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Rancid Pansies (Gerald Samper #3)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  168 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
When we last saw our hero he had taken to his bed in England, his beloved home in Tuscany having inexplicably capsized into a ravine. As Rancid Pansies opens, Samper is recuperating in Sussex at the home of the famous conductor Max Christ when he learns that film rights to his book on Millie Cleat—the one-armed yachtswoman whose inadvertent hari-kari, televised on Christma ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 28th 2008 by Europa Editions (first published July 1st 2008)
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Sep 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2010
n.b. Europa: Y'all have got to get a new cover designer. Which actually isn't true, because lots of Europa books have kick-ass covers. But why are you so lame to James Hamilton-Paterson? All three of these books have covers that aren't even ugly; they're just boring and weird and totally not going to get anyone to casually pick up these books. Which is such a shame! Because they're completely amazing.

I don't think I liked this one quite as much as Cooking With Fernet Branca, but it was still te
Mar 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, humor
Gerald Samper, British ex-pat in Tuscany, was introduced in COOKING WITH FERNET BRANCA and continues his witty, outrageous doings here. The characters are over the top and very funny as they solve problems. The loss of his house to an earthquake leads Samper to agree that Princess Di appeared and saved everyone in the doomed house. It becomes zanier thereafter.
Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Any book that made me laugh as much as this one is on my 'A' list. I love pretentious Brits who have a way with words. Very silly, a little stomach turning for those of us who aren't keen to eat rodents but all in all a great deal of fun. Nice Tuscan scenery too.
Andrew Schirmer
Aug 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Some brilliant moments, great ideas, but Samper finishes with a bit of a whimper. Not quite up to the other two.
Dec 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book featured a return to the alternating narrators format of Cooking with Fernet Branca, although instead of giving equal time to Gerry and Marta, Rancid Pansies was a story told by Gerry with occasional interruptions in the form of emails from his lover (Adrian) to a colleague. Adrian's emails (presented in Arial to put us in a computery mood) didn't quite provide the he said/she said hilarity of Marta's letters to her sister, and they were full of gratuitous oceanography mumbo-jumbo, but ...more
May 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: gay, quirky
Rancid Pansies is the third book in the Gerald Samper trilogy, and I hope to Princess Diana that it won't continue on into a fourth book. It's clear that James Hamilton-Patterson (just think how many more books he could see if he dropped the Hamilton!) has run out of steam.

I read this more than two years after reading Gerald Samper's absolutely hilarious debut in Cooking With Fernet Branca. The first book in the series was genius: a riotous send-up of all those "I bought a farmhouse in Tuscany,
Mary Lou
Aug 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
RANCID PANSIES. (2008). James Hamilton-Paterson. ****.
We left Gerald Samper in the previous novel, “Amazing Disgrace,” temporarily homeless after his house in Tuscany was destroyed by a seismic tremor that tossed it into a ravine. Remarkably, he and all his guests came through it unscathed, but Gerald made a chance remark that was picked up on by his Italian neighbors: “We were saved through a vision of Princess Diana.” This chance remark has led to the formation of a new cult of Diana that ass
Sep 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: library_books, lgbt
Some opening advice: if you haven't read the previous two Gerry Samper books, this one does not stand alone; moreover, I had read the second one a couple of years ago, finding the repeated references to its events a tad frustrating, to the point where I was slightly tempted to go back and re-read the previous novel.

This one didn't strike me as very funny or clever overall, although there were the occasional moments of "this is more what I'd expected!" humor. Every other chapter here consists of
Aug 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
James H-P has appeared out of nowhere as an author of comic fiction. His talent is prodigious. The plot is the life and adventures of Gerald Samper, opinionated, queenly, possibly as talented a writer as he believes himself to be, definitely a danger in the kitchen (to those who eat), singer of improbable operatic arias (filched, I suspect, from the instructions on the back of various packages - it sounds so much better in Italian).

There's no point asking about the plot - there hardly is one. P
Mar 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction, humor
I am very fond of the first book in this wickedly funny series, Cooking with Fernet Branca. In this, the third installment, it was a delight to see Gerry, the main character, finally be realize his dream. But, alas, in the process his character lost much of his unique edge. Exquisite setup however: Gerry's Tuscan villa has fallen over the edge of a cliff (don't ask), but he and his illustrious dinner guests all made it out on time because, as Gerry sarcastically tells the helicopter medic, a vis ...more
Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Hamilton-Paterson keeps this little series fresh by creating a new structure for this third book about Samper: interspersed among the first-person narrated chapters from Gerry are emails from his boyfriend to the boyfriend's former grad student, with a realistic mix of academic and scientific advice and discussion and news and gossip about Gerry and his adventures. Somehow the author manages to keep the farcical qualities of the story while allowing a little pathos here, a little sweet romance t ...more
Andy Thomis
Mar 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Final book in the trilogy starting with Cooking with Fernet Branca (best of the three) and Amazing Disgrace (least good). A picaresque centred on a pompous, snobbish, clever, witty, and increasingly gay character, presumably a thinly-disguised self-portrait of the author. One hopes not too thinly, at least as regards his culinary creations, amongst the least adventurous of which is smoked cat (served of course with a pussy fumé). Some lovely set-pieces (explosive group vomiting at a dinner party ...more
Dec 09, 2008 rated it did not like it
This book was kind of dumb. I was expecting weird, which it definitely was, but it just wasn't that interesting. I don't think I know anyone remotely like the main character, though I suppose these types of people actually exist somewhere. I really didn't like some of the more graphic descriptions, but they did fit. The author seemed to go a little over board with it. Mostly, I read this and kept waiting for something good to happen but it didn't. I think it was supposed to be funny too. It miss ...more
Apr 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title is an anagram for "Princess Diana," who serves as the MacGuffin for this book. I found parts of it hilarious (mass vomiting scene at dinner party) but the plot was rather thin and nowhere near as entertaining as the first in this series, "Cooking with Fernet Branca." Still, I love Hamilton-Paterson's dry British humor and the outrageousness of his main character, Gerald Samper. One of these days I'll get around to reading the second in the series.
Sep 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
in some ways this is the best gerry samper book yet. not enough of marta, but she did get a girlfriend. and Gerry gets to write his opera, to great acclaim. very nice. i heard hamilton-paterson's non-fiction book about oceans is coming out from europa. he's a smart and good author, so it should be interesting. question though, did i miss it, or what WAS the title of the opera, as rancid pansies was just a working title.
Max Fincher
Jul 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The curmudgeonly misanthropic ghost writer, Gerald Samper, draws you into his mad world of an amateur opera about "Saint" Princess Diana, parochial Italian feuds over his dilapidated Tuscan villa and dinner parties where the guests he seeks to impress are inadvertently poisoned by his mouse vol-au-vents. A very entertaining read and some wonderful laugh-out-loud moments. The parody of "Goodbye England's Rose", Diana's commemorative song sung by Elton John, is simply hilarious!
May 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2009
Never finished this book as was overwhelmed by incredibly strong voice of the narrator. Felt like I was spending time with a very funny and exceedingly manic personality and got exhausted. Nevertheless, for those who are stronger, think there would be many more hilarious gems in here.
Apr 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
What made Fernet Branca and Amazing Disgrace so enjoyable was the wildly unreliable narrator. In this third book the plot gets pushed along by emails in Samper's boyfriend's voice. He boringly describes things that have happened "off-stage." A very lazy device.
Jun 26, 2010 rated it liked it
A master of the absurd. Used the same literary technique as found in the first book of this series in that he has two narrators alternating chapters. First time it worked, this time it didn't as the character wasn't as interesting as Marta.
Nov 20, 2008 is currently reading it
the third in a series about a british ex-pat in tuscany, complete with recipes (liver smoothie, haddock marmalade, gun-dog pate)and a shrine princess diana on an italian hillside. Not quite as funny as the first (cooking with fernet-branca), but better than the second (amazing disgrace)
Jul 16, 2016 added it
The third year in a row I've read a volume in this trilogy while vacationing on the Ligurian coast, not too far from where the plot tales place. And it's as roaringly funny as the first two. Why isn't anyone making a TV series out of this?
David Whittlestone
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: light-reading
Thirs of a series of witty, well-planned and well-written books. I am now truly sorry to have read the last. I have never before read such wit and even read out passages. Amazing.
Nov 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
The best of the trio of hilarious book, in my opinion.
Peter Thornton
Jan 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very funny book up to the usual Gerald Samper standard. At the end I was expecting his Diana opera to be an unmitigated disaster (is was a disaster but there were mitigations).
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another wild story in the Cooking with Fernet Branca series. Quirky and funny.
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Wonderfully absurd
May 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is sooooo funny. Even better than Cooking with Fernet Branca.
Jun 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Quite funny. Who would think an author could pull off the cannonization of Princess Di as a credible plot device?
Sep 02, 2011 rated it liked it
The cleverness wears off and the tale grows tedious about half way in. some rainy day perhaps I'll pick it up again.
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James Hamilton-Paterson's work has been translated into many languages. He is a highly acclaimed author of non-fiction books, including Seven-Tenths, Three Miles Down and Playing with Water, as well as America's Boy, a study of Ferdinand Marcos and the Philippines. Gerontius, his first novel, won the Whitbread Award, while his most recent, Loving Monsters (2001), was praised by the Sunday Telegrap ...more
More about James Hamilton-Paterson...

Other Books in the Series

Gerald Samper (3 books)
  • Cooking with Fernet Branca (Gerald Samper, #1)
  • Amazing Disgrace (Gerald Samper #2)

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