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The Wooden Overcoat Paperback – Jan 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Rue Morgue Press (Jan. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0915230887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0915230884
  • Product Dimensions: 20.7 x 16.1 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,425,930 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

Prepare to be both chilled and diverted by 'The funniest lady you ever knew' Christianna Brand --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Pamela Branch was born on a tea estate in Sri Lanka. She was educated in England, studied art in Paris, and attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Returning to the East, she lived for three years on a houseboat in Kashmir, and travelled extensively in Europe, India and the Middle East. According to her more famous contemporary Christianna Brand, she was 'the funniest lady you ever knew'; she adored practical jokes, of which she had a seemingly endless store, and the contemporary press lavishly praised her wit. The Sunday Times stated that 'even the bodies manage to be ghoulishly diverting' and the Times Literary Supplement compared her third novel, Murder Every Monday, to the work of Evelyn Waugh. She married twice, was, according to her friends, entertaining, glamorous, beautiful and charming, and the greatest mystery of her work is why it has not received more recognition since her untimely death from cancer at the age of forty-seven. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Donald Tosh on 29 Mar. 2013
Format: Paperback
Pamela Branch's Wooden Overcoat is an unadulterated, witty joy of a book. I first read it some fifty years ago when I, by chance, picked up a green-back penguin from the shilling box outside a Charing Cross Road second hand bookshop. I was about to fly to France and wanted something to pass the time. This wonderfully humorous and totally surreal comedy of "murder" had me laughing out-loud to my embarrassment, but totally compulsively kept me reading.

Mrs Branch constructs her plots brilliantly, her characters are witty variations on all the stereotypes of "thriller" fiction of the 30s and 40s. I urge anyone, who bothers to find this little ramble of mine, seek her out. She is a master of her genre (or should that be mistress? or both?). She only wrote four books and they all have pleasures though for me The Wooden Overcoat is (just) the best.
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Format: Paperback
Benjamin Cann is basking in his freedom in Trafalgar Square after beating the rap for murdering his girlfriend Rachel when he is approached by Clifford "The Balliol Butcher" Flush. Flush is a charter member of "Asterisk Club". The Asterisk Club is a club compromised in its entirety of murderers who have beaten any charges that they have become notorious for. Cann is suspicious, but having nothing else to do, accompanies Flush back to his club, and being in the presence of so many unapologetic reprobates unnerves Cann. He'd make his immediate leave if he could, but decides to stick around because of the cute strawberry blonde Lilli Cluji, who likes bumping off her boyfriends in, umm, bumper cars. Having decided to stick around for at least a day until he makes up his mind as to whether or not to join the Asterisk Club, Flush puts him up as a border with his neighbors, the Hilfords and the Berkos until Cann can make up his mind as to whether of not he wants to join Flush's merry band.

Flush's neighbors occupy the house next door, and it is infested with rats, a plot point that will become important latter. Then death come calling as the annoying and the suspicious Cann ends up dead, and this becomes a problem, and let the hijinks begin. Unfortunately, little investigating is done, and this is primary a comedy of errors and a crime story.

Having a corpse cluttering up the household is considered just bad form in England, and since having Cann's corpse loitering about doing nothing but getting underfoot, having it in the house just won't do. So, the decision is made to find a happier place for Cann to reside until he is found by more appropriate, and unknown persons. So it quickly falls to Mrs. Hilford and her gay (?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Georgina on 25 May 2013
Format: Paperback
My father gave me his copies of this book and the lion in the cellar back in the 1980s and I read them again and again with same enjoyment each time. I have laughed so hard at PB's books that I have kept family members in other parts of the house awake and on occasion I've fallen out of bed due to helpless laughter.

You simply cannot go wrong buying this book.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Dewsnap on 13 Mar. 2008
Format: Paperback
When I unwrapped Pamela Branch's The Wooden Overcoat on my birthday last year, I was more than a little confused; the format was odd, the blurb sounded naff, I'd never heard of it and there was a quote from the queen on the back - as if I have the same sense of humour as that old trout! Nevertheless, a few months later, curiosity got the better of me and I plunged into Chapter One. Imagine my surprise when the very first line made me laugh out loud. And I don't mean I gave a wry smile, I guffawed so loudly the wine I'd been about to swallow shot out of my nose (nice)!

It's obvious from the off that Branch's style is far from austere. She has an easy, P. G. Wodehouse-esque way of turning the serious into the comical; except that Wodehouse only ever went as far as the stealing of pearl necklaces and getting engaged to the wrong girl. The Wooden Overcoat, however, takes on a far more macabre tack; the body count could rival that of a horror film, and that's not including the "rets". Perhaps it's the unlikely contrast between the grim and the farcical, but for some reason the two work together with hilarious consequences.

The Asterisk Club is an exclusive and clandestine boarding house for wrongly aquitted murderers, as Benji Cann has just discovered. A dangerous combination of people under usual circumstances, but the club has very strict rules that prohibit the bumbing off of fellow guests. So when the seemingly unsuspecting neighbours in the adjacent house begin carting around dead bodies in an amateurish fashion, the members of the Asterisk club are most confused; except of course the most recent addition, Benji, who is the first to fall victim. They vow to keep a close eye on these clumsy part-timers who are wavering dangerously close to their turf.
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