Book Review: Victor Canning ~ Mr Finchley discovers his England (1934)

This novel is quirky, charming and guileless. If you’re hooked on thrillers, police procedurals, horror, chick-lit or whatever this isn’t the book for you: unless you’re prepared to bravely dive into a different world. I warmly recommend that you do. It’s refreshing.

Mr Finchley works in a solicitors office and a new manager offers the staff an annual holiday. He’s never had a holiday before and so books three weeks in Margate. Mr Finchley never reaches Margate. Through a series of wonderfully constructed adventures, each one of which is implausibly delicious, he discovers England. It’s an England that a he’d never dreamed existed far away from suburban London. He discovers he isn’t as wedded to ‘law and order’ as he once believed. Suddenly bending rules and taking risks become part and parcel of his life.

Mr Finchley’s voyage of personal discovery ends literally with a voyage on board a smugglers vessel. Then he resumes his routine life as though nothing had happened. Great stuff.

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