Albert Carter has died, and finds himself in the spirit world, to get sorted out at St Christopher’s gates. Having been a successful shop steward picketing the management of Jebson’s Glue Factory on behalf of his colleagues, he feels confident his final destination is Heaven, with the rest of the decent, honest working class.
However, on arrival at St Christopher’s Doomsday Ministry, an inspectors’ strike means all spirits in transit have to be temporarily repatriated to Earth as ghosts, until the dispute is settled.
Albert’s ghostly assignment is his worst nightmare: a wealthy Lord’s manor which operates on the hard-earned wages of his own class.
Immediately on arrival, he decides to ruin the capitalist family, and begins his unlawful haunting as the Ghost of Marlston Manor. Watching him from the heavens is a host of guardian angels, elders, overlords and scribes – all scrambling to undo the havoc that Albert is blunderingly creating in his short stint as a ghost.
The final straw comes as Albert riles up a ‘fright’ of ghosts to collude and protest their sentences on Earth – and Albert finally faces St Christopher.
It’s pure satire, from start to finish, looking at various levels of conflict.
And, as we all know, conflict of some sort is at the heart of almost every story.
The conflict in The Jigsaw And The Fan comes in many guises: Albert v. the management of Jebson’s Glue factory; Albert v. Lord Maxwell Filchester Barrington-Pottesherbert; Wallace v. Mozelbeek; and the inspectors v. St Christopher.
Stewart Bint explains that the original idea for the book stemmed from his days working for BBC Radio, reading the news and presenting current affairs programmes during the time of the bitter miner’s strike in the UK.
“I wanted to tell a story about the futility of such disputes, looking especially at how both sides are as bad as each other. Never having been involved personally in anything like that miners strike…just interviewing miners, their families, and the police regularly…I knew I could never capture the raw emotion that would be needed to make a hard-hitting book a success.
So I chose to satirise the miners strike in this way, without actually mentioning it once in the book.”
In a nutshell:
International novelist published by Dragon Moon Press. Journalist/magazine columnist. Active awareness campaigner for mental health and sepsis. Named on the 2016 list of “Inspirational Mental Health Advocates that are changing the world.”
Previous roles include radio presenter, newsreader and phone-in host.
Married to Sue, with two grown-up children, Chris and Charlotte, and a charismatic budgie called Alfie
Lives in Leicestershire, UK. Usually goes barefoot.
Stewart Bint now puts a little bit of flesh on the bones:
“I’m just an ageing hippy who goes barefoot almost all the time and likes to entertain people through stories. My books aren’t great art and they’re not great literature, but my readers tell me they’re entertaining, so that’s good enough for me.
“I was born in the dim and distant past (under extreme torture I have been known to admit to 1956). I have worked both for the BBC and commercial radio as a newsreader, current affairs presenter and ‘phone-in host. Now I’m a novelist, magazine columnist, and Public Relations writer.
Family life – I’m married with two grown-up children, and an extremely charismatic budgie called Alfie.
I was bitten by the writing bug when I was seven in 1963, through watching the original series of what has been my favourite television series ever since: Doctor Who. Even at that young age, I was enraptured by the storylines which can take place at any time in the past and future, and absolutely anywhere in the universe and beyond. I started creating my own worlds and characters, writing my stories in little blue notebooks until my parents bought me a portable typewriter for my 9th birthday.
And those make-believe worlds became invaluable after my Dad died when I was 11. I retreated more and more into those places where I was in control of my characters’ fate, knowing that whatever happened to them during the story I would make sure they were okay in the end. My worlds were certainly better than the real one at that time.
In my twenties, it was my ambition to become a published novelist by the time I was 30. Hhmmm, I was 26 years too late with that…achieving it when I was 56 in 2012. I’d kept on writing fiction as a hobby, but it was only on holiday, bobbing up and down with a friend in the Caribbean Sea when he said I ought to seriously try and get published.
So I dusted down an old manuscript, gave it a thorough working over and submitted it. Now, with three novels, two novellas, a collection of short stories, a compilation of my early magazine columns, and a contributor to several short story anthologies, I’m mighty glad I took his advice.
In Shadows Waiting
December Awethology Light
Ghostly Writes Anthology