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.
Mr Styles grumbled when he learned that Penelope was waiting for him outside his office. It must be half a year since she was last here. “Lord, I’d forgotten that troublesome woman,” he said to his secretary. “Oh, let her… No, hanged if I will! Tell her I’m too busy to see her. That is, unless she’s got some news about Olive. Ask her and find out.”
The secretary sweetly whispered to Penelope: “I’m so sorry, but Mr Styles is in conference just now. What was it you wanted to see him about? Is there any news about your missing sister?”
“There is not, miss. I am here to visit Mr Styles on the business of the Lord.”
“Oh! If that’s all, I’m afraid I can’t disturb him.”
“I will wait.” She sat on a hard wooden chair through the morning, the lunch hour, and into the afternoon.
Eventually, Mr Styles could not work with the thought of that scarecrow out there and sent for her. She sauntered in, looking like a half-dead cat dragged from the ditch, gaunt and tired, her clothes a mess, a foul smell accompanying her.
“Well, what is it this time, Penelope? I’m a busy man. Do you have news about Olive?”
“No news, sir, but…” She looked at the floor, then gradually lifted her head and stared at him with watery, marble-like eyes. “I am Olive! Her sin is my sin.”
“Yes, yes, I know all that stuff—twin sisters, twin souls, shared responsibility—“
“You don’t understand. There is no twin sister. I am not Penelope. I am Olive. I invented an imaginary sister and disguised myself…” She leaned forward, resting her hands on his desk, and pushed her face close to his. “Don’t you even recognise my voice?”
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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