I recently read Reginald Hill’s A Cure for all Diseases which made me feel that my life won’t be complete until I have read everything this author ever wrote. I get most of my books from the local library and so borrowed the only other Reginald Hill book they had, The Roar of the Butterflies. This turned out to be part of a series, which luckily for me also worked as a stand-alone story. To my absolute joy, The Roar of the Butterflies was a tribute to PG Wodehouse’s style and wit (and love of golf, which I don’t share).
To sum up, Joe Sixsmith is an unlikely Private Investigator who often has the solution to his client’s cases fall into his lap. The client in this story is Christian Porphyry, who Joe secretly christens an FYG, short for ‘Fair Young God’. Christian comes to Joe with cash and a case to solve. Christian is facing expulsion from the Royal Hoo Golf Club in Luton because of a cheating mystery. Joe knows nothing about golf but doesn’t let that stop him from taking on the case.
In what may be a coincidence, Luton’s most powerful businessman, who is known as King Rat, offers Joe a surveillance job in Spain.
Between faking it at the golf club, falling unexpectedly into the arms of young girls, avoiding being beaten up by thickheaded boxers, sweet-talking his girlfriend Beryl, trying to stay on the good side King Rat and living up to the Fair Young God’s hopes, Joe is busy from the start to the finish of this light but amusing story.
The title, The Roar of the Butterflies, refers to a golfer who took himself so seriously he couldn’t play when there was noise or distractions and the roar of the butterflies in a nearby paddock was enough to put him off his game. I don’t know much about golf and don’t really care to, but I love reading PG Wodehouse’s stories which are set around golf and his characters who love the game. Reginald Hill’s story is a fitting tribute to PG Wodehouse.
Here’s hoping my library can scratch up more books by Reginald Hill.