Scrutiny on the Bounty by John Martin

‘What could possibly go wrong?’

Back in 1974, when Hobart became home to Australia’s first legal casino, lawyer William Clarin fell foul of some Chicago gangsters.  A case of mistaken identity of course, but the beginning of a new adventure for William.

You see, William was a magician as well as a lawyer.  The problem is that he’s not the lawyer known as The Magician.  And when he represents Giovanni Salvadori Biggi over a traffic infringement, which ends with a warrant for Mr Biggi’s deportation to the US on murder charges, Mr Biggi is not pleased.

‘Get him, boys.’

William Clarin must get away.  And so, he signs up as a magician on an ocean liner known as ‘The Bounty XIII’ to escape Hobart. He’ll be leaving all of his worries behind him, won’t he?  Gulp.  May be not.  Thus begins a funny novella in which Bill finds himself in ever more trouble on the high (and not so high) seas.  Poor Bill: his attempted escape becomes his worst nightmare.

If you enjoy madcap, slapstick comedy, full of coincidence and bad luck, then you may enjoy this.  If you’ve read Mr Martin’s other funny novels and novellas and like his style, then this is a treat for you.  I confess that while I’ve read and laughed my way through two of the Windy Mountain books, I’ve not yet read the other book so far published in the Mad Bill series.  But I will.

Thanks, John Martin, for making me laugh.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith