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Updated: July 19, 2010 20:34 IST

On a chocolate trail

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It's a long story, and you are repeatedly told not to read it. But then you will, just to find out what happens next!

His name is Pseudonymous Bosch and so when he writes a book titled This Book is Not Good For You, you know immediately that there's something rather different here.

The first page of the book is black with the words Do Not Disturb on it. Curiouser and curiouser? You have to find out what's happening. You have disturbed the writer! He was eating chocolates and he asks a rather pertinent question: “Didn't you see the Do Not Disturb sign?”

The book begins at Chapter 15! A little girl, Simone is locked up in a bird cage. Her job is to taste chocolate. An enviable job you think? Well, not so when you have finished with this story.

The story revolves around a hunt for a tuning fork. “A tuning fork?” you ask. “Yes!” And just imagine the whole story is wound around this innocuous instrument. But then, this is not just any old tuning fork. It is a magic tuning fork and can do incredible things – especially make exceptional chocolate.

Cass, the protagonist, has two grandfathers! The interesting part is both of them are not her biological grandfathers, nor is her mother. During the summer Cass works afternoons at her grandfathers' antique shop.

On one such afternoon Cass and her friend Max-Ernest find themselves alone in the shop and Cass decides to find out who her real parents are. But they are disturbed by a thunk! thunk! from the front. They find cardboard boxes outside — boxes with new merchandise. They discover old magazines in them. Then something of interest catches their eye in a week-old issue of We magazine.

But actually, the adventure begins only after Cass' mother decides to attend cookery class – with Cass in tow!

From an innocuous cooking class you are hurried into an adventure that takes you half way across the world where you meet cocoa-crazed monkeys and children in forced labour.

THIS BOOK IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU by Pseudonymous Bosch, Usborne

An excerpt:

“With the Tuning Fork in his hand, a chef has the power to stir into being any taste in the world – as long as the eater has tasted it before,” said Mr. Wallace as the others examined the drawing. “The food of the fork acts on a person's memory in a way that haunts him. And he wants it again and again.”

“So what does it have to do with chocolate, Mr. Wallace?” Cass asked nervously. Mr. Wallace wasn't the easiest person to speak to.

“I was getting to that, if you would only wait a moment. As the story goes, the Tuning Fork was forged by an Aztec sorcerer and was first used ot stir chocolate for the Aztec emperor. You know of course that chocolate came from the New World and was originally served only as a drink.”

"Yeah, we knew that, said Max-Ernest, as if he'd known it for years and hadn't just read it on the internet the night before.


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