with Tilly Wrestleman
"Herb Puddings & Salves" by Julianna Blout
Ms Blout is of the opinion that, among salves, "the very best and most efficacious are herbal". It is her conviction that "the neglect of herbal puddings has blighted modern society, for their benefits remain unnumbered and obscure". Not any more: 897 annotated pages have seen to that. How we might wish that the indefatigable Ms Blout had heeded the maxim of Father Lorenzo of Pisa, who, when presented with yet another infusion by his old maid, Maria, was wont to cry "permissum quietus rememdium recubo!"
"The Skull Beneath The Skin" by Perkin Womblock
We begin with the inward struggle of a trainee undertaker who learns that the Kalmahar Emerald has been concealed beneath the eyeball of the late Sir Llewellyn Prandy. It would be so easy to remove the stone before screwing down the coffin lid - and what might not young Yestin and his sweetheart, lovely Effie, do with those palatial rooms in Mortimer Street and their own housekeeper? I took this book with me to Budleigh Salterton last weekend. The tension built slowly throughout the 300-page opening. By the time that Inspector Gethyn Jones arrived on the scene it was already too late - I had lost the will to live. Another cure for insomnia from the author of "Jenny Blodwyn's Tallboy" and "The Chirk Soda-Bread Murders" .
"What Maury Heard" by Tim Burr
Who is old Maury? Where is he? How can he be found? A Saturday job at Noakes' Newsagents is a bore for Suze until the nameless young man in the black trench coat stands there one grey morning. His mission is to find Maury, for Maury has the key. Maury has overheard a vital disclosure. What key is this? How did Maury get it? Why does the young man want it? What has Maury heard? These are just some of the questions that remain unanswered as Suze tells Norrie Noakes to shove his job and joins in the bizarre quest. Sartre is not in it. Would that he were.
"Lodestone & Quoit" by Len Blatt
An exciting new story from "the luminary in the East Anglian literary firmanent" (Bilsbury Argus). Blatt has always immersed himself in what he calls the "the Celtic tributaries", and this tale of alienation and despair on the Land's End Peninsula does not disappoint those who, with Sir Orlando Mounticule, have likened Blatt's oeuvre to "an eternity of being harangued in Old Norse by an escaped lunatic in a disused lighthouse".
They Also Festered
(Life's too short):
"Wally Nimbus: the Bugler's Bugler" by Joan Trowel
"Gay Gardening" by Roland Nolan and Horst Upschitz
"Daughters of Desperation" by Ninian Papp
"Lapland Thursdays" by Simeon Pandy
"Naturism Laid Bare" by Hugh Jarce