Blott on the Landscape by Tom Sharpe

Blot on the Landscape by Tom Sharpe

3rd August 2022.

I read this comic novel over 40 years ago, when times and attitudes were quite different – though the games politicians play never seem to age. At the time, I laughed out loud as the farce at the heart of the story blew events completely out of control towards mayhem. As Sir Giles took ever more desperate measures to dispose of his wife, she fought back with a vigour and imagination that was admirable.

Did I enjoy the story as much as I did in my youth? In many respects, yes. Sharpe was always the master of the comic catastrophe, producing both satire and slapstick on the same page. The story amused me and kept me reading to the end, though I had a good idea what happened.

I don’t always remember the books I read, but this one I did, which proves it left its mark on me all those years ago. If you don’t mind the outrageous, bawdy humour and can suspend disbelief, this is still an entertaining novel with some memorable comic moments.


All is picturesquely typical of rural England at its best. Sir Giles, an MP of few principles and curious tastes, plots to destroy all this by building a motorway smack through it, to line his own pocket and at the same time to dispose of his wife, the capacious Lady Maude. But Lady Maude enlists a surprising ally in her enigmatic gardener Blott, a naturalised Englishman in whom adopted patriotism burns bright. Lady Maude’s dynamism and Blott’s concealed talents enable them to meet pressure with mimicry, loaded tribunals with publicity and chilli powder, and requisition orders with wickedly spiked beer. This explosively comic novel will gladden the heart of everyone who has ever confronted a bureaucrat, and spells out in riotous detail how the forces of virtue play an exceedingly dirty game when the issue is close to home.

Blot on the Landscape by Tom Sharpe

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