For much of part three of Mr Tumnal, Louis, is absent from the story. The Cold Winter is upon us, and Kathryn is being exposed to various literary popculture references. She is receiving seemingly unconnected Christmas presents from her friends and family and is about to use that very source material to help her figure out just what has happened to Louis/Lewis Tumnal.

For me, I get to enjoy writing in my references to the stories that I love, and working real, published references with works of my own invention and real, unpublished, references to those of my friends

Next up was a present from Eleanor. A preliminary feel around the edges told Kathryn it was a book; and a slim hardback at that. She peeled back the tape and unfolded the wrapping. The cover struck her immediately. It was a black and white photograph with some selective tinting of a field in autumn with a dark silhouette of a hemlock stalk set against a misty, smokey background and some faint blurs that could be people. J. Rawson’s Book of Essays & Stories – the title and author were blended into one.

‘She works in one of the university libraries in Wren Hoe, I think,’ said Eleanor.

Kathryn nodded, unable to take her gaze away from the picture.

‘I’ve read a couple of bits in it,’ continued Eleanor, ‘Thought of you – Rawson evidently shares your same passion for old myth and reworking stories which she then talks about along with other books in her essays.’

Kathryn opened the beautifully bound and typeset book, leafing slowly through the pages to the contents list.

‘There’s a brilliant essay on Diana Wynne Jones, and then her own version of Tam Lin – you’ve got to read The Hyacinth Girl first.’

52001 / 80000 words. 65% done!