I plucked this novel from my TBR shelf – Health and Safety decreed it had grown too big to be left as a pile – after reading Charli Mills’ latest flash fiction prompt to write a 99-word story about an old mystery in the current time. I swear I definitely meant to try something reflecting the crime genre, but it’s the psychological mysteries, especially the way the early-childhood experiences we can’t remember impinge on our later lives, that intrigue me. So here’s my contribution:
“That’s adolescence!” said my sister. “It’s their job to rebel.”
“It’s beyond grunts replacing manners and nicking lipstick from Boots.” Drugs, school exclusion, collecting her from police cells or A&E in the dead of night. The gun secreted under her bed.
“Faulty genes,” said my mother. “I said you were crazy to adopt.”
Bollocks, I thought, yet our girl seemed enraged. Were we naive to think a decade of love would cancel out four years of neglect?
“I did wonder,” said the social worker, when we finally tracked him down. “I’ll get the file. Sure you’re ready for this?”
I’ve explored this theme from a different angle in my short story Telling the Parents and a mystery from the past (albeit one that the narrator knows rather more about than she initially lets on) impacting on the present is at the heart of my forthcoming novel, Sugar and Snails. And what a great excuse to share my first Twitter endorsement from Gavin Weston, one of my early readers.