Anthem for Doomed Youth (book #105)

Carola Dunn, 2011.

Author’s website.

I suppose I read these out of curiosity to see how the author develops Daisy’s life, and in particular how she manages to keep Daisy working now she’s married with children; and to see how she manages to get Alec (Met detective husband, handy if you make a habit of finding bodies) on the scene this time.

The book is set in 1926. Two words grated on me – OED gives mixed results.

“Reported missing Sunday the sixth, by his teenaged daughter.” The earliest citations for “teenaged” are from 1953, one in a reference book of American sland and the other from the listener. “Teenage” itself is attested from 1921 in Canada, 1935 in America and 1950 in the UK – in an adult novel by Noel Streatfeild I haven’t read (and must now do). I’ve forgotten whether it’s Alec or one of the other police who say this line, but I think in any case I’m voting anachronistic.

“If you’re going to be so – so negative, Lily, I wish you would go away.” This use of negative as an adjective struck me as wrong. The speaker is a middle-aged or elderly middle-class woman. The earliest OED citation in anything like this sense is from 1891, in the Dictionary of National Biography – “His negative bent made him before all things a censor and a critic”. There’s also 1895, the International Journal of Ethics, “one does not like to be entirely negative or pessimistic after so many words”. So I suppose this is just about plausible.

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