If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know I enjoy Robin Bennett’s books. I’ve previously reviewed The Hairy Hand (which I described as ‘when The Twits meet Rincewind’) and done an interview with him, so to mix it up, this time I’m pleased to be kicking off the book tour with an extract from his latest book, Monster Max and the Marmalade Ghost.
First, let’s set the scene …
Monster Max and his (joint) best friend Peregrine have been finding it hard ‘To Protect and do Good Stuff’ lately – not much seems to be going on in their quiet suburb. However, this doesn’t last long: strange and actually quite horrible things have been going on in the Old Folks Day Centre. In the toilets, to be precise. Max, Peregrine and Max’s cat (and joint best friend), Frankenstein, go and investigate. Is Max about to bite off more than he can chew?
It seems to have all the ingredients for a comedy. Let me know what you think.
They made their way the next morning to the day centre. Max had persuaded Frankenstein to come, too.
‘Retired people like cats,’ he explained, ‘probably even you.’
As they walked through the double doors, they were met by Reg and a horrible gurgling, belching, farty noise.
‘That’s not me,’ said Reg cheerfully, ‘we’ve been having some problems with the plumbing this morning. Mrs Dempsey dropped her false teeth down the toilet when she sneezed and since then the whole system seems to have a mind of its own!’
Max and Peregrine exchanged a look. They’d been right – there was probably loads of stuff they could do to help around here.
‘Ooh, what a beautiful-looking cat!’ exclaimed Reg, looking down.
(Yes, thought Max, Reg really does need better glasses).
Reg tickled Frankenstein behind the ear and he started to purr like an old chainsaw (the cat, not Reg).
‘The residents would love to meet him,’ said Reg.
Max and Peregrine are volunteering at an old people’s home, when strange things start to happen: one resident is walking on the ceiling; one is riding their wheelchair through walls; and Reggie says his marmalade is haunted (although no one listens). Can Max and his friends work out what’s happening to protect his family and the local community? Things aren’t looking good – the Marmalade Ghost is turning into a gloopy Godzilla, Max falls out with his (joint) best friend, and then, just when it can’t get any worse, someone kidnaps Max’s cat, Frankenstein… will they meet a sticky end?
Time to ‘Protect and Do Good Stuff!’
When Robin grew up he thought he wanted to be a cavalry officer until everyone else realised that putting him in charge of a tank was a very bad idea. He then became an assistant gravedigger in London. After that he had a career frantically starting business- es (everything from dog-sitting to cigars, tuition to translation)… until finally settling down to write improbable stories to keep his children from killing each other on long car journeys.