on 24 November 2010
Observant and perceptive tale of life in the old Fleet Street, when newspapers fed the public the titillation they wanted under the guise of EXPOSING the sickening VICE TRADE!!!! Unfortunately some TRAGIC VICTIMS are crushed under the juggernaut of righteousness - namely an ageing tart/procuress, and the central character's concience. James O'Toole is prepared to do pretty much anything for money, but he begins to have doubts about what he's doing - especially when his casual girlfriend (a party pickup) falls for him and exits for Ceylon and her fiance. He's puzzled by his colleagues, too - he's never quite sure if they're promoting him or sacking him, and can't locate their principles, either.
It's a fascinating snapshot of London at the time, just before it became "swinging" - casual sex and reefers feature, as do back-street abortionists. Jim and his girlfriend have some conversations about the British class system that are interesting to read but seem a bit out of place in a novel. It's as if the writer just wants to say "You're just a lot of toffee nosed useless ponces who despise us, aren't you?" Like many Australians, he's come to Britain with many preconceptions.