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Bernice Summerfield: The Diet of Worms by Matthew Sweet

01/12/2008. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Bernice Summerfield: The Diet of Worms in the USA - or Buy Bernice Summerfield: The Diet of Worms in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. ISBN: 978-1-84435-329-3. 60 minute CD. Price: 10.99 (UK). stars: Lisa Bowerman, Thomas Grant, Catherine Harvey, Beth Chalmers, Matthew Sweet and Ralf Collie.

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Bernice has finally managed to return to her own time but she is pretty hard up and needs a job. She is desperately in need of a steady occupation so that she can give her son, Peter, a secure upbringing and goes to the library to apply for a job. The library is actually a depository that keeps copies of documents of the word's most famous authors.

However, something has been making the folios of Barbara Cartland disappear. It seems that everyone's a critic. What with this, strange new life-forms and the black hole in the finances they can't offer Bernice a job.

Peter is left with a robot cook who teaches him to make meringue and gives him cake for tea just to annoy his mother. Bernice, of course, goes off to investigate the disappearances and hope this extended interview might land her a job. What it does land her, is expulsion from the depository and whilst removed to the comforts of a wine bar she makes a startling discovery about the documents in the archive.

It's a race again time because the unusual life-forms in the depository are about to be wiped out by fumigation and its up to Bernice to save them.

Another fun story from the annals of Bernice Summerfield, this is like an extended conceit. None of this makes scientific sense. It's packed with references to books, characters and, of course, the wisdom of Barbara Cartland. It's all about communication and the lack of it. Peter and his mother continue to not quite connect. Bernice struggles to try to keep it normal and because abnormality follows her around never succeeds. She does what she is good at, though, which is solving mysteries despite opposition, including poison gas. It's a dangerous job but someone has to do it.

There are no extras on this disc and the story runs to an hour, which proves to be an excellent length for a chomping good tale with an explosive ending.

Sue Davies

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