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You cannot keep a good shopkeeper down...
on 17 May 2011
It may sound like an old fashioned department store but, right from the start, we know that G R Owen is an emporium with something to hide. Why else would the employees of Torchwood be manning ladies' cosmetics and gent's clothing?
Right from the beginning, we are in no doubt that this is a store where nasty things happen to customers - why else would they be busy cleaning mysterious blood stains off the carpet? There is also the problem over the long missing Department of Curiosities. Anyway, all will soon be revealed because Captain Jack Harkness is on the case.
He has opposition, however, in the form of a company wishing to take over the store and, more importantly, everything in it, including the nasty wriggly bits. Also, the bullet points in their presentations are not of the PowerPoint variety.
The story proceeds at a cracking pace and is, in many parts, something of a black comedy. We have numerous puns and one is greatly reminded of that vintage TV comedy, "Grace Brothers" and, yes, the greeting "I'm free" does pop up. I thought it tremendous fun.
Naturally, I shall not spoil the end but it is fitting and shows that you cannot keep that great shopkeeping spirit down, although once Torchwood and Co have gone through the building there is quite a bit of clearing up to do and much of the stock is ruined. I did wonder about the insurance claim at this point.
I thought it a lovely way to spend a couple of hours and it is a fun bedtime story that should not "frighten the horses". The plot is a tad predictable and the violence a little gratuitous for my taste but this does not detract too much from the fun. It is also ably read by Kai Owen who manages, with the aid of fairly discreet sound effects, to convey the characters and the drama.