Autumn Reading: ‘The Love Talker’ by Elizabeth Peters
All I needed were three keywords in combination—Vintage Elizabeth Peters! Fairies! A mystery!—and I had to read this book. The Love Talker, a stand-alone Peters mystery of an era with Legend in Green Velvet, The Copenhagen Connection, and the early Vicky Bliss books, flits between genres as Ms. Peters attempts to meld her usual style (i.e. a mystery featuring a sassy and put-upon heroine accompanied on her adventures by a outwardly crude or abhorrent or otherwise snooty young man with whom she eventually finds true love) with that of a psychological thriller.
The book pays passing tribute to the Cottingley Fairies, in that the plot mainly revolves around one of the characters seeing fairies and the rest of the characters trying to decide whether or not what she sees is real. These shenangigans are interspersed with an inheritance battle and suspicious activity in the woods near our heroine’s elderly relatives’ house. The book is also set in the rural American south and thus has something of a Deliverance vibe at times, but, because this is a Peters book, never gets too scary or delves too deeply into the bad things going down in this particular neck of the woods.
I had saved this book somewhat unintentionally after zooming through most of Peters’ canon throughout my middle school years by being immaturely put-off by a book with the word “love” in the title so blatantly. At the time, of course, I didn’t know it involved fairies or no doubt I would have been equally immaturely much more interested. (I do believe in fairies, I do, I do!)
All the same, it’s probably just as well I didn’t read it at the height of my Peters love or I would have been even more disappointed than I was when I read it this past autumn. It was an okay book, more weird than entertaining (did I mention there’s some possible incest? ‘Cause there is) and not one I’d recommend to anyone as their first foray into the realm of Peters. If you’re looking for one of her books to start with, stick with Amelia Peabody.