Wednesday, September 05, 2007

One Man's Meat - Colin Watson

First published 1977; cover shown is the 1991 Mandarin Books (UK) paperback edition. 192p. Cover design by Button Design Co.

Featuring quite a few familiar characters introduced in earlier Flaxborough Series novels, this later addition to the series is much more sexually risque than its predecessors. It's all handled with Watson's signature farcical style, and nothing - not even murder - is ever taken too seriously.

The story centres around a pet food manufacturing plant and an unhappy husband and wife. David Harton, manager of the pet food plant, is conducting a discreet relationship with a much younger woman. Julia Harton, housewife and supposed "frigid cow", is sick to death of David's demands for sex and his nude posturing in front of the bedroom mirror.

When a mysterious man offers Julia an easy way to force David to pay up big in a divorce settlement, she jumps at the chance. Within days she has been closeted in a motel by the sea, thinking that back home in Flaxborough her husband is being questioned by the police about her strange disappearance. Instead, it is Julia who is under suspicion - and it is Julia who has been conned, not her husband.

The recent fairground-ride death of an employee from the pet food plant has given David the perfect opportunity to set up his wife for murder, and Simon and Charles from the security division of the pet food company are there to ensure it all runs smoothly. It's left to the eminently sensible Detective Inspector Purbright and the slightly crooked Miss Lucilla Teatime to sort the mess out and uncover the real criminals.

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