Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Gondola of Doom

Olga Wojtas

Olga Wojtas is an unconventional – and very witty – writer of postmodern crime fiction whose surrealist humour has been compared to the likes of PG Wodehouse, Jasper Fforde and the Marx Brothers. Her debut novel, Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Golden Samovar, has been published in the UK and US to great critical acclaim – being longlisted for the inaugural Comedy Women in Print Prize 2019, shortlisted for a CrimeFest Award, and named as one of the best mysteries and thrillers of the year by Kirkus.

A journalist for more than 30 years, Olga was Scottish editor of the Times Higher Education Supplement before she began adding creative writing to her portfolio. She won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2015 and has had numerous short stories and several novellas published. Olga’s second novel, Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Vampire Menace, was published in 2020.

The third book in the Miss Blaine’s Prefect series, Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Weird Sisters, was published in 2022.

She lives in Edinburgh, where she once attended James Gillespie’s High School – the model for Marcia Blaine School for Girls, which appears in Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, the novel that inspired the Miss Blaine’s Prefect series. 

Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Gondola of Doom

by Olga Wojtas

  • RRP: £9.99 (print)
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781913393878
  • Publication date: January 18, 2024


Buy Miss Blaine’s Prefect and the Gondola of Doom

Fifty-something Edinburgh 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 linguist, mathematician, martial artist, and musician, Shona is selected by Marcia Blaine herself to travel back in time for a crucial mission in Venice.

Finding the city afflicted by what appears to be a new outbreak of the plague, Shona soon encounters the Cornetto family of gondoliers. Lately, a number of their passengers have met a watery fate. Coincidence? Unlikely. She dons a mask, goes undercover and seeks inspiration in the library.

But the mystery only deepens. Why do the Cornettos seem so flaky and their explanations wafer-thin, even as they proclaim their innocence? What is going on at the printworks? Shona’s powers of deduction, dissection and prowess as a swimmer are put to the test as she realises that a bitter feud is at play.

Can Shona unravel the tapestry of lies and get to the truth? It’s a race against time, but it would be a mistake to underestimate a librarian.