Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hazell and the Menacing Jester by P.B. Yuill (Penguin Crime 1976)




While Adolf was pouring them he told us another rib-tickler. The bar was a few yards from the table but he had a good carrying voice. 'Why did the Arab have the oilfield and the Irishman have the potato field? Because the Irishman got first choice!' He laughed. Any sensitive Micks present must have been in a truce mood. Ted H. hadn't laughed so much since beer went dear. Beevers brought back the drinks. He gave me a weary little grimace, telling me we understood the problems of life unlike all these dumbos.

'You're wondering why I use a dump like this,' he said. 'I knew Ted in the army, it's handy for my office - anywhere else we'd only have been interrupted by people in my business, I must know hundreds. Where was I? Oh yes, last Wednesday things took a new turn. We had two minicabs we didn't order turning up just after midnight - at the same time! You know these minicab cowboys are like. I had to threaten them with the polizei before they'd piss off. Then came what decided me I had to take steps. Tuesday night, this week, bloke in a homburg hat turns up downstairs at the desk - we live in a big block - he says he's cometo see the deceased and make arrangements for the funeral! Some bastard had phoned these undertakers in Camden Town saying he was me  - my wife was supposed to have snuffed it. That was just too bloody much. Paul Shirriff is an old mate - I asked him for professional advice and here we are.'

1 comment:

Darren said...

pages 12-13

I chose that excerpt simply because of the casual anti-Irish racism from one of the characters.

It's sometimes easy to forget that it wasn't that long ago that the stereotype of the Irishman was that of a drunken moron.