Bonne Maman

Daddy’s fourth wife was, looking back, not a bad mother.

She was never nasty, often funny and did not pretend that we were going to be the best, best friends two people ever could be.

Also, she made faces behind Daddy’s back when he was ‘going off on one’ and asked him, please, not to bring his acting home with him. I agreed with her on that – especially when it was Iago or Dr Faustus he was bringing home.

Yes, she was fine and certainly better than wife number 3, who even my father admitted was crazed.

We found out just how crazed one Sunday when Daddy, I and Eloise (our housekeeper), had to lock ourselves in the big pantry while she smashed everything her little, grabby hands could reach.

You can read the rest of the story here

The competition judge, Rachel Billington, commented: ‘ Bonne Maman is a wittily well-paced story … The list of dreadful wives (and girlfriends) is wickedly well described … There’s not much dialogue but where it comes, it’s used with panache. Characterisations are equally original.’

This was the first time I’d written from a young child’s point of view and years later it led me to write the character of Hattie in my book The Mysterious Miss Mayhew.