Take a couple of talking, jazz-crazed London Zoo elephants and a couple of dreamers and you have the ingredients of an hilarious escapade... --The Citizen, Gloucester, 13 September 1991
...a totally winning first novel. --Manchester Evening News, 9 January 1992
...beautifully balanced comic writing... --Publishing News, 19 July 1991
...witty satire on bureaucrats, politicians and other excrescences of modern life. Stylish and heartwarming ― and a book that's sad to finish.
--The Mail on Sunday, 11 July 1993
From the Publisher
Rumpus Pumpus and Finta Fanta, late of the African savanna, have become bored with gawping at tourists from the rather limited confines of the Elephant House in London Zoo. They are not, they feel, able to exercise their finer talents - talking and trumpeting, amongst others - to full advantage. Escape is the only alternative - and escape they do. Their ingenious breakout leads them to an encounter with another refugee from a restrictive life...
Henri Coulisse is on the run from the sinister clutches of the esoteric guild of the Worshipful Company of Bell Founders and Organ Grinders. The penalties for deserting the guild (especially on the day of the Burst of Spring celebrations) are so severe that nobody has done it for four hundred and thirty-one years. But then no-one, before Henri, nursed a burning ambition to become a jazz trombonist...
Who better, then, to fill the vacancies at The Splurge jazz club in Soho than the runaway trumpeting elephants and deserting Henri? Under Henri's guidance, the trio establish themselves as London's latest musical sensation, attracting hordes of jazz lovers and, unhappily, the attentions of the Vice Squad, the irate Founders and Grinders, the Home Office, and the zoo keepers. Will Rumpus and Finta end up, again, behind bars? Will Henri be walled up alive and condemned to live on a diet of mutton and port? Not if a certain civil servant and an extremely important royal personage have anything to do with it...