Wednesday, 14 November 2018
The Truth About Archie And Pye, by Jonathan Pinnock
It's about a hapless (and useless) PR man who loses his job at the beginning of the book. On the train on his way back from the incident which causes the job loss, he happens to meet a writer called Burgess, who somehow leaves behind a suitcase. Tom picks it up, meaning to return it - but finds that the writer has been murdered. Thus begins a hilarious chain of unfortunate events, during the course of which Tom loses his partner, his home, and very nearly his life. It really shouldn't be funny, but it is - very. It's a bit like a book I vaguely remember from years ago, called Aberystwyth Mon Amour, by Malcolm Pryce: or in terms of the humour, rather like Father Ted. Tom is hopeless - you can guarantee that if there's a banana skin withing ten miles of him, he'll find it and trip over it. The account of a car chase in which he is driving his partners's 'lovely, little car', and thinks he is being pursued by the Byelorussian mafia (he isn't - then) is brilliant. There's also a well-muscled zumba teacher called Arkady (actually a qualified pathologist back in - you've guessed it - Belarus) who I was particularly fond of, and a game-designer called Ali who is wonderfully single-minded and stroppy. In fact they're such good characters, I'd really like to meet up with them again.
The book is published by Farrago, a new publisher whose mission is to seek out funny books. Well, they've certainly come up with the goods with this one. Perfect for dispersing the November glooms.