The thing I find hardest about writing a novel is how to end it. I’ve struggled with all the techniques. I’ve tried ‘seeing where the story takes me’ – it has never taken me to an ending that I’ve been happy with. I’ve tried planning so tightly that I knew exactly how it would end – and then the story took me somewhere else.

Starting is rarely a problem. I sometimes have three or four stories running in my head at once then a beginning will present itself and I’m happy to go with it. It was the same with the mouse trap.

The Mousetrap – its been running for nearly forty years and apparently most of the audience can’t remember who ‘dunnit’ within a week of having seen it. I know that to be true and I’ve never seen it. No, I have just had the experience. We don’t need to go to the theatre to understand life…

It was someone in the family who spotted the mouse first. It was in our kitchen. I did everything I could to get rid of it there and then. (Broom, dustpan and brush, slamming cupboard doors, kitchen door wide open, pincer movement, wife on table, skirt hitched up…) I promised that the mouse would be gone within twenty four hours. And it would have been Trap, Poison or both were my solution. But I was begged, pleaded with, told, in fact, only to use a humane mousetrap.

The irony of a compassionate entrapment didn’t escape me but the mouse certainly escaped the traps. Yes that’s right. We bought two. Two humane mousetraps. ‘Bait guaranteed to attract.’ That was over two weeks ago.

No one has seen the mouse since. I’m hoping it’s taken the hint, thought of its own ending so to speak. In any event the thing has gone.

And I really didn’t buy any poison.



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