The Ballad of Peckham Rye, Paperback Book
4.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


A man of devilish charm and enterprising spirit, Dougal Douglas is employed to revitalize the ailing firm of Meadows, Meade & Grindley.

He succeeds, but not quite in the way his employer intended.

Strange things begin to happen as Dougal exerts an uncanny influence on the inhabitants of Peckham Rye and brings lies, tears, blackmail and even murder into the lives of all he meets, from Miss Merle Coverdale, head of the typing pool, to Beauty, the resident femme fatale, and even Mr Druce, the unsuspecting Managing Director himself.


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I'm becoming a bigger and bigger Muriel Spark fan (and not just because I'm eating too much these days). They're all of a type - Spark has a very distinctive style of writing, but it suits her splendidly, and makes her novels very easy to read.The central question in this novel is perhaps about the devil (though I'm not sure - it's a short novel but there's a lot too it). Is Dougal Douglas a devil? Or just devilish? He tells awful, insensitive jokes, and still gets a laugh. He polarises the local population - they're either for or against him. He is a hunchback, and was supposedly born with horns on his head. He damages everybody's life in some way - though it's hard to sympathise with his victims because he does everything with such class and panache.Like so many other of her novels, this is something of a minor classic; worth reading and celebrating, even if it doesn't make the 1001 Books list.

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