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February 4, 2017

Book Review:   Bertie Plays The Blues (Alexander McCall Smith)

The seventh book in the ’44 Scotland Street’ series, and McCall Smith does not disappoint.  Beyond all logic and reason (unless you are a regular reader of the author), Bertie is still six years old.  An infant prodigy, he continues to struggle with the pressure piled on him by his ever-irritating mother.  Irene insists that Bertie develop his linguistic and musical skills.  Fluent in Italian and Saxophone, the little boy (six going on eighteen) thinks to himself “I would divorce my mother if I could”.  In ‘Bertie Sings The Blues’, he makes a new friend.  Ronald Braveheart MacPherson, only slightly older than Bertie Pollock, suggests that they take a trip to Glasgow, search out the Adoption Agency, and find Bertie a new mother.

Mathew and Elspeth, not only struggling to cope with the domestic trials of caring for triplets, have a real problem telling them apart; particularly after Mathew removes...

December 20, 2016

Book Review:   Human Croquet (Kate Atkinson)

Kate’s second novel, and this does not disappoint.  Considering this was written in the early stages of her writing career, there is a maturity about her writing.  She is creative, imaginative and brave.  She risks going into the realms of complete fantasy but manages (just in time) to drag us back into reality.  She finds a way of explaining the strange episodes experienced by the young Isobel.  Atkinson draws us into her world, daring us to exclaim in disbelief.  We don’t, because we accept the premise that these things can and do (in our minds) happen.  We go off into the ether, we travel backwards and forwards in time.  We encounter the loves of our life, even if we never actually meet them in the flesh (as it were).  We die, come back, and then dream that life all over again.

Kate grounds enough of the story in real life to give us something to hang on to.  Something we can believe in, or coax...

November 19, 2016

Read the following start to a short story ('Spare Ticket'), which is just over 750 words.  Your challenge is to write the remainder of the story in approximately 750 - 900 words. I will upload the best versions to this blog page.  Please use the phrase 'Finished Story' in the subject line of your email  (Word file to be attached to your email).   Sorry, there's no prize.  This is just for fun!

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Spare Ticket

‘What are you doing there?’

‘I told you Dad.  The Paris thing really upset me.  I had to do something.’

‘I worry about you all the time.  After what happened, you know I’ll be frantic.’

‘Please don’t say that Dad.  This is something I have to do.’

Lisa Jones believed in solidarity.  Her union duties took her all over the country, but this was a risk.  Not because of the chance of a second attack, but as a senior civil servant in the Home Office, she had special responsib...

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