Wednesday, May 07, 2014




Coleman and Dinah Greene are making names for themselves in the art world. Coleman`s magazine publishing empire is growing and Dinah`s print gallery is gaining traction. In fact, Dinah has just won the contract to select, buy, and hang art in the New York office of the management consultants Davidson, Douglas, Danbury & Weeks – a major coup that will generate The Greene Gallery`s first big profits. However, when Dinah goes to DDD&W to begin work, she discovers a corporate culture unlike anything she`s ever encountered before. There are suggestions of improprieties everywhere, including missing art worth a fortune. And when two DDD&W staff members are discovered murdered, Dinah and Coleman find themselves swept into the heart of another mystery. Revealing the murderer will be no easy task...but first Dinah needs to clear her own name from the suspect list. 

Rewriting Jane Austen: Why?

Jane Austen was a “British author whose six novels quietly revolutionized world literature, and who is considered one of the greatest writers of all time.” (The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History, 2008)

Those who are in charge of the Harper Collins project of rewriting Jane Austen’s novels say they are doing this because of the success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and the X-rated Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts. Since I have no idea why anyone would want to read either of those books, I didn’t find the announcement that Joanna Trollope was writing a “contemporary reworking” of Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility a cause for celebration. Did I buy it? Yes. Did I read it? Yes. Did I like it? No.

I have enjoyed Trollope’s original books, especially The Choir and A Village Affair—contemporary plots and good writing. Her rewrite of Sense and Sensibility reads as if she’d cut Austen’s work into little pieces, and scattered them throughout 361 pages, perhaps using an electric fan to make sure the pieces go in all directions.

A later announcement that Austen’s books are being rewritten for the “social media generations” seems to me an admission that the publisher is desperate, and that more books are being dumb-downed. This is very sad. Austen’s originals are written in clear and perfect English, do not use pretentious or pompous language, or slang or vulgarity. They have been read by many people for many years, and enjoyed so much that most of us read them over and over. I do not think the language in the new Sense and Sensibility will be understood nearly as well as the original (tosser? Unwrapped her fleece? Lots of Anglo speak and Anglo references?). Many Americans will need a translation.

Val McDermid’s rendition of Northanger Abbey, which is now a “vampire heaven” is not likely to please those of us who are thoroughly sick of vampires (we are overjoyed that Austen’s books, and other favorites, do not contain any). Worse, McDermid’s book is full of the loathsome slang and misused English many people write and speak these days. I was truly horrified: “cool” and “brilliant” (for everything except their original meanings), “twat”, and worst of all, “like” in the following way, “Glasgow? Isn’t that miles away? Like, on the other side of the country.” The best schools in the country are trying to rid students of the ghastly “like” disease, while a rewritten Jane Austen includes it. Horrors! There are more of these rewritings to come. Why?

Meet the Author

Reba White Williams worked for more than thirty years in business and finance—in research at McKinsey & Co., as a securities analyst on Wall Street, and as a senior executive at an investment management firm. 
Williams graduated from Duke with a BA in English, earned an MBA at Harvard, a PhD in Art History at CUNY, and an MA in Writing at Antioch. She has written numerous articles for art and financial journals. She is a past president of the New York City Art Commission and served on the New York State Council for the Arts. 

She and her husband built what was thought to be the largest private collection of fine art prints by American artists. They created seventeen exhibitions from their collection that circulated to more than one hundred museums worldwide, Williams writing most of the exhibition catalogues. She has been a member of the print committees of several leading museums. 

Williams grew up in North Carolina, and lives in New York, Connecticut and Southern California with her husband and Maltese, Muffin. She is the author of two novels featuring Coleman and Dinah Greene, Restrike and Fatal Impressions, along with the story of Coleman and Dinah when they were children, Angels. She is currently working on her third Coleman and Dinah mystery.

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