“Cassandra Darke” is a book that I have, to my surprise, thoroughly enjoyed. Much as I have loved Posy Simmonds’ cartoons, I’ve always resisted reading graphic novels. To me the written word should be enough to capture and keep my attention and spark my imagination. I don’t want all the details, I want to be able to conjure up the images for myself. Or so I thought-until now.
“Cassandra Darke” was a present from my kids. I think they thought it was time their mum came into the 21st Century. They couldn’t have chosen a better introduction. First of all, I was captivated by the character. Cassandra is the owner of an art gallery who is dabbles in somewhat shady deals. Found out, her life spirals out of control and when her niece Nikki arrives on the scene things only get worse.
So far this could be the plot of any thriller, but what makes this book special is that Cassandra is a curmudgeonly old woman, with a look of Giles’ Granny about her. She hates people, in general, has no time for the homeless, or anyone down on their luck, treats her staff appallingly and yet you end up not only rooting for her, but actually liking her.
The idea of older women behaving badly appeals, so I was pre-disposed to enjoy the narrative. What I didn’t expect is how much depth the illustrations added to the story and how they have stayed with me. In fact, like a favourite painting, they are something I will return to again and again.