This is the first book I’ve read by Ian Sansom, and the first in his series of County Guides. The story is set in the 1930s and doesn’t take itself too seriously (unlike Rogue Male, written and set in the 1930s, but a much grimmer tale). Professor Morley recruits a young assistant, Stephen Sefton, to help him tour the counties of England writing a guide to the history of each. Morley is a prodigious writer, publishing a book every 6 weeks at the same time as writing for several papers. Sefton left Cambridge without much of life plan, fought in Spain and found himself penniless back in London – Morley’s job offer coming at just the right time.
The tale is told through the eyes of Sefton and we’re encouraged to admire the knowledge and industry of Professor Morley, whilst privately sniggering like a school boy at his infuriating habits.