STOP AT A WINNER by R. F. Delderfield


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Delderfield goes to war--World War II at home in England--and the result is a typically genial but some what half-hearted nostalgia-farce-satire that falls somewhere between Evelyn Waugh and No Time for Sergeants. Pedlar Pascoe is a sweetly cloddish country giant who enlists in the R.A.F. to avoid going home to his fierce Gypsy mother. Horace Pope is a shifty Cockney whose attempts to avoid the draft have all failed. Together they are a ""drillmaster's nightmare,"" an inseparable team of ingratiating brawn and insolent brains that roams from training base to training base, running profitable ""fiddles,"" exploiting the paperwork idiocies of military bureaucracy (a ""vast uncoordinated movement surging toward a vague, unidentifiable goal""). They sell R.A.F. petrol and wood to Jellybelly Nell; they liven up the pubs; they arrange attractive transfers for a fee; they woo a by-the-book W.A.A.F.; their messhall cooking inspires ""The Tapioca Riot."" But when they somehow wind up overseas after D-Day (Pedlar's desperate solution for Horace's pregnant-girlfriend problem), Pedlar and Horace emerge as heroes--Jerries dead on all sides--and are last seen beading for America. Delderfield dedicates these picaresque gumdrops (written in 1961) to ""all the Judies and Erks who had difficulty in taking the R.A.F. seriously""; most American Delderfield fans--who'll miss the town-and-country atmospheres and the romances--will probably be only marginally charmed, only slightly amused.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1978
Publisher: Simon & Schuster