Chatsworth: It Works So Why Fix It?

What does a wet T shirt, the Crystal Palace and a sycophantic peer have in common?

Chatsworth

It’s one of those very precise stately homes we British do quite well, like queuing and moaning.

possible Slytherins were originally part of the Cavendish family

Built by an extraordinary woman in the 16th century and adapted by her descendants to suck up to the then powerful royals, it is grandiose in a way that today is the reserve of footballers and rappers.

It’s bling – the window frames are covered in gold leaf – it is its own museum and it still purports to be a family home for the Dukes of Devonshire.

Don’t you love that? It’s still their family home even though it survives on we tourists’ income, from estates that were inherited and not earned, and grants from bodies we paid into in taxes and lotteries.

But then again it could be owned by Jeff Bezos or Igor Richbitchovitch so there are pluses to inherited inbreeding.

The house has a lot of compelling history, some smashing artefacts – there’s this marble statue that is beyond description – how do you carve marble so sheer it looks like muslin?

er, gross? Damien Hurt’s St Bartholomew, flayed alive and carrying his own skin like a towel in the sauna. One of those things that you want to view from a distance like Angry Aunts and tsunamis

And the gardens are a vista or ten to die for.

There’s this lake and fountain built by Capability Brown, greenhouses by Joseph Paxton that led to him being commissioned to build the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition of 1851 and a cascade with different pitches to create a variety of sounds as you climb alongside its banks.

Oh and Mr Darcy climbed out of a ditch showing off Colin Wotsit’s torso in Pride And Prejudice. So what’s not to like.

If you’re in The Peaks do go. It’s very splendid. Well apart from this …

It’s a family portrait done in DNA. A quite literal waste of space.

I did wonder whether I should become a republican at this point in my tour, but then I was reminded of the old philosophical joke. Two philosophers went into a bar to discuss the Monarchy. The British Philosopher said to his French counterpart ‘I don’t understand you’re problem with Monarchy and landed gentry – in Britain they work well in practice.’

‘Ah Yes,’ said the French Philosopher, ‘ they may well work in practice but they don’t work well in theory.’

Maybe that’s why we voted for Brexit? Maybe that’s why we still indulge the Cavendish clan and allow them to waste the money from their exploitative past on crap like the above ‘portrait’. Because, in practice, the compromises we all make to be able to enjoy the day out I had make it all worthwhile. Probably. Keep Chatsworth just the way it is, and we’ll keep the tumbrils garaged.

And have a few laughs on the way…

The Textiliste trying to do her camera shy bit using the Beautician’s mum as a shield

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Nursery Crimes #writephoto #flashfiction

‘This way, sarge. I’ve grabbed you an SOC suit.’

DS Jerome Kernel looked up at the sodden moor and down at his suede shoes. ‘Why is it always here?’

‘Rural Yorkshire, sarge. Killers don’t tend to put bodies out for the bin men. Here you go.’ DC Alison Staples handed Jerome the white romper suit and held out a pair of blue booties in one hand and nitrile gloves in the other.

The two police officers trudged in silence as the rain beat a discordant symphony on their heads. Finally, after ten minutes during which the internal and external moisture levels equalised, they saw the lights.

Alison sniffed. ‘Same pattern. Bones boiled, marrow degraded, probably no DNA. Seven skulls, seven patella, seven scapulas…’

‘Seven? Including…?’ Jerome let the question hang.

‘Including the farmer. Same Mo. Same family.’

DS Kernal squeezed his eyes shut. ‘You think it’s some sort of anti Scottish shtick?’

‘Or a food nutter. The farmer and six animals all slaughtered and prepped. Mad vegan?’

Jerome stopped and sighed. He pointed at a tall man striding towards them, perfect smile shining out of his SOC hood. ‘What’s he doing here? How’d he find out?’

Alison shrugged. ‘Come on, let’s be nice to the lying bastards. Hi, Colin. Good to see the press are on the ball.’

Colin Methuen dragged on an e-cigarette, setting a cloud of cinnamon wafting towards the police tape. ‘Seven more corpses. One farmer. My sources say he’s a relly of the last two. So same killer?’

‘Come on, Col. It’s a bit early to call it.’

Colin shook his head. ‘Nah we both know it’s the same guy. Geez everyone knows that,’ he waved towards where three besuited technicians bent to their task, ‘is Old Man Macdonald and this is the handiwork of the E-I-E-I-O killer.’

This is written in response to Sue Vincent’s #Writephoto prompt

Posted in #writephoto, creative writing, flash fiction, miscellany, prompt | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

Holidays: Where Did They Go?

For those inclined to visit here, you will well know my ingrained incompetence with preparing for and organising family holidays. So much so that, in so far as is possible, I am banned from such chores these days. Today we are off on another such adventure, this time to Iceland to celebrate one of our number reaching a nice round figure. In honour of that event and the fact that blogging may become a touch sporadic for the next week – who knows – here is my introduction to the Wondrously and Egregiously Awful Holiday Company, Dickhead Tours from 2016. I hope it never happens to you…

Back in the mid 1990s, when the Lawyer and the Vet were small we regularly holidayed in Devon. Soon enough this became a tradition – the early start, the Little Chef breakfast and the difficult choice of Butterfly farm/Otter sanctuary/model railway at Buckfast or the caves and model village at Torbay before checking into our cottage for the week.

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Happy days. We loved it. So much so that when one of the cottages we stayed in, in Kingston, near Buckfast, came to be offered on a  timeshare basis we decided to buy a week – the first week of the school holidays in July. This cottage was one of about ten that had been developed out of old farm buildings and which surrounded a rather magnificent old manor house.

We had been going for three or four years when we decided to invite my Mum and Dad to join us. The children could share a room and show the petting farm and the lanes around the complex to their grandparents. That year we also decided that, loving Devon as we did, we would take a second cottage in the north near Barnstaple and move on there after our timeshare week.

All they way down to Devon the children competed over who would show which grandparent what favourite thing. We took our time, having agreed to meet Mum and Dad by the manor house at 5pm – they were coming straight from their house in the New Forest.

The day was balmy, the mood upbeat and as we pulled in front of the big house, Dad climbed out of his battered old rover with a large grin on his face.

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‘Not bad, boy.’ He always called me ‘boy’. By my late 30s I’d got used to it. I could afford to be magnanimous and indulge his irritating little ways. After all we were to be the gracious hosts for the week. The Lawyer and the Vet grabbed their grandma’s hands and pulled her to see the rabbits and goat. The Textiliste went in search of the milk and bread we had pre-ordered and I led Dad to meet the owner, a delightful man of military bearing and a somewhat careworn disposition, though always friendly.

Mr Wotsit (I’ve let his name slip away over time) opened the door and I re-introduced myself (assuming he wouldn’t remember me from a year before) and my father. ‘Mr Le Pard. Er, well, welcome. I’m er, why don’t you come into the office?’

He wasn’t his usual avuncular self. Oh well, I thought, it must be trying for him, the change-over day.

‘Now, where are we?’ Mr Wotsit pushed his glasses up his nose and fiddled with the papers on his desk. No computers back then, of course.

Meanwhile the Textiliste appeared. She raised an eyebrow. ‘No milk or bread.’

Mr Wotsit looked perturbed. “Really? I’m so sorry. Look, let’s get you booked in and I’m sure we can sort that out.’

‘There’s another car in front of our cottage.’ She said this just stating the fact but Mr Wotsit grimaced like he was having appendix problems. ‘Oh dear.’

Time for Mum and the children to join us. ‘When can we show granny her room?’ The Lawyer was bouncing with excitement, mostly because he had been freed from the tyranny of the car seat restraint.

Mrs Wotsit joined us. Somehow, when bad news is imminent there’s a magnetism that draws people in, like to a public hanging. I think I knew something was up when I heard the milk and bread weren’t ready.

‘I’m sorry Mr Le Pard….’

If I could I would have stopped him there. Just let me ease everyone away, like rubber-neckers passing an accident, I silently begged; I didn’t need them all gawping at my inevitable loss of face.

‘What’s up?’ Dad was always a great person to have on your side in an argument. The bellicose side of his nature was building up a head of steam. In a way, I should have been grateful that he was making an assumption in my favour. If there’s an error, so his tone indicated, it’s not my son’s. He’s a partner in a  firm of solicitors. He’s a big cheese, the grandest of fromages. It can’t be his error, whatever it is.

Instead of gratitude, I just wished he wasn’t there.

‘It seems there’s been a mistake with the dates,’ said Mr Wotsit.

‘Well,’ said the old man, growing into his self-appointed role as defender of his son’s honour, ‘what are you going to do about it?’

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‘I’m sure we can sort something out,’ Mr Wotsit whispered to his wife who nodded, like this wasn’t the first time such an error had occurred.

I glanced at the Textiliste who smiled in sympathy. ‘Can you explain, Mr Wotsit, what the problem is?’

‘I’m afraid, Mrs Le Pard, that you are due next week. You are a week early. And,’ he didn’t need to add this but he was determined there was no misunderstanding, ‘ your cottage is let to someone else this week.’ That would have done but on he went. ‘And we have no spare accommodation.’

Dad looked around at the assembled multitude. At least the presence of his grandchildren excised the expletives from the next sentence. ‘He’, everyone knew who ‘he’ was, ‘He got the week wrong? How on earth do you get the week wrong?’

‘Oh it’s easy,’ said Mr Wotsit. He really wasn’t helping. He held up a chart with each week colour coded. ‘The school holidays are shown in red, representing the high season, but these are the state school holidays. If your children are at a private school with different term dates…’ For once he left it hanging. ‘I’m sure we can find a solution.’ Even to me, now desperate for some sort of reprieve, it sounded lame.

By now Dad had shifted allegiance. ‘Let me get this right. It is Saturday evening at 5.30. In the holiday season. We don’t have any accommodation for the night let alone for the week….’

‘… next week, you have the cottage here and you are, of course, welcome…’

Dad held up a hand, ‘…next week he,’ the ‘hes’ were being increasingly emphasised, but not in a good way – he hadn’t started the finger jab yet but the jaw jut was in overdrive, ‘he has two cottages, one here and one in Barnstaple. Well bully for him. What about tonight?’

‘Shall we have some tea?’ Mrs Wotsit looked at Mum.

Mum nodded. ‘Can I help?’

‘I need something a f…’ Dad wasn’t to be mollified by tea.

‘Desmond!’

‘… damn sight stronger than tea.’

‘Scotch?’ Mr Wotsit was a shrewd judge of character.

‘Best thing you’ve said since we arrived. He…’ me again, ‘doesn’t drink.’ This was said as if it partly explained the catastrophe that confronted us.

The Textiliste put a hand on the heads to the Lawyer and the Vet. ‘Why don’t you show me the goat? I think Daddy and Grandpa want to have a little chat with nice Mr Wotsit.’

I understood her motives; shelter the children from acts of violence however justified; hide them from examples of family breakdown. But it felt like desertion.

Dad waited until he heard the front door shut behind his grandchildren.

‘How effing incompetent are you? You tell me you hold down a job? No one, surely, no one in their right mind..’ He lost thread and started again, ‘A lawyer, are you? People pay you to help them make complex decisions and here you are as useless as a chocolate teapot, as an ashtray on a motorcycle. I knew lawyers were full of bullshit but you take the biscuit,’ my dad could be extraordinarily eloquent when on a roll. ‘You know you should set up a holiday company as a side line. You could call it Dickhead Tours and plan to take people away when they don’t want to go. That’d be your USP. Pillock.’

I’ve been the subject of many of dad’s exponential rants but, fortunately, Mr Wotsit was a man with both an admirably equitable temperament and a neat line in damping down incendiary guests. ‘Mr Le Pard?’ We both turned to look. He was holding a phone to his ear. ‘I’m calling my sister-in-law. She runs English Country Cottages. Maybe something is available.’

‘Don’t be bloody ridiculous, man. It’s Saturday, it’s nearly 6 and…’

‘Could you pour us a drink Mr Le Pard? I’ll have a Laphroaig.’ Malt whiskey was probably the only thing that, right then, could have distracted Dad.

By the time he had served two generous measures, Mr Wotsit was talking to someone. Dad whispered to me, calmer now he had a medicinal glass in his hand. ‘God knows why your darling wife is so calm. If I were her, I’d have …’ Even he couldn’t decide on the punishment but his expression suggested I’d not be siring further children.

‘I think she realised you’d do it for her.’

‘Hmm. Wise woman.’ Dad slumped in a chair, nursing the amber liquid and awaited confirmation that I was irredeemably hopeless. We didn’t have to wait long.

‘Good news. There’s a cottage – about ten miles away, near Bantham – that is due to be made available next week but it is all set now. It doesn’t have the English Country Cottages’ welcome box but I agreed we would provide that. It has three rooms, a bit smaller than here and of course it doesn’t have all the amenities but it is…’

‘We’ll take it.’ I didn’t want to seem too keen.

Mr Wotsit beamed, luxuriating in his role as hero. ‘Shall we tell your wife?’ He picked up his scotch and led us to the hall. Mum and Mrs Wotsit appeared with the tea-things and we went outside to meet the children and the Textiliste. She has one very expressive eyebrow, her left. Just then it rose in the obvious question and I gave a small if rather vigorous thumbs up. Tea was laid on a small table, scones offered to the children and Mum poured.

‘Now Mr Le Pard.’ Mr Wotsit was back in business mode. ‘Next week. Do you want to keep your cottage here, or go to Barnstaple?’ The Lawyer led the chant of ‘here, here’ followed by the Vet and, laughing, the Textiliste. Mr Wotsit’s smile reached his ears. ‘Marvellous. I will speak to my sister-in-law and see if we cannot sell the Barnstaple week for you. No promises.’

My father had been somewhat deflated by my stroke of luck and was only just joining us at this point. ‘Sell the week? He’s not going to get money back, is he?’

‘Oh I should have thought so. Cottages are like gold dust and…’ Even Mr Wotsit was shrewd enough to realise this wasn’t good news for everyone. ‘There will of course be an administrative deduction and it may not be possible to get the full rate.’

‘Harrumph.’

We found the new cottage easily enough. The ECC rep was helpfulness personified. I filled in the forms, wrote a cheque for the week and we moved in. The Vet’s antennae has always been acute. ‘Grandpa, will you read to me tonight?’ Dad loved reading to the children.

And so we enjoyed the week; it wasn’t as good as our timeshare, but the cottage had a swimming pool and it was only about three miles for the enormous sandy beaches at Bantham and Bigbury. Everyone had a splendid time.

The rep appeared on the Tuesday, to check everything was ok. When we assured him it was, he asked me if we could have a quick word. ‘Mr Wotsit suggested I speak to you in private,’ he glanced nervously at my dad who was feeding eggy soldiers to his grand-daughter. ‘Just to let you know we’ve managed to sell the Barnstaple Cottage for you. I have a cheque here.’ He handed it to me, folded. I opened it and slipped it in my wallet. We said no more, nodded our farewells and went our separate ways.

Half an hour later, as Mum and Dad were making ready to go out, the Textiliste sidled up to me. ‘Well, why the cloak and dagger?’

‘They sold Barnstaple.’

‘Great.’ When I didn’t volunteer  any more, she said, ‘And?’

‘We made a profit. I’ve got back more than this cottage cost.’

We both looked at my father, coming downstairs with a big smile on his face as he swung the Vet off her feet. It seemed a shame to ruin the rest of his holiday.

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and finally, the two men are reconcilled in sleep…

Posted in holidays, humour | Tagged , , | 39 Comments

Naturalised Londoner: That Outdoor Life, Part One

As an Articled clerk, trainee solicitor as it is now known, back in 1979, one of my many jobs was to act as a sort of underpaid postman. To hire a motorcycle dispatch rider cost real money, back then. What better therefore than to use the lowest paid in the office for such a task. Me.

I didn’t mind. Anything that got me away from my desk was to be embraced in those early days for any one or more of the following reasons:

1. It meant I didn’t have to use the phone and expose my ignorance in all matters pertaining to the law

2. It meant that my principal, with whom I had to share a room did not hear my attempts to dictate anything either into the tape machine that sat on my desk or, even worse, to one of the senior secretaries who ‘took dictation’ by sitting opposite me, pencil poised over a lined pad of A5 sized paper ready to impress with their Pitman technique. What made the human version of the dictaphone worse was the sighing. At least the machine didn’t judge the quality of what I wrote quite as much as the secretaries. I think that’s why I’ve always been willing to embrace AI. It doesn’t show disappointment.

3. Mostly it was because, out of the office I couldn’t be given a new job to add to my burgeoning portfolio of ‘impossible tasks’. I mean I’m not the White Queen and anyway it’s after breakfast so I couldn’t be expected to do one let alone six impossible things.

An example. A fabulously rich client left his books and library to one relly and his manuscripts to another. They were worth a fair bit each. Then they discovered, in the client’s library an authentic letter by Henry VII from 14 something. It was worth more than all the books furniture art and other chattels combined. Was it a manuscript – if so relly two was bathing in extract of yeti sweat forever; if not it was part of the library and relly one was feasting on deep ocean barnacle truffles every day. No one knew. The books didn’t say. I spent bloody hours at the Law Society library, Sotherby’s and the British Library and made the square root of fuck all progress. The first decade was fun but after that the question took on its own from of scripted lassitude that was like a cranial necrosis only without the holiday pay and benefits.

The deliveries ranged from the sublime – push this through the letterbox – to the terrifying – serve this summons. One such, to serve a possession summons on the occupants of a bedsit in a block on Baker Street involved a climb of about ten flights of stairs, each one containing its own microclimate of odours – sweat, piss, curry, blood and something fusty, cinnamon and, oddly, WD40. At the top was a door that had either  been kicked open more often than a Frank Sinatra revival or put on sideways as the lock was now on the top, possibly because this was the only part of the doorframe that hadn’t been splintered. When I knocked, with a certain amount of trepidation, the door was answered by a woman, possibly sixteen or forty, it was difficult to tell from her face. In the crook of each arm was a baby, each of whose faces seemed to be evenly split into thirds – one third skin, one third snot and one third some sort of crust.

‘Yeah?’ ‘Miss Origami?’ ‘Yeah?’ ‘For you.’ ‘What is it?’ ‘ I’m not sure. Can you take it please?’ ‘Hold Jim.’

At this point I’m offered a child. Given I know full well what it contains (the letter that is; the contents of the child given the colour and viscosity of the snot was beyond rational assumptions), I really do not want to be around when she opens it. I decline and seek to tuck it between one mewling infant and her arm. ‘Oi! Gerrof!’

At this point something that might possibly have been a recently beached Kraken emerges from the Stygian depths of the apartment. ‘What is it Doris?’

The mythical monster is huge, sporting a green cardigan and drooping rollup And almost certainly lacking in empathy for delivery personnel.  With a cheery farewell I take my leave of the star crossed lovers viz I utilise every sinew bestowed on me to descend those stairs with a speed and alacrity rarely seen outside the Olympics or the January sales.

I think mine host may have sent me on my way with a choice exhortation to return soon, namely ‘Oi, you little shite. Get yer arse back ere.’

My arse was doing no such thing either alone or in the company of any other parts of my anatomy. We skedaddled.

I must say that, for all my own fears, what I saw gave me pause. Behind the snot and aggression there was a youngish couple with at least 2 children. The woman looked awful – possibly an addict, certainly bruised  – and the man not much better. The flat looked a tip and smelt – pretty indescribable really. What were their lives going to be  like? Hard? Joyless? Short? I might have lived a frugal lifestyle back then but never at that level of poverty. I had a future; I was definitely the lucky one.

At least that was the way I thought until the delivery to Douglas Nowell-Hammond that nearly stopped my legal career in its tracks.

Next time…

Posted in experiences, humour, London, memories, miscellany, thought | Tagged , , , | 37 Comments

The Wife #filmreview

The title was a bit off putting – it rather gave the game away – as was the blurb. The cast had a lot of quality – Jonathan Pryce, Glenn Close and Christian Slater – but this whole put upon woman being the real genius is, well, a bit trite. It’s true, sure, in many cases but it’s a story often told.

So I went along thinking, how are they going to subvert the bleeding obvious and make it a novel take that creates its own special USP?

I sat back and let the story – Nobel Prize for Literature awarded to crusty white male with quiet supportive wife and narky son, go to Stockholm where the truth is outed over soused herring and knitwear – wash over me. The acting was sublime, poised, minimalist and believable and I could swing along to the rhythms of disintegration and despair. It’s neatly done, watching everyone’s faltering steps, the grandiose presumption of the male ego and the self deprecating supportive wife, the intrusive journalist, the dissatisfied son. I was on an easy ride, watching this, giving it some conditional stars in anticipation of a decent ending….

And then we got to the crux, the thing that makes this story worthy of my time and hard-earned and, looking back, it didn’t justify the investment. From trite to unbelievable in thirteen minutes. I could plot spoil and explain why I think this piece of filmography supremely irritating but some of you may have booked tickets, some may have read about it, heard about, had friends see it and want to go. Many have rated it highly. Jolly good. You may enjoy it. Just ask yourself at the end, is the eponymous Wife’s role in the marriage credible? Really? Could his role really be as described? Over a career?

It begs an interesting question in this watcher. If seventy percent plus of the film is enjoyable, if the craft of the actors is of a significantly high level throughout, why does the fact that the ending is unsatisfactory compromise the entirety? It happened with First Reformed (reviewed here) and to a lesser extent here. Why can’t I hold onto those good feelings and use them to offset that final squeeze of the lemons? It’s not like a great ending saves a shit film, is it?

Ah me. The imponderables of life. Like why can’t you get all the toothpaste out of a tube?

To make up here a few pictures of the garden…

And Dog…

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In Which A Mother Becomes Upset When Her Son Is Criticized #flash #microcosms

‘Mrs. Spindle? A moment?’

Celeste Spindle aka Suction-Woman jumped. She managed to catch her breath before she pulled the Headmistress, Magnificat Jameson aka Weave-Wonder, off her feet. ‘Sorry. Miles away.’

‘It’s Horace. I felt we needed a word.’

Celeste’s second heart sank pulling her first out of kilter. ‘Yes?’

‘He’s being rather disruptive.’

‘Really?’ Though Celeste wasn’t surprised. ‘Are his powers not developing?’

‘It’s not that. We all feel he has the makings of a fine superhero. It’s just recently he’s away in this dream world…’

‘Dream world?’

‘Take yesterday. He told Marvelette there’s a planet full of people without superpowers and they use machines.’

‘No!’ Celeste covered her mouth as the Head ducked, narrowly avoiding some flying garbage.

‘Careful dear. Now, are there problems at home? How’s Gerald’s job hunt?’

Celeste frowned. ‘It’s hard. Super-strength isn’t enough these days. He needs finesse.  He’ll have to retrain.’

‘I just wondered. Do you think he’s watching something, erm, inappropriate that Horace might have seen?’

Celeste felt her face burn. ‘What do you mean?’

‘I’ve heard there this new download. Life on Dull, full of graphic images of men using lawn-cutting machines and women in a box making food. Has he…’ Mrs. Jameson’s goggled as Celeste sucked in a large breath, ripping a climbing frame from its moorings, sending it bouncing towards the sandpit.

‘How dare you.’  Celeste gasped and sent the rocking crocodile spiraling past the soccer nets.

Mrs. Jameson sighed.  This always happened on Tuesdays. Waving to the Head of Maths aka Gag-o-God they contained Celeste’s rippling lips and wove her a protective net. ‘Put her in Lost Parents, please. Horace can collect her after school. He can use that wheeled thing he brought.’ She smiled at her colleague.  ‘Hopefully, next time she sounds off, she won’t hurt anyone.’

Posted in creative writing, flash fiction | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

My Father And Other Liars is free!!

My second book is free from today for three days! Please click on the image for the link or go to my author page, here for a link to your own bookshop.

Here is the blurb

When British freelancer Maurice Oldham saves American scientist Lori-Ann Beaumont from a pack of journalists at a ProLife conference in San Francisco, neither expects to see the other again. But six months on, Lori-Ann is on Maurice’s doorstep, bruised, penniless and desperate to find her boyfriend, Peterson, who has gone missing in England. Maurice soon realises nothing is as it seems with Lori-Ann. Why is she chasing Peterson; why has her father, Pastor of the Church of Science and Development sent people to bring her home; what is behind the Federal Agency who is investigating Lori-Ann’s workplace in connection with its use of human embryos; and what happened in Nicaragua a quarter of a century ago that is echoing down the years? For Maurice and Lori-Ann the answers lie somewhere in their Fathers’ pasts. Finding those answers will take Lori-Ann and Maurice from England via America to Nicaragua; in so doing they will have to confront some uncomfortable truths about their Fathers and learn some surprising things about themselves.

And a review

My Father and Other Liars” is a thoughtful book full of twists and complex characters. The way author Geoff Le Pard develops characters to be both flawed and evocative is becoming a hallmark of his writing. The suspense in the book rises from a multitude tensions at the heart of which is political intrigue in regards of the use of stem cells in research. One of the thought-provoking aspects of the story is the crossroads between theology and science. It’s handled in such a way as to be believable and not offensive (unless one has a highly sensitive nature in regards to religion used as a medium in fiction). The author even shares (at the end of the book) how he developed his fictional theology. Another tension arises from the idea of adult orphans and those who have absentee-fathers or poor relationships. It’s a theme that crosses global borders just as the book itself is set in England, America and Nicaragua. The pace is steady and picks up so that it is hard to deny the next chapter. This is the second published novel by Geoff Le Pard and while it is different from his first, “Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle,” his voice comes through as a writer and someone I will continue to follow as a reader.

Please go and take one. And if your TBR heap allows you to read it and you feel inclined to review it, don’t let me stop you.

Posted in Books, free promotion, My Father and Other Liars | Tagged , , | 7 Comments