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Bruno finally turns forty and proposes to his friends that they open a small school. Unbeknownst to Bruno, Clara has inherited a property with some money and her organisational skills make this unlikely project possible. Justin and Imogen and other friends are persuaded to join the new venture. But not Simone, who asks Bruno if he ever hears noises in the school. Sad noises. All are busy in preparation until things go bump in the night and Johnny barely escapes with his life. Tensions rise as one by one those who enter the building are clearly not themselves. Which means Bruno and Clara have to find out who, or what, is the connection between the former owner of the building and the coded letter Max scratches out of the skirtingboard. Crossing the line between the quick and the dead, Bruno and his friends find out just what meddling with forces they cannot control may lead to. Fair thoughts and happy hours are their only protection. But how to ignore a force that feeds on terror?
Alan Ahrens-McManus describes his qualifications as a novel writer as, "a life of getting into scrapes and out of them while hanging out with people so extremely different they wouldn’t be seen dead with each other; years of living and working in dodgy situations in even dodgier countries; a Highland grandmother who passed on her gift of various experiences of second sight; a fascination with the peculiarities of people and a total inability to stop my words jumping around merrily on the page. I also have a respect for my characters, which are only vaguely my own creation, and the patience to let them tell me in their own time and in their own way what they’ve been up to since I wrote about them last."
"Qismet", rather than just a form of escapism, allows reflection on 'real life' as the main characters are multi-faceted and develop as they learn from experience and each other, a development which started with "Tricks of the Mind", and continued with "The Lovers" and "Shades of the Sun". The latest novel in the series is "Tìr nam Bàn".