Try this at home – Cornflower Books

Judge a book at speed by turning to page 112!

You can read the full story here1, but wasn’t there a similar thing a few years ago called the McLuhan test which involved page 69, suggesting there’s nothing new under the sun …

For fun I picked up a favourite novel of mine, One Fine Day by Mollie Panter Downes (there’s a very early Cornflower post on it here2, should you not already know it) and looked at p.112 – it’s as perfect as any other page in that book.

The Robertson Davies biography I’m currently reading has on p.

112 a good example of Davies’ early experiences providing material for his later novels. The same goes for p.

125 from which I’ll quote because it’s more of a curiosity:

At boarding school in Toronto, Davies had a Scottish music master called Richard Tattersall –

“In World of Wonders he made use of one of Tattersall’s tales to establish the way the immensely rich and powerful Jeremias Naegeli lived in his Swiss castle, Sorgenfrei. Years before, Tattersall had responded to a Glasgow newspaper advertisement – ‘Organist wanted for employment in a private house.

Must be a gentleman’ – and found that his employer was to be the millionaire industrialist Andrew Carnegie. The organist’s duties at Skibo Castle,3 Carnegie’s great country house, were specific but not onerous. He was to play Bach chorales while Carnegie ate his breakfast, and after a free day, he and Carnegie’s many male secretaries would be responsible for taking any unaccompanied ladies in to dinner (the reason a gentleman was wanted).

After dinner he was to hold himself ready as soloist or accompanist, whichever was required.”


  1. ^ here (
  2. ^ here (
  3. ^ Skibo Castle, (

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Try this at home – Cornflower Books

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