A delightfully silly village gambol--featuring a jolly stand of English nobs, rotters, and eccentrics, plus contemporary satire along with the echoes of Wodehouse. (""There are some who spring from their beds. . . like salmon leaping up a waterfall."") Shipton Wick, in the Cotswolds, is in a rare dither. The bachelor ""Prince""--awfully like pre-Diana Charles--has bought the local manor of Cantilevre as a country residence. Shuddering joys and equally disquieting problems are in the wind. Sgt. Bullstrode's serene province is invaded by outside Security, including Mr. Whackers--who's going to see to it that the ecological Stop the Hunt/Save the Badger group (led by awful Judy Mustard) doesn't keep its tryst with badgers near Cantilevre. Peter Paxton hopes to acquire a royal imprimatur for his new product, a microchip automatic toothbrush; ladies make plans; hair-stylist Astrid Sproggs has heady dreams of a posh clientele; Lady Evers longs to boost daughter Charlotte away from horses and casseroles; and Sybil Paxton, a veritable juggernaut in her electric wheelchair, plans an entertainment campaign--also to include daughter Jo, who lives on bran and cannabis at a local commune. Then into the minimayhem comes a monstrous personage, General Mkubwar, from the Independent Republic of Hapana, who wants ""to help your Prince burn his enemies into ashes"". . . while giant Angus MacBean, member of an anarchist terrorist group, plans to kidnap the Prince. So, before calm settles on Shipton Wick, there will be: a royal send-off for the Paxton toothbrush (alas, the pilot product appears with bristles in the middle of the handle); a hijacking; and a fox hunt, crisscrossed by baffled hounds, MacBean and Mustard, the Prince and company, and an educated fox. For those addicted to English-village follies--just spiffing.
Pub Date: Nov. 24, 1983
Page Count: -
Publisher: Chatto & Windus--dist. by Merrimack (99 Main St., Salem, NH 03079)