By Joan Aiken
This selection of short stories was originally planned to celebrate Joan Aiken's 80th birthday which would have been this September.
Sadly, her death earlier this year, means that this is an opportunity to look back on the extraordinary range of work that she produced in over fifty years of writing for children and adults.
Perhaps she is best known for her childrens books which include The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and Black Hearts in Battersea but she was also a prolific writer of short stories which range from the fairytale like title story A Necklace of Raindrops, to the almost Dali-esque The Lobster's Birthday via the strange and ethereal The Mysterious Barricades which conjures a land beyond the icy peaks of a mountain range where civil servants are said to go when they retire.
Other stories in the series feature a mermaid, a phoenix and A Leg Full of Rubies.
Read by Miriam Margolyes.