Mouse & Blutak
Berengaria Roper, is brave, clever, witty and determined, but has more than her fair share of human failings; she is a terrible mother, an appalling doctor, and a truly horrendous gardener. She longs for a more exciting life, so when the opportunity for travel and adventure arises, she should be delighted, but what ensues is anything but delightful. More
Berengaria and Zac Roper love the same things – weird holidays, horrible restaurants, Croydon, Albert Schweitzer and generally winding people up. However, their ill-conceived idea to advertise for a body to bury under their patio sets in motion a calamitous and bizarre sequence of events that they could not have foreseen, but might have suspected if they'd had more sense.
To start with, their daughter, Ali, runs away, pronouncing that building a patio, a symbol of bourgeois complacency, was the final straw, that they were extremely disappointing parents and she was going to travel the world in the hope of meeting interesting people.
Next, the oddly-named Griselda and Moonmilk arrive to deposit their dead body, and invite Berengaria and Zac to a concert featuring the infamous armless organist, Sheera Deera, something, being Bach lovers, they all bitterly regret.
Ali phones, needing a lift home – from Mumbai – and when Zac goes to India to fetch her, he disappears.
When Berengaria receives a text saying that Zac's plane has crashed in the Gobi Desert, and passengers are having to eat each other, she ignores it, believing it to be a wind-up. In any case, other problems are demanding her attention. Triffid-type plants that definitely are not clematis are starting to appear from under the patio, growing at an alarming rate and exhibiting self-aware characteristics. Things become even more terrifying when their buds open, and the flowers start staring in the windows with malignant intent.
Berengaria also needs to feed their large python, bought by Zac before he left to replace their cat, which was killed by their neighbour, Mr Cowspooner. And last, but definitely not least, a pretend sister suddenly appears and attempts to relieve Berengaria of the contents of her bank account.
Berengaria's efforts to discover what has happened to Zac and Ali end in failure, so she too flies out to India to investigate. This, needless to say, was also not a good idea and gives rise to an even more disastrous series of events. Berengaria soon finds she is facing the possibility of being much more dead than she has hitherto been. She also cannot shake off the unwelcome thought that Zac may not be a loving husband after all.
The story is set in a world slightly to the left of ours, where “Snot and Coldsore” is a crisp flavour, blind racing drivers win Grand Prix, poisoning your patients is an option for doctors, and people are not fat, but planetarily challenged.
This is both a droll and gruesome novel, written for people who do not care about good taste, but enjoy intellectual interludes: folk who want to expand their knowledge of quantum physics and yodelling. Decidedly non-PC, the book includes sideways swipes at conceptual art, health and safety, air cabin crews, market researchers, and anyone else I feel I can gratuitously insult, with a healthy dose of silliness thrown in for good measure.
Read it now before it self-destructs.