Plot: pretty thin – girls meet boys, some shit happens, life rolls on type of action.
Characters: nothing exceptional, ordinarily nice and nasty people, with a bit below or a bit above average talent.
Place: mostly New York, wearing her everyday skin, by day or night, sketched rather than carefully described.
Time: mostly 1938, rendered with allusions, rather than analysis.
Sum of those parts: wonderful
That’s about all I can say. Being a very fast and a correspondingly very forgetful reader, I can remember only one name, and it’s not the heroine’s, it’s Tinker’s. It’s great forgetting books. It means I can regularly re-read my Agatha Christies and cheerfully rediscover that it’s the doctor who did it. Only my best loved and too oft re-read Christies fall foul of this rule (Man in the Brown Suit, Murder on the Orient Express, A Murder is Announced). Sayers’s 12 Peter Wimsey novels, on the other hand, I know off by heart (but re-read with pleasure anyway) and Ngaio Marsh novels fall somewhere between the two, in the plot oblivion scales.
Even with no body in the library, I can also re-read and re-forget Rules of Civility, to my heart’s content. Hooray.