One Big Damn Puzzler by John Harding - review by James Morrison

James Morrison

Big Mac Attack

One Big Damn Puzzler


Doubleday 489pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

A feel-good romantic epic with a life-affirming moral ‘message’, One Big Damn Puzzler is a book that might have been written with a future starring role for Tom Hanks in mind. With its blend of knockabout humour and light social comment, its larger-than-life supporting cast and its dependable if insipid lead, John Harding’s mammoth new novel at times resembles a treatment for the Hollywood romcom it will surely become. 

Set largely on a remote Pacific island, the book opens with the arrival of William, a naïve but well-meaning lawyer who plans to help the natives file compensation claims against America in respect of injuries caused by landmines planted by a recently departed US military garrison. Among the casualties is

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