resignation and watched her as she 
stepped across to the phonograph, resting on the cabinet of records 
in the corner. I knew from experience that she had veered into a mood 
in which I would have gained an instant rebuke had I attempted to press 
the case farther. Patiently or impatiently, I must await her pleasure to 
reopen our discussion.
   "What shall it be?" she asked almost gaily, with her nervous alertness 
completely gone as she stooped over the record-case. "How would the 
quartet from 'Rigoletto' strike your mood? I think it would be ideal, for my 
   From Verdi we circled to Donizetti's "Lucia," and then, in an odd 
whim, her hand drew forth a haphazard selection from "William Tell." 
It was the latter part of the ballet music, and the record was perhaps 
half completed when the door opened - we had not heard the bell - 
and Susan announced Adolph Van Sutton.
   Madelyn rose, but she did not stop the machine. Mr. Van Sutton 
plumped nervously into the seat that she extended to him, gazing with 
obvious embarrassment at her radiant face as she stood with her 
head bent forward and a faint smile on her lips, completely under the 
sway of Rossini's matchless music. 

   "Nora," said Madelyn. turning to me. "Would you mind starting 
the phonograph? I think that Rubinstein's 'Melody in F' would suit 
my mood perfectly. Thank you!">>>

Episode 05: The purple thumb

   I sighed resignedly. "What have you been doing all night?" I demanded.

   She jerked her head toward the Circassian-walnut phonograph at her 
   "Spending most of the time with half a dozen new records that Bartolli, 
the violinist, has just made for me. It took him about three hours, but he 
charged me six hundred dollars!" 

   "Nora, will you kindly start the phonograph for me? Put on the ballet 
music from 'Faust.' Thank you!">>>

- Lloyd in Calgary

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