Saturday, March 04, 2006

A Pack of Lies - Geraldine McCaughrean

Geraldine McCaughrean's A Pack of Lies contains 12 linked stories which are told by the mysterious MCC Berkshire to Ailsa, her mother, and the customers in her mother's antiques store. Ailsa met MCC at the local library when she was there for a day's work experience, and she invited him to see if her mother would give him a job. Mrs Povey reluctantly agrees when MCC says he will work for nothing and will sleep in the store at night. Each time a customer comes in, considering what to buy, MCC tells them a story about the item in which they're interested. The stories include romance, pirates, history, horror and crime (including a murder story in which a man is stabbed to death whilst he is locked inside a windowless room). Initially Ailsa mistrusts MCC - she believes all his stories are a pack of lies, but eventually he wins her trust, and then one day he has to leave. After he leaves, Mrs Povey realises who MCC Berkshire is, but she refuses to tell her daughter. Fortunately for the reader, McCaughrean reveals the mystery to the reader in the final chapter - and the solution was not the one I was imagining !

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