That Will Do Nicely!
Canterbury, UK, mid 1980’s
‘That Will Do Nicely’ is a fast-paced thriller and is plot-driven. It concerns an ordinary man placed in extraordinary circumstances through no fault of his own. At his wife’s request, he throws a party at their cottage and invites his wife’s friends to attend. All perfectly understandable until the moment she plays ‘mistress’ and takes her lover to the marital bed. The rest you can imagine. Tom, her husband, discovers her ‘inflagrante delicto’ in the bedroom and throws wife and lover out into the street in front of her friends. Understandably, all three of them are suitably embarrassed and Theresa (the wife) determines to exact her revenge on husband Tom. However following the axiom about revenge being a dish best served cold, Theresa takes her time. Realising that she and her husband share the same initials… Tom Pascoe and Theresa Pascoe… she decides to apply for a credit card and runs up a huge bill under the name T. Pascoe. This is the background to the story.
Faced with financial ruin because of his wife's mercenary actions, Pascoe seeks advice from an old school friend who is a successful local lawyer. After he explains everything, he is appalled to hear the legal advice he is given, ‘pay up’ or ‘go bankrupt’. However, one thing his old friend does mention is a practical joke that Pascoe had played on his acquaintances at school and in the next couple of days, he is reminded of the same event and that gentle nudging reminds him that he has very little to lose if he implements an audacious plan of action. He will use his skills to defraud the bank concerned and use the bank’s own money to repay his debt. The idea festers in his mind. He wonders if he has the skill-set to pull the plan off. He realises that he does, having already earned his living as a commercial photographer and the operator of a ship-board Bureau de Change on the ferries. There is only one part of his mad-cap scheme that he knows little about… the printing and numbering of Travelers Checks. Print a dollar bill or a pound note then the crime you are committing is forgery which carries very severe penalties but print your own Travelers Checks and you are creating not forging. However, although Pascoe knows about printing he knows next to nothing about the numbering side of the business and for that he needs someone with the right skill set. He finds just such a person teaching computer programming at the local evening class centre. Of course, just going up to a total stranger and putting the question to them is a little difficult, so he has to be subtle about his approach and subtlety isn’t one of Pascoe’s best qualities.
Having found his expert, he invites her out for dinner under the pretence that he needs her technical advice for a book he’s writing. She isn’t convinced, and asks to see the manuscript for the book and of course, this is something he doesn’t have. One thing leads to another and Sam uses her feminine wiles to force Pascoe to confess the real reason for him needing the information he is seeking. In return, Sam, after listening to his reasons, decides she wants in and informs him that she wants far more out of it than enough to repay his debt. And so the stage is set and the pair of them set off on their hair-brained scheme. The ensuing fast-paced action has them pursued through Europe both by Scotland Yard and the American Secret Service. Of course, ‘the best laid plans of mice and men oft gang aglae’ to quote Burns and Pascoe’s plans certainly don’t run perfectly smoothly. They are pursued across Europe where their adventure exposes them to fine dining in a variety of interesting restaurants. The novel has several twists and turns and a surprising if slightly immoral denouement. Additionally, there is no violence at all in the book. It is a bold, satisfying and thought-provoking caper which will keep you entranced ‘til the end and scary because it all depends on numbers!