What can you find here? Reviews of new and not quite so new Sherlock Holmes novels and collections. Interviews with authors, link to blogs worth following, links to where you can purchase my books and some reviews of my work garnered from Amazon sites. Plus a few scary pics of me and a link to various Lyme Regis videos on YouTube...see what we do here and how....and indeed why!!! Next to the Lyme Regis Video Bar is a Jeremy Brett as Holmes Video Bar and now a Ross K Video Bar. And stories and poems galore in the archives.
Thursday, 14 August 2014
ANOTHER TWIST OF LYME
'Another Twist of Lyme' in which we once more encounter the Hamilton family is published and available. A comic look at one family through birthdays, parties and various events. After 'A Twist of Lyme' was completed I had no thoughts whatsoever about re-visiting the Hamiltons, but in the end I
“Let me get this right, you haven’t brought a change of clothes. Is that what you are saying?” asked the officious young man with the officious looking clipboard.
It was indeed what Judy was saying. He was right in that respect.
“But it would have been in the emails, sweetie. It was just below the approved limits for the mini-bar in your dressing room. You must have seen it.”
Judy had not seen it. He was wrong in that respect.
“The emails went through my publisher, Connor Milligan. He didn’t mention a change of clothes,” Judy offered, realising how lame this sounded.
The officious young man with the officious looking clipboard thought this excuse very lame. Judy was right in that respect.
“But you do know you are appearing in two shows, yes?”
Judy did know that and she wasted no time in telling him so.
“So, tell me when you think your second appearance will be?”
“Something tells me it will be today.”
“Correct. I’ll wander down to the wardrobe department, well I say department, but it has more in common with a cupboard mostly because it is a cupboard. There may be something there we can utilise.”
This was Judy’s introduction to the television quiz show Chapter and Verse or Worse, a light-hearted, some would say humourous look at the world of literature. Less unkind souls would label it humourless. A young woman approached Judy.
“I’m Alice,” she announced, offering Judy a firm handshake. “Programme assistant. I’ll tell you what’s happening when and introduce you to how it all works. We’ll get you to make up first.”
“Make up what?”
“No, I mean take you to have your face and hair made up…oh, you were being funny weren’t you.”
“I was trying. To be honest, I’m not a make-up kind of gal. I prefer the natural look.”
“The natural look is one thing, but trust me love, you need a little extra something for the cameras to love you. And believe me they have to love you. I suppose they might just in your case.”
Judy was not sure whether she had been insulted or complimented so decided on silence and a certain amount of compliance. She was led off to make-up, like a lamb to blusher. There, the officious young man with the officious looking clipboard caught up with her.
“I’ve not had much luck,” he said, “all I can offer is a Dorothy costume from a ‘A Wizard of Oz’ production and a banana outfit.”
“I quite like the look of gingham dresses on me, but I’m not too sure about wearing those ruby red slippers. They’re so not me.”
“It’s no problem. Neither the studio audience or the viewers will see them. Oh…you were being funny weren’t you.”
She was. He was right in that respect. “Trying, yes. I’ll just wear this outfit of mine for both recordings. There can’t be any harm in that surely.”
The officious young man with the officious looking clipboard looked Judy’s outfit up and down and was of the unspoken opinion that there may well be lots of harm in it. With a scarcely concealed sniff of disapproval he walked away.
Alice collected Judy after the studio’s make-up artist had struggled valiantly with her and had admitted defeat. “You don’t look any different,” Alice said, also with a sniff of vague disapproval. “Right, now you should meet your fellow guests.”
Judy was led to a small lounge which had all the appearance of a doctor’s waiting room. There was even a six months old copy of Good Housekeeping and three even older National Geographics.
“Clara, this is Judy Hamilton. I’m sure you have heard of her.”
Clara Snelling also wrote novels in the espionage genre, in her case with a twist in the tale or to be more accurate, the tail. Her spy thrillers had liberal helpings of all manner of fetishes and regular bouts of BDSM, something Bradley Steel would never approve of, but possibly something Mrs (?) Sheila Barry would have enthused over. Her latest, Thirty Days in Mandalay was being lapped up by an adoring public. The newspapers all acclaimed her hero, Daniel Ryan, as being a James Bondage for the modern age. Shaken, stirred and whipped.
“Ah yes, Judy Hamilton,” she said, as though the name was in some way distasteful to her. “You write…those…er…um…”
“Books?” offered Judy.
“Don’t tell me…it’s coming to me…thrillers in the tennis world.” She too sniffed with mild disapproval.
‘Perhaps everyone is coming down with a cold,’ thought Judy idly.
The other member of the panel was Raymond Stevens (no relation) who wrote what the press called ‘serious’ novels about ‘serious’ issues. Raymond Stevens seemed just a little too high-brow for this decidedly low-brow show. His publisher however had urged Raymond to consider doing the show to help spearhead a campaign to make the general public more generally aware of his books. Raymond therefore was performing under sufferance which had the effect of making him even more insufferable than he had been previously. Still, on the plus side, he had heard of Judy too. But, just as with Clara Snelling he had not deigned to read any of her work.
The question master was Jeffrey Hopper, a failed stand-up comedian, a failed chat show presenter, but a tolerable quiz master. The assistant producer went through the format with the panellists. Keep it lights folks, this is not The Book Review, be topical, be funny, but not too funny. Jeffrey has to get 71% of the laughs, it’s in his contract.
The floor manager set up the camera angles, checked the panellists postures, noted Judy’s lack of make-up and sniffed disapprovingly. Judy was as nervous as she had ever been, not even fully understanding what was required of her, for unlike her fellow guests she had never seen the show. The producers had sent a DVD of the previous series, but these Connor had not forwarded. Still, she was a natural, everyone said so in the studio. And reassuringly, there was an editor attuned to the faintest blip or error who could carpet the cutting-room floor with embarrassing or otherwise unworthy footage. It was his job too to ensure the loudest laughter coincided with Jeffrey Hopper saying something he perceived to be funny. Judy was in safe hands. The seconds counted down…
The warm-up man, a failed quiz master and failed chat show host, but a tolerable stand-up comic had kept the studio audience on the edge of their seats, wondering when the quiz would start. It was now.
Jeffrey Hopper greeted the small studio audience and much larger (although not that much larger) television audience with an affability honed during the previous eighty-four editions of the show. There were ripples of applause for Clara Snelling and Raymond Stevens. Then it was Judy’s turn. A light flashed on top of the camera which seemed to be intent on examining her nasal hair in minute detail. She smiled as Jeffrey introduced her as an upcoming star of the literature world, one whose following was bound to grow. She nodded, not in agreement, but just for the chance to give her head something to do. She smiled, hoping Jeffrey had reached the end of his embarrassing eulogy.
“First round then, folks. I give you each a random phrase and you have twenty seconds to use it within a well known quote from any piece of literature you like. We’ll start with you, Judy. Your phrase is ‘a bear hug’.”
She couldn’t remember the last time her mind had been so blank. Or if it had ever been so blank. She was well read. Everyone said so. There must be a quote she knew and loved that she could adapt. She smiled as the camera captured every nuance of the dilemma that her face displayed.
“Ah, yes,” she started confidently, “A bear hug won’t be a bear hug without presents, grumbled Jo.”
The studio audience sniggered.
“Thank you, Judy,” oiled Jeffrey Hopper, “a good effort although a tad lacking in humour.”
“They laughed,” she said, pointing at the audience.
“They’d laugh at anything,” Jeffrey replied.
To prove his point, the studio audience went into hysterics. If the aisles had been wide enough they would have been rolling in them.
“I see what you mean, Jeffrey,” said Judy, warming to her task.
The studio audience laughed uncontrollably at this. Judy was worried in case some of them became physically ill as a result. There has no doubt been a study of how being exposed to high levels of mirth can result in major and long-lasting damage to the body’s immune systems.
Judy fared a little better in the following round, ‘Famous writers in uncharacteristic poses’, although deducing it was F. Scott Fitzgerald in the gorilla suit was more of an inspired guess rather than due to any well-informed reasoning. Add to that, a successful bout of miming in the final round (East of Eden, no easy thing to mime the closing paragraphs of ) and not even Jeffrey’s opening line in the second show of “nice outfit, Judy…is it new?” (which predictably was followed by gales of laughter from the studio audience) could dampen Judy’s enthusiasm for the whole television experience. She thought that she could even be persuaded to take part again when invited. Alas, the invitation never materialised.