That’s all I can say about this one.
The full name of this short story is The Arousing Adventures of Gelato Parlour. Yeah, I didn’t have the space for the full title.
Okay, this comes out of The End, that Jurassic Publication collection that I reviewed before. But this one was so good, it warranted its own review.
It’s written in flashy cheesy Vaudevillian style, very similar to The Further Adventures of Captain Gregory Dangerfield. But where Dangerfield is clearly, solidly planted in 1920, Parlour is set in a whimsical floating style of yesteryear, un-pinpointable yet suitably delightful, a world where Gelato Parlour, thief, lover, playboy and man-about-town, steals valuables for the deserving and the lovely. And he’s dashing enough that on the pillow of each conquest he leaves a treat. One woman finds a sorbet, “elegant pale yellow with a mint leaf on top and a small spoon made of silver”. At least, the lady in the lace nightgown considers, it is not “a goodbye sundae as is his wont sometimes, or (worse) the banana split when he doesn’t stay the whole night. A sorbet is merely a refresher between courses. He’ll be back!”
This is wonderfully playful prose, expressive and entendred, a thing for the reader to play with. The character is dashing, the police (le Guard) sportingly ineffective, games within games. He has his nemesis, he has a full supporting cast of characters good and bad (quite a feat, given the twelve page length). There is even an intermission (where you sit while they change scenes, listening to the readers around you complain like season ticket holders at South Pacific). It’s energetic, funny, fabulous.
I don’t know how to give this to you, dear reader (see, now I’m in the mood of the tale). As stated, it came from The End, a collection that is difficult to obtain given it was Jurassic’s last offering. But it was innocent fun, gripping right down to the final gasp of story. When I saw the white expanse of the end page, I groaned aloud.
Wonderful bit. I’m sitting here smiling, just thinking about it. Wish I could share. Keep an eye out for the author, Rose Biggin – she’s one to watch.