Patrick Stubbs, posted to Lower Africa as third secretary to the British Embassy, little anticipated the mayhem of bungling, flannel and chicanery that awaits him. On arrival he is put on the trail of the errant consul from whom he inherits a vast house and an eccentric staff. It is a search beset by complications: the brilliant but absent-minded ambassador, the bullying first secretary with dipsomaniac wife in tow, and the local police chief whose mistress Patrick covets . . .
Alan Judd's hugely entertaining novel continues the satirical English tradition of Evelyn Waugh and Anthony Powell: a mixture of high foolishness, deeply human compassion and a clear, scathing eye.