By DJ Forrest
Read by Clare Corbett
Written by Amelia Pond
Running Time: 1hrs 57min
Publisher: AudioGO Ltd
Number of CDs: 2
Kate Webster and her mum have moved to Watchcombe, it’s a busy little seaside town with shops and cafes, and a museum and railway station. The bay is full of boats where day trippers row out a little bit then row back. Kate thinks that the town of Minehead was much better.
Kate is a youngster that I’m putting at about 11 or 12 going by the way Clare Corbett portrays her in the narration. She has made a new friend called Armand Dass who lives next door to her, his father works at the local pharmacy but he’s not a man to be trusted as far as the townsfolk appear to think. He’s also keen to retrieve the painting entitled 'The Lord of Winter' that Kate bought in a local charity shop. It’s covered in mould and on touching the painting, Kate’s fingers tingle. From the moment she brings it into the house, the temperature in the room drops, and strange things begin to occur inside and out.
The curator of the museum she discovers after following a grey cat through a hedge, is a tall thin man with the kind smile, who lives in the shed at the bottom of her garden. It has a striped canvas cover over it and garden tools propped outside and prevents her going inside, telling her it’s undergoing repairs.
The man also said he was in-between names so Kate called him Barnabas after her old teddy bear. She thought everyone should be called that.
He talks about his museum and also says he’d like to open a shop with an E “Love a little Shopp-e” he said.
It’s 3rd of September and when yesterday there was sunshine and people on the beach digging sandcastles and rowing out to sea, today there’s several feet of white snow coating the entire region and its ever so cold in the house. What could have caused this? And why is the cat that doesn’t belong to the curator, nor to Kate for that matter, concerned that Kate does as it asks? What does the cat know?
And why when she uncovers the ring under the floorboards with the grey cat’s help must she after reading a note tucked under the joists “Keep it safe. He must not find what the old lady holds!” Who is it who must not find it? What is the link with the painting and the ring, and does that mean that Mr Dass is the man who wants the painting, or could it mean it’s the curator, who she showed the painting to. And what danger lies in wait for Kate and her two new friends?
The first time I heard the story I couldn’t get into it, I couldn’t understand why a children’s story was involved in Doctor Who. I looked at the title again, I viewed the illustrations of the children, and I listened to it again. Then it made sense.
The story was written by Amelia Pond in 1954 and was when Amy was sent back in time, putting her in her 50’s by then. It was the book that Clara had in her bedroom, and it was one that she would read to the boy that she was looking after.
There are many links connecting Doctor Who to this story, and although the first book released by the BBC about the detective novel, that had Melody Malone going to the apartment in “The Angels Take Manhattan” that merely read as a detective novel with no mention of the Doctor, this story does cover elements of Amy’s time with the 11th.
But I’m not going to spoil the book by pointing them out. You have to listen to the story, and not solely to hear about the various telltale signs that point you to a Doctor Who fact or moment. When you accept that this is a story of a young girl on an adventure and many wonderful things happen on her journey, and she meets some incredibly wonderful people along the way, you’ll love it as much as I did.
And as Clara said. “Watch out for the 11th, it’ll make you cry.”