The new novel by Ken James, author of Anna from Hay
Gerwyn is a little man in all respects, short, quiet, unambitious and a great worrier. All he wants in life is an upgrade in his job that will bring in a little more money for his family. However, he was an unlucky man and was plagued by many occurrences, some trivial others that changed his life dramatically.
The novel opens with arrogant Jonathan Pallet quarreling with his flirtatious wife, Lynwen, after the previous night`s gathering at the golf club. Jonathan, ambitious and ruthless, was invited to the social evening by his Area Engineer and he wanted desperately to create an impression. However, Lynwen got bored with them talking shop and decided to enjoy herself dancing with a young man, raising eyebrows from The Area Engineer.
Jonathan was not a popular engineer and those under his jurisdiction were prey to his bullying. In particular was timid craftsman, Gerwyn, who was singled out by Jonathan as he was easily intimidated. Gerwyn relied on his shop steward to protect him, a man who liked having opportunity to pull Jonathan down to earth. There were others also who hated their boss and showed it openly. At work Jonathan`s superior was Fred Crabbe, a man who ham-acted and was on everybody`s side, but was full of pretense. He wanted a quiet life and demanded his junior engineers assured it
A cowboy builder bought the empty property next door to Jonathan`s terraced house and made life difficult for him and wife Lynwen. Knocking down the adjoining flowery stone wall and replacing it with concrete blocks, building a double extension blocking out natural daylight, and cracking the wooden supports for his garden door, were some of the offenses carried out by Mr Bull. Trying to beat the cowboy builder legally proved futile, so Jonathan sabotaged the builder`s property creating another enemy. Furthermore, catching Lynwen flirting with the bank manager created a cold and despicable lone wolf, and Jonathan made life hard for anyone who endangered his ambitions. It was Gerwyn who took the brunt of it.
As time went on Jonathan accumulated several enemies who hated him and made threats. Could such threats lead to murder, or is it just bravado to save face from those who have been shamed by Jonathan`s bullying?
The story is a mixture of drama, comedy and pathos with tragic consequences. When events are taken to the extreme in Cwm Morlais, the emotions stray from normality and turn dangerous.
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