Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Come Home Charlie and Face Them - R F Delderfield
Set in the 1920s, written in the late 1960s, this is the kind of book that is rather hard to pidgeonhole now, in a world taken over by blood and gore, killers, vampires, etc. But the story here is likely to stay with you longer than many of that genre.
Charlie is a bank clerk, at the bottom of the ladder and with only 40 plus years of boredom and ledger entry work to look forward to. He's lodging with the bank manager, Evan Rhys-Jones, who has a mouthy wife and a lumpy daughter. But it's the lumpy daughter, Ida, who gives Charlie his first sexual encounter, and this opens the way for other happenings; not least of all his infatuation with the gorgeous Delphine, who runs the local cafe with her brother Beppo. Somehow, Charlie and Delphine come up with a seemingly foolproof idea for robbing the very bank Charlie works in and therefore gives him to chance to have Delphine all for himself, always.
The book starts with the end..... rather like that old movie trick where the screen disolves and the story proper then starts. I liked that. I wanted to smack Charlie, silly young man that he was, taken in by a pretty face or the chance of a lay, but I was absorbed most of all by a beautiful writing style - one that is not fashionable today, but one that makes for comfortable reading, all the while wanting Charlie not to go on with this crazy idea. Whilst aware that he is being led on by Delphine, I defy anyone to realise the well-crafted end of the tale before the author! Enjoyed very much, and if another Delderfield crosses my path, will definitely read it.