Sometimes it's hard to know where to start when you come to write a review of a book. In this case I think it best if we just jump straight in at the deep end. "Miss Blaine's Prefect and the Weird Sisters" by Olga Wojtas is extremely enjoyable, quite bonkers and utterly unlike anything you'll ever have read before. Actually, the last of those isn't quite true. Anyone who's read the author's previous two novels, "Miss Blaine's Prefect and The Golden Samovar" and "Miss Blaine's Prefect and the Vampire Menace" will have a pretty good idea of what to expect. It says a lot for Olga Wojtas's ability to entertain that I remember both of the earlier book very clearly despite the passage of time: when many other sometimes excellent books I've read in the meantime are much more prone to have blurred together in the memory. You are not going to confuse a "Miss Blaine's Prefect..." book with anything else.
You get a sense of the story from the publisher's blurb: "Fifty-something librarian Shona is a proud former pupil of the Marcia Blaine School for Girls, but has a deep loathing for The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which she thinks gives her alma mater a bad name. Impeccably educated and an accomplished martial artist, linguist and musician, Shona is selected by Marcia Blaine herself to travel back in time for a crucial mission involving Macbeth, the weird sisters and a black cat. Unsure which version of history she’s in, Shona tries to figure out who she’s here to save. But between playing the Fool and being turned into a mouse, things don’t always go her way. Shona’s expertise in martial arts is put to the test as family tensions rise and fingers are pointed for murder. Can Shona unravel the mystery in time to complete her mission?"
What you get from Olga Wojtas is a highly entertaining collision of genres that usually keep a healthy distance from one another. Historical fiction? Yes, definitely, as the setting is in a historical version of Scotland, though questions are asked about whether Shakespeare's take on Scottish history is necessarily as accurate as it might be. Meanwhile, the story is played out with a keen eye for the ridiculous, setting this up as a work of humorous fiction. It's also easy enough to describe it as a thriller of sorts: the protagonist put us in mind of a slightly ageing Modesty Blaise, albeit with a refined Morningside accent. Plus of course some time-travelling science fiction. Are you looking for something funny, intriguing and totally different in your reading? Look no further!