Reading other people’s letters is always a guilty pleasure. But for two West Yorkshire policemen - contemplating a cache of 27 undelivered missives, retrieved from a back alley behind the hairdresser's in Skipton - it's also a job of work. The quaint moorside village of Burley Cross has been plunged into turmoil by the theft of the contents of its postbox, and when PC Roger Topping takes over the case, his expectations of success are not high.
To the world he is Sri Ramakrishna - godly avatar, spiritual master, beloved guru. To Rani Rashmoni, she of low caste and large inheritance, he is the Brahmin fated to defy tradition. But to Hriday, his nephew, he is just Uncle - maddening, bewildering Uncle, prone to entering trances at the most inconvenient of times, known to sneak out to the forest at midnight, who must be vigilantly safeguarded not only against jealous enemies and devotees with ulterior motives but also against that most treasured yet insidious of sulfur-rich vegetables: the cauliflower.
"Not for those who embrace literary genius"
Storm clouds are gathering above the bar of the less-than-exclusive Thistle Hotel. Stuart Ransom, a jet-setting, supermodel-chasing pro golfer with an extravagant ego and a career nearing the end of a spectacular decline, is drinking his way through the night. Desperate for attention, he strikes up free-flowing conversations with anyone who will listen. But as he banters with Jen, the impish barmaid with a talent for telling tall tales rivaled only by Stuart’s own, the night takes an extraordinary turn.
Nicola Barker's readers and listeners are primed to expect surprises, but her 10th novel delivers mind-meld on a metaphysical scale. From quiet beginnings in the picturesque English seaside enclave of Pett Level, In The Approaches ultimately constructs its own anarchic city-state on the previously undiscovered common ground between G.K. Chesterton and Philip K. Dick.