Twisted Tales by John Hardy

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John Hardy
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Twisted Tales

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Book review

This is a collection of 18 short stories. Or, more correctly, it could be called a ‘Baker’s Eighteen’, as there is an extra story, ‘6.10 from Darlington’. This story is available free as an E-story on the webpage However, to those without e-readers, and who only read ‘real’ books, it is included here so that they are not discriminated against. I had originally intended that this book would be called ‘Bagatelle’, and it was advertised as such. But on its completion, I decided to change the title to ‘Twisted Tales’, as I thought it a better, and more accurate, description. Like ‘Andalucían Mysteries’ and ‘More Andalucían Mysteries’, several of the stories in this book (6 in total) are set in and around the Axarquía, a region of southern Spain. The remaining ones are placed in a variety of locations, nine in the UK, one a spoof on the Sherlock Holmes stories, but set in Madrid, and two in the Middle East. Several of the stories contain events either witnessed or related to me, but using fictionalised settings and characters. None of the people in the stories are based on any person, alive or dead, but are all, as are the plots, figments of my imagination. All bar one. ‘Little Billie’ is the exception to this, and is dedicated to William Pearson, the real ‘Little Billie’. He was a teacher at Sir William Turner’s Grammar School, Coatham, Redcar, and taught me maths and physics. He was known to all the boys by his nickname, and relished it himself. The events in Smiths’ bookshop in Redcar High Street are almost verbatim of what took place between him and me some time after I had left school. We did not go for a coffee together, but did spend at least 15 minutes chatting in the shop, when he showed an astonishing, to me, knowledge of me and my time at the school. He was a friendly and charming man, and proved my awe and fear of him as a schoolmaster to be unfounded. The rest of the story about the theft, his children and the apprehension of the robbers, is of course, pure fiction. I have a good friend, Ali Tebbs, who used to live in Latchingdon, in the Dengie Hundreds in Essex. She was a member of L.A.D.S., the Latchingdon Amateur Dramatic Society. I went along to several of the performances that she was in, and greatly enjoyed them. The story ‘The Last Curtain Call’ is written as a tribute to her and them. It is, of course, not based on any real person or production of L.A.D.S.

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