In-Laws and Out-Laws

Posted by: Anonymous

In-Laws and Out-Laws - 07/27/99 10:08 AM

I started this Barbara Paul mystery last night and was amazed, this week of all weeks, to have picked out a story about a multi-member, strongly connected, wealthy family with a home on Martha's Vineyard, which has suffered multiple deaths. Though I don't suppose the Kennedys were consciously in your mind, Barbara?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 07/28/99 11:12 PM

No, but they should have been. I ought to have known that people would read "powerful New England family" and think Kennedys. It's a natural association, and I should have foreseen that. I wish now I'd set the story in California and sent them all off to Catalina instead of Martha's Vineyard.

Oh well.
Posted by: Jon

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 07/29/99 11:45 AM

Years ago, Barbara, before this book appeared, I remember reading an interview with you (was it in The Drood Review?) where you said that this was what you were working on, that it had been sparked by seeing the phrase "Death Elsewhere" in a paper, that that was your title for the novel, and you might possibly change it once you were done. And indeed, you did change it. I think both are terrific titles (I so admire your gift for memorable titles -- I'm terrible even at thinking up decent headlines for my articles); do you recall what led you to pick one over the other?

This book also uses one of my favorite literary devices. For those who've not yet read In-Laws and Outlaws, I won't say what it is (though it's not really central to the mystery in this case), but it puts Barbara in the company of Christie, Collins, Ishiguro, Ford, James, and many more.
Posted by: Barbara

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 07/29/99 04:08 PM

At first I really liked Death Elsewhere because it struck me as such an odd heading in an obituary column; it jumped right off the page at me. As if all death could be divided into two categories, death here and death elsewhere.

But as I got farther into the book, it struck me that the phrase "Death Elsewhere" was noticeable only in its original context; as the title of a mystery novel, it sounded like 600 other mystery titles. There was no image to remember, no wordplay to stick in the mind. I've been grumbling for years about the interchangeability of most mystery titles (many of which are editor-selected, not writer-selected; for a long time, editors were more interested in selling the genre than the individual work). I was afraid Death Elsewhere was going to fall into that bottomless well of generic titles, so at the last minute I opted for In-laws and Outlaws -- which at least has a different sound to it.

So different, in fact, that the editor of the English edition objected; she said "outlaws" made her think of cowboys. She ingenuously suggested Death Elsewhere -- "You know, from the obituary column?" I allowed myself to be talked into it, heh. So in the end I wound up with both titles.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 07/29/99 07:55 PM

Isn't that funny? The whole time I was reading it, I thought "I wonder why she didn't use Death Elsewhere for her title."
Posted by: Jon

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 07/30/99 10:10 AM

Thanks for the explanation. It's certainly true that even a casual reader who's aware of title changes (between UK and US, for instance) notices how often "Death" or "Murder" gets added during a transatlantic crossing. Christie and Barnard are two that can drive a person nuts in this respect -- sometimes buying the same book twice (nice for the author, if not the reader).

Now, what's the story with Good King Sauerkraut becoming Lord of Misrule?
Posted by: Kay

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 07/30/99 10:29 PM

I should give Barbara a chance to answer, but when I saw that, I said, "Of course!"

Good King Sauerkraut, the corrupted version of the Christmas carol, was a standard part of Walt Kelly's Pogo, and those of us who were Pogo people ( I still have a little figure of Porky Pine standing on my desk to remind be "don't take live serious, it ain't no how permanent") probably still sing those goofy words to that tune.

I would guess that the lovable little possum from the Okeefenokee Swamp and his friends never made it across the big pond.

Andrew, et al, am I right about that?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 07/30/99 10:34 PM

That's the reason I was given, that the reference wouldn't mean anything in England. The German publishers, however, liked the title just the way it was and didn't even translate it into German. English title, German text.
Posted by: Kay

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 08/01/99 05:17 PM

Der Gut Koenig Sauerkraut?

mit Schnitzel?

Posted by: Barbara

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 08/01/99 06:59 PM

Servitur cum sinapio.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 08/02/99 04:00 AM

I don't think Pogo has ever made it over here, and Good King Sauerkraut certainly means nothing to me. An American friend is a fan, however, so I have just about heard of Okeefenokee.

"Outlaws" to me suggests not cowboys but the gang in the William books of Richmal Crompton. Did they make the journey across the Atlantic in the other direction?
Posted by: Jon

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 08/02/99 11:37 AM

As far as I'm aware, the William books are unknown here. When they're referred to in passing in one of the modern-day scenes in Arcadia, 3 of the 6 productions I've seen changed the reference to something similar, as the title is totally unfamiliar in the US.

It's odd about Good King Sauerkraut -- although I grew up on Pogo in the Sunday funnies, I don't remember this bit and Barbara's title made sense to me as a wacky variation on the familiar phrase, even without thinking of Pogo.

I do however remember (most) of the other Pogo carol:

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
  [Line I can't recall]
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
  Polly-wolly cauliflower alley-ga-roo!
Posted by: Barbara

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 08/02/99 12:19 PM

"Good King Sauerkraut went out, on his feets uneven..." I think there was only one more line (or maybe three); Kelly never did finish it. And the words to "Boston Charlie" can be found here.

I'm disappointed no one picked up on my Servitur cum sinapio.


2nd stanza:

The boar's head, I understand,
Is chief service in this land.
Wheresoever it may be found
  Servitur cum sinapio.

Translation: "It is served with mustard." Which seemed appropriate to talk about bratwurst and sauerkraut.
Posted by: Kay

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 08/03/99 04:54 PM

The opening line of the Pogo carol is
"Good King Sauerkraut
LOOK OUT!!!!!!

I am not sure that there is much more after the "feet's uneven" but I am sure about the LOOK OUT, shouted as a warning, because Walt Kelly himself told me that was the way to sing it.

AS for Deck Us All With Boston Charlie.....well, I think Stolzi may actually have all the words....I bellieve she was the one who sent them to be way back in Genie days.

If I have them still it is on a floppy somewhere at home.

This is what I can remember:

Deck us all with Boston Charlie
Swaller dollar cauliflower alligaroo
Nora's freezin on the trolley
Walla Walla Wash and kalamazoo
Don't we know archaic barrel
Golly Molly don't love Harold

Oh, Mary, are you back yet?
Posted by: Barbara

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 08/03/99 05:26 PM

There's a link to the "Boston Charlie" words upstream, in the Boar's Head Carol post.
Posted by: Kay

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 08/03/99 10:12 PM

Checked the link and I suspect that after the second, or perhaps the third, verse, the lyrics are not authentic Kelly....who, of course, is dead and cannot be contacted on the subject.

But it was good to see all the gang again, and be reminded of Louisville Lou....
Posted by: Kay

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 08/03/99 10:27 PM

a memory jog:

"Good King Sauerkraut
On his feets uneven
Where the snoo lay round and bout"

At which point Pogo, RacketyCoonChild and the other chorusters are interrupted by, I think, Porky Pine, who asks:

"What's snoo?"

And Albert Alligator replies (Oh, Kelly, how could you?)

"Not much....what's new with you?"
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: In-Laws and Out-Laws - 08/08/99 09:09 AM

My recollections are

Good king Sauerkraut looked out
On his feets uneven,
Twixt the snoo lay round about,
All kerchoo achievin'...


Deck us all with Boston Charlie
Walla Walla Wash, and Kalamazoo -
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-ga-roo.

Don't we know archaic barrel,
Lullaby Lilla boy Louisville Lou,
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

I looked at the webpage and the only line that sounds right - I think he put it in somewhere, sometime - is

"Bark us all bow-wows of folly."

Beauregard T. Bugleboy probably started it that way and was shouted down by the others!

Over here, Andrew, cowboys' chief business in fiction seems to be hunting outlaws (also known jocularly as "owlhoots") -- seldom do they take time to herd any cows.

[This message has been edited by Stolzi (edited 08-08-99).]