#bookreview – Tallis Steelyard and The Sedan chair caper

Tallis Steelyard and the sedan chair caper.

What Amazon says

Rather than his usual collection of anecdotes, this time Tallis presents us with one gripping adventure. A tale of adventure, duplicity and gentility. Why does an otherwise respectable lady have a pair of sedan chair bearers hidden in her spare bedroom? Why was the middle aged usurer brandishing an axe? Can a gangster’s moll be accepted into polite society? Answer these questions and more as Tallis Steelyard ventures unwillingly into the seedy world of respectable ladies who love of sedan chair racing.

My review

In this entertaining book by Jim Webster, the reader is treated to the ins and outs of sedan chair racing in Port Naain. Sedan chair racing comprises of chairs, transporting various wealthy ladies of impeccable social standing, borne by fit young men called sedan chair bearers, which raced each other through the streets. The ladies are not at all good sports and all sorts of interesting cheats take place during these races which are bet on by those in the city with a propensity for gambling.

We are introduced to a number of intriguing characters. Mistress Bream is one, an elderly lady whose decreased mobility is depriving her of the fun and social interaction she yearns for.  Her various supporters arrange to have a special chair with wheels built for her and Tallis, a poet and the hero of the story, is invited to visit and view her new acquisition. This is the start of an extraordinary tale the results in Tallis seeing Mistress Bream’s son chasing a pair of sedan chair bearers with an axe and being coerced into finding out what has caused this odd behaviour. Tallis’ quest for the truth of the matter leads him to meeting Mistress Graan, the wife of a local gangster, who wishes to be seen as more cultured. Tallis agrees to assist her with hosting a poets soiree and he soon becomes embroiled in her ambitions, including her desires with regards to the sedan chair racing in the city.

I enjoyed the little pieces of poetry that the author wove into the story to enhance it. Once such piece was as follows:

“Who would not stare?

In agitation

When the sedan chair

Comes a cropper

The gyration

Was improper.”

Will Tallis manage to hold a successful soiree for Mistress Graan and help her on her way to social acceptance? Will Mistress Graan achieve her goal of a win in the next sedan chair race? Will Tallis discover why Mistress Bream’s son was behaving so strangely?

You will have to read this lovely book to find out.

I rated Tallis Steelyard and the Sedan chair caper five out of five stars.

Purchase Tallis Steelyard and the Sedan chair caper

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59 thoughts on “#bookreview – Tallis Steelyard and The Sedan chair caper

      1. Now you mention it I can see where you’re coming from. They’re stories about the ordinary people of their day and their rather less than ordinary adventures 🙂
        I confess I like what Steinbeck said about Cannery Row (which I think is his best book)
        ” I just opened the pages ‘and let the stories crawl in’. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I decided to quietly avoid the ribald because I felt it would have novelty if nothing else. I wanted people to see Tallis as the happily married man who does occasionally have to avoid unwanted entanglements but who has a genuine affection for people even when they get him into trouble 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I can just see their faces when you explain you want to be questioned on a book by some English guy nobody has ever heard of 🙂
        It’d be worth the satellite subscription for that alone 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

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