Rupert Courtney Morgan is a wannabe James Bond. His work is desk bound and boring, but he compensates by living his life in a fantasy world; so when he is sent to Wales on an ‘assignment’ to investigate the death of a colleague on the Brecon Beacons – he creates for himself a persona of ‘special investigator’ and plunges headlong into the wild west world of Wales – where nothing is what is seems, his life is in constant danger as he is invariably always looking the wrong way when any sign of luck in love or life hover anywhere near him.
Set in late 1980s, Rupert is plunged into the Cardiff Arts Scene – where highly improbable weird characters congregate for the premiere of a most frightful play. Barnes lampoons the arts scene with considerable vigour, and is wicked in his depiction of real and mythical Wales practises, as Rupert tries and fails to get to grips with the essential quirky rules for survival in Wales. As DH Lawrence says in Lady Chatterley’s Lover – ‘Even satire is a form of sympathy’.
This is Simon’s one and only novel. It was nearly published in 1992 when a publisher called me and said: ‘he writes in the style of Douglas Adams’. I, in the knowledge that Rupert (the hero) spends a good deal of his time stuck up a tree – thought she was referring to Richard Adams – author of Watership Down and said: ‘but there aren’t any rabbits in the book!’ Oh dear, why would anyone want me to try to promote their book! It was published December 2016 – ten years after Simon’s death. Jacky Barnes
REVIEWS Darkly Flows the Taff
‘Greatly enjoyed: splendid page-turner, quirky characters, very nice local atmosphere and fun take on Bond and naïve Englishman out of his depth in Darkest real and mythical Welsh Wales… Michael Poole – Actor
‘A good fun holiday read!’ Terence Frisby – Playwright
‘I am blind, so my husband read this witty and amusing book to me – – sometimes I laughed out loud! .. We both loved the book and very much hope it will go into an audio edition for other blind people to enjoy…
Hope and Richard Booth – King of Hay Bookshop, Hay on Wye
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Royalties go to support the creative work of the Llandovery Theatre