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The Gaudy

290 pages8 hours


The first volume in J.I.M. Stewart’s acclaimed ‘A Staircase in Surrey’ quintet, (but the second in time), ‘The Gaudy’ opens in Oxford at the eponymous annual dinner laid on by the Fellows for past members. Distinguished guests, including the Chancellor (a former Prime Minister) are present and Duncan Pattullo, now also qualified to attend, gets to meet some of his friends and enemies from undergraduate days. As the evening wears on, Duncan finds himself embroiled in many of the difficulties and problems faced by some of them, including Lord Marchpayne, now a Cabinet Minister; another Don, Ranald McKenechnie; and Gavin Mogridge who is famous for an account he wrote of his adventures in a South American jungle. But it doesn’t stop there, as Pattullo acquires a few problems of his own and throughout the evening and the next day various odd developments just add to his difficulties, leading him to take stock of both his past and future.

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