Patty O’Furniture: The Vacant Casualty

One of my PhD thesis advisers was in the UK earlier this year and picked up a copy of Patty O’Furniture’s The Vacant Casualty: A Parody (2012) for my amusement. It is a bawdy and funny take, of course, on Rowling’s Casual Vacancy and, while I cannot recommend it for any but the most dedicated Rowling collectors (it is ‘for adults’ at times as in ‘adult films’), the book does have its better moments.

The author captures and teases the genre melange, for example, that is characteristic of everything Rowling has written; perhaps the funniest part of the book was its lapse into heroic science fiction (Aliens in a Space Ship!) to make that point.

And the cleverest bit was the insertion of a School for Witchcraft and Wizardry in the sleepy village of Mumford. It is just out of sight but the running joke and clever pointers to the Hogwarts Saga and film adaptations is deftly done so as never to be tiresome and always to come as something of a reward to the reader who wants more Harry and less Mumford (wasn’t that all of us in 2012?).

The author behind the pseudonym is Bruno Vincent, which I have to suspect is still another pseudonym. He has written five adult parodies of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five novels, which if the books are half as funny as and suggestive as the titles must be wonderfully comic at least for those adults in the UK who grew up with the books: Five on Brexit Island, Five Go On A Strategy Away Day, Five Go Parenting, Five Give Up the Booze, and Five Go Gluten Free.

Back to Agatha Christie tomorrow with two of her books chosen at random — rather than because of a Presence recommendation or obvious pointer — to see if Rowling has mined the whole Christie collection for names and plot points!


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