Rancid Pansies, Paperback
4.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)


Gerald Samper is not a lucky man. Ghost writer of terrible celebrity memoirs and lethally bad cook, he now watches as his beloved house falls off a hill in Tuscany.

But he and his guests have been saved from certain death by an apparition - in the form of a certain deceased English princess with great legs. Or, at least, that's how the money-spinning rumor has it...And so begins a farcical comedy of eccentric Diana pilgrims, dead dinner guests, bad opera and Gerry's specialty field-mouse vol-au-vents.

Every bit as outrageous as Cooking with Fernet Branca, James Hamilton-Paterson's latest novel is not for anyone who takes royalty (or, indeed, anything else) too seriously.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780571238477



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Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by

Being friends with gay ghost writer and tin-eared aesthete Gerald Samper is not easy since it requires a willingness to sample his nauseating gastronomic innovations – like Badger Wellington farcé with gun-dog pate. When his beloved Tuscan villa collapses, then a dinner guest dies after having partaken of his mouse vol-au-vent and haddock marmalade, washed down with a liver smoothie, Gerald feels hard done by. After being forced to corroborate an imaginary account of a visitation by the spirit of the late Princess Diana, Samper is inspired to write an opera about the Queen of Hearts, which is when things get really interesting. Irreverent, witty, beautifully written, and hilarious.

Review by

Having not read its predecessor it took me a while to get into this book, but once I did, what a delight! One of the most wonderfully farcical novels I have read in ages, which sparkled with wit. Re-reading the beginning I should have been alerted to the role of anagrams, but being anagram blind myself, the dual role of 'Rancid Pansies' came as a wonderful surprise. I immediately ordered 'Cooking with Fernet-Branca' and look forward to more of Gerald's elegant and bitchy capers.

Review by

Brilliant Gerald Samper Novel #3. This effete over the top "writer" of boring sports celebrities and "master chef" of Mice Krispies returns again when his Tuscan roof-top villa is destroyed in an earthquake, he tells his neighbors that the angel Princess Diana saved him! Hilarious!!

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