My dear Friend, Sue Perkins, has chosen 'The Queen of Whale Cay" by Kate Summerscale as one of her favourite books.
In an article in the The Observer newspaper,Ms Summerscale admits that she would rather have written my biographies than that of the heroine of the book. Indeed it is clear that the lady in question was merely attempting to emulate my own great domain of Homeward:
When I wondered which book I wished I'd written, Uncle by J P Martin sprang to mind. I'm not sure why. Perhaps because its hero—a millionaire elephant who wears a purple dressing gown, engages in violent skirmishes and is wildly generous to his followers—resembled the subject ofthe biography I had just written. Perhaps because it was the first book I read which made me feel (at nine) grown-up, as if I was in on the joke as well as caught up in the fantasy.
I do not quite understand the reference to humour - as you all well know, running a vast enterprise such as Homeward is a serious business and no mere fantasy.
Ms Summerscale's biography fails to mention the fact that the heroine, Marion Barbara Carstairs, actually seeked my advice before embarking on an attempt at creating her own kingdom. I warned her that it would require hard work and great public works. I fear that she did not heed my wise words. A strange woman - she dressed as a man, displayed tattoos and smoked cheroots!
Talking of eccentric ladies, a lost gem by Snide Bleeton has been discovered nestling among the dusty manuscripts in my library .
Mr Stumpy's Portaloo, a 180-page fantasy novel, has been announced to the world following its unearthing by by my librarian, Will Shudder.
I must admit, I have little time for children's literature - I think that children would be far better off reading a good book on economics or civic constitution than indulging in all this fantasy stuff. Goodman tells me that it is a jolly exciting yarn, though.