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.
While Penelope leaned over the desk, her two hands on it, smiling wistfully, Mr Styles shook his head and mollified: “No, I’m afraid I don’t. Sounds like good old religious Penelope to me! Olive was a cheerful, flirtatious sort of girl. Why, her laugh—“
“But I can laugh!” The dreadful croak that Penelope uttered was like the wail of an evil vulture perched on a rotting carcass. Mr Styles shuddered. Under the edge of the desk his fingers inched towards the buzzer by which he summoned his secretary.
They took an elbow each and guided Penelope to the door. Penelope threw them off and urged: “Look—this wig—it’s a wig. See, I am Olive!”
She snatched the brown thatch off and stood expectantly, a look of fright on her face.
Her ghastly appearance startled Mr Styles, but he shook his head and sighed. “You poor devil! Yes, it’s a wig, all right. But I wouldn’t say that hair was much like Olive’s!” He motioned towards a mirror in the room's corner.
Penelope wavered to it. And she saw that, day by slow day, her hair had turned from Olive’s thin silky blackness to a straggle of damp grey locks writhing over a yellow skull.
She begged pitifully: “Oh, can’t you see I am Olive? I stole one hundred and eighty-seven thousand pounds from you. Punish me! I will do anything to prove… Why, I’ve been at your house. Your wife’s name is Evelyn. My salary here was—.“
“My dear woman, don’t you suppose that Olive might have told you these interesting facts? They are no secret. I’m afraid the worry of this has—pardon me if I’m frank—but I’m afraid it’s turned your head a little, Penelope.”
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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