BOOK REVIEW- SHARPE, TOM – WILT. 1976 Pan Books.
Very funny look at the wretched, hen-pecked life of Henry Wilt. Married to a large battle-axe, Wilt finds himself dragged to a society party that he does not wish to attend. The hostess, clearly intent on causing friction between Wilt and his wife, attempts to seduce him. When he turns down her advances, she gets him starkers and superglues him to a blow up doll of the kind that proves popular at stag-parties. Wilt is seen struggling to extricate his manhood from the doll by everyone at the party. His wife, distraught and embarrassed, walks out on him. She goes off for a boating weekend with the woman responsible for Wilt’s downfall. She has left Wilt a note, but he has used it as lavatory paper without actually reading it. When his wife, her hostess and the hostess’s husband get stuck on a sandbank in a wide stretch of river, no one knows where they are. This is unfortunate for Henry Wilt, who has angrily thrown the inflatable doll down a building site foundation pit. As workmen fill the pit with cement the next day, a hand is spotted. The police are brought in to extricate the alleged dead body. As Wilt’s wife has not been seen for a few days, everyone thinks he has murdered her. When the doll turns out to be just that, and explodes all over everyone watching its excavation, Wilt is still interrogated over the disappearance of his wife. He cynically claims to have put her into a meat pie factory meat grinder, and causes some major anarchy. He is in deep trouble. A serial killer is on the loose and Wilt is suspected of being him. On the stranded boat, Mrs. Wilt is shocked when her friends invite her to take part in a lesbian romp. She jumps ship and swims for shore. She just about makes it and heads to a nearby church. She gets out of her wet clothes in front of the bemused vicar. He lets her contact Wilt who arrives to her rescue. He is just in time, as the vicar is the serial killer everyone was looking for. Henry realizes that he loves his wife after all. They make love. The final horror is that she is going to give birth to quadruplets. Henry’s troubles are barely beginning, as serial sequels will show. Very funny book, filmed rather too dryly with Gryff Reece Jones and Mel Smith in the 1990’s. Raunchy and sexy and with larger than life grotesque characters and situations. This is the best of all Sharpe’s comedies by far.
© Copyright. Arthur Chappell
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