When Timothy Bright's stockbroking career goes wrong he turns to gambling to regain his financial losses. Gaining more debts, Timothy is persuaded into a touch of villainy where an encounter with an Australian substance known as Toad precipitates Timothy into the bed of a Chief Constable's wife.
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Tom Sharpe was born in 1928 and educated at Lancing College and Pembroke College, Cambridge. He did his national service in the Marines before going to South Africa in 1951, where he did social work before teaching in Natal. He had a photographic studio in Pietermaritzburg from 1957 until 1961, and from 1963 to 1972 he was a lecturer in History at the Cambridge College of Arts and Technology. He is the author of sixteen bestselling novels, including Porterhouse Blue and Blott on the Landscape which were serialised on television, and Wilt which was made into a film. In 1986 he was awarded the XXIIIeme Grand Prix de l'Humour Noir Xavier Forneret and in 2010 he received the inaugural BBK La Risa de Bilbao Prize. He is married and divides his time between Cambridge, England and northern Spain.From Kirkus Reviews:
Satirist Sharpe returns after a lengthy hiatus, anger undimmed, in an alternately cruel and hilarious tale of greed set in a contemporary Britain blighted by the appetites set loose during Margaret Thatcher's reign. Those familiar with Sharpe's previous work will not be disappointed. This tale, like his earlier novels (Wilt on High, 1984, etc.), features violent slapstick (including a brilliantly sustained scene in which a violent, drunken husband has to contend with a surly watchdog, his wife's lesbian lover, and a drugged lout who has unknowingly crawled into bed with the wife); some spirited, acidic, precise portraits of authority gone amuck; and a grimly humorous skewering of human foibles. Although young Timothy Bright has served quite lucratively as a front man for some shady financial types during the go-go '80s, the crash in the early '90s leaves him broke. He secretly helps himself to some of his family's carefully hoarded capital and flees. The arrogant and not-very- bright Timothy bungles his getaway by running afoul of a powerful and thoroughly corrupt police superintendent. He ends up hiding out at Middenhall, a grotesque country house filled with an assortment of geriatric oddities and presided over by the formidable Miss Midden, and in the middle of a war. It turns out that the superintendent is determined to drive Miss Midden (his only opposition) from the county, the better to continue looting it. The apocalyptic climax involves a shoot-out between a police assault unit and one of the Middens, an addled hunter who mistakes them for terrorists. By the close, Sharpe, with obvious relish, has meted out punishment to the whole scapegrace lot--only the cool, practical Miss Midden survives unchanged. But while there are some wonderfully zany moments here, anger predominates. It's clear that Sharpe really is disgusted by his countrymen, whom he views as shallow, greedy, and dull. Too often, though, the anger overwhelms the satire. A ferociously inventive but uneven satire. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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