Monday, April 20, 2020

Quarantine House - Jungle Reds Literary Edition


JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: It’s all over social media - Quarantine House! I’ve seen versions with members of K-Pop groups, British Conservative politicians, historical figures and, of course, the characters from Friends. But this is Jungle Red Writers, and we are all about the novels. 

So, Reds, what fictional characters would you choose to share your quarantine, ah, quarters, and why? Let’s keep it to two or three, so nobody gets to grab Darcy, Mr. Knightly, Hayley Snow’s mom and the dad from Swiss Family Robinson. Movie characters are cheating, unless it’s an adaptation of a book.

First off, I’ll want Jeeves, from PG Wodehouse’s wonderful stories. Jeeves can cook a delicious meal, shake up a perfect cocktail, mend clothes, clean the flat, and can handle any emergency. My house would probably kill him, but I’m willing to take the risk. Second, Mina Yetner, from Hallie’s THERE WAS AN OLD WOMAN. She’s sharp, has great stories, and would probably be happy to spend the afternoon playing cards and doling out good advice. Finally, Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, from Lois McMaster Bujold’s fabulous Vorkosigan series. Cordelia is well-known for keeping her head even when others are losing theirs, and she always struck me as the perfect woman friend, someone you’d love to put your feet up with and chat until the cows, or the butter bugs, come home.

Reds, who are your picks?




RHYS BOWEN: I’ll settle for my Lady Georgie’s Darcy! He’s not as stuffy as the first one and even more sexy. But then would I want to be chased around the house for the indeterminate future? I think I’d rather choose some females. Much better company and warm and caring!  If it was men I’d have to do the cooking and washing up and laundry! It would have to be someone calm, resourceful and with a good sense of humor. Debs’s Gemma could cope well and we’d better include Duncan for her. Harriet Vane would be interesting.  Mrs Polifax would have entertaining stories. But how about Mrs Patmore from Downton Abbey? Then we’d eat well!






HALLIE EPHRON: Hermoine Granger! Because then we could levitate to beat the band. Win-gar-di-um Lev-i-o-sa! Flick and switch. And because I’m sure she could find a vaccine. Chet the dog from Spencer Quinn/Peter Abrahams wonderful series. Because pandemics need pets. And Mrs. Whatsit from A WRINKLE IN TIME so we can travel through time and fight The Dark Thing.






JENN McKINLAY: Robert’s Crais’s Joe Pike, duh. ;-)  He’s got the safety and survival skills you want and need -- added bonus, he won’t talk you to death. Of course, throw in Grandma Mazur from Janet Evanovich’s series and you can also have some laughs! No, wait she’s too much work. Of course, if I’m really feeling escapist, I’d choose Lisa Kleypas’s entire Hathaway family - the selling point here being it’s historical, hilarious, and set in Hampshire. Yes, please!







LUCY BURDETTE: I would certainly invite Julia’s Russ (sorry Clare) because we can always use a big strong guy with a heart of gold underneath to protect us. But hmmm, maybe we need the spiritual guidance even more--except not a baby with colic, yikes! I love the idea of Mrs. Patmore cooking, but you know who else might be entertaining and provide the drinks? Ann Cleeves’ VERA. Plus she’s got a very big brain and doesn’t take s**t from anyone, so I think she could figure this out in a heartbeat…







HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN:  We definitely need Mrs. Patmore, or SOMEONE resourceful who loves to cook. Magic would also be very nice, maybe Professor Dumbledore, who can also provide spiritual guidance.  We could all LIVE in Downton, because there’s plenty of room, and books, and places to walk. Plus, we could dress up.  Also, we need Lyra and her alethiometer from The Golden Compass, so we understand who’s telling us the truth. Probably a genius scientist, too, was there someone in The Andromeda Strain? And is there a doctor in the house? Who? And someone super-smart and interesting to talk to--maybe Robert Langdon? And yes, a protector. Maybe Victor Henry from Winds of War. He’s been through some stuff.




DEBORAH CROMBIE: I'm going for Lord Peter Wimsey, and Bunter. Peter would keep me entertained, and when he wasn't being witty, he would play the piano brilliantly, or read classics to me. Bunter, of course, would bring endless, perfect cups of tea, cook, and keep the Piccadilly flat tidy. (Because it would be nice to be in London.) Harriet Vane, not so much. She's too prickly. Besides, two detective novelists in one household is one too many. And I don't want to share Peter.


JULIA: Well, the truth is out about Debs and Peter W, isn’t it? Who would you pick for your Quarantine House, dear readers? Oh, and as a preview, this Thursday, we’ll be having the Parade of Pandemic Pets, and if you send me a photo of your pet or another animal that’s brightening your life during lockdown, we’ll add it to our front page! Have them to me, juliaspencerfleming at g mail period com, by Wednesday afternoon.

104 comments:

  1. I’m good with Clare, colicky baby and all. Also, Lee Child’s smart and strong Jack Reacher and Harper Lee’s Calpurnia to take care of all of us . . . .

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    1. Oh, how could I have overlooked Jack Reacher?!? Although the man eats a TON, you'd really have to lay in the provisions for him.

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    2. and Jack Reacher is restless. He won't stay long.

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  2. Well, if we need someone to cook, who better than Haley Snow. I'm picking Haley because I always want to eat what she's fixing. I think I have to include Miss Gloria, too, because she would make sure we were upbeat and having a good time. To complete my female group for quarantine I would choose Aunty Lee from Ovidia Yu's Singaporean mysteries, as she would have plenty of stories and good advice, as well as being another great cook. I think it would be a most enjoyable experience being quarantined with these three.

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    1. Agreed, Kathy - smart women who can cook and make conversation area must for a Quarantine House!

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  3. I agree we need a good cook to keep us all well-fed, both healthy meals and lots of yummy sweet treats, so I choose Goldy Bear Schulz (Diane Mott Davidson's catering protagonist). I am totally ok with Jenn's choice of Joe Pike as our stoic protector but I would also need Elvis Cole. Elvis would keep me smiling with his quips and we may need another tough guy (who cooks) to save us.

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    1. Goldie makes a mean coffee, too. Perfect choice!

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    2. I have cooked a few recipes from her books...the Chocolate Coma Cookies are to die for.
      And Goldy/Diane also wrote and published a cookbook in 2014(?) so I know she has a wide repertoire of recipes.

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    3. Clearly, protagonists from cozy mysteries will be in high demand!

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    4. Her books are almost the only ones I have ever shelved with my cookbooks. She has some awesome recipes.

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  4. I'd pick Deb's Toby, who is young and keen on cooking and could entertain us by dancing. I'd ask Julia's Hadley Knox, whom I really want to counsel about dealing with that dratted ex of hers. And I'd see if Sara Paretsky's VI Warshawski would come along, bringing her dogs with her. With her and Peppy and Mitch at our side, it would always be safe to answer the door or go for a walk, no matter what danger was lurking during the pandemic.

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    1. Nice choices, Amanda! I have a well-loved thirty-year-old in my life who needs lots of counseling about several terrible exes, and I must say, it does keep things interesting.

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    2. Amanda, Toby would definitely keep you entertained, and Kit would cook for everyone!

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    3. I agree with your choices, particularly Toby

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    4. Oops - I mixed up Toby and Kit about cooking. Sorry, Debs!

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  5. Bunter is handy and a good cook. With Joe Pike and Elvis Cole for protection detail and to sniff out the bad guys.

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    1. Pike and Cole are really headlining the choices today! We need to see if we can lure Bob Crais here to meet some of his fan club...

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  6. If I could cheat, I would lockdown Three Pines Village with me inside but if not, I would stay with Armad Gamache and his wife Reine-Marie. They both are highly intelligent, calm, vastly cultured, they can cook, they have two dogs and a lot of space to walk around. We could have interesting conversations and read and play table games.

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    1. Danielle, please invite me along to that fantasy. What a great idea!

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    2. Oh, yes, they would be perfect, Danielle! And every time you got depressed/enraged by the news (probably more of that for the Americans than the Canadians) Gamache would calm you down and Marie-Reine would bring you a nice cup of tea and suggest doing a jigsaw puzzle or some such.

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  7. There's no accounting for personal chemistry, is there? I always did think Lord Peter was irrationally in love with Harriet Vane.

    My choice is Flavia de Luce. She's smart, interesting, and could McGyver her way through almost any situation.

    I also very much like Hank's idea of a truth detection device. We need one that starts clanging like a claxton every time a lie is told on TV, radio, and online. Of course then we'd probably all go stone deaf.

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    1. Yes! Have you read THE GOLDEN COMPASS? It’s fantastic.

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    2. Karen, I suggest following Daniel Dale on Twitter. He's a reporter/fact checker for CNN (formerly the DC bureau chief for the Toronto Star) and he's been busy delivering reality checks for some years now. Also, he has a daily video of his ridiculously adorable Pomeranian, Breezy, the sight of which reliably lowers my blood pressure.

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    3. Hank, I can't remember if I read it or not. My youngest daughter was a big fan.

      Julia, I have not fallen down the Twitter rabbit hole yet, and I'm trying not to!

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    4. Karen, I do agree about Harriet Vane. I was contemplating my Dorothy Sayers novels and only wanted to pick up the pre-Harriet books!

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  8. Chet is going to focus all of his being on getting back to Bernie. You either need to make a place for Bernie or find a less devoted dog.

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    1. Good point... Not sure I'd want to hang out so much with Bernie.

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  9. Miss Marple could keep us entertained with stories, and could also probably tell who is lying to us because they would have the same expression as the butcher when he lied about the quality of the meat! And she might be able to knit some face masks. Mrs. Patmore as the cook is an excellent choice, and she’s got experience making great meals with whatever ingredients are in hand. She might also lend a hand with the cleaning. We’d also need someone to go out into the world for essentials and to protect us if things got worse. Maybe Stephanie Plum’s Ranger? He could be helpful in many ways!

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    1. Ranger could be very helpful to me, Cindy. :-)

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  10. So many great choices! Agree about Reine-Marie and Armand. Gigi Pandian's living gargoyle Dorian would be fun, because he's a great chef. Sheila Connolly's Moira is young and energetic, a good listener - and she owns an Irish pub. Vera can come along, too.

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    1. Edith, now I'm imagining how much fun game night would be with this crew!

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  11. Food, protection, love and intellectual entertainment. Very thought-provoking and elemental, isn’t it? We do need to get a singer/musician, and a doctor, though. And a person who knows how to fix stuff.

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    1. Obviously, we need Repairman Jack from the F. Paul Wilson series for the latter.

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  12. I would choose Lauraine Snelling's Ingeborg because she has been through much worse than this and has come out smiling and calm. She can do anything! We probably wouldn't need the fields plowed but she could do it if necessary. But she'd be baking all the time, using her own butter and cream. Then I'd have to have Deborah Knott's father, Kezzie, because he would not only keep us entertained with stories about his colorful life but he could provide some ah beverages! I'd need a dog so that would be Spot, the Great Dane from Todd Borg's Tahoe series. And I'm even choosing another pet and that would be T-bone!

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    1. Judy, it was Roberta sharing some T-Bone news that made me think we needed to have a Pandemic Pet Parade day, so great minds, etc.

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  13. Okay, I'm picking Aragorn, because he can take on anything, has great survival skills, and probably knows lots of great stories. Molly Weasley because she can cook and clean and mother us all, but when push comes to shove, she can wield that wand with the best of them! And Brother Cadfael, because he can provide some spiritual comfort and find an herbal concoction to boost our immune systems, and keep us all safe. Plus he and Aragorn could swap tales--Cadfael was once a Crusader. I've got lots of wood, we'll have campfires every night!

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    1. And just think, Flora, Aragorn and Brother Cadfael don't even know what toilet paper is, so you could keep it all for yourself and Mrs. Weasley! :-)

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    2. Um, Julia, only you would think of that ;-)

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    3. Yes, Flora, and that's why I will WIN the great Toilet Paper War of 2021!

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    4. Terry Fedeanis MeglinoApril 27, 2020 at 11:45 AM

      You all made me smile on a very gloomy Monday!!

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  14. If you get Cordelia, Julia, may I have Ekaterin? She's smart, resourceful, brave, and she could help me with my garden. Miles would have to Zoom in, if only for the conversation, but he'd be busy elsewhere taking care of the kids. I'd also like a long chat with another Bujold character: Ista, from Paladin of Souls. We could round it out with Miss Marple, who could teach me more about knitting. It would be an excellent convention of wise women.

    Of course, if I wanted men in the mix, I'd go for Deb's characters, Alan Ross and Ronnie Babcock--both of whom I have always wanted to know more about--and Andy Monahan, for the music.

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    1. Oooo! Maybe I could just shelter in place with Eve Dallas and Rourke, Peabody and McNabb. They'd be lots of fun, and I could go hide in that house for ages.

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    2. Gigi, if we had another game of characters you'd NEVER want to be stuck in a house for two weeks, Miles Vorkosigan would top the list.

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    3. You got there first BiBi...now I have to steal Sommerset.

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    4. Gigi, I'd be happy to share a house with those guys!

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    5. Sommerset comes with the house, Coralee. How else would we keep the kitchen going?

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  15. I'm all in with Molly Weasley to run the house. Brilliant choice.

    I need a good medical type to deal with any injuries and in case I get sick. Hmm. All the doctors I that are coming to mind are TV...wait, maybe Zoe Chambers. She's an EMT, but she's got a cool head and can deal with emergencies.

    Finally, someone who can provide some laughs and comfort, who I can sit back and just talk to. Having just finished IN DARKNESS AND IN DEATH, I'm going to go with Clare. What the heck, she can bring the baby, too.

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    1. Flora and Liz, I thought of Molly Weasley, too. Funny how certain skills become more valuable and noticeable during a time like this. Will we continue to value them when this is over?

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    2. I hope so, Judy. Not just the domestic arts, which we're all seeing can make the difference between a comfortable and an uncomfortable quarantine, but also the old-fashioned skills of thrift, improvisation and making do.

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    3. I read an article over the weekend that the vast majority of these jobs are held by women, and one of the quotes was, "They noticed us now - will they continue to notice once this is over?"

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  16. So many great choices! Okay, if Hayley Snow is already going somewhere else, then I'll have to cook and bake myself. If she is free for an afternoon however, she should bring the Coco Lopez for the coconut cake!

    But, I could really use a visit from Valentine Beaumont of the "Murder, Curlers and..." series by Arlene MacFarlane. Valentine always has her bag of beauty supplies with her, good for any emergency. If Valentine's too busy to come do my hair, then Jock, her employee who is not only a former Navy Master at Arms but also a movie stuntman, besides being an accomplished hairdresser should drop by. If Jock comes over, though, he'll have to leave before bedtime because unlike Valentine Beaumont, I've already made up my mind!

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    1. Oh my gosh, Judy, yes. How could we have overlooked someone who can do hair, which is rapidly becoming a serious concern all across America! Talk about jobs everyone sort of took for granted... I swear when this is over I'll be a grateful overtipper to every hair stylist I come into contact with.

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  17. I agree that Mrs. Patmore, Jeeves, and Bunter would be great to have around but what I really need is Mrs Hughes and her army of maids to clean my messy house!

    Since those have all been mentioned, I think Walt Longmire and Henry Standing Bear would be good companions. Imagine their stories! I'd also feel very safe from intruders, murderers, etc.

    If I could choose TV characters it would Gibbs and Ducky from NCIS. No one ever wants to hear Ducky's stories -- but I do!

    Finally, if I could have my favorite storyteller of all time, it would be Ray Bradbury. Imagine the conversations and stories we could have.


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    1. Cathy, with Ray Bradbury spinning tales in your house, you'd never want to leave lockdown.

      BTW, I'm reading Mary Robinette Kowell's fabulous "Lady Astronaut" series, and was delighted to discover she names the Mars colonization beachhead "Bradbury Base."

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    2. Julia, you are right: I'd never leave the house again. When my times comes, I want to be buried with my Kindle so I'll all of Ray's books with me forever.

      Thanks for telling me about the lady astronaut series! I'm going to look for it now.

      Did you know Apollo XV astronauts named an impact crater Dandelion Wine and that rover Curiosity's landing point on Mars is actually is called Bradbury Landing? Ray was very supportive of the space program and clearly many astronauts were inspired by his stories.

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    3. I didn't know that, no. I'm glad to hear it. I adored Bradbury's writing, especially his short stories. A blend of poetry, science fiction and fantasy that's never been duplicated.

      You will love the Kowal (misspelled her last name earlier) series. She calls them "Punchcard Punk" to give a flavor of the alternate history.

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  18. I'd choose Professor Minerva McGonagle (Harry Potter), Armand and Reine-Marie Gamache, and Aslan (Chronicles of Narnia). I get protection, good conversation, good food and a lot of comfort.

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    1. A lot of us would like to lean on Aslan's warm side, Mary!

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  19. Definitely need a doctor, and who better than Doctor Bernard Rieux, of THE PLAGUE, by Camus He gets the concept of an epidemic poorly recognized managed by the powers that be.

    For meals and entertainment, I'd like both Gabri and Olivier from Three Pines. I'd eat well and be entertained by their high camp, all at the same time.

    And last? I think Lady MacBeth, because she is the mother of all hand washing, an important skill in this time of the plague.

    Julia, I sent pictures. Check your e mail xox

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    1. That should be "and" managed, but you all are fluent in typo, right?

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    2. Ann, you cracked me up! Lady MacBeth we all need!

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    3. Ann, I'm getting lots of pictures, but your hasn't shown up. Can you double check the address and resend? It's my name, no spaces or hyphens, at gmail.

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    4. Duh. I didn’t hit send. It’s not been a great week so far.

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  20. Oh, Mrs. Patmore! The perfect choice.
    Ha ha ha! Lady MacBeth. Of course.

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  21. You all are crazy!

    I don't want to be stuck in a house with anyone, real or fictional. That would be hell on earth for me. About the only saving grace of spending most of my time at home these days is the fact that it is just me here. I don't have to deal with the quirks of someone else being around. It is hard enough dealing with myself, much less anyone else.

    I'll let the fictional characters occupy the house with me as long as they are confined to the pages of their books.

    This message is brought to you by Get Off My Lawn! Productions.

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    1. LOL! Jay, if there's one thing this pandemic has taught us, it's that the introverted book and music lovers will inherit the earth.

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  22. I'd take Gabri and Olivier together, because I can never remember which one is the cook. And then, I'd add just about any Nanny from a D E Stevenson novel, because they are all wonderful, caring women, and they never get ruffled.

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    1. Good choice, Susan. Now I think on it, there are a LOT of fictional Nannys that would be perfect for staying at home.

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  23. First person I thought of was Russ Van Aalstyne, he is sensible, understanding and worries about everyone not just the powerful and I like his mom. Bruno Courreges if for no other reason than his culinary skills but alas I don't speak French. Roarke from JD Robb's series because he has all those scientists working for him to find a cure and he has that huge home with land around it and books inside, let alone his "old" movie collection. Or maybe I'd just hang out in a national park with Nevada Barr's Anna Pigeon. Who wouldn't want to have a national park outside their front door without the crowds.

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    1. Good point on that last, Deana! I wonder - they must still have park rangers stationed around, right? For fire safety and, I don't know, keeping track of animals? And now I'm thinking of an Anna Pigeon novel set during the virus, with Anna all alone in the wilderness. I hope Nevada Barr writes it!

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  24. I read this blog hours ago, then got distracted before I commented. I had thought of Molly Weasley as well, but many of you beat me to the punch on that one. I had not thought of Armand and Reine-Marie, but they are such an excellent choice! Honestly, they are almost the perfect choice.

    However, in the interest of fair play and keeping the conversation going, I think I would invite Deborah Knott and Dwight Bryant from Margaret Maron's now concluded series. They strike the perfect balance of intelligent conversation with down-home comfort. And Dwight, in particular, is so able to deal with the practicalities.

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    1. Oh, yes, Deb'rah and Dwight. Perfect blend of personalities to be stuck home with. Although, with the size of Deborah's family, I'm not sure she'd be great at actually avoiding contact with others...

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  25. If I can live in their world I would choose King's Holmes and Russel with Mrs. Hudson if she is still there. In my space it would be Alice so I can go through the looking glass and back to my real world.

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    1. The conversation would be fascinating, Coralee, and I'm sure Mrs. Hudson would keep the larder well stocked!

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  26. For her cooking skills, Azalea from Miranda James "Cat in the Stacks series.
    For her combat skills (in case someone tries to get to Azalea's meals)Jane Stewart from Ellery Adams "Book Retreat" series.
    For medical, good tales and his wily ways Dr. Fingal O'Reilly from Patrick Taylor's "Irish Country" books

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    1. Oh, yes, Charlie, and Jane Stewart is already an expert at managing a resort, so she'd be brilliant at figuring out how much TP/tea bags/linens/etc. we'd need. PLUS she could recommend great books.

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  27. So many wonderful characters! Who would stay calm during the pandemic? I think it would be Maisie Dobbs because she learned how to mediate and could teach us to do that. She learned valuable lessons from Basil Khan, a friend of Maurice Blanche. Jeeves would not bat an eye. Yes, I would love to have Mrs. Patmore from Downton Abbey because she would cook all of these yummy food.

    Diana

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    1. Diana, I just realized one could write a story about all of these characters sheltering from the 1918 flu pandemic and have it be a country house mystery!

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    2. Yes! I was thinking along these lines too, Julia.

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  28. I want the Bob-Whites (Trixie Belden and her friends). So many different people, someone will also be up so they can talk us out of any downward spirals. And we have enough to play some games to distract us. Or maybe two different games at the same time.

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    1. The unsung angels of the pandemic lockdown: people willing to play board games/cards/parlor games! Excellent and unique choice, Mark!

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  29. I’d be happy to sit back and be entertained by Richard Jury and Melrose Plant. Those two could riff all day and I’m sure Melrose would make arrangements for foid and drink.

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  30. I can cook, so that's not a priority. But I'd love to have interesting women to hang out with, so Deb's Erika Rosenthal, Julia's Margie Van Alstyne, Sharyn McCrumb's Nora Bonesteel, Minerva McGonnagal, and Fanny Flagg's Ninny Threadgoode. Oh, and Seanan McGuire's Alice Price-Healy, because NO ONE will mess with a group of old ladies that includes Alice and the Professor.

    And Agador from Birdcage as our housekeeper.

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    1. Jennifer, I love Nora Bonesteel!! And you know, if any spooks decided to come visit during the lockdown, she'd know just what to do!

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    2. I'd worry that we'd wonder in front of Nora Bonesteel what the future holds... and she'd tell us.

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  31. Well I read the JRW authors choices and now I hate you Debs because I wanted Bunter! So I have decided to comment and then read my fellow contributors choices. Stretches brain. Lets start with Louise Penny's Gabri, he cooks, he's so thoughtful and loving and he probably cleans too. Professor McGonagall, she has a sharp, Scots sense of humor and if she comes in the shape of Maggie Smith, then I am blessed. Finally I think Inspector Adam Dalgliesh, literary, oenophilic, and not too chatty.

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    1. Celia, I thought of Inspector Dalgliesh, too, but thought maybe I might not be up to par entertaining him....

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    2. Flora, I've had both food and wine at Celia's house, and if anyone is up to Dalgliesh's standards, she and her husband are.

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  32. Agador Spartacus! He could bring us "pirin" when we need it!

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    1. And he'd look so good cleaning the place up!

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  33. The comments are so fabulous! I can agree with so many of them! For me, though, I think I’d choose Lady Georgie, because she’d be a good, fun friend; Jeeves, because we all need an unflappable valet to get things done and make tea; and Billy Boyle, because I love me a smart, wisecracking man with a heart of gold.

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  34. Oh, Billy Boyle! Ross loved those mysteries - the combination of history, crime fiction, and WWII definitely hit his sweet spot. Yes, by all means, let's add Billy. I'm sure Lady Georgie wouldn't mind another attractive Irishman around the house.

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    1. Julia, you're a Billy Boyle fan. Me too, big time! Thanks, S.C. for inviting him in.

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  35. So many excellent fictional choices!!! I'm going on a reading bender and then they'll all be with, right? Right.

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  36. Lady Vespasia from the Thomas/Charlotte Pitt series. She's brilliant, brash, funny as hell, and her Victorian observations would fill the hours very nicely. For long walks (with masks, of course), Wallander might be interesting. Introspective, just neurotic enough to make me feel healthy in comparison. And always Vera, yes. Tough as nails...if you believe her. I don't.

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    1. Very elegant quarantine house guests, Victoria! The only downside I can see is that you'll have to be the cook... I don't think I've ever read a scene with Wallander or Vera in a kitchen, unless there was a dead body in there as well. And I'm pretty sure Lady Vespasia couldn't find the kitchen in most houses!

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  37. Oh, can we invite over Kerry Greenwood's Corinna Chapman? And hope that she brings baked goods?

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