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Edward Gorey's strange and twisted illustrations, often coupled with his similarly odd prose, illustrates this inimitable book of manners "The Recently Deflowered Girl." Written by Mel Juffe under the nom de plume Miss Hyacinthe Phypps, advice for the society girl offers "the right thing to say on every dubious occasion."

Juffe, narrating with a humor so dry it resembles sandpaper, tells what to do when the marimba player, the spirit of Valentino or the Chinese detective deflower (and in other ways) act positively rakish.

What happens when your affianced cannot make the wedding? "Deflowered by Proxy," of course. Or when you are suspected of offing Lord Pilroy: "Deflowered by Chinese Detective."

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Each vignette concludes with a condensed snippet of advice. For the lady deflowered by the doctor who, after the act, admits he is a fellow patient, one must reply that this visit must be free, because "Thrift is a virtue men like to find in a woman."

Originally published in 1965, The Recently Deflowered Girl was long out of print and considered one of Gorey's lost works when Bloomsbury republished it this month.

The lovely and darkly hilarious pairing of his ink and watercolor illustrations with Juffe's short tails make this book the harshest sweet in the bunch. Pick up a copy from Amazon or Powell's.

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