Bert felt jealous, cheated on, and blue. Then he discovered he could morph into a giant nightmarish slug...
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Life in the Clouds #6: Take a Slug ® James Field.
She returned to the suitcases. Squatting beside them, she gathered from one the wig and black garments of Penelope. She stripped, eased Penelope’s clothes on, and packed Olive’s garbs and the frilly handbag in the suitcase.
Beforehand, she had stitched together some small sacks with long carrying straps, made from bedsheets. Into these sacks and a spacious black handbag of Penelope’s, she filled the stolen money.
Into each suitcase she piled as many rocks as they would hold and tossed the bags out into the pond, where they vanished as willingly as the car. Next, she tied the two number plates together with a longish piece of string and draped them around her collar. Careful to arrange the sacks of money evenly around her body, she suspended them likewise from neck and shoulders. Last, she shrugged a long, black raincoat on, and fastened the buttons up to her chin.
With a pair of sensible walking shoes and the handbag dangling from one shoulder, she advanced toward The Stables. Wanting to stay concealed, she kept to various groves of maples and willows till she was within half a mile of the village.
As she strode briskly along The Stable’s entrance road, Bert and his two Alsatians plunged from a meadow of grazing horses right in front of her.
“Hello, Penny,” said Bert. “Out for an evening stroll?”
“Yes, I thought a breath of fresh air would clear my head. My book is at a delicate stage.”
“You shouldn’t be out here walking by yourself. No telling what sort of notecases are about.”
“God will protect me. I have no fear.”
“Yeah, must be Him what sent me here. Better let me walk you home.”
“Is Olive in? I’m contemplating calling on her.”
“Nah, she’s gone to Harrogate, and won’t be back for days.”
“I pray for her every day, but foresee her obsession with money will lead to her downfall.”
It wasn’t much further to Flintstone Terrace, and Penelope spoke non-stop of the all-powerful God, the creator, sustainer, and supreme judge of the world. At the path to her front door, Penelope bid Bert goodnight.
Once safely inside her house at number three Flintstone Terrace, she unlocked a section of the bookcase and packed the stolen money into those empty encyclopaedias. As she stored them, she counted the bills. They came to one hundred and eighty-seven thousand, five hundred and thirty-five pounds.
With a pair of strong garden shears, she cut the number plates into small pieces, the size of coins, and dropped them into a piggy bank.
In her bedroom, she undressed calmly. Once she laughed: “I detest those pompous fools—bosses and cops. I’m beyond their idiot law. No one can catch me—it would take me myself to manage that!”
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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