I spent the day in the juror room. No one was called for seven hours. After a while, it looked like an airport when all the flights are snowed in. People were doing crossword puzzles and sleeping on the floor. They had a little library, which contained a nice hardcover edition of Georgette Heyer's rare and excellent Cotillion, which I do own but was still tempted to steal. However, given the location, I decided it was too risky. Also a very handsome and not terribly old judge had earlier come in and very charmingly lectured us on our civic duty (he reminded me of the Flying Congressman, only not sleazy and evil. And blonde.) and I felt guilty.

I got as far as being called into a courtroom and told about a case, and sat in the audience while eighteen of us prospective jurors were put through voire dire. Given that only two were dismissed so far and there are still about fifteen of us left who haven't even been questioned, I am very unlikely to get on the jury, but I still have to go back tomorrow. If I get dismissed then, I'm off the hook for the next year. (Actually, I've always wanted to be on a jury. It's just not very convenient right now.)

I brought Downbelow Station, but Cherryh, or anyway that Cherryh, is too dense to read when you're in a freezing room with a hundred people and a TV set. But I did finish several New Yorkers and two books. I enjoyed both books, but I have a mouth and I must snark (plus I am totally fried from a full day of civic duty-- I got off jury duty and immediately voted), so...

Mary Stewart's The Gabriel Hounds in Fifteen Minutes:

Heroine: While I'm in Lebanon, I think I shall visit my crazy old aunt Harriet, who has modeled herself on Lady Hester Stanhope.

Sinisterly Handsome Young White Man at Lady Harriet's Exotically Crumbling Estate: Eek! You're a relative of hers? Uh... she hardly ever sees anyone... totally a recluse... I mean, no one but me and her two sinister Arab servants and sinister missing doctor have seen her in months and months... Say, you haven't seen her in years and years, right? Like, you don't even remember what she looks like?

Heroine: Not a bit! But if you don't let me see her, I'm calling the cops.

Sinister: Oh goodie! Well, in that case I believe she'd love to see you. Of course, she only entertains visitors in dark and shadowy rooms at night. Yep-- eccentric! Just gimme a few hours to find and make up an imposter let her wake up.

Heroine: Okay!

Hot Lebanese Chauffeur: This seems fishy. By the way, did you notice that he's stoned?

Heroine: Uh, what?

Hot But Sadly Ill-Informed Lebanese Chauffeur: Yep! Marijuana is a gray plant whose flowers may be smoked to induce a hallucinogenic high. It's bad stuff and can totally ruin your life, but luckily you're not likely to get addicted if, for instance, Sinister drugs you with it as part of his evil plot. By the way, for later plot reasons you should know that there is an enormous drug trade. Did I mention that I'm hot?

Heroine: Sorry, but I am in love with my cousin.

Kissing Cousin: This seems fishy. I have a theory about what's going on.

Heroine: Yeah? What?

Kissing Cousin: I'm not gonna tell you.

Marijuana is fun! )

Laura Kinsale's Uncertain Magic in Fifteen Minutes:

Heroine: I am telepathic in 1797 Yorkshire and every woman in my family with that cursed gift has died as a wretched old hag, because no man can bear to be around a woman who can read his mind. Woe!

Faelan Savigar, the Devil Earl who also happens to be immune to telepathy: Yo.

Heroine: QUICK, MARRY ME!

Devil Earl: I am a bad, bad, horrible person. I ruin women for fun, I dissect cats, and did I mention that I murdered my father when I was ten?

Heroine: o.O. ...I don't believe you. I think.

Devil Earl: Here's one of my wretched ruined women!

Heroine: I HATE YOU!

Devil Earl: WELL, I HATE YOU FOR HATING ME!

Heroine and Devil Earl: Dude. We're kind of well-matched, aren't we?

Devil Earl: You thought the plot was on crack before? Let me take you to my ancestral home in Ireland!

Ancient Telepathic Blind Family Retainer: Hello Robert Post's child. Only you can save the Devil Earl, so you better get cracking.

Heroine: Uh, what am I supposed to do?

Ancient Telepathic Blind Family Retainer: ...Not sayin'.

Heroine and Devil Earl's Mutual Buddy: I'm starting a rebellion!

Fae Folk: Hello!

Redcoats: Down with the rebels!

And then a plot twist ensues )
.

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