I have been interested to read quite a number of recent Twitter posts which confirm a powerful hatred of fireworks and of Bonfire Night. I enjoyed these two: “When I’m rich, I’m going to buy ALL the fireworks on sale on Merseyside and bury them” and “I refuse to endorse 400-year-old celebration of anti-Catholic bigotry.” Personally, I have mixed feelings; the problem is that Bonfire Night and Hallowe’en have blended into a fortnight’s slow-release firework fest, combining the best of the visual extravaganza with the worst of the mischief. However, I remember that, when I was growing up in Spalding, in the East of England, Bonfire Night and Mischief Night were rolled into one on November 5th and children blacked their faces with soot on a cork or dressed up as ghosts and took their guy around the neighbourhood to demand (with appropriate chants) their treats; owners of pets knew that there would be only a couple of days of potential danger for their animals and the whole thing seemed to be blessed with innocent fun and excitement. I have not forgotten that my imagination was always inspired by the occasion, for there lay behind it all a sense of the macabre and of lurking threat, which was real enough in the time of James 1st and still finds its way in various forms into the work of crime novelists. I rather like Bonfire Night… and a plot to blow up Parliament is the stuff of fancy!