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Last Friends (Old Filth Trilogy 3) [Paperback]

Jane Gardam
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

18 Feb 2014 Old Filth Trilogy 3

Shortlisted for the 2014 Folio Prize.

Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat told with bristling tenderness and black humour the stories of that Titan of the Hong Kong law courts, Old Filth QC, and his clever, misunderstood wife Betty. Last Friends, the final volume of this trilogy, picks up with Terence Veneering, Filth's great rival in work and - though it was never spoken of - in love.

Veneering's were not the usual beginnings of an establishment silk: the son of a Russian acrobat marooned in northeast England and a devoted local girl, he escapes the war to emerge in the Far East as a man of panache, success and fame. But, always, at the stuffy English Bar he is treated with suspicion: where did this blond, louche, brilliant Slav come from?

Veneering, Filth and their friends tell a tale of love, friendship, grace, the bittersweet experiences of a now-forgotten Empire and the disappointments and consolations of age.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus (18 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349000166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349000169
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jane Gardam has been awarded the Heywood Hill Literary Prize for a lifetime's contribution to the enjoyment of literature; has twice won a Whitbread Award and has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize.

Product Description


An ambitious and complex portrait of extraordinary times (Guardian)

Sharp, humane, generous and wonderfully funny, she is one of our very finest writers (Hilary Mantel)

This is as mordantly precise and moving a novel as you will find anywhere (Daily Telegraph)

Book Description

The witty and sparkling new novel from Jane Gardam, bestselling author of Old Filth.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
The last novel of an unforgettable trilogy, LAST FRIENDS follows, first, OLD FILTH, the story of Sir Edward Feathers, who Failed in London, Tried Hongkong; hence his nickname. A Raj orphan, Filth grew up in Malaya, went to school in England, became a judge, and then worked for the Empire as a member of the foreign service. The second novel, THE MAN IN THE WOODEN HAT, is the story of Filth's marriage to Betty, told from her point of view. Betty, who never really loved Filth, is reputed to have had an affair with Sir Terence Veneering, Filth's life-long rival in every aspect of life. Both of these novels are filled with wit, irony, and insights into people and relationships, especially those who serve the Empire overseas, and author Jane Gardam's ability to create scenes and unforgettable, often wry dialogue is almost unparalleled.

LAST FRIENDS, the third novel, is ostensibly the story of Sir Terence Veneering, a man of mysterious origins, Filth's rival and possibly Betty's lover. The novel opens as the villagers of St. Ague in Dorset, to which all three retired years ago, are preparing to travel to London for Old Filth's funeral, Betty and Veneering having passed on some time ago. The irrepressible Old Dulcie Williams, the village elder and widow of "Pastry Willy" Williams, a judge who was also in the foreign service, becomes the "voice" of the novel. Clearly dotty, and never shy, Dulcie provides the backstories of these characters, though she "sees" events which may or may not be real, has conversations with people who are long dead, and ignores anything (like the increasingly urgent communications from the bank) that might possibly complicate her life. She is joined in St.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Last but not Least 4 May 2013
By fe
Well, Jane, if you're reading this, I can't believe you've done it! I loved Old Filth and, after the Wooden Hat follow up, I didn't realise there was anything much left to say.

Me of little faith. I borrowed Last Friends from the library, but now shall have to buy it so I can foist it on friends who haven't been lucky enough to read it so far.

You found so many frayed ends to tie up and gave us new insight into Veneering in particular. And people who played only walk on parts in the first two books were fleshed out in this one, as well as new characters being introduced which added to the whole. I cried at one point and felt desolate at the end - as that really is The End.

One has to start with Old Filth to get the most out of Last Friends. These characters are never to be forgotten, by me, at any rate.

This novel is so funny, clever, poignant, insightful, quirky, and original, with lots of surprises.

Last Friends and Old Filth go into my Top 20 novels of All Time.

Thanks Jane
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing 26 Jun 2013
By Ann
I was so looking forward to this book, having heard Jane Gardam speak about it, and having enjoyed the first two of the trilogy very much indeed. With the constant jumping about to Dulcie and Fiscal Smith I found it didn't add much to Veneering's story - not even about his wicked night with Betty. Am I perhaps the only person who found it rather contrived? The first two books provided a wonderful jigsaw, and it must be tempting to go on adding bits to the central picture, but I was really disappointed in how little substance there was in it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather padded out 16 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having loved the first two Old Filth stories, I was rather sad to find this was - frankly - just padding.
I didn't think it added much to the earlier stories, except by introducing more aspects or characters, but they were all rather peripheral, and one got the impression that this whole book was made up of what had been cut from the earlier versions of the story.
However, when you love a book and are sad to lose touch with the characters when you finish it, the one redeeming feature of this volume is that it delays the inevitable ending.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not up to the others... 30 Jan 2014
By lynnmm
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found this novel sparse and flippant compared to the previous two in the trilogy. I do not regret reading it, but feel that the series had run its course with two books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Old friends 30 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having read the previous two books in the trilogy, this was a well written conclusion to the trilogy. It does not stand alone though, to my mind, as the explanations for new readers are rather clunky. Shame.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing conclusion 23 Mar 2014
By Amanda Jenkinson TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
The third instalment in Jane Gardam’s Old Filth trilogy is a disappointment. It feels very much like the publisher – or indeed the author herself – is cashing in on her pervious success. Old Filth was a minor masterpiece, but this add-on, although it fills in some of the back story, particularly of Edward Feathers’ rival Terry Veneering, doesn’t seem to have an emotional heart. It feels calculated, manufactured, and as a result fails to convince. Jane Gardam always writes well, but here her characterisation and plot development isn’t as sharp as in previous books, and this, added to the fact that the reader really needs to have read the previous two books in the trilogy to have any chance of understanding what’s going on, left this reader at least feeling very let-down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars OK 7 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Enjoyable book but writing a tad confused at times. Would only really know what went on and who charcters were because I'd read the other two in the trilogy first.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A fitting end to a most enjoyable trilogy
Published 1 day ago by mrs
3.0 out of 5 stars I loved Old Filth and Man in the Wooden Hat
A book too far. I loved Old Filth and Man in the Wooden Hat, and felt the story should have ended there.
Published 3 days ago by Mj
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't miss this final chapter.
Triumphant closure of the trilogy. At one point, laughed myself silly, at others, wept with sadness.
Published 4 days ago by NorahT
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable
I love the way Jane Gardam writes, funny, light and eminently readable. The last of this trilogy, this uncovers a lot of surprises and no character is exactly as one expects. Read more
Published 23 days ago by beatrice
4.0 out of 5 stars They don't make 'em like this any more
Cleverly told back story of familiar old stagers, the likes of whom we’ll never see again. A piece of social history, a cleverly written novel displaying Gardam’s sly skill, and a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by ReadInBed
5.0 out of 5 stars This trilogy is like no other books I have read
Last Friends is the third telling of the life of 'Old Filth', this time from the point of view of his friends. A fascinating voyage into the lives of a generation now gone.
Published 1 month ago by Sue F
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a let-down after its predecessors
It is eight years since I read the first volume of this trilogy (Old Filth) and five since I read the second (The Man in the Wooden Hat) - see my Amazon reviews - and I am afraid... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ralph Blumenau
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant end to brilliant trilogy
I really loved this and didn't want it to end. A fitting memorial for all the characters from Old Filth and The Man in the Wooden Hat. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Roz Colyer
5.0 out of 5 stars old fllth
third book of trilogy - just as good as the first two. Jane Gardam has a magic touch as a writer - funny and sympathetic - believable characters and a very clever way of tying in... Read more
Published 2 months ago by K ROGERS
5.0 out of 5 stars Last Friends
This book was selected as a reading for our Ladies Literary Circle ( as we fondly call ourselves) It was my choice and I'm looking forward to hearing the comments and analysis on... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Camellia
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