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Samper Fidelis - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
Samper Fidelis
Book Review: Rancid Pansies, by James Hamilton-Paterson
This is the third in Hamilton-Paterson's Gerald Samper series, and although I don't think it's necessary to know the back-story, it certainly helps. The previous book ended - metaphorically though not literally - on a cliff-hanger, as Samper's Tuscan house collapsed in an earth tremor. So the story resumes with him residing as a temporary guest with conductor Max Christ in deepest East Anglia. He doesn't really fit in with the locals, and after a few episodes he decides it's time to go back to Italy, whereupon he discovers a local media report regarding a "vision" Samper himself claimed to have, telling him to leave the house prior to its collapse, has turned the site of his formed home into a Princess Diana shrine. (In typical Samper fashion, the dinner party he was having at the time contained certain "novel" ingredients that might have produced some mind-altering state). This provides a mixture of consternation and yet also creativity, as Samper is newly flush with film rights to one of his previous books, and keen to set out on an operatic oeuvre more in line with his aesthetic rather than out of commercial necessity. The dubious title turns out to have an explanation entirely in keeping with the character of Samper.

The book proceeds to a hilarious conclusion. In my review of Amazing Disgrace, I said that book was not as laugh-out-loud as the first, but here we are definitely back on form.

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