I'm on a run of reading about Gorey, so it was time to re-read the books of his that I had on hand. Sadly my local library doesn't have anything by him.
Reading several together I was struck by a couple of things. Previously I don't think I had noticed that Mortshire was a recurring county name. I rather like that many of his stories are set in the same place, as were Thomas Hardy's. Also, I really want to live there. It appeals to me the way early Christie stories do: wealthy, leisurely, lots of sitting and reading in the library. It's the appeal of Downton Abbey and the suspense, although in Gorey's work the suspense is never satisfied.
Weirdly I am put in mind of Jane Austen; all of his books come from exactly the same place as Northanger Abbey. There is such affection for and familiarity with books. It doesn't matter that all the ones mentioned by Austen are real and none of the ones in Gorey are. Someday I'd like to browse through his personal library: I expect to find a lot there I haven't read but would enjoy. He had 26,000 volumes: it's as if I could own every book I'd like to read*. Every single book on a shelf right here. I don't like to leave my house as it is, with a supply like that I never would.
Nothing profound in my thoughts. If there is another life after this life I hope I get to spend it in Mortshire. I'm sure it will be full of my kind of people.
*PS. I say that, but of course it doesn't matter how many books are in the house, I'm still going to want new ones. My To Read list never grows shorter.