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June 04 , 2008

The Tyranny of Convention and Other Stories


In Bellington Hospital For The Criminally Insane one of its inmates, Ray, is taking creative writing lessons. He writes on a laptop under the supervision of a mild mannered tutor and two burly warders. Tyranny Of Convention is the story Ray writes about the act of creative writing itself, with insights into his violent past and with predictions about his violent future. He writes in a jumble of styles, mixing narrative with dialogue between himself and his tutor, Peter Hunt. He conflates past and present and he involves his tutor so deeply in the narrative that he becomes complicit in Ray’s planned killing of the warders.
The story is an unusual examination of the social norms that constrain us, each and every day They make us who we are and how we act, and they, too, are just as much creative fiction as Ray’s story. If only we knew it!
I’ll Tell You What follows the daytime meanderings of two Irish down-and-outs in a town in the north west of England. They are intent on hiding from Constable Bradley, a constant thorn in their flesh. They are the very best of friends. At least, they give the impression they are, right until the last moment when revelations about a murder lead to betrayal in the blink of an eye.
Market Forces is a duologue between a detective and a suspect in a murder case. The victim is a Conservative Councillor who drowns whilst sailing his yacht with the suspect. The suspect calmly and clearly explains to the detective how the death occurred and, in doing so, reveals how his decision-making, during the course of the sailing trip, was perfectly consistent with the political philosophy of the deceased. Are political decisions the true murderers in a case like this which is so beset by moral dilemmas? And in other cases?

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