The 98th death.
[Text by Sohini Pal; photo by Reeti Roy]
Well-known children’s author Sohini Pal was found dead this morning in her tiny bungalow in Landour, a hill town near Mussoorie in Uttarakhand.
The person who discovered her body was her landlady, a Mrs Hanslow, who opened the door with a master key after a strange smell started to emanate from the house. Ms Pal was found lying dead on her couch, with her cat, Mrs Norris, next to her. The cat mewed at Mrs Hanslow. Mrs Norris had not nibbled at Ms Pal’s body, although she had left generous piles of poop on the blanket that covered her. Tokens of love, no doubt.
According to her neighbours, the late children’s writer had been known to chase children off her yard, often brandishing a broom and proclaiming that she did not want those “no-good little monsters” near her house. In fact, she was just short of buying a shotgun, claims a neighborhood hardware supplier.
The local residents described the deceased as “a recluse” and “not much of a people person”. One man called Ms Pal “a cantankerous old hag”. The few of her friends and acquaintances who could be contacted declined to comment on the grounds that she would “most surely be a vindictive ghost.”
While the reason for Ms Pal’s death is still mysterious, there has been some interest generated because of an unfinished manuscript that has been found in her belongings, possibly her first non-fiction work. When contacted, Ms Pal’s editor was confident that it might work provided she changed the current title, Children: The Bane of Our Existence.
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