Riotous Assembly (Piemburg #1)
When Miss Hazelstone of Jacaranda Park kills her Zulu cook in a sensational crime of passion, the gallant members of the South African police force are soon upon the scene: Kommandant van Heerden, whose secret longing for the heart of an English gentleman leads to the most memorable transplant operation yet recorded: Luitenant Verkramp of the Security Branch, ever active i...more
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A deserted road in New Zealand. In the distance, we see a bus bombing along the highway at high speed, slowing down and then screeching to a halt.
Bus driver turns in his seat, a look of concern on his face. We hear a kind of strange wheezing sound, which is both alarming and somehow amusing. Is someone having a heart attack? An epileptic seizure? The bus driver gets out of his seat and approaches the passenger who is making these strange sounds, collapsed onto his side in the ...more
The plot is absurdly wonderful - an elderly British gentlewoman calls the local ...more
Normally I would try and shy away from commenting about the story, however I can say that the description of this book (the "blurb") pret ...more
You won't be sorry.
Read Riotous Assembly 3 times, laughed until I cried each time.
Not only should it be on your "To Read" list, it should be moved direct ...more
Laugh out loud loudly, frequently.
Had to stop as I was drawing attention to myself on the train
Although it's 40 years old, and (fortunately!!!) apartheid is gone, this is hysterically funny. Not necessarily realistic, but simply a farce (of quite bad taste) that comes from stupidity and failure to communicate. But it does give a (nasty) insight to racism, and pokes such fun at it.
Brilliant, brilliant satire of segregation in South Africa, and especially the useless and deplorable South African police force. The first half of the book is pure farcical genius, like Fawlty Towers in literary form as a seemingly straightforward prolem develops slowly but surely into all-out siege warfare. The characters are broadly sketched, as you would expect from a comedy, but they are utterly unforgettable; the misguided and dim-witted racist Kommandant van He ...more
At that time, the Apartheid regime in South Africa - against whom this satire was tilted - was hardening against resistance. Amazingly, on initial publication in the US, the novel had been boycotted over its dedication:
"For all those members of the South African Police Force whose lives are dedicated to the preservation of Western Civilisation in Southe ...more
The premise of the story is a highly incompetent police commandant (and by extension force), investigating the murd ...more
For me, the first half of Riotous Assembly was perhaps a bit too frenetic in terms of shooting, shouting and explosions. The second half, when things (marginally!) calmed down, was much better.
it got only three stars because most of the situations are forced - i found myself thinking many times "ah, here the author tries to be funny again". unfortunately, i did not experience the sheer laughter some of the others readers describe.
Riotous assembly is aptly named as it is a riot. A veritable hootfest of slapstick, satire and sexual shenanigans all set in Apartheid Africa. This is a novel of it's time with outdated attitudes but funny nonetheless.
His work in South Africa inspired the novels Riotous Assembly and Indecent Exposure. From 1963 until 1972 he was a History lectur ...more