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Mr Finchley Discovers His England (1934)

by Victor Canning

Series: Mr Finchley (1)

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6610370,453 (3.63)16
The adventures of a middle-aged solicitor's clerk who takes a holiday for the first time in his life and finds himself in all kinds of unexpected situations, chased by the police, befriended by gypsies, mistaken for a homicidal lunatic, collecting for a band of street musicians, and at sea with a smuggler.… (more)

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» See also 16 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Set aside a day for this delightful, PG English adventure that was first published in 1934 in which 45-year-old bachelor Edgar Finchley, Esq, having worked at Bardwell & Sprake for 28 years, takes his first-ever holiday. I received a review copy quite a while back from NetGalley that got lost in the queue and this is my voluntary review. ( )
  Quakerwidow | May 27, 2023 |
Story of a meek and mild law clerk who takes a mandated vacation that turns into a life of crime, albeit unwittingly. 214 pages ( )
  Tess_W | May 21, 2023 |
An odd book, made up of one madcap adventure after another. Highly episodic. The characters mostly feel like caricatures, except Mr Finchley himself has a bit more realness to him. Although he is *just* naive enough to keep landing in some bizarre situations, he's intelligent enough to deal with them.

This is a book you have to be in the right mood for. It's not quite my cup of tea, but you might enjoy it if you like the sounds of a book that's somewhere in the ballpark of PG Wodehouse but with occasional forays into more profound thought. ( )
  Alishadt | Feb 25, 2023 |
For decades Mr Finchley has worked as a solicitor's clerk, and has never had a vacation. When the firm is sold, Finchley's enlightened new boss gives him three weeks off. Plump, bald, forty-five year old Mr Finchley, a man intimidated by his landlady, decides to go to Margate, an unadventurous seaside resort, but on the way he is inadvertently kidnapped by gangsters, and his exciting holiday begins. Mr Finchley travels around England on foot, by bicycle, by train and bus, and even in a smuggler's boat. He makes friends with the people who take to the roads: gipsies, itinerant workers, a travelling vicar, an artist, an escaped lunatic. He sleeps by the side of the road, in barns, in tents and even in a mansion. The naive and trusting Mr Finchley gets along with everyone.

This cheerful, gently humorous, optimistic little book was a best seller in England in 1934. ( )
  pamelad | Jan 9, 2022 |
This is another one of those delightful British series written between the 1930s and the 1950s and brought back by Farrago Books for our reading pleasure. When we meet Mr Finchley he is a dull, boring, unmarried clerk, 45 years old, and has never taken a holiday. His boss tells him to go and have some fun and forget about work for two or three weeks. Sounds odd to him, but he’s game and makes reservation at the seaside. That’s the plan, but so much for plans.

Each chapter is another adventure for Mr Finchley. In the beginning he agrees to watch a gentleman’s car for a moment and will then take his train to the seaside. Instead, he falls asleep in the back seat and is kidnapped when the car is stolen. Time and again he manages to extract himself from an unexpected and often unpleasant circumstance only to find himself throw right back into another unbelievable encounter. At first he is quite upset that he is missing out on his seaside vacation, but soon he discovers that the likes the outdoors and all the challenges he faces. It becomes a matter of personal pride for him to be able to “see it through” and “make the best of it.” Along the way he meets thieves, gypsies, a nobleman, a lunatic who just happens to look exactly like him, and smugglers. He is chased by people and animals and is caught in the heat and the cold and the rain.

The writing is superb and entertaining as only writing from this time period can be. Descriptions of the countryside, the animals, the people are rich, full and elegant. Each chapter is its own pleasing little story and the book presents a picture of an England that is either forgotten or was never known by those of us reading this today, customs and traditions and mores and language that are unfamiliar but comfortable all the same.

The longer we know Mr Finchley the more we like him. He isn’t really stuffy and rigid and prissy, but merely a man of his time and station who discovers many things about people and places – and himself – that he never knew. And is having a rollicking good time while on his journey of discoveries. Some of his escapades are a little frightening and some are laugh-out-loud funny; all are wonderful.

Thanks to Farrago Books for making Mr Finchley Discovers His England available again. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it without hesitation. All opinions are my own. ( )
  GrandmaCootie | Sep 12, 2020 |
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"They will make wonderful discoveries in their own country and, once they have tasted the pleasures of this vagabondage, they will return to it again and again."

Youth Hostels Handbook
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Edgar Finchley was forty-five, short, with a comfortable face such as you might see on the fringe of any crowd, and a tonsure that surprised you when he raised his hat.
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The adventures of a middle-aged solicitor's clerk who takes a holiday for the first time in his life and finds himself in all kinds of unexpected situations, chased by the police, befriended by gypsies, mistaken for a homicidal lunatic, collecting for a band of street musicians, and at sea with a smuggler.

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