Six Degrees of Separation: Shopgirl to Molly Fox’s Birthday

Six Degrees of Separation is a monthly link-up hosted by Kate at Books Are My Favourite and Best. Each month, a book is chosen as a starting point and linked to six other books to form a chain. A book doesn’t need to be connected to all the other books on the list, only to the one next to it in the chain. This month’s Six Degrees begins with Steve Martin’s Shopgirl.

Shopgirl by [Martin, Steve]

  • I haven’t read Shopgirl so my first link is to another book with the word ‘shop’ in the title –

The Old Curiosity Shop

  • The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens, a book full of weird, grotesque and comic characters, a mix of everyday people and characters of fantasy. It has elements of folklore and myth, as Nell and her grandfather, go on an epic journey, fleeing from the terrifying dwarf, Daniel Quilp and travelling through a variety of scenes, meeting different groups of people on their journey.

The Ghost Riders of Ordebec (Commissaire Adamsberg, #9)

  • Also full of  eccentric and quirky characters is The Ghost Riders of Ordebec by Fred Vargas, an intriguing mystery beginning with the death of an old woman, killed with breadcrumbs, then a car is burnt out with someone inside, and a pigeon is found with its legs tied together so it can’t fly. The main plot is based on medieval myths and legends: the ghostly army that gallops along the Chemin de Bonneval, led by the terrifying Lord Hellequin.

The Body in the Ice (Romney Marsh Mystery #2)

  • Fred is the pseudonym of the French historian, archaeologist and writer Frederique Audoin-Rouzeau. A J Mackenzie is the pseudonym of Marilyn Livingstone and Morgen Witzel, an Anglo-Canadian husband-and-wife team of writers and historians. Their book, The Body in the Ice is historical crime fiction set in Romney Marsh in 1796-7. One of the characters is Cordelia is a gothic novelist, who gave a young Jane Austen writing tips, which leads to my next link,

Northanger Abbey

  • which is Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey, a parody of the Gothic novels of her day and a  love story about Catherine Morland, a naive and impressionable 17 year-old, whose imagination has been filled with visions of diabolical villains and swooning heroines from those Gothic novels.

The Burning (Maeve Kerrigan, #1)

  • Another author named Jane is Jane Casey, the author of the Maeve Kerrigan series. The Burning by  the first in that series. Maeve is on the murder task force investigating the case of the serial killer the media call The Burning Man. Jane Casey is an Irish author.

Molly Fox's Birthday

  • This links to another Irish author Deirdre Madden, whose book Molly Fox’s Birthday is a novel about identity as well as family and friendship, about how we see other people and how they see us.

My chain has gone from Los Angeles to Normandy, Romney Marsh, London and Dublin, from contemporary books to to murder mysteries and the classics.

Where will other chains lead, I wonder?

22 thoughts on “Six Degrees of Separation: Shopgirl to Molly Fox’s Birthday”

    1. Yes Fred Vargas writes such interesting books. I’ve recently finished An Uncertain Place – very different, but also bringing in references to myths – and vampires.

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  1. Well this is the most imaginative link I have read so far this month! Obviously a lot of thought put into this one. Love the jumps from contemporary to classics to murder mysteries! Congrats!

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  2. Love this chain – how could I not, with Dickens, Austen AND Casey in it? I haven’t read The Old Curiosity Shop – must push it to the top of my Dickens list. But the phrase that intrigues me most in your post is “killed with breadcrumbs”…

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    1. Thanks, Kim. I think it’s best to do the chain quickly without thinking too much about it – that way I keep changing my mind and it takes ages. But I can’t always manage that. Luckily this chain seemed to make itself!

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  3. Clever! I never thought of The Old Curiosity Shop (and you’d think I might have, since I read *all* of Dickens’ novels three times when I studied him at uni!)
    How strange it seems that an author most of us have never heard of gave the great Jane Austen writing tips… but of course she wasn’t great back then, just like many authors today just muddling through…
    Here’s mine: https://anzlitlovers.com/2017/06/03/six-degrees-of-separation-from-shopgirl-to/

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