Being “The Queen of Suspense” isn’t quite a bed of roses, Violet Crepuscular is finding out.
“Yesterday they picked up stones and stoned me!” she recalls, introducing Chapter CDLIII of her epic romance, Oy, Rodney. “They stoned me for subjecting them to too much suspense! I was lucky to get away without an injury. And this morning a couple of ’em came after me with pitchforks–for not being suspenseful enough!”
Well, she would bring hydras and jackalopes into the story… I could’ve told her a lot of readers wouldn’t stand for it. I didn’t get where I am today by bringing hydras and jackalopes into my story.
Now, everybody knows–well, everybody but Lord Jeremy and Lady Margo–that the only way to get rid of a hydra is to cut off each of its heads with a sword and then quickly hold a live torch to the stump, to keep two more heads from growing back. That’s how Hercules did it, and his method has stood the test of time–just ask anyone in Flotsam, Maine.
So there’s the hydra in the vicar’s garden, with the vicar himself rendered horse de combat by his latest conniptions, and the helpful cowboy in a swoon on the floor… and Lady Margo’s crusty old butler, Crusty, comes in with a look on his face that would freeze the blood of a cactus. [Editor’s Note: I just can’t stop her.]
He is positively coruscating. “What’s all this, then?” he thunders.
The hydra, hearing this and thinking it’s Zeus, high-tails it off to the center of town.
And that’s when the jackalope swings into action.
“And that’s where I stop–hah!” writes Ms. Crepuscular. “I stop here in order to build up suspense for the next chapter. Eat your heart out, Barbara Cartland!”