Bert felt jealous, cheated on, and blue. Then he discovered he could morph into a giant nightmarish slug...
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On Wednesdays and Sundays I’m blogging nibble-sized chunks of new ‘Life in the Clouds’ novellas. You can check in regularly and read them bit for bit, or leave a message in my 'contact' page, and I'll send the entire digital story to you for free when published.
Life in the Clouds #6: Take a Slug ® James Field.
Every evening, Penelope's neighbour, Bert, exercised his dogs. Penelope accompanied him sometimes, finding solace in his calm manner, and told of her anguish about the wretched business of her sister’s theft. She asked if he thought she’d shut herself up with her studies too much and neglected her sister.
With his head sunk between his shoulders, Bert repeated the same words every day: “Olive has stolen the money and run off to France or the continent with some bloke.” Then, in answer to her question, he advised her to get out more.
It hurt Penelope to see Bert so crestfallen. She let him persuade her, at least to the extent of strolling with him each time he walked his dogs. She also lets the delivery of milk, meat and groceries disturb her literary solitude. Whenever Bert was kind enough to drop her off at the public library in Chipwick, she visited the reference department. There, she flipped through books on Central and South America-as though she were planning to visit, someday.
But she continued her religious studies. Before the embezzlement, Penelope had not worked consistently on her book about Revelation. All anyone had seen of it was a jumble of quotations from theological authorities. Now, her sister’s crime shocked her into a more concentrated study, more patient writing.
Chief Inspector Dobbs gradually gave up the search for Olive and came to believe she was dead.
A month after her sister’s disappearance, Penelope became fanatically absorbed in her vague work. Days and nights drifted together in meditation, where she lost sight of realities. Through the clouds of disturbing thoughts, flashes of the spirit pricked at her lack of compassion.
To be continued…
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The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
There’s a lot to like and a lot to dislike in this story. I like that it’s cosy, funny, and heart-warming. The plot, however, is a tragedy. There are two murders, and every character in the book, of which there are many, has a motif. With so many twists, turns, and red herrings throughout the narrative, it lost me in a virtual maze.
But the author commits the gravest crime: he introduces a new, guilty character right at the end of the story. Tut, tut, naughty.
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