Life is suddenly looking up for William Wooding. Thirty-five, overweight, sedately employed and unhappily married, he is given the chance to escape to a new life in South America.
There he runs the English Bookshop and discovers a different kind of existence: anarchic staff, a beautiful prostitute called Theresa, intrigue at Maria's Tango Club (the local house of pleasure) and a country heading for a bloody coup. Wooding discovers that the country's young president is an old school friend and as a consequence finds himself recruited by the mysterious Mr Box of British Intelligence to investigate what is going on…
Tangois a hugely enjoyable mixture of sexual escapades, revolutionary politics, and intelligence-gathering in exotic landscapes. It confirms Alan Judd as the contemporary successor to Evelyn Waugh.
'Very entertaining…it makes you want to turn the pages. No mean achievement' Sunday Telegraph
'Well-constructed, witty and at times moving' Independent
'An enjoyable book which made me laugh out loud… Alan Judd has a real gift for satire' NewStatesman
'The breezy satirical blend of carnival and cruelty is never less than nicely judged' Observer
Graham Greene meets Monty Python in this well-crafted, off-the-wall thriller by a pseudonymous author ( Short of Glory ) who once worked for the British Foreign Office. William Wooding, a 35-year-old Brit with an expanding girth, has been transferred by his company to an unnamed South American country to run their bookstore and a paper mill. Once settled in his new environs with his wife, Sally, whom he married just as they were getting bored with each other, Wooding has little more to do than wash his office windows, hyperventilate over Theresa--the soon-to-be mistress of the country's president, with whom Wooding once went to school--and gorge on cheap red wine and red meat. Then Arthur Box, a spy for Special Information Services, recruits Wooding to help save the country from going communist. What follows is pure pandemonium, reminiscent of the Ealings Studios comic movies starring Alec Guinness, until, in a deftly handled transformation, Judd unveils the terrors encountered by those living in a land in search of an identity. The only disappointment in this near-perfect tale is that the villains seem all to be drunkard homosexuals wearing droopy bowties.