I NEVER laugh out loud when I'm reading. Most books just aren't that funny. But I broke my silence with Foiled Again. The hopelessly inept Nick Madrid pitches, heart-first as usual, into the most outrageously farcical situations and comes up smelling, if not quite of roses, then at least of, well, something sweetish. Nick escapes death as per and gets damaged enough to put most people in hospital. But he shrugs all this off with the ease of the water/duck's back scenario in the pursuit of what may or may not be the truth. Where most protagonists draw a straightish line from A to B to find whodunnit, Nick's line is child-drawn and tortuous. While all this is going on, Madrid still manages to snare his woman of the volume - despite being criminally inadequate in most things horizontal - and the Bridget situation still lurks in the wings.
This is also a multi-faceted book. Where else would you find fencing, dildos and body dysmorphia in one book? Okay, yes, a dictionary perhaps but apart from that, where else? You want to know about blackshirts? Read this. What about the ins and outs of fencing? Yup, you've guessed it, right here. While you chortle, information seeps into your all-unknowing brain and, dammit, you've unintentionally learnt something.
Education aside, somehow Peter Guttridge manages, as in his other books, to write side-splitting humour with the lightest touch. In true time-honoured fashion, I found it hard to put down and even my 70 year old mother was sorry, when at 1245 a.m., she had finally finished reading it.
You know what you have to do....