Book Review: Just Deserts by Jerry Crowther

Just Deserts introduces us to the long married and frequently fractious Derek and Sandra Tile who live in Reading. A couple who share a common enthusiasm, the need for social justice, for fairness, for raising awareness of the rights and wrongs in life.  They are on a high-minded mission and as such, will do whatever it takes to catch and convert those people who fall short of their high expectations.  Armed with pen, paper and binoculars in the glove compartment of their Jag, together with various useful contacts, including the DVLA and the local supermarket security, they relish the hunt for those folk who are in need of converting.

We’ve all been tempted (?!) to leave a note on a windscreen drawing attention to the use of two spaces when only one is needed, or tapping on the shoulders of a litter dropper and reminding them of their responsibilities.  However, these two do it and so much more with relish, careful planning and are frequently driven to extremes.

In my head I can hear the words uttered by Harry Enfield in his much loved TV series  ‘I don’t believe you wanted to do that’!  However, they are more discreet than that helpful and hapless character.  They are sleuths with all the tools necessary to seek out and surreptitiously ‘hand over’ the offenders to face real consequences.

In addition to their extreme and highly developed social conscience is their need to belong and to offer their ‘assistance’ and expertise.  Ahh, the joy of committees!  For anyone who has belonged to one, the dialogue during Derek’s meetings will resonate. The mixture of serious actions, the offerings of vegetables, the local gossip, the prolonged time it takes to come to any conclusion and the desire by at least one member to be top dog will strike a chord.

And this is just the beginning!  Just Deserts had me frequently laughing out loud at the antics of Derek and Sandra.  Whilst there is an element of slapstick at times, the writing is clever, the characterisations of the Tiles and others in their life, carefully and accurately observed.  Scattered with the craziest of acronyms and very topical it can’t fail to make you smile.

Just Deserts offers a great diversion from the realities of life – a light and comic take on the world.

 

Hilary Stockwell

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