'The Rustle of Tiny Paws' by Carole Tyrrell

The next story in The Ghosts & Scholars Book of Mazes deals with the most ephemeral of the species, the maize maze. Full disclosure - I first published this story in ST,  so obviously it impressed me. But I had honestly forgotten that there was a maze in it. This is because most of the action focuses on a thatched holiday cottage that is taken by an unhappy family.

The maze scene is in the fact the climax of a series of incidents that affect a family who rent a holiday cottage. It's interesting that, only a few years after I first read it, I now grasp more clearly just how abusive the husband's tantrums and controlling behaviour are. HIs wife treads on eggshells, constantly afraid that her perfectly normal behaviour or words will trigger him. The little daughter is attuned to the woven creatures that adorn the thatch, and the unpleasant bloke gradually becomes beset by scuttling entities.

Stylistically, this story is spiky and nightmarish. I recall wondering if it needed revising to make it clearer what was going on, and I'm glad I decided to publish it as it was. The weirdness of the subject matter suits the disorienting prose.

So, another good one. I will continue to read this enjoyable book and let you know what I think of it.


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