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 More pratfalls, pounces, and gaseous protestations emanating from Brulagh, that Irish village of cheerful chicanery, profanity, and strong drink first celebrated hilariously in The Neon Madonna (1992). Now, among some familiar citizens, comes a wealthy young American of a shady banking-family who plans a major taking of the town in the form of a mammoth resort project. It'll all end in a tie--to the satisfaction of everyone. The auld gang from Neon Madonna are present again: expansive manipulator Mick Flannery, who now has the lucrative post of EC representative; Johnny Slattery, aided by dangerous Long John McCarthy, who's still making poteen down where the Little Folk dwell; and Fr. Jerry, who's in the best of health, though his Alpha Romeo, which he'd driven from Rome, where he was a soldier in Vatican politics, has ``committed suicide.'' Featured in this second chronicle is the beautiful, jaunty, loudmouthed Lady Alpha, sole offspring of the poverty-stricken, fox-hunting Eleventh Earl of Gallerick, who, for any money at all, must depend on Aunt Daphne (the Daft). Into Brulagh comes Luke Divareli, in his doomed Porsche, with a plan to make a killing with an improved golf course, hotels, cottages, the works. With the help of Abe, a Bronx- tongued toad--a veteran of smasher development investment--Luke pushes his plans while falling in love with Alpha. But there'll be a price as Luke weathers: a fixed horse-race, a hunt atop a mad mare (supplied by the man he'd thrown downstairs), a hurling pitch, and other local gaieties. Eventually, though, Luke is absorbed into Brulagh like a stray nut in a rummy pudding. Not as tight as Neon Madonna--too many plot threads, perhaps- -but funny indeed, with Dave Barry-like touches (a geezer's flat hat ``looked as if it could only be removed under a heavy anesthetic'') and endemically bloodshot dialogue.

Pub Date: March 22nd, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-08834-5
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1993


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