Before I share the first page, I will just say that instead of the one first page (obviously!!) that I share each time, this time I will share 2 first pages from the same book. How and why?
The book is about an editor who starts reading through a new manuscript, and shockingly, whatever she reads in the manuscript, strangely happens with her in real life too.... Interesting? Let me tell you this is one of the most amazing books I have read recently and I will definitely recommend it to anyone who loves a classic murder mystery, something on the lines of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple and the like...that classic whodunnit, the old style London setting and so on.
Very crisp and intelligent writing....but no, this is not a review, this will be the first page(s) and the review shall follow soon :)
Here goes....the first page from the 'real' book and the first page from the 'manuscript.'
Crouch End, London
A bottle of wine. A family-sized packet of Nacho Cheese Flavoured Tortilla Chips and a jar of hot salsa dip. A packet of cigarettes on the side (I know, I know). The rain hammering against the windows. And a book.
What could have been lovelier?
Magpie Murders was a number nine in the much-loved and world-bestselling Atticus Pund series. When I first opened it on that wet August evening, it existed only as a typescript and it would be my job to edit it before it was published. First, I intended to enjoy it. I remember going straight into the kitchen when I came in, plucking a few things out of the fridge and putting everything on a tray. I undressed, leaving my clothes where they fell. The whole flat was a tip anyway. I showered, dried and pulled on a giant Maisie Mouse T-shirt that someone had given me at the Bologna Book Fair. It was too early to get into bed but I was going to read the book lying on top of it, the sheets still crumpled and unmade from the night before. I don't always live like this, but my boyfriend had been away for six weeks and while I was on my own I'd deliberately allowed standards to slip. There's something quite comforting about mess, especially when there's no one else there to complain.
Actually, I hate the word. Boyfriend. Especially when it's used to describe a fifty-two-year-old, twice divorced man. The trouble is, the English language doesn't provide much in the way of an alternative. Andreas was not my partner. We didn't see each other.....
23 July 1955
There was going to be a funeral.
The two gravediggers, old Jeff Weaver and his son, Adam, had been out at first light and everything was ready, a grave dug to the exact proportions, the earth neatly piled to one side. The church of St Botolph's in Saxby-on-Avon had never looked lovelier, the morning sun glinting off the stained glass windows. The church dated back to the twelfth century although of course it had been rebuilt many times. The new grave was to the east, close to the ruins of the old chancel where the grass was allowed to grow wild and daisies and dandelions sprouted around the broken arches.
The village itself was quiet, the streets empty. The milkman had already made his deliveries and disappeared, the bottles rattling on the back of his van. The newspaper boys had done their round. This was a Saturday, so nobody would be going to work and it was still too early for the homeowners to begin their weekend chores. At nine o' clock, the village shop would open. The smell of bread, fresh out of the oven, was already seeping out of the baker's shop next door. Their first customers would be arriving soon. Once breakfast was over, a chorus of lawnmowers would start up. It was July, the busiest time of the year for Saxby-on-Avon's keen army of gardeners and with the Harvest Fair just a month away roses were already being pruned, marrows carefully measured. At half past one there was to be a cricket match on the village green. There would be an ice-cream van, children playing, visitors having picnics in front of their cars. The tea shop would be open for business. A perfect English summer's afternoon.
- Debolina Raja