Synopses & Reviews
Bill James is on top form in this sharply satirical black comedy set behind the scenes at a museum
George Lepage, the new Director of the Hulliborn Regional Museum and Gallery, has great hopes that his tenure in the post will be short and profitable. He has visions of early retirement, and perhaps - like his predecessor, and his predecessor's predecessor - a knighthood.
But circumstances do their best to snatch his happy dreams away from him. First a deranged former staff member causes a riot in the Folk Department, and then three recently purchased, ruinously expensive paintings of dubious authenticity are stolen, putting the museum's security - and judgement - into question. The fate of the upcoming Japanese Ancient Surgical Skills exhibition, and its astonishing collection of tonsil excision implements, hangs dangerously in the balance.
And over everything hangs the grim specter of the former Director, "Flounce" Butler-Minton, whose body may be most definitely dead but whose legacy lives on. And with every day that passes, the rumours of what Flounce did behind the Iron Curtain - and how the haversack straps, the whippet and the legendary Mrs Cray were involved - grow, threatening to erupt into a scandal that may cost the museum, and Lepage himself, everything . . .
"Guaranteed to satisfy all your most mean-spirited fantasies about the gatekeepers of high culture, whose appetites turn out to be as primitive as those of the lowlifes in James' noir procedurals about Harper and Iles" Starred Kirkus Review
"His fans will recognize his unique, over-the-top prose; black humor; and twisted view of humanity. Entertaining, wacky, and witty" Booklist
George Lepage, the Hulliborn's new director, dreams of bringing the Japanese Ancient Surgical Skills exhibition, with its astonishing collection of tonsil excision implements, to the museum. But an unhinged ex-staff member is determined to wreak havoc, and when the museum is burgled, the fate of the exhibition hangs dangerously in the balance.
About the Author
Bill James has been called "the Elmore Leonard of Britain's underworld" (Kirkus Reviews) and has been named a "Master of Crime" in a mystery roundup by the London Sunday Times, which said, "There is nothing else quite like this series of police procedurals. James is concerned with the dilemmas and difficulties of policing Britain's inner cities, and he addresses these in hard-edged narratives that leave readers gasping and flinching, praying the people in these stories never come to live in their streets." In addition to the Harpur and Iles series, James is the author of other mystery series and a book on Anthony Powell. He lives in Wales.