Stephen Fry is a funny and clever man. But this book for me was a disappointment. I enjoyed the first part of Fry’s autobiography “Moab is my Washpot” and I love him chairing QI but I’m not impressed with him as a novelist from this offering.
Drunken and bitter poet, Ted Wallace is persuaded by his god daughter to go to a country house to explore some strange goings on related to some miraculous healings. I was expecting either something funnier or with more depth but sadly didn’t find either. There was some clever usage of words at times as one might expect from Stephen Fry, although at times the language became rather unnecessarily crude. The plot was okay but didn’t really engage me. The part I most enjoyed was the pre war history of a Hungarian sugar beet baron, who became part of the English gentry, this reminded me of the character drawn by Jeffrey Archer in his book “The Fourth Estate”, Richard Armstrong, based on a younger Robert Maxwell. A lot of the text is in letter writing form, although at times these letters are so long you forget that its being written to someone which was a bit distracting. Maybe if I’d been to public school or read some Kingsley Amis, I would have enjoyed the book more. I much prefer Tom Sharpe or Carl Hiaasen for comic novels, but I guess humour is very subjective.
I reviewed Fry’s Chronicles here: Two Tales of Two Stephens: Stephen Fry and Stephen King
My rating, a rather generous 3 out of 5