An offer I couldn't refuse?
"Don't get me wrong," I say to Benedict Botham, the famous crime writer, who has dropped by offering to talk to my class about his award-winning fiction. "We would totally love to have someone of your calibre pay us a visit."
"Why thank you," he drawls in a buttery California accent.
"I'm just not sure your subject matter is suitable for our Year 9s."
He wrinkles his brow.
"Take this for example."
"Ah yes, Lethal Games." He picks up the book and fondles it lovingly. "The story of a mind-reading serial killer who stabs people to death in a manner reminiscent of famous chess moves." He permits himself a faraway smile. "Based on a true story you know."
"That's as may be," I continue, "but its themes are a little adult. And as for Cubicles of Deceit."
"Of course, the story of a transvestite toilet attendant who stabs people to death with his stilettos to feed his crack addiction."
"Well, it's perhaps a little intense for 14-year-olds." I pause for a second. "Don't you think?"
"If you're not mad about that, perhaps I could read Hands of Evil," he offers. "There are no mind-reading serial killers in that."
"Er, yes," I counter. "But there is a kleptomaniac coroner who funds his international pimp ring by stealing body parts and selling them. And as for Wild Animals."
"What's wrong with a book about vets?"
"Nothing. It's what they do with the poor animals; I worry that Rolf Harris wouldn't approve. And is that scene with the poodle and the lawnmower really necessary?"
"It's all artistically justified," retorts Benedict, stroking his beard. "But if you'd prefer, I could read something from my latest children's book. It's about life at a pony club."
"Sounds fantastic," I breathe. "What's the title?"
"Hooves of Death," he bellows. "It's about a herd of vampire ponies who eat local schoolchildren."
"Er, well, thanks for the offer," I stammer. "I think we'll call you."
Love Kate xx.