Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mystery and Deception and Manuscripts: part 3

The new intern has just arrived at Shamsbury-pon-the-Spoor Castle, where INTERN is holed up trying to save her great-uncle's ailing publishing house.

The new intern was a striking young lad of only sixteen. He strode in wearing a newsboy cap and smoking a long-stemmed clay pipe. He proffered his hand and INTERN shook it, impressed by the youth's confidant air.

"Manley Blacksmith, youngest son of Peter Blacksmith, at your service. Are there any query letters needs reading, then?"

Young Manley didn't waste any time. INTERN nodded approvingly.

"Welcome, Manley. As a matter of fact there's a whole pile of submissions that need sorting. You can work on that until The Gales of Thistledown Moor turns up, at which point the full range of your talents will be required."

INTERN was surprised to find herself speaking in such a formal manner. Perhaps the castle was getting to her.

She turned to Buckley, who was squinting at young Manley as if trying to figure out one of those Magic Eye pictures.


He ignored her. Instead, he pounced on the young intern, knocking off his cap. A pair of long red braids tumbled down from where they had been coiled, and Buckley let out a little yip of victory.

"I knew it—this intern is a fraud! Peter Blacksmith gave his youngest son to the monastery. This interloper is none other than the village milkmaid. I shall eject her from the premises at once."

He grabbed the young intern's arm.

"Stop that right now!" said INTERN. "She seems clever and efficient. She'll make a fine intern."

Buckley released her, his expression pained.

"But Miss INTERN—she's a girl."

INTERN arched an eyebrow at him and he rolled his eyes, reading her mind.

"You don't count, Miss INTERN, you're North American. Things are different here in Shamsbury-pon-the-Spoor."

At this point, the young villager stepped up with her chin held high.

"Take me on, Miss. If you send me back to the village, I'll have to marry Hugh Hunchback and take care of his herd of cows, and he's eighty-five years old and his cows are even older. Plus I'm a hard worker and I'll do Spür Haus proud."

INTERN was relieved to hear her pronounce the house's name as it was intended to be pronounced. She smiled.

"What's your name?"

"Elmira Shackleton."

Buckley was shaking his head in disgust. INTERN ignored him.

"Well, Elmira Shackleton, welcome on board."

"Thank you ever so much, Miss."

Elmira paused for a moment, then her eyes lit up and she spoke again.

"I'd like tuppence a week."

"What's that?"

"Tuppence a week. Elmira Shackleton doesn't work for free, Miss."

INTERN grinned. This kid would go far. Before she had a chance to answer, Buckley exploded:

"Tuppence a week! Are you mad, girl? Interns don't get paid. You ought to be in the cowsheds swabbing dung!"

"That's quite enough Buckley!" said INTERN. "Elmira shall have her tuppence a week. And if she proves clever, she shall have sixpence. After that, two guineas!"

Buckley looked like he was about to faint. Elmira and INTERN exchanged a nod.

"Right then. I'll get started on those submissions," said Elmira, and set to work straight away.

INTERN turned to Buckley.

"Now Buckley, we'd better get started on that manuscript that's supposed to become a bestseller and save our publishing house. Where is it?"

Buckley scowled.

"You meanThe Gales of Thistledown Moor? I suppose the old lawyer didn't explain it, then."

"Explain what?"

"The manuscript was stolen by Dame Murderpoole on the day of your great-uncle's death."

"Who is Dame Murderpoole?"

Buckley rolled his eyes, still bitter at INTERN.

"None other than the notorious literary agent whose clients your great-uncle spurned for years."

"Is there a fast horse in the stable? Are her headquarters to the east or to the west?"

"I'd be careful if I were you, Miss INTERN. When Dame Murderpoole stole the manuscript, she also vowed to stop at nothing until every last descendent of the Baron's was dead as a spindlecob."

"But the Baron's last descendent is—"

"You," said Buckley. "Yes, Miss INTERN, the Baron's last descendent is you."


Will INTERN and co. retrieve the missing manuscript, or will it turn up on tomorrow's Publisher's Lunch? Will Dame Murderpoole fulfil her grisly vow? And how will Buckley adapt to the new, progressive culture at Spür Haus?


  1. ROFL! You are brilliant! I haven't had so much fun in ages.

  2. This is my favorite summer read so far.

  3. Cool! North American. I know someone else who is in England at the moment, and she's a girl too. Have fun.

  4. Well? What happens? Don't tell me this is a summer cliffhanger and we have to wait till October to find out!