THE COMPLETE SORCERESS OF THE STRAND by L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace collects the full serialized story of the formidable villain Madame Sara (who plays a prominent supporting role in my upcoming steampunk novel Questionable Minds). By day, a turn-of-the-20th century beauty consultant with a store in the Strand and customers in the highest social level, by night she’s a schemer, blackmailer, murderer and thief. Her motives are never explained beyond an itch to collect valuable gems, and as typical for the era, she pays for her crimes at the end. Still, I was delighted to finally read this (I’ve read parts of it before).
THE COMPLETE PEANUTS, 1961 to 1962 by Charles Schulz (of course) shows the strip settling into a steady state: the only new character here is Frieda (of the Naturally Curly Hair) who would eventually fade away again (though having a bit part in A Charlie Brown Christmas ensures her, like Pig Pen, of immortality) but gets quite a bit of play in this period. And while Woodstock was years in the future, several strips show Schulz seemed to find Snoopy paired with birds as a natural combination. Charming as always.
UNWRITTEN: Apocalypse by Mike Carey and Peter Gross (cover by Gross, rights with current holder) wraps up the series as Tom goes on a Grail Quest, Madame Rausch plays her own game and Pullman struggles to bring about the end of everything. This has its flaws: the apocalypse when it comes is pretty familiar, Rausch’s agenda feels murky and although they give Wilson Taylor a goal (to give individual humans more mastery of the world of story), Carey and Gross bring it up only to ignore it. Overall, though a satisfactory finish to a good series.