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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing turning of the tables, 23 Aug 2011
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This review is from: The Planning Officers (Kindle Edition)
The Planning Officers is a modern-day morality tale in which good, simple folk triumph over the malignant hand of officialdom in the form of two conniving planning officers. Or rather, the planning officers bring about their own downfall via their own stupidity, helped along by a couple of Japanese visitors, a Deus ex Machina, in the thinly disguised form of Sir John Hall (one of the North East's top property magnates) and a storm of Biblical proportions.

The book is premised on the desire of the officials from "Fencefoot" ( ie Gateshead) to get one over on their bigger and more prestigious neighbour , "Nunburgh" (ie Newcastle upon Tyne) by building a superior town centre. The two planning officers, a robotic ambitious female called Anne Marie Aitcheson, and a vainglorious nitwit who calls himself Dirc Starkey, care not one jot who they trample on and belittle in their attempt to bring this coup about.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, it has some deft and humorous touches. I particularly enjoyed the episode where two visiting Japanese dignitaries are taken to a local strip joint by their hosts who assume it to be a Bavarian cultural centre, and the episode where Dirc Starkey attempts to deliver an enforcement notice to a well prepared local farmer during the deluge, a deluge which comes to symbolise the destruction of the petty town-hall tyrants.
It is a short novel, and none of the characters has time to develop or confront any deep psychological crises, but, in my opinion, the book is the better for it, it's simply an entertaining tale, part morality tale and part Whitehall farce, which should keep most readers entertained for a day or two.
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