The coco pinchard boxset.., p.1
The Coco Pinchard Box Set
The Not So Secret Emails of Coco Pinchard
Coco Pinchard’s Big Fat Tipsy Wedding
Coco Pinchard, The Consequences of Love and Sex
A Very Coco Christmas
Saturday 21st December
Sunday 22nd December
Monday 23rd December
Tuesday 24th December – Christmas Eve
Wednesday 25th December - Christmas Day
Coco Pinchard’s Must-Have Toy Story
Monday 14th December
Tuesday 15th December
Wednesday 16th December
Thursday 17th December
Friday 18th December
Saturday 19th December
Sunday 20th December
Monday 21st December
Tuesday 22nd December
Wednesday 23rd December
Thursday 24th December (Christmas Eve)
Friday 25th December (Christmas Day)
A note from Robert
About the Author
Also by Robert Bryndza
Thank you for picking up my Coco Pinchard romantic comedy Box Set, and popping it into your virtual shopping basket.
You may know me as the writer of the Erika Foster crime thriller series, so if you’ve stumbled upon this box set hoping for a dark, gritty murder mystery, then you’ll be in for a surprise. There are a lot of laughs in these five volumes, and a great deal of drama, but fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on the type of book you like reading, there are no murders. Although, I'm sure Coco Pinchard would dearly love to strangle her mother-in-law, Ethel, and get away with it!
I’m often asked why I chose to write romantic comedies, and now I’ve turned to the darker side of fiction, I’m asked why I chose to write crime thrillers. They are both genres I love to read. I started out writing romantic comedies, because I love comedy. I love to laugh. Growing up, I was and still am a huge fan of Victoria Wood, French and Saunders and Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole books. The ability to see the funny side of a situation has helped me through many tough times in my life. Comedy is a great healer. To make people laugh is one of the most difficult and rewarding things you can do.
I love a good laugh as much as a good scare, and I feel lucky that I’m able to write in both genres.
The first book in this box set, The Not So Secret Emails of Coco Pinchard, was my debut novel, and it was self-published with little fanfare in 2012. I’m grateful to those first early readers and book bloggers who took a chance on an unknown author and picked up a copy. They read and talked about my books to their friends and family, and urged me to write more. Word of mouth is the most powerful form of advertising, and for that I will always be grateful. Thank you.
I hope you enjoy reading Coco Pinchard’s adventures, as much as I enjoyed writing them. There are plenty more books to come, more laughs and more murder, and I hope you stay with me for the ride!
Nitra, Slovakia, 2018
The Not So Secret Emails of Coco Pinchard
For Ján, whose help, encouragement, and sheer brilliance made this book possible.
Thursday 25th December 20.01
Merry Christmas? Mine isn’t. The in-laws arrived last night. Meryl and Tony cycled down to London from Milton Keynes on their new tandem. They had to sit in the airing cupboard with the heating up for a good hour, thawing out. Rather cancels out their boast that they are carbon neutral! Rosencrantz picked up his nan, Ethel, from her nursing home, and she began with the usual, “This might be my last Christmas,” before inviting herself for Christmas next year, and Easter, and Mother’s Day…
Daniel was working late (the curtain didn’t come down on his pantomime till eleven), so to inject a little Christmas cheer into the house, Rosencrantz, Ethel, Meryl and myself decorated the tree in the living room. Tony spent an age piling logs and newspaper in the fireplace, which at the touch of a match sprung into a roaring, crackling fire.
He excused himself when the decorating became competitive. We were divided into two camps style-wise. Ethel and Meryl favoured an all-silver display of baubles, whereas I wanted my usual array of multi-coloured baubles, tinsel, and the cross-eyed cotton-wool-bearded Father Christmas Rosencrantz made from bog rolls as a child. It was an exhausting series of compromises with no one wanting to spark a row so early. They are here for a week. I wish I had the guts to say, “Back off, bitches!” However, I didn’t, so we decorated one side of the tree silver and the other multi-coloured, with an agreement it would be rotated daily.
Rosencrantz sensibly joined Tony outside in the garden and helped him oil the tandem.
Christmas Day seemed to begin with promise. I had been worried about having to cook lunch, but I had a surprising saviour in the shape of our new Sky+ box and HD television. If it were not for them, I would have had much more criticism over my choice to serve individual Bird’s Eye turkey dinners.
Thankfully, the hubbub surrounding the sixty-two-inch flat screen, and its surround sound speakers, drowned out the ping of the microwave.
Ethel was further diverted when Rosencrantz told her we had bought the box and TV using the advance for my novel, Chasing Diana Spencer. She couldn’t believe I had been paid for “that rubbish”. Still, it all covered up, quite nicely, the fact that I can’t cook.
My presents were as follows:
1. Marlboro Lights. I don’t know which is sadder – the fact that my son bought me four hundred fags for Christmas, or the fact I asked for them.
2. A pair of SPANX, which are giant stomach-flattening, arse-reducing, thigh-squashing mega knickers. I got quite excited. I’ve heard great things about them from Mr Gok Wan. Then Ethel explained where she’d acquired my present – from a friend at her nursing home whose overweight daughter had just died in a car crash. “She don’t need ‘em now,” she’d said.
3. Three pairs of thick black tights and a can of wasp killer, taped together as a set. “They’re for your varicose veins,” explained Meryl in a stage whisper over the airborne wrapping paper. I presume she meant the tights.
4. An iPhone. I will come back to this in a minute.
5. Your gift. The Complete Sopranos Box Set was wonderful, thank you. I told Rosencrantz I would now be able to join in with all the people raving on about how gritty and dark it is.
“Mother, we’ve like moved on,” he said, rolling his eyes. “The Sopranos is so like 2007…”
6. Chanel No. 5 from Marika. I still can’t reach Marika to wish her a Merry Christmas. Can you? Phone lines must
Meryl and Tony gave Rosencrantz The Dangerous Book For Boys. Which is lazy gift-giving, if you ask me. It’s point-of-sale in almost every supermarket thus required no effort on their part. Ethel took one look at it and said, “’E’s nineteen years old! It’s not trees ‘e’s gonna be going up,” before handing over her gift, a Durex Vibrations Fun Pack. Meryl looked horrified. “Well, ‘e’s a good looking gay lad!” said Ethel. “My present will keep ‘im safer than your present!”
She had a point.
Tony blushed violently and said he’d fetch more Buck’s Fizz.
I gave everyone signed copies of Chasing Diana Spencer, since they’ve been too tight to actually buy it. M + T put on a good show of over-excitement. Ethel just dropped hers in her handbag without a glance at what I’d written inside. She was more interested in the book M + T had bought her, the number-one bestseller Window Box Winemaking.
“Did you know, ‘er and Coco ‘ave the same lit-ral agent?” said Ethel, pointing to the overly grand cover picture of its author, Regina Battenberg.
“Ooh, we love Regina Battenberg,” said Meryl.
“She was a scream on Jonathan Ross last week,” said Tony. “Really gave him a run for his money.”
“Have you met her, Coco?” asked Meryl, in an awed tone.
I said we had been in the same branch of Waterstones for our book signings.
“’Er queue must have been out the door, compared to yours,” said Ethel, with a glint in her eye.
Rosencrantz, seeing the first festive row brewing, suggested we wake up his dad.
It amazes me that all Daniel needs to do is lumber downstairs mid-afternoon in his dressing gown and he is greeted with such excitement.
“Mum, Sis, Tone,” he said, handing them little presents from his dressing gown pockets. Meryl and Ethel were squealing as if they were at the stage door after a David Essex concert. Daniel hadn’t even brushed his teeth.
He gave me a kiss and pulled a little box wrapped in white ribbon out of his pocket. It was that certain shade of green which made me think Tiffany! We’ve met in Regent Street twice to look at the Christmas lights, and each time he has guided us towards Bond Street, and let me linger outside Tiffany, raving about a necklace. I whipped open the ribbon. The box fell apart, and nestling inside was… an iPhone.
“A phone?” I said, with forced gaiety.
“This isn’t any phone,” said Daniel. “You can use it to email and listen to music, can’t you son?” He grinned, pulling an identical box out of his other dressing gown pocket.
“No way!” shouted Rosencrantz. “NO FUCKING WAY!”
“We don’t like toilet language,” said Tony, shielding Meryl as Rosencrantz jigged across the living room, narrowly avoiding the Christmas tree — which had been turned to its silver side for Christmas Day.
“You’ll both need your phones to keep in contact with me!” Daniel exclaimed, grinning.
“Why do we need to keep in contact with you?” I asked.
“Well,” he said, “I’ve just signed a contract, making me the new musical director of the Whistle Up The Wind North American Tour 2009!”
Rosencrantz stopped jigging. They all looked at my frozen smile.
“What?” I said.
“Whistle Up The Wind,” said Daniel. “It’s a new musical.”
“Don’t you mean Whistle DOWN The Wind?” said Rosencrantz.
“No,” said Daniel. “Whistle Up The Wind. It’s sort of an unofficial sequel. Nothing to do with Lloyd-Webber,” he added. “I start rehearsals in a couple of weeks…”
They all looked between his joy and my disbelief.
“This is my dream job!” he said impatiently. “Launching a new musical… An American tour too. It’s eighty grand!”
At the mention of money, everyone became animated. Ethel tottered forward and clasped his face saying, “Oh my clever boy. If yer dad weren’t dead, ‘e’d be so proud.” Grabbing her Bucks Fizz, she made a toast to “Absent friends… and lots of dosh.” They all clinked glasses and I left the room. Daniel followed me into the kitchen.
“Do you like your iPhone?” he asked.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Come on Cokes, don’t start,” he said. “It’s Christmas Day.”
“You choose to tell me, out of the blue, in front of everyone?”
“It was an exciting announcement!” he gestured with his arm. His dressing gown flopped open. He had nothing on underneath.
“What timing Little Danny has!” he grinned, raising his eyebrows and looking proudly at his tackle.
“Oh, put it away!” I said getting even madder. “You were too scared to tell me, weren’t you? Until you had the protection afforded by having your mother and Meryl here.”
“I need to be successful too,” he hissed, doing up his dressing gown. “You spent all this year writing your book.”
“Why did I have to find out like this?” I said.
“You’d have tried to persuade me against it!” He was surging into a full-on rage now.”You think I want to conduct the music for pantomimes every Christmas for the next twenty years?”
“It’s great money, Daniel, and you’re good at it.”
He kicked the pantry door and stalked around the kitchen with a red face.
“Ok,” I said. “Tell me about it. Do you think it’s a good script?”
“You haven’t even read it, have you?”
“It’s eighty grand! I don’t need to read it,” he said. “Decision made.”
“Really? Wasn’t Metal Mickey: The Musical meant to be fifty grand?”
“Here we go,” he said.
“Rentaghost: The Musical also went bust, owing you thousands,” I said, becoming shrill. “And when The Lady Boys Of Bognor Regis went into administration I had to get another job to pay off the band’s parking fines!”
“It was you who offered to lend them the Volvo, Coco!” he shouted. “Their instruments wouldn’t fit on the bus!”
“Daniel,” I said. “I would love you to work on a successful musical, but sadly, you sign awful contracts and make awful decisions, usually ones which exclude me!”
At that point, Meryl came into the kitchen.
“Sorry to interrupt,” she said, “but Mum has just sat on the remote control and now everything is in Spanish.”
Daniel glared at me and followed her out. I was expecting him to come back in and resume our discussion, but after ten minutes I found him sat on the sofa with Ethel.
“'Ere Coco,” she said. 'Warm up some dinner for my clever boy, it’s nearly time for the Queen’s speech.”
Daniel refused to make eye contact.
“I need to talk to Daniel,” I said pointedly.
“Danny is watching the Queen,” said Ethel.
I stalked over to the Christmas tree and turned it round to the coloured side.
“You know where the microwave is,” I said.
I grabbed my Christmas fags, went out into the garden, and smoked on the steps by the shed. They should warn you, I thought as I looked out over the London skyline, that if you marry young there is a high chance your loved one might turn into a complete and utter prat.
When it got dark and I’d developed a rattling in my chest, I came back in. The Christmas film had just finished and Meryl pretended everything was fine by insisting we all play a game she’d brought called Rapidough. It’s like charades, but your team has to guess what you are making out of modelling clay.
Meryl divided us into two teams. It was me, Tony and Rosencrantz versus her, Ethel and Daniel.
After several glasses of Drambuie, it was neck and neck…
I just needed to get my team to correctly guess what I was about to make and we would secure victory.
Meryl (the score mistress) offered me the cards and I picked one with the phrase ‘cock and bull story’. Ethel took one look at my face and I saw
I gave her a defiant smile.
Meryl flipped over the egg timer and Rosencrantz began to film on his new iPhone. (I had insisted on playback after some cheating from Ethel.) Feeling the pressure to win, I made the first thing that came into my head: a rather large bull, and running out of modelling clay, a rather tiny penis…
The room went quiet. They all looked at the penis. Then looked at Daniel. Then looked at me.
“So this is my payback?” glared Daniel. “Embarrassing me!”
“No! That’s not yours!” I said. “I mean…”
“'Now tha’s crude Coco,” said Ethel. (This is the woman who every year takes out her teeth, sticks them up the turkey’s arse, and makes it talk.)
Meryl stared in horror as the tiny appendage began to wilt by the warmth of the open fire. Why did I fashion it erect? My son was there! She thumped it flat with the copy of Chasing Diana Spencer she was resting the scorecard on. Tony crossed his legs protectively and Rosencrantz, being Rosencrantz, continued to film it all.