Now I don’t want you to be too concerned about this, but my mistress is trying to write an introduction to a ‘murder story’ for a competition. She says she has a plot for a thriller that she wants to write but frankly I think she is too much of a coward. The problem when she starts writing something is that she gets so absorbed in it that it all becomes very real. She writes something sad and starts crying. Sometimes I find myself having to put a paw round her shoulder to comfort her when the only thing that has really happened that is bad is that her punctuation is dreadful! Going into mourning because one of your characters has just died is excessive. Particularly when they were killed by your own pen. This is the same mistress who went to a production at the Phoenix Theatre in Leicester when she was a child, with her class from school. They told all the children to ‘imagine’ they were in a submarine and then to ‘imagine’ it has lost air pressure and they couldn’t breathe. So she did and had to be taken out ‘because she couldn’t breathe!’ She spent the rest of the time sitting outside waiting for the production to finish. So the point I am making is, how is she going to write a thriller with blood, and scary characters and darkened doorways, without getting to the point where she jumps at her own shadow? She is going to be a nervous wreck by the time she has finished and to be honest when she gets like that it makes me nervous. I’m no brave guard dog. I’m not going to want to be at home on my own if there is a murderer in the house, even if it is a fictional one. Do you think you can pin a fictional character up against the wall and bark at it to make it go away? There is going to be nothing I can do at all. Maybe she will write the character so that it likes dogs.