Friday, 6 December 2013

The Death Pit (Time Trips) - A L Kennedy

What with all that post-anniversary comedown, some new Doctor Who was sorely needed to ease the pain. A brand new Fourth Doctor novella from A.L. Kennedy, you say? That'll do nicely! Especially following on from some brand new Tom in The Day of the Doctor...

Over 2013 I've got used to a new e-book coming out every month, so it's nice to continue this tradition with the new Time Trips series. They're a bit longer (and a bit cheaper) than their predecessors and seem to feature Doctors in random order (presumably as chosen by the authors).

The Death Pit is set at a Scottish hotel in the '70s and concerns dissatisfied 24-year-old Junior Day Receptionist (or, as she points out, Only Day Receptionist) Bryony Mailer, "possibly the most inquisitive human alive on Earth at that time". It's not a very nice hotel, mainly frequented by boring golfers and their bored wives, but it still seems odd that people are disappearing from the golf course never to be seen again. There are other oddities too - the elderly hotel owner is never seen, and there's something a bit unusual about her twin grandchildren. Then a stranger, a particularly strange stranger, turns up...

I detected a distinct Douglas Adams-esque flavour to the writing at times ("He was flailing about in the pit like someone who had just found out a great deal of new and unpleasant information about life..."), which makes it seem very fitting that one of the characters is actually called David Agnew (a pseudonym used at various times in Doctor Who, including famously by Adams and others on "City of Death").The Fourth Doctor is travelling solo post-Deadly Assassin, and seems to be on the lookout for a new companion, at least if his many approving thoughts (we spend quite a lot of time in the Doctor's head here)about Bryony are anything to go by.

I enjoyed this story, although I did get a bit confused towards the end, and was left wondering about certain characters. Possibly that's a failing on my part, though. All in all, a good read which is certainly worth the price tag. I look forward to the rest of the series.