Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Aberystwyth Mon Amour by Malcolm Pryce (Bloomsbury 2001)

'So Bronzini and Llewellyn would have had plenty of enemies, and Brainbocs wouldn't say boo to a goose?'

'Just about. Although even Brainbocs had a few enemies.'

'Really?'

'Brainbocs got a Saturday job working at the rock factory - helping out in the R & D unit after hours. He became interested in the great age-old puzzle of rock manufacturing, called D Quincey's Theorem. It's very complicated, but basically it concerns the attempt to change the wording of the letters midway through the rock. You know, it starts off saying Blackpool and then after a few mouthfuls it says Zanzibar or something. It's one of the last great challenges of the rock-marker's art. And he cracked it. Just like that. Sat down with a pen and paper and a set of log tables and worked it out. So then the management make him head of R & D and within a week - and the kid is still in school, don't forget, hasn't even done his O levels - within a week he'd found a way of computer type-setting the letters. Saved a fortune: twenty old-timers were thrown out of work the same afternoon. Entire factory closes down on strike. The Unions say, "Get rid of the kid, or you'll never make another stick of rock in this town" So they fire the kid. His parting shot was forty cases of rock that said "Aberystwyth" and then after two mouthfuls read: "I've pissed in this rock".'

6 comments:

mikeovswinton said...

Isn't there an SPGB reference on page 101 of this book?

Darren said...

I think your copy of the book may have a misprint.

It's "BCG jabs . . . " not "SPGB barbs . . ." in the third paragraph on page 101.

Or did you mean the joke about the Aztecs?

mikeovswinton said...

Dunno. But you did look, didn't you?

Darren said...

You'll never know if I looked or not ... unless you look yourself.

*Mmm, wonder if I can get that Jude Law/Michael Caine remake of Ludo on Netflix?*

mikeovswinton said...

I have to say, checking it out the whole Abertswyth trilogy looked quite interesting. I've nearly finished my plan to read every wuxia novel translated into English one after the other (there are 4, and one of those is of disputed wuxia status), and then I have my complete run of Wycliffe by W.J.Burley to finish - I think I've got 3 more to go. (A socialist Chief Superintendant? Another SPGB reference, or something more generic?)I may then try out Pryce's oeuvre. You aren't the only one who has these mad list things.

Darren said...

Not sure if I could recommend Pryce wholeheartedly.

I admired Mon Amour more than I enjoyed it. The whole alternate world/history and pastiche of the hard boiled crime fiction genre is very well done and, as the passage I cut and pasted indicates, there's a nice line in humour, but I think if I went on to the read the other books in the series it would get jaded (for me) pretty quickly.

Maybe my issue is with hard boiled fiction, itself. It's that many years since I read Hammett and Chandler, I can't remember if I enjoyed them or not. I only know that I'm supposed to enjoy them. ;-)