Thursday, 21 August 2014

land sakes; the case of the lame canary

I used to think that when Elvis sang 'land sakes alive' in I Got Stung, he had just tripped over his words in saying 'and snakes alive'. But I was reading The Case of the Lame Canary by Erle Stanley Gardner - a Perry Mason novel from 1937 - and one of the characters used the expression a couple of times ('Land sakes, I'm so excited I'm all of a tremble.'). A google indicates that it's a euphemism - American, perhaps primarily southern states - for a swear, of the kind avoiding religious swearing. Here's a stump on Wikipedia.

The Case of the Lame Canary, which I finished on Saturday morning on the sleeper to Inverness, was alright, but not sufficiently good that it made me want to read more Perry Mason. I think I've read one Perry Mason before (there are over eighty novels and short stories, according to Wikipedia; looking at the list here, the Borrowed Brunette title rings a bell).