S J Norbury

S J Norbury lives in Herefordshire with her family.

Her debut novel Mrs Narwhal's Diary will be published in May 2021. 

S J tweets @Susannah4554

S J's favourite novels are The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald and Let's Kill Uncle by Rohan O'Grady. Her top poet is Louis MacNeice. 

Photo by Liz Gillham

Mrs Narwhal's Diary

S J Norbury

Will be published in paperback and ebook on 16 May 2021

Advanced information sheet coming soon... and here she is reading a short snippet from her delightful, funny novel!

Then I went upstairs with hammer, crowbar and nails, and turfed Pete out of bed to help me sniff methodically along his floor until the epicentre of the stench was located. It turned out there was no need for any of the tools, as the floorboard in question simply lifted off. Pete produced a torch and shone it into the darkness while we held our breaths against the smell and peered gingerly inside. Then, 'Ohhh,' said Pete, 'I forgot about that.'

     "That" was an open egg box, inside which sat six apparently perfect eggs. Pete reached for it eagerly, explaining as he did so that they were homemade stink bombs.

     'They've really worked,' he exclaimed proudly. 'You only have to put little holes in them then leave them – see?'

     'Any reason,' I asked lightly, backing away from the proffered egg box, 'why you chose your bedroom to store them? Rather than – say – the scullery, or perhaps an outbuilding far, far away?'

     'I wasn't storing them,' said Pete, rolling his eyes, 'I was cooking them. You have to leave them until they really smell.'

     'Well,' I assured him, 'no one can say the experiment hasn't been a magnificent success, and perhaps we can dispose of it now?'

     He considered this for a bit.

     'Can't I hold onto it until Dad comes back? When is he coming back anyway?'

     Of the two boys, Pete has always looked more like his father. Same unrelenting eyebrows, same frown.

     It's been over a week.

     'Meant to tell you,' I said, patting his leg, 'Dad called last night. He's... doing some work for Ravi – remember Ravi?'

     'Motorbike Ravi?'

     'That's it – motorbike Ravi. He's going to make him a kitchen and... some shelves and maybe some tables and stuff. So it'll be a while longer yet, I'm afraid. He said to give you this,' and I took hold of his head and blew a raspberry into his ear. Pete squirmed delightedly.

     'OK,' he said. 'I'll just do some more stink bombs when he's home. Can I go back to bed now?'

     Told him he most certainly could not and that I wanted him dressed within fifteen minutes, then went downstairs with my teeth clenched in grim acknowledgement of the ease with which I'd lied, and the awful necessity of it.

Please enjoy the current page 100 of Mrs Narwhal's Diary...