It’s almost worth getting this week’s Spectator for the competition. I’ve copied some of it below.
Competition: Open and shut case Lucy Vickery.
In Competition No. 2908 you were invited to submit a comically appalling opening to an imaginary novel. Thanks are due to the inventor of the annual Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest from whom I have pinched the idea for this challenge (Edward Bulwer–Lytton is often described as ‘the worst writer in history’). It was a pleasure to wade through your florid, convoluted prose, over-elaborate metaphors and inconsequential tangents. Dishonourable mentions go to Bill Greenwell for an opening composed entirely of hashtags and to C.J. Gleed. The best of the worst earn their authors £25 each. The bonus fiver is Edward Gilbert’s.
Inspector Falcon Foot was an experienced murder investigator. He had seen it all in his long and distinguished career. This case felt very familiar. A body lay cold on the beach, barely a world-class javelin throw from the morning tides, which foamed softly like partially flat, inferior lemonade. Foot examined the corpse carefully. He could see that the man had not died peacefully in his sleep. Aside from the compression marks on the neck, the irises of the victim were like those of a Pacific chinook salmon that had swum up the Sacramento river, made it beyond Red Bluff but had expired from exhaustion before Battle Creek after numerous near-misses with natural predators (excluding the now-extinct Californian grizzly bear). Foot lifted his handset and spoke to his colleague. ‘Dead body,’ he said, laconically. He clicked the receiver off. He raised his eyebrows resignedly, reflecting on the banality of evil.