The Narrator is a suburban lady, wicked and witty, of modest means, and very, very bored.
With three friends, dining at a second rate restaurant on a harbour side in Morocco, the lobsters turn out to be second rate too. She is in a very bad mood - one she comes to call 'lobster fever'.
The meal finished, and to everyone’s surprise, paid for by tight-fisted Mr Williams, they walk along the dark wharf’s edge. Dancing to a fisherman’s radio, feeling malevolent, she gives Mr Williams just a little passing bump. He slips. Fifteen feet below he hits the prow of a fishing boat. A nasty thump. She dances on, having just discovered her metier: murder.
Back in London, and unexpectedly inheriting her victim’s slightly less modest means, she wanders in one of her new gardens. In a forgotten corner, there lies a pile of dead plant labels. On many, the word ‘poison’ catches her eye.
That’s how she will do it!
Organic. Home-grown. Ecological. Very, very 'green'. But poisons.
She begins experiments at once. And then lots more… The local old folks home. Her school for wicked women. The discovery of the mysterious 'Sisterhood'. And more still. Her love of 'the Berber', and his betrayal. The Narrator makes her dark, often funny, always dangerous, way through London, Marrakech, New York, until at last the darkness catches up.
One top London agent commented: What a novel idea! I loved the concept and the storyline. How wickedly amusing and delightful - reminds me of the old Ealing Studios movies where you cannot but love the murderers because they're all so likeable and funny.
Synopsis: LOBSTER NIGHTS
The Narrator is a suburban lady, wicked and witty, and of modest means. She is with three suburban friends, at dinner eating second rate lobsters in a second rate restaurant on a harbour side in Morocco. The meal finished, and to everyone's surprise, paid for by the normally tight-fisted Mr Williams, they walk home along the wharf's edge. The Narrator, dancing to a fisherman's radio, playful and malevolent, gives Mr Williams just a little passing bump. He slips. Fifteen feet below he hits the prow of a fishing boat. A nasty thump. She dances on, having just discovered her metier: murder.
Back in London, and unexpectedly inheriting her victim's slightly less modest means, she wanders in one of her new gardens. In a forgotten corner, there lies a pile of dead plant labels. On half of them, the word 'poisonous' catches her eye. That's how she will do it! Organic. Home-grown. Ecological. She begins at once.
Having worked her way through the male inhabitants of the local Old Folks Home (Matron has never known the place so quiet), a vicar, some mormons, and other unfortunates, and having discovered a strange organisation called the Sisterhood, apparently based in a dusty second-hand bookshop run by a woman she calls Miss Brighteyes, she makes a hurried retreat to Morocco before the policemen call.
There, she falls in love with a house, poisons some exploitative property developers, comes across a women builders' co-operative called 'La Licorne', and becomes entangled with the mysterious Berber. At last, her life seems set fair. She can study poisons to her heart's delight. The Berber unleashes a terrible betrayal, is despatched, and the recovering Narrator decides to set up a school for wicked women, modelled on the ones for disconsolate wives in 17th century Italy. Though still haunted by the ever-present Sisterhood, her course in 'Advanced Herbalism' is vastly oversubscribed, and is a huge success.
Having had to kill off the third of her original suburban foursome (he threatened blackmail), and now lonely once more, she greets the arrival of the almost forgotten fourth, Miss Grace, with delight. The arrival is on the Narrator's birthday. The women get on well after so long a time apart. Lobsters are ordered. Guests and musicians arrive. But the Narrator begins to feel a little strange. Miss Grace says: 'My little confession is that I've just poisoned you. You see, you have to be stopped'.
And stopped she is. Becoming a ghost, if an unusually feisty one, and seated in the Great Square of the city, she wants desperately to tell someone her tale. Thinking the reader a suitable 'mark', she whispers gently the first words of the novel: 'Of course, we should never have gone for the lobster.'
Ahead of me Mr Williams had halted on the wharf side. He was looking down, no doubt at one of the lithe young fishermen sorting through his gear. I'm sure that's what it was; Mr Williams was looking rather dreamy, perhaps musing on what he could now so easily afford. 'What a fool' I thought to myself, my hips swaying violently to the music, my arms now outstretched in luxurious abandon, 'What a lobster!'. I giggled. I was overtaking him. I was behind him. If only I had stopped. But I didn't. It seems as if, of its own accord, my left hip caught him a reasonably severe jolt on his buttocks. I may even have said, 'Ooooplah' or some such. Anyway, as I continued on my way, there was a vague thump, a short silence, and then a much larger thump as he landed, akimbo I imagine, on one of the lobster boats far below. Ooooplah! Oooooplah! I imagined a ruby tassel on my belly, glittering in the spotlight.
I continued my dance until shouts began behind me, and I stopped to see what had happened. Tourists were clustered in the harbour side. In their midst I could see Miss Grace, a hand clutched to her mouth. Beside her, Mr Marshall was already in hysteric tears, the cause of which I was only much later to discover. Down below, I could see dark figures scampering across the tightly bound skiffs. They were heading in the same direction. Peering downward, I could see them clustering round, jabbering to each other, but somehow not touching, a prone figure. Words from the crowd reached me in many languages. 'Accident',
'He doesn't look right...'
'Il est mort'.
Appearances are so important, I've always thought. I'm sure you think so too. In my subsequent career they were to become especially so. I rushed into the centre of the crowd, clung to my friends, even moaned a little. Below us, the mariners had put their novel catch onto a tarpaulin. Six on each side, for Mr Williams was heavy, they staggered over the boats to the stone ramp that led up to the wharf's head. Above, the crowd followed them along, slowly, muttering or silent. Soon the tarpaulin's load was deposited on solid stone. Some police from the booth by the harbour side, arriving breathless, took over, keeping us onlookers a little bit back. The word 'accident' kept sounding. I managed to get closer by shouting dolefully 'mon ami!'. Through the arms of the policemen, I had a glimpse of my erstwhile companion. He was very plainly dead. Yet the word kept ringing and ringing. Accident. Accident. C'est terrible. Mort. Let them all continue to speak such things. It seemed to be only me who used, silently, the word 'Murder'. I had found, at last, my metier. And the lobster fever had quite vanished.