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Saturday 4 June 2022

‘The Densham Do’ by Bruce Harris

Published by The Book Guild,
28 February 2022.
ISBN: 978-1-914471-08-7 (PB)

Although The Densham Do is only 236 pages long it manages to include a lot of ‘goings-on’ between its covers. To start with there is the story of ‘The Do’ itself, which is a posh wedding in Alanscombe House Hotel in Devon.  This is, however, no ordinary wedding.  During the course of the nuptial proceedings the happy couple, both London lawyers, intend to expose the corrupt dealings of the chairman of the local planning committee and his thuggish friends. There is also illumination about the sad state of two other marriages, the rekindling of interest in a rather dull one, and two love affairs between same-sex couples. Thankfully, apart from the bride and groom, who are clearly in love, there was at least one other happily married couple lurking amongst the principal players.

The whole event, which lasts from Friday evening until Sunday morning, is told in a series of short sections by some of those attending the celebrations.  One of the contributors, the bridegroom’s grandmother, Celia, was obviously a feisty lady in her youth.  Now seventy-eight and with failing heath, Celia provides a series of observations on the behaviour of modern and middle-aged youngsters of to-day, alongside entertaining and enlightening comments and comparisons on what happened in her day!  Guests with useful talents - like hacking into communication systems or managing wayward hotel guests - help to keep the proceedings flowing smoothly, if not sweetly, until police eventually arrive to help sort the criminals out.

With its format of short sections, The Densham Do makes an easy read that can be picked up and put down at will. As such it would make a good traveling companion, or a diverting read for tired brains on holiday.

Reviewer Angela Crowther.

Bruce Harris lives in Devon and is now retired after spending his career working as a secondary school teacher and then an educational researcher. His educational research articles have been published in the Independent, the Times Educational Supplement and the Guardian, as well as in educational magazines. The Densham Do is his third novel and tenth published book, the list including four collections of award-winning short stories and three poetry collections. --This text refers to the paperback edition.

Angela Crowther is a retired scientist.  She has published many scientific papers but, as yet, no crime fiction.  In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi and Wagner.

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