Book Review: The Cuckoos of Batch Magna

28 Jul

Resized-C374EWhen Sir Humphrey Miles Pinkerton Strange, 8th baronet and squire of the village of Batch Magna in the Welsh Marches, departs this world for the Upper House (as he had long vaguely thought of it, where God no doubt presides in ermine over a Heaven as reassuringly familiar as White’s or Boodle’s), what’s left of his decaying estate passes, through the ancient law of entailment, to distant relative Humph, an amiable, overweight short-order cook from the Bronx.

Sir Humphrey Franklin T Strange, 9th baronet and squire of Batch Magna, as Humph now most remarkably finds himself to be, is persuaded by his Uncle Frank, a small time Wall Street broker with an eye on the big time, to make a killing by turning the sleepy backwater into a theme-park image of rural England – a vacation paradise for free-spending US millionaires.

But while the village pub and shop, with the lure of the dollar in their eyes, put out the Stars and Stripes in welcome, the tenants of the estate’s dilapidated houseboats are above any consideration of filthy lucre and stand their ground for tradition’s sake … and because they consider eviction notices not to be cricket.

Each disgruntled faction sees the other as the unwelcome cuckoo in the family nest.

So, led by randy pulp-crime writer Phineas Cook, and Lt-Commander James Cunningham DSO, DSC and Bar, RN (ret) – a man with a glass eye for each day of the week, painted with scenes from famous British naval victories and landscapes that speak of England – the motley crew run up the Union Jack and battle ensign and prepare to engage.

But this is Batch Magna, a place where anything might happen. And does …

author P Maughan-1Peter Maughan features on the list of Critically Acclaimed Independent Authors compiled by the leading book evaluation blog, Awesome Indies. The eBook versions of the books on this list have been evaluated by industry professionals against specific criteria for quality fiction & deemed to be of the same quality of craftsmanship as books published by mainstream publishing houses. The author is also a recipient of the AI’s Gold Seal of Excellence.

An ex-actor, fringe-theatre director and scriptwriter, Peter Maughan is married and lives in the Welsh Marches, the backdrop for the Batch Magna series. The novels feature converted paddle steamers on the fictional River Cluny, and the author is a former houseboat dweller himself, living in the mid-1970s (the time frame for the books) on a converted Thames sailing barge among a small bohemian colony of houseboats on the Medway, deep in rural Kent. An idyllic time, heedless days of freedom in that other world of the river which inspired the novels, set in a place called Batch Magna.


My Impressions:

The Cuckoos of Batch Magna sounded like a fun read reminiscent of all those wonderfully quirky British TV shows and aired on PBS here in the States. The premise — a clueless American inherits a rural estate and sets about improving the neighborhood by planning a vacation destination, but ends up displacing and alienating the locals. But unfortunately, this novel by Peter Maughan was not really my cup of tea. I had difficulty connecting or even caring about the characters. There are descriptions that really didn’t add to my interest in the book, such as the lengthy depiction of a cricket match.  But these are only my opinions. The book got a lot of 5 star reviews on Amazon, so check those out to make up your own mind.

Please note: This is not a Christian novel. It contains profanity and adult situations.

Targeted audience: adults

(Thanks to the author for a review ebook. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To purchase this book, click on the image below.

%d bloggers like this: