'She gave me more pleasure in bed than any woman'. Who, or what does Keith Skipper mean?
PUBLISHED: 06:00 30 November 2019
Well, whatever she is, Norfolk has its fair share, Skipper reveals
I suspect it was the vicar of St. Mary Mead, the one not to disappear before his time, who informed his local book club that Jane Marple had given more pleasure in bed than any other woman.
This thoughtful tribute, always a potent sales pitch when it comes to turning up the volume for a good scare before lights out, underlines the way reading holds its place on many lists of late-night adventures.
We have reached that time of year when all manner of publicity-seekers - and some are worse than others - decide it's time to spill the juiciest beans and put their names to thick wads of sizzling memoirs.
They turn off the light much earlier than most to dream up enough bizarre escapades to attract at least two television chat show interviews and a saucy tabloid headline.
Cynics used to suggest memoirs were created when you put down good things you ought to have done and left out the bad things you did do.
Politicians, sporting characters and an ever-growing supporting cast of so-called celebrities tend not to worry over such niceties these days, settling instead for the maxim that nothing succeeds like excess.
The fact that most revelations draw reviews like "a rattling good yawn" and finish piled up in remaindered mountains as soon as the annual surge is over hardly stems the tide of unwarranted intrusions into a market already crowded with far too many excellent choices.
An old friend with a literary bent and sideways brand of humour used to give well-known stories for readers of all ages fresh coats of Norfolk paint. Cue blank looks in bookshops and libraries on being asked for Mutiny on the Bouncy, David Kipperfield and Bunfight at the OK Chorale. (That's the one set in the Docile East rather than the Wild West).
He could also extend this puckish art to plays and poems with reworked delights such as Underwood's Milk and The Pied Blowpiper of King's Lynn. A carol entitled Good King Whence the Last simply confirmed arrival of a new literary luminary on the block.
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Inspired by such creative fun, I am working overtime to bring a number of old favourites back to life just in time for this year's battle of the books. Oh, and the odd breakthrough volume as well …
Norfolk Cookbook For Those Who Don't Like Cooking: Crammed with useful tips including how to cook a Shelduck - "Put a brick in the oven along with the bird. When the brick is soft, so is the Shelduck".
The Beagle Has Landed: Billy Beagle takes up parachuting for charity when some of his country pursuits are curtailed. In this exciting follow-up to Where Beagles Dare, our canine chum drops in unexpectedly on crowds surrounding the Grand Ring at Costessey.
The Thirty-Nine Stops: Kafkaesque adventure set on a train travelling from Norwich to London, a journey lasting 90 days. Book provided free for season-ticket holders.
Fifty Grades of Shay: Heart-tugging story of goalkeeper Shay Givens, winner of over 100 caps for the Republic of Ireland. He reveals how it took him 50 exams to pass all his soccer coaching tests.
Horry Putter and the Bunker of Doom: Sporting drama for our young hero as he pulls on his magic socks (hole in one) and pits his wits against the Cheating Green Wizard around Cromer Golf Course.
The Secret Diary of Hadrian Mule, Aged 97¾ : Norfolk buskins-bender in the shape of random reflections of a 19th century countryman who defies social barriers and conventions to work as a gigolo in fashionable fleshpots of Upper Muckwash Magna.
Grate Expectations: Touching romance from Bills and Moan featuring Nutty Slack Miner and fiery Suzy Scuttle and played out against the 1946 formation of the National Coal Board. Timely sequel to Picket on the Hearth.
Hound of the Basketmeals: Black Shuck finds a modern setting. He terrorises coastal pubs where holidaymakers use mobile phones while eating. Fanciful finale as he reigns supreme at Crufts, but enough authenticity to satisfy Conan Doyle fans.
Diss Family Robinson: Building a new home and new life in inhospitable border country proves tough as these pioneers wait for the railway to bring prosperity. The gravy train leads to Dickleburgh.
Farewell, My Bewty: Norfolk private eye Dick Barton Turf and glamorous sidekick Walsingham Matilda lift the lid on their toughest case yet - who took the P out of Happisburgh?