THE PENULTIMATE CHANCE SALOON by Simon Brett

THE PENULTIMATE CHANCE SALOON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A wry study of a man, 60, single again, and willing—nay, eager—to bonk anyone who’ll have him.

When his wife Andrea reaches menopause, Bill Stratton assumes that her condition accounts for her lack of interest in sex and resigns himself to privation. Ah, well, he reflects, the marriage is sturdy enough to survive abstinence. Bill soldiers on to middling fame as the newscaster who coins the phrase “By way of contrast” (a device that leads to an amusing on-air anecdote), then spawns a series of BWOC books; Andrea continues with her National Health Service chums, saving the planet from shallow types like Bill. One day, after 40 years of marriage, she tells him she’s known he was all wrong for her since the second week of their honeymoon and is leaving him for Dr. Dewi. Bill ponders this farewell as deeply as his shallowness will allow and soon begins noticing breasts everywhere, especially on his agent Sal, his overly ripe BWOC manager Carolyn and Andrea’s friend Ginnie, an actress with a wicked sense of humor. Then he goes a lot further than noticing them on scores of women he wines and dines and beds. An energetic cuddle, a quick getaway and flowers in the morning are his signatures until mild heartburn drives him to the pub for bouts of misogynist depression with Trevor. When Andrea succumbs to lung cancer, Bill, true to form, does not have an epiphany but does, to his surprise, fall in love, sort of, this time with the right woman for him.

Brett, whose wry chatter has enlivened mysteries starring Charles Paris, Mrs. P and Fethering (The Witness at the Wedding, 2005, etc.), has great fun playing around with sex past 60. Whatever your age, you’ll have fun with this one too.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2006
ISBN: 1-59264-162-8
Page count: 225pp
Publisher: Toby Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2006




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