Wednesday, 26 August 2009

A Fictional Interlude

Well, late home from work and I appear to have run out of time this evening, so, unfortunately, no links or news today. Instead, I will call upon my store of nonsense. Thomas Harris did it with Hannibal Lecter, so here are imagined prequels for Miss Marple and Philip Marlowe:

Agatha Christie's Ten Little Exam Cheats.

Jane Marple pursed her lips as she read the school noticeboard. The exam results for her class had been posted and there was something decidedly strange about them. How had Arthur Creep managed to get an A in Woodwork when the boy obviously did not know his Ash from his Elbow? Young Arthur reminded Jane of the Vicar's brother's cook's niece's son, who was once arrested by PC Evans for scrumping apples from Lord Stuffingley's orchard. They both had that sly sideways look, and one long eyebrow instead of the usual two. these attributes, in Jane's 12 year old experience, signified the criminal intent of the lower classes. And then there was Primula Hedge's B+ in Cookery. Why, Primmy could not boil water without burning it. Something very odd was going on at St Mary Mead Girls Academy, and Jane Marple was going to get to the bottom of it, if it was the last thing she did.

At that moment, Wilhelmina Shufflebottom tapped her on the shoulder. "Jane, do be a jolly good sport and make up a team for lacrosse with us will you? Geranium House are falling behind Lavender House in points and we're abso-posi-lutely desp to win the tournament. DO say yes old gel. That would be spiffing. And remember, the winning House gets to go to tea with the Rugger team from the Boys Grammar and I have such a pash on Lancelot Smythe."

Jane pursed her lips. "Oh, I don't think so, thank you, dear. I have some knitting to finish. And really, you ought not set any store in young Smythe, you know. He reminds me of the grocer's nephew, who behaved so oddly during the Crimean War when he dressed as a nurse and disappeared with all that silk underwear."

Wilhelmina pouted. "Oh really, Jane. You're such an old stick in the mud. If you're not careful, you're going to end up an old maid and spend the rest of your life in St Mary Mead sticking your nose into everyone else's business." She turned on her heel and stormed off, swatting the air with her lacrosse stick, as if imagining she had JaneMarple's neat bun in her sights.

Jane simply nodded tightly and set off for the Common Room. That girl would come to no good, she was sure of it. She had that same glint in her eye that Jane saw in Lady Fillatelly's daughter Maud, as she came out of the potting shed adjusting her bloomers, followed swiftly by the gardener. Jane had often wondered why Maud's bloomers would need adjusting after an afternoon spent potting dahlias.

As Jane Marple entered the Common Room, Arthur Creep, Primula Hedge and three other pupils guiltilystopped talking and turned around to face her."Just as I thought," said Jane. "I'd like to see you all, in thelibrary, at 11am."

Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep-Over.

She was a strawberry blonde, and I knew she was trouble. When she walked into my room that day, she had a bottle in her hand and mischief in her eye.

"Hey sister," I said, opening my desk drawer. I pulled out my own bottle from my desk and took a thirsty swig. I was like a dying man in the desert. The Coke hit my throat and went down with a burn. I looked at the dimpled knees of the babe in front of me. "What's new sister?"

"Goo," she said, smacking her building block down on my desk without aby-your-leave.

My Mom walked in at that precise moment. "Philip dear", she said "I do wish you wouldn't call your sister 'sister'. She does have a name, you know. And will you get a glass. I hate to see you drinking soda from a bottle - it's so uncouth."

I looked at my watch. "Sorry to love you and leave you like this, ladies. I gotta hit the streets. There's a hot lead I gotta follow and I may not be in for tea." I shrugged into the raincoat hanging on the back of my bedroom door.

"Philip - you're not wearing that old thing. I've thrown it away twice. There's that lovely anorak that Grandma bought you for Christmas in the hall cupboard."

I narrowed my eyes. "The raincoat suits my mood, lady. Now where's my fedora?"

Mom sighed. "For God's sake Philip. You don't have a fedora. You don't even know what a damn fedora is. And don't squint like that. The wind will change and your face will stay like that."

I picked up my toy revolver from the toybox and turned to the door.

"And you're going to get downstairs and get your homework done, young man, so you won't be needing that gun."

I knew one thing: as soon as anyone said you didn't need a gun, you'd better take one along that worked.


  1. hey you could open up a whole craze. If the Chandler one was hit you could follow it up with THE LONG HELLO. Maybe a Matt Scudder, WHEN THE SACRED GINMILL OPENS.

    Maybe the Bruen could get involved, HER FIRST TEXT LOUIS MACNIECE.

  2. Jay - I think you're onto something! We could get a whole new genre out of this.

  3. A hilarys Marple parody!

    But who is Chandler? I think the second one is slightly Helena Handbasketish ;) Would mom really say ´damn´ though?

  4. I didn´t write hilarys, did I? I really need a holiday.

    The word verification is "anglemis": the thing that happens when you try to spell something you are too tired to even think.

  5. Dorte - thank you! And, let's face it, your English is better than my Danish. In fact, it's probably better than my English :o) You impress me immensely!

  6. Great Photo Donna

    Looking forward to seeing you at Bouchecon.