By Alastair Scott
ex, semtex, schisms, scandals, vice, corruption, prejudice and everyday community life in the Highlands of Scotland. Tom Sharpe meets Hamish MacBeth in this manic tale of a community in freefall.
Change was never popular on the island of Muckle Flabbay, a bastion of tradition, but the death of the landowner heralds the end of the Old Order:
... the heir to the estate seeks to implement ‘nouveau landlordism’ - radical land reform with community participation - but he will only inherit if he fulfils a whimsical set of conditions; his new neighbour turns out to be an Arab with a very different agenda. New Age Travellers roll in with equally divergent concepts of morals and fun to those Muckle Flabbians who adhere to the established Churches, which dissolve into bitter and violent schisms ...
... crofters find themselves threatened by the corncrake, and rally in defence of their island when - a shiorraidh! - politicians light on Muckle Flabbay for their flagship ‘Private Funding Initiative’ project, a bridge to the mainland with the highest tolls in Europe ...
... desperately trying to maintain Law and Order - and failing spectacularly - is Sergeant Cleghorn, in hot pursuit of a pornography ring while his lonely wife seeks love elsewhere ...
Muckle Flabbay’s peace will not return until this destructive tour-de-force has run its course. Only then will life revert to its former tranquillity, its time-honoured domestic routines of bloodless back-stabbing, alcohol-idolatry, tourist-fleecing and grant-grabbing.
This is Stuffed Lives and any similarity with persons and places in existence in the Highlands is entirely intentional. Alastair Scott's first novel is comic tour-de-force in the style of Tom Sharpe, but much, much sharper.
Hamish McBeth meets Tom Sharpe in the Highlands.