John Murray’s forte, in his novels so far, has been the portrayal of the often extraordinary and sometimes plain barmy people who inhabit his version of Cumbria. A Gentleman’s Relish, his eighth, is a bit of a departure. While it keeps an umbilical link to Cumbria it strikes out in time and place, to follow the misfortunes of three generations of the Geraghty family in Oxford and London.
George Geraghty is seventy-two years old and looking back, a tumbler of malt whisky in hand, in anger at his life. He is a violently satirical political cartoonist whose work has passed out of fashion. As with all Murray’s novels, the plot is not really much to the point. He