This week, The Guardian newspaper published this: Stop it, Sherlock! Five TV Tropes that need to die.

I wholeheartedly agree. Here’s one I wrote earlier.

(Tune in next time for chick-lit.)


Only Dead Fish Have Open Mouths by Jed Blood

It’s Friday night in Greensville, Colorado. Apple-cheeked Melanie Mills is pretty tired after school and a volunteer shift at Kitty Corner, the homeless cat charity. But tonight is special. She has a secret. She tells her folks she’s studying with the girls and heads out for her romantic blind date.

I’m neither romantic nor blind, but I’m waiting for you, Melanie. Inside my head is a lonely place. Inside my pocket is a garlic crusher. Tonight is for Daddy.

Lauren Laphroaig (don’t try to pronounce it, honey, you’ll choke) is woken at 3am by the phone. On the other end is Detective O’Malley, wearing a shower cap on each shoe, shouting at civilians to stand back and chain-smoking cheroots. The mutilated body of an apple-cheeked teenage girl just washed up in the creek. Lauren sighs, swears and drags on a leather jacket. En route to the river, she listens to Miles Davis, snacks on a chili dog and regrets her inability to commit to relationships.

Chief Inspector Elmet Bird is at the scene when she arrives; besuited, livid and in urgent need of soundbites for the city council. Lauren rolls her eyes (because she’s feisty) and mimes ‘Bird Brain’ to O’Malley. Bird spots their sniggering and assigns one of his own to assist in the investigation. Travis C. Weed is a law-enforcement-consultant with an apricot tie and a handshake limper than wilted chard.

Pathologist Rita Ferrongut won’t hazard a wild guess as to cause of death, insisting on a full PM first. Lauren and Weed talk to Melanie’s parents (traumatic), her friends (dramatic) and the weird owner of the cat sanctuary (erratic). Weed takes everything in his stride and asks intelligent questions. Lauren notices his long eyelashes and warm smile but still hates his tie.

The morgue. Ferrongut is having lunch (sashimi, sushi and edamame beans) over Melanie’s eviscerated corpse. She offers everyone chopsticks, while demonstrating how the victim’s injuries were caused by kitchen implements, including an oyster shucker. Weed rushes out to puke. Ferrongut belches. Lauren sighs, swears and goes home for a hot shower.

Time to wash off all that death, grief and wasabi. Wraps herself in bathrobe, fills whisky glass, puts on Chet Baker, has bitter phone call with ex-husband. “Married to the job? Maybe. But I’d rather be married to something I care about.” She sighs, swears and sleeps on the sofa.

Detective O’Malley uncovers police records for Barry King, owner of Kitty Corner. The man is dangerous. So Lauren decides to investigate, at night, alone, with no phone. Oh, and it’s raining.

Stumbling blindly through the midnight-black catty-combs beneath the feline refuge, Lauren is whacked on the back of the head. When she comes around, she’s in a cage, gagged and tied with fish scales smeared on her face. Barry (call me Bar) King, with fetid tuna breath, unveils his master plan – the only restaurant in the world to serve human flesh.

Weed, worried, turns up at Lauren’s house. He finds her mobile and listens to the last message. Kitty Corner? That weird guy who smelt of Whiskas? Of course! He tracks them down and calls for back up. But waiting is not an option when Bar King  selects the Hiromoto Hacker from his knife block. Today’s Dish of the Day, with truffle oil and rocket, will be Carpaccio of Inner Thigh.

Weed mans up and bursts in, wrests the cleaver from the madman’s grasp and stabs King with a chopstick. With his last gurgling breaths, King explains he was abused as a child and only allowed to eat tofu.

Beside the corpse, Weed unties Lauren and wipes the scales from her cheek. Relieved, she holds him tight. Confused, he confesses his love.

Lauren sighs, swears and with one regretful lingering kiss, moves on to the sequel.


I wrote the spoof below when the hardback came out, but today’s This Much I Know article in the Observer made me dust it off and bring it back.
Compare and contrast.

60 Seconds with Tony Blair

The ex-Prime Minister of Britain has just published his memoir.
(Legal Disclaimer – a memoir is neither autobiography nor fiction and as such, cannot be subject to a lawsuit.)

Which was your favourite childhood book?
Oh there were so many! But if you want the truth, the book with which I most often curled up under the blankets was my own diary. To quote Oscar Wilde (why not, I’ve nicked Jordan’s exclamation marks!), one should always have something sensational to read on the plane.

Where do you write?
Anywhere and always in longhand (because it gives me a sense of Dickensian gravitas). But if I’m honest, my favourite writing spot is on the loo!

Which was the book that changed your life?
The Ghost. That bloody Robert Harris is a cheeky git, I tell you. Honestly.

What objects are on your desk, and why?
Very little at the moment, apart from a curt note from Cherie about Too Much Information. To be frank with you, I’m leaving space for awards to add to my Bad Sex Gong nomination. Bloody cheek!

Which book should be on the national curriculum?
One hates to be vain, but I sincerely think all children should appreciate the power of politics. There is such responsibility shouldered by great statesmen; like me, George W Bush and Silvio Berlusconi. However, neither of them has written a book and I have. So I guess I’m forced into the awkward position of recommending A Journey.

Do you have a word or phrase that you most overuse?
If I’m open with you, I do tend to overuse ‘My intentions were honourable’. Particularly with ladies and coalition forces.

Is there a book you were supposed to love but didn’t?
An Inconvenient Truth by Al Bore was jolly useful at bedtimes, I can tell you. Zzz.

What have you learned from writing?
Learn from the experts. In my book, I managed to wangle in all the key elements of success; the Pope (Dan Brown), football (Nick Hornby), Princess Di (Andrew Morton), political wit (Armando Ianucci), some seriously raunchy sex (Jilly Cooper) and a Satanic Scotsman (Goethe).

Which book do you wish you’d written?
I honestly think I could reach no higher than A Journey. This is the pinnacle of man’s achievement. Leadership. Vision. Ambition. And honesty. So I have to say, I have written the exact book that I wish I could have written. In truth.

Do you think the Orange Prize is sexist?
Of course it isn’t! Everyone has the right to compete in their own field of competence. We’ve got the Paraplegic Games, the Transplant Olympics, why shouldn’t oranges be the only fruit! (Cherie helped me with that one.)

Which book/writer deserves to be better known?
Personally, I think everyone finds their own level in an open market. But what I would say, being candid, is that certain writers should not have fatwas and eggs thrown at them just because they choose to personify Muhammed or invade Iraq.

What are you working on at the moment?
Buggering up the Middle East. Oh, writing-wise? If you want total honesty, I’m keeping notes for the next truthful foray into the world of a statesman.

And finally, what do you put on your chips?
Same thing I put on everything – lashings of sincerity.

Tony xXx

first published in Words with JAM