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Riotous Assembly [Hardcover]

Tom Sharpe
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 1996
When Miss Hazelstone of Jacaranda Park kills her Zulu cook in a sensational crime of passion, the gallant members of the South African police force are soon upon the scene: Kommandant van Heerden, whose secret longing for the heart of an English gentleman leads to the most memorable transplant operation yet recorded: Luitenant Verkramp of the Security Branch, ever active in the pursuit of Communist cells; Konstabel Els, with his propensity for shooting first and not thinking later - and also for forcing himself upon African women in a manner legally reserved for male members of their own race. In the course of the strange events which follow, we encounter some very esoteric perversions and some even more amazing perversions of justice when Miss Hazelstone's brother, the Bishop of Barotseland, is sentenced to be hanged on the ancient gallows in the local prison.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Description


"A murderously funny farce." - Daily Telegraph

"Savagely hilarious." - Sunday Mirror

"Explosively funny, fiendishly inventive." - Sunday Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"A murderously funny farce." - Daily Telegraph

"Savagely hilarious." - Sunday Mirror

"Explosively funny, fiendishly inventive." - Sunday Times

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars a laugh riot Aug. 28 2002
A friend in Britain and I sent each other some favorite books. Since David hadn't read much SF/F, I sent him Jonathan Carroll's Bones of the Moon and James P. Blaylock's The Last Coin. In turn, he sent me some British humor: Tom Sharpe and Clive James. James' books were quite interesting--a well-written autobiography with some sly touches that never quite had me belly-laughing, but kept me reading. Sharpe, on the other hand, I fell into with a gusto. From page one of Riotous Assembly, my hands were doing double-duty turning pages and trying to keep my sides from splitting.
Imagine the writer you would get if you mixed P.G. Wodehouse and Hunter Thompson, and then placed them in South Africa; that's Tom Sharpe. He indeed manages to combine the wit and language skills, as well as the awkward situations of Wodehouse with the sharpened pen of satire and low opinion of humans from Thompson, and his target is South Africa and the police forces there (I believe that he was jailed there for awhile, and ultimately deported).
Upon finishing Riotous Assembly, I rushed to see if I could find any more by this Sharpe fellow. Luckily, Vintage has brought him across the sea for our enjoyment. Indecent Exposure is the sequel to Riotous Assembly and just as funny; perhaps even funnier, given the satire of the Dornford Yates club (a group of Englishmen who adore the veddy British writer Dornford Yates who is clearly an analog for Wodehouse) within the larger South African satire. I also read Wilt, in which he drops some of the satirical and plays the perverted Wodehouse more. Wilt is okay, but I would suggest you try the South African novels first. If you're like me, you'll have to read Wilt or any of his other novels then--just because you can't get enough of this amazing fellow.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great perverse fun April 12 2001
This is the first of Tom Sharpe's two novels set in South Africa. This is a very funny book. It is very perverse and zany fun.
The book begins with the murder of a black house wroker by a member of a prominent English family in the city of Piemburg. Enter the police. There is Kommandant van Heerden, who wants nothing more than to be English, Konstabel Els, who is renowned as a killer of blacks, and Luitenant Veerkramp, who is one of the slimiest and wiliest characters in the Piemburg police force. A routine police investigation turns into an armed confrontation between the unwitting members of the Piemburg police force, while van Heerden is unwillingly seduced by the murderer he is investigating. These are just a few of the hijinks that ensue as the police's irrational actions keep making the situation worse.
This book is excellent because Sharpe is able to expose the irrationality of apartheid and the actions of the authorities to keep this practice going. After reading this book, there is little wonder in my mind why Sharpe was expelled from South Africa in the '70s.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A "riotous" read June 21 2000
This is Tom Sharpe's first venture into print way back in the seventies after being deported from South Africa. A perusal of the contents will answer the question why succinctly! A paen to middle class prejudices and yearnings everywhere, which when coupled to a prediliction for bizarre episodic violence triggered by equally bizarre human behavior will leave your sides splitting! This started the whole Sharpe thing which afficiondo's will tell you is utterly irresistable and addictive, while leaving one wondering as to the workings of Sharpe's mind! These English "Public" schoolboys!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I have to agree March 26 2001
By A Customer
with the other reviewers on this one! This is a great book. First of his books I've read, but as soon as I finished, I had to seek out more of his writing. A cunning wit, a barbed tongue and a brilliant mind. You will find your jaw dropping, you will find yourself laughing out loud. You will be apalled. You will be delighted. D*mned if the English don't really do certain things better.
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5.0 out of 5 stars simply the best Jan. 11 2000
Riotous assembly and its sequel (Indecent exposure) are in my opinion two of the funniest books I have ever read. Far better than Wilt, Porterhouse blue or Blot on the Landscape. Sharpe manages to come up with hilarious situations and misunderstanding on every page. Try it, and try not to laugh when it comes to the ming...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lunaticy, sheer lunacy!! Jan. 30 2001
THE FUNNIEST BOOK ON EARTH!!The innermost workings of Tom Sharp's mind would indeed be an interesting intellectual pilgrimage for a Psychiatrist. Tom Sharp is a national security risk to any nation, he should as well be banned from Earth but unfortunately he would have infected some of us before then.
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