· culture ·

Fans of Terry Pratchett, pay attention — Radio 4 is serialising his novel, Mort. The first episode was on last week, but if you're quick you can still catch it on listen again. If you're not a fan of Terry Pratchett, consider what a fantastic character his Death is. In Mort, Death goes to a hiring fair to find an apprentice. In the stillness of the midnight streets, we hear his majestic horse galloping along, and as Death dismounts, we hear a skidding sound. Then the echoing voice of Death^1^ says, "Oh, Bugger. They should put something down, those cobbles are a death trap."

Later, Death takes Mort on a 'job' to usher the soul of a King into the next world. While they are waiting at the bar for the appropriate time to arrive, we get more of an insight into what makes Death tick. It's not exactly what you would expect. First he has a long and bitter rant about the pointlessness of vol-au-vents, then — after a brief silence — asks Mort if he would like his gherkin. Oh, and his magnificent white steed is called Binky.

^1^ In the books he speaks in CAPITALS.