In our town, if you cough in the High Street the chemist up at the Town Hall has got the bottle of cough mixture wrapped up and waiting for you.' And nobody in the town provides such a wealth of delicious gossip as 'Noisy' Brackett and his wife Sally. Refusing to pay her bills, chasing her errant husband around the countryside in fast cars, setting fire to the heart of Bob, the local baker, Sally is a gloriously raffish figure of fun. In these three linked novellas Bob relates how Sally finally paid his account, how Noisy got off a motoring charge by sneezing, stole a case of stuffed birds from his own house, and barricaded himself in a cottage with a cardboard Argentinean air-hostess to foil Sally's pursuit.
Pritchett's effervescent love of comedy, his gift for storytelling and dialogue, his passionate interest in the seedier, droller goings-on of modern society, have never showed to better advantage than in these light-hearted tales.
Victor Sawdon Pritchett (1900-1997) was born over a toyshop in 1900 and, much to his everlasting distaste, was named after Queen Victoria. A writer and critic, his is widely reputed to be one of the best short story writers of all time, with the rare ability to capture the extraordinary strangeness of everyday life. He died in 1997.