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Cassandra Darke

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  707 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Cassandra Darke is an art dealer, mean, selfish, solitary by nature, living in Chelsea in a house worth 7 million.

She has become a social pariah, but doesn’t much care. Between one Christmas and the next, she has sullied the reputation of a West End gallery and has acquired a conviction for fraud, a suspended sentence and a bank balance drained by lawsuits. On the scale of
Paperback, 136 pages
Published November 1st 2018 by Jonathan Cape
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Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  707 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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Sam Quixote
Mar 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
I haven’t done one of these in a while but I felt like I needed to because nobody’s calling this crap out on the book’s listing and I’m not going to waste my time reading the rest of this garbage to give it a “proper” review!

So this is a review of a Did Not Finish book: Posy Simmonds’ latest, Cassandra Darke. And, like many of you who find themselves suffering through some bad reading, I checked out the reviews to see if there was someone out there who understood my pain, but I didn’t see
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was so happy to read another delightful graphic novel of Posy Simmonds! This one is also a modern version of a very popular Victorian novel, in this case ‘A Christmas Carol’ of Dickens. Wonderful graphics and witty conversations and thoughts in abundance, just like in her previous graphic novels ‘Tamara Drewe’ (based on Far from the Maddening Crowd) and Gemma Bovery (of course, based on Madame Bovary). Both graphic novels are terrific! They are truly in a class of their own. ‘Cassandra Darke’ ...more
Cassandra Darke is set over a couple of Christmases and tells the story of the title character, a millionaire art dealer who's found to have been defrauding clients and leaves her profession in disgrace. Subsequently, she agrees to take in her stepsister's daughter, Nicky, as a lodger-cum-assistant. Nicky provokes the ire of a dodgy guy in a club (but not before giving him Cassandra's name and phone number), then gets involved in a problematic relationship; the lives of the two women become ...more
(3.5) Simmonds would be a great place for graphic novel newbies to start: she writes proper, full-length stories, often loosely based on a classic plot (Gemma Bovery on Madame Bovary, Tamara Drewe on Far from the Madding Crowd, this one on A Christmas Carol), with lots of narration and dialogue alongside the pictures. Set between December 2016 and December 2017, Cassandra Darke is the story of a 71-year-old art dealer who’s laid low by fraud allegations and then blindsided by a case of mistaken ...more
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Not my favorite Posy Simmonds novel (that would be Gemma Bovery) but I will always give a Simmonds work five stars because I want to go back and read them again and again. I buy them the moment I hear about them, and NEVER lend them out to anyone. This hardback edition (very reasonably priced, I thought) is a collector's item with thick gloss paper and a ribbon marker.

The story is mostly in the first-person POV of Cassandra, with an occasional shift into third person when we get the background
3.5 rounded down (4 stars for the artwork, 3 for the story)

A modern take on A Christmas Carol, where the antihero is Cassandra, a curmudgeonly ageing art dealer who takes a young, struggling artist (Nicki) into her expensive London home providing she works as Cassandra's assistant. Nicki gets involved with a guy with a troubled past, and we follow the story as the threads link up to a murder.

Let down by an anti-climax of an ending, this is an otherwise enjoyable read, which I think would make
Mar 14, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: graphic-novel
A birthday present ! How exciting ...more
Brown Girl Reading
Interesting mystery graphic novel but the main character just got won my nerves. It's well drawn and the story is well developed. The layout of the graphic novel is very different from what is usually expected but that was very interesting to look at. I give this a 3,5 stars. I'd probably read more albums later, but it won't be a priority.
Alex Sarll
"Britain's favourite graphic novelist", according to the back cover. Now, sales figures are a bugger of a thing to find if you're not in the business, and any other index of 'favourite' even more so, but is Posy Simmonds really bigger and/or better-loved than Watchmen? Raymond Briggs? Attack on Titan? Or do they just mean 'graphic novelist' as in one appreciated by the sort of person who thinks 'graphic novel' is a genre or even a medium, as opposed to a format? Which is to say, she's the ...more
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved this murder mystery set in London so much that I'd like to give it a 5. But I mean, *War and Peace* is a 5, and I can't exactly equate them.

I am grateful to Wendy Greenberg,, for the recommendation. On the surface, the handsome graphic novel is about a pink glove and a gun, but on a deeper level the novel features an older woman coming to terms with the way she has spent her life.

Cassandra Darke is a wealthy, cantankerous, sometimes dishonest
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

“I dislike memorial services. In my experience people go to them for the drinks afterwards. And beforehand they sit there planning their own send offs and checking how old/ill/fat their contemporaries look. Not that my motive (curiosity) is any better.”

This was one of those many books that I picked up on a whim and I’m glad I did. In spite of the cover telling me that the author is “Britain’s favourite graphic novelist” I had never heard of her before?...but if I believed everything I read on a
Owen Townend
Sep 20, 2019 rated it liked it
This had all the components of an endearing thriller but it lacked sufficient balance between them.

The book starts off with promise, revealing the titular character who is a tough old bird and a white collar crook. It isn't immediately apparent but you can work out that Cassandra will get the chance to redeem herself before the last page.

Then, however, we are introduced to her niece Nicki's perspective, which is delivered suddenly in the third person and with much less colour. While this is
David Harris
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was a Christmas present (thank you!)

In Cassandra Darke, Simmonds uses the graphic novel format to create something resembling a scrapbook, juggling both panels and chunks of narrative (which sometimes contain, or flow round, single drawings or panes addressing points in the text, or linking with pictures elsewhere in the book). It's told from different perspectives, with the main protagonists (Darke and her niece Nicki) unaware till the end of some parts of each others' story. This
I love her art so much. I love her English so much. I love her spin on the graphic novel form so much.
Lady Shockley
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A modern retelling of A Christmas Carol, in which Scrooge is a crabby, bossy old spinster who’s been convicted of fraud. Simmond’s art is just terrific.
Joanna Flis
Nov 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't think that graphic novels are my favourite but I love this story! Horrible old lady (Scrooge in skirt?), naughty niece, crime and London. Joy!
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a wonderful book. Posy's inimitable drawing style and razor sharp attention to detail is laid out on the pages in abundance. A witty, acerbic, sad and poigniant book.
I urge anyone who's never read any Posy to immediately check out any of her backlist; adult or children's fiction.
Feb 01, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel, ebook, 2020
Interesting presentation. Partly text, partly graphic novel style, a great flow to the story, and without a doubt, excellent art.
Andrew McClarnon
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a deep read, firstly there's the artwork, loving in its character and detail, funny in its observation, but dramatic in its story telling. Then there is the story itself....
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphical-novels
Whilst I certainly didn't have a bad experience reading this book - it was well executed and I didn't dislike it - I can't say that much positive about it either. After I finished it, I headed over to read some reviews, and found myself reading The Guardian's review in a state of cognitive dissonance.

Apparently the rather unlikeable main character was a charming antihero and the bleak story was wonderful satire on A christmas carol by Charles Dickens, which I haven't read. Fair enough, I
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own
To be fair I was attracted by the artwork which bore a striking resemblance to an aunt & also to my mother in law.

The story is very slight & the ending quite disappointing.
I had envisioned from the cover that there was going to be a mystery to solve at least... Oh well.
Hannah Swanwick
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This has nothing to do with the book but I'd convinced myself it was Drake and not Darke until halfway through and then felt like an arse when I realised.
Richard Bryant
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Noted as ‘Britain’s favourite graphic novelist’ on the back cover blurb, but I’m ashamed to say I had not heard about Posy Simmonds before I became aware of the release of this book.

Cassandra runs a London art gallery. We are introduced to her as she is trying to avoid the widow of an artist. We soon learn she is very greedy and selfish. Her assistant at the gallery resigns almost as soon as she is introduced in the book due to Cassandra’s selfishness and lack of empathy.

The art in the book
I suspect how much you enjoy this beautiful graphic novel will depend on how you feel about reading characters who wilfully avoid the demand that they are 'likeable'. Simmonds has spoken specifically about her frustration with the expectation that female protagonists must charm the reader, and Cassandra Darke is something of a fuck you to the concept. Cassandra is a snobby, suicidal art dealer, while her niece Nicki is a naive young artist content to sponge from her elder relatives. I loved ...more
Nov 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Posy Simmonds drawings are always wonderful and the characters in this book have much more life and interesting features than the boorish white dudes in the recently lauded (shrugs) Sabrina. The story is gripping although it turns dark quite quickly and also quite unbelievably as some 'wrong uns' are suddenly tangled up with Cassandra and her step daughter Nicki who ends up hiding a gun in Cassandra's basement flat in Chelsea. There are some points that the author is keen that we spot about how ...more
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was my first Posy Simmond's graphic novel, and one I'd recommend as a gateway drug into the world of graphic novels, for those coming from a more traditional classical/modern fiction addiction.

As other reviews have noted, Posy Simmond's nods her head to classical works, by lifting themes/elements into her writing. In this book, parallels to "A Christmas Carol" are present, but not overtly intrusive.

The novel itself centres on a down-an-out elderly curmudgeon, at life's end, in her
Each new year I write myself a list of achievable goals which make my year more fun. One of my goals this year is to read more graphic novels. I came across a post about the best graphic novels of 2018 and this one stood out for me so I grabbed a copy in waterstones in the sale. I'm so glad I took a chance on this. It's a lovely book with beautiful illustrations and quite a melancholic story. A story about an old miser who gets caught up in a crime she had nothing to do with. You find yourself ...more
Chris Browning
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Posy Simmonds must be one of the most maddening talents in comics ever. Her eye for detail and physical details are uncanny in her art but her writing? Overwrought, slightly ridiculous and clunky as hell. Probably doesn’t help that her milieu tends towards the middle and upper middle classes but there’s an incredible disconnect between that ability to pick up on the smallest details in her character’s physical movements and the fact the plotting and dialogue just do not ever remotely convince. ...more
Feb 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, graphic-novel
True to the title, this is a much darker offering from Posy Simmons, though it still has her signature criticism of middle-class pretensions and economical but effective drawing style. The story centres around Cassandra, a late-middle-aged art dealer who has passed fakes off as originals. But the main story involves her relationship with a young woman, Nicki and her boyfriend Billy, who has got mixed up with some dodgy blokes. So underlying the crime story is more about the relationship between ...more
Andy Norton
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
With the complexity of your average TV drama, Posy Simmonds manages to juggle text and images to tell a complex tale featuring our titular character. Whilst people that read plenty of books may plough this rather quickly, you may wish to take your time to appreciate Posy Simmonds' work as an illustrator. Using an array of medium, you are able to see some of the textures that each art medium is making, which for those that do comic book work a breath of fresh air from the usual cleaning up.
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Rosemary Elizabeth "Posy" Simmonds MBE is a British newspaper cartoonist and writer and illustrator of both children's books and graphic novels. She is best known for her long association with The Guardian, for which she has drawn the series Gemma Bovery (2000) and Tamara Drewe (2005–06), both later published as books. Her style gently satirises the English middle classes and in particular those ...more