7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2006
If you haven't read Eic Sykes's fiction before, but like the man and the comedy, this is a good place to start. The stories are all deftly done - imagine an Ealing comedy set up North and written by Eric - and, in the case of the really underrated 'UFOs...,' sometimes cry out to be dramatised on radio or TV. As gentle, wry, well-crafted and unpretentious comic fictions, they work rather well, and are certainly worth any Sykes fan's money.
on 18 May 2014
While I like Eric Sykes' TV work - and you'll probably never better "The Plank", he wasn't a great prose writer. Which is a shame, because these three novels are not bad.
"UFOs Are Coming Wednesday" is without doubt the best of the three. Well plotted, it's slightly let down by the lack of editing - Skyes prose, while perfectly serviceable most of the time, occasionally clanks along for a while, like a car hat occasionally misfires.
"The Great Crime Of Grapplewick" is the second. Set in another town named Grapplewick (that actually bears no resemblance to the Grapplewick in the previous novel), this is somewhat more straightforward. I do find one or two of the caricatures a little bit irksome, though, but if you can look past this (re-watching "Drop The Dead Donkey", I found that the mayor was exactly Jeff Rawle playing the manager George in my head) then it's a fun read.
"Smelling Of Roses" is the third, and this has a wartime setting. Slightly sexist, and potentially racist at times, there are times this one made me grate my teeth. The plot is wafer thin as well, and it's really a vehicle for Sykes to hang a few jokes on. That said, this one has the best ending, not for the conclusion of the plot, which is a little bit obvious, but for the single half page description of the life of one of the characters, which is undoubtedly the best 400 words in the whole of the three books.
Overall, they're funny, and you'll enjoy them if you're not expecting Dostoevsky or Chekhov. And while the writing sometimes clunks, and some of the characters are paper-thin, there's the occasional gem to be found in here. Well worth the read, especially for fans.
on 22 July 2013
Sykes' knowledge of life at street level in the post WW2 years is definitely spot-on. I also met many of the characters he portrays in "real life" situations. His style and quirky treatment in his trilogy also appeals to my own, perhaps slighty warped, sense of the abundant humour that pervades our lives if you only look for it. It keeps the human spirit young! Our own Spike Milligan merely comments: 'Funny Read it' - and that speaks volumes to Michael Eames. Despite one missing page (removed deliberately) and a few amateur proof-reading-type grammatical corrections the reading is really comfortable. For me, that alone serves to add to the enjoyment, and what I consider to be Amazon's good value and service for my few products to date.
Thank you. Michael John Eames