A slow-burning but fascinating little novel blending elements of comedy, horror and science fiction, Ralph And The Purple Fly by Christopher Brunt (@CJBWriter) still has me asking questions hours after turning the final page. This review is based on a copy provided by the author for that purpose.
Professor Conrad Constant is an eminent biologist, the author of textbooks, and winner of the prestigious Board of Biological Research (BBR) Grant of Excellence an unprecedented three times. Fussy and a bit prickly with others, the long-standing Deputy Head of Department at his University specializes in botany and embryology and, to put it mildly, his life revolves around his work. He has forsaken love, friendship, and most material comforts to further a career those in the know consider most promising.
On his behalf his colleagues had already decided that despite his various achievements the world had not yet seen the very best of Professor Constant. Apparently it was only a matter of time before he uncovered something groundbreaking that would put them all to shame for their inherent laziness.
“If anyone’s going to do it then surely it must be him.” One scientist had said to another; the other standing with his arms folded, fiddling contemplatively with his chin before looking up all of a sudden and nodding in ardent approval.
“Too right. Yes, I suppose he is the sort.”
“I’d put a month’s salary on the thing.”
— Brunt, Christopher. Ralph and the Purple Fly (Kindle Locations 77-83). Unknown.
Professor Constant harbors quite a secret in the personal laboratory fashioned from a room in his apartment. Created through a series of experiments and tests unthinkable in a public setting, this secret is to be his crowning achievement, the culmination of a life’s work studying and deciphering the nature of life itself. What could possibly go wrong?
That’s probably as much as I can say about Ralph and the Purple Fly without revealing spoilers. At least I think they may be spoilers. Honestly, at this point I’m not completely sure if I know exactly what happened with Constant, Ralph and the purple fly as there is reason to question the ability of both the narrator and professor to relay the facts of the matter.
Please understand I’m not being negative when I express my uncertainty about what happened. The author does a wonderful job telling one story while providing tantalizing hints about something else entirely. Which is true? I don’t know but I’m still having a lot of fun pondering the possibilities — and isn’t that a wonderful feeling as a reader?
I can say the story starts quite deliberately and I suspect some readers may chafe at the pace. Hopefully more will be like me and find their curiosity about Constant and his secret propelling them forward. Also, as you can see from the quote above there is a lot of crackling dialogue that simply demands to be read using a British accent.
This is the first published work from Mr. Brunt and I will be curious to see what else comes from his imagination. For more about the author and his writing, visit his webpage.