It's the classic librarian-with-her-hair-down scene! Jean and Michael (one of the other students) barrel around a corner and run full-tilt into her, knocking her down. While Jean had noticed her in the library previously, she hadn't paid much attention to this severe-looking figure with her bun and her horn-rimmed glasses and her impeccably tailored suits... a far cry from the creature that now lies before them, with the whistle-provoking legs and the hair like "molten bronze" and the green "seawater" eyes.
Then, of course, she opens her mouth and she's wonderfully snippy and crabby (but not without a large dose of humor), refuses their help in standing and instead, threatens to lie there on the floor for the rest of the day.
While I compared Jacqueline Kirby to Mary Poppins and Chestomanci in yesterday's post, it occurred to me while re-reading The Murders of Richard III that if Nancy Drew was a little bit more crabby and a little bit less of a goody-goody, she could have grown up to be almost as awesome. They both have ridiculous stores of random information (as a librarian, JK's are actually believable), they both have lots of random skillz (JK knows karate and can occasionally blow smoke rings), and they are both exceedingly resourceful in any given situation (JK's Purse, of course, is a factor).
As for the meta-factor, this one is a DOUBLE WHAMMY. There are the expected references to mystery novels and crime stories (she pulls a Columbo towards the end that is OUTSTANDING and all of her knowledge about ciphers comes from Dorothy Sayers), but there are also a plethora of rants about the romance industry, and it's hard to imagine that Elizabeth Peters wasn't taking the opportunity to get a few jabs in. (Rants include: ghostwriting, rape culture, sketchy agents, crappy convention food, the second-class status of fans... the list goes on and on.)
I love her. I love her curiosity and her love of knowledge and her love of food, I love that she can pick up a book and lose an entire day, I love that she is equally comfortable drinking beers and shooting pool with a small town's ex-sheriff as she is swigging martinis in a swanky NYC establishment with the literati. I love that she's a walking contradiction: super no-nonsense, but prone to being silly; capable of being steely and tough, but also capable of genuine warmth, and of comforting those in need of comfort; prickly but also eminently likable; one who avoids beating around the bush, but is also capable of being extremely subtle; a huge fan of petty revenge, but... well, there's no opposing behavior there. She's a huge fan of petty revenge, period. I love her. I love her, I love her, I love her.