To someone who has read all of Peter Kerr’s books, from his personal experience travel tales, to his more recent bumbling detective and rogue farmer novels, it would almost appear that the author is considering attempting something a little more straightforward with this latest book.
The Gannet has Landed is the tale of a student vet (so a younger hero than we are used to for a start) who takes a year out job as a holiday rep in Mallorca (where else?). Despite the job, which allows for a few witticisms at the expense of the characters, Doogie finds time to become romantically attached both to a local girl and to the idea of throwing up his career in Britain in favour of a tourist farm on the Spanish island. The mother in me keeps shouting at him to finish his education, but will he listen?:
The Peter Kerr ingredients are there; his detailed knowledge of life on Mallorca, a farmer’s son with a healthy respect for what is now termed ‘the old traditions and values’ and a few larger-than-life characters to have fun with. But this time there are are more serious characters, well-intentioned but in difficult circumstances, struggling to get through each day as best they can and agonising over decisions which result in pain and disappointment for their loved ones.
There are a couple of baddies thrown in so that anyone who wants to label this as simply comedy, simply travel or simply romance has to add in crime as well, but it does end happily, with solutions for everyone.
The question for me is, does this mark an opening for Peter Kerr to leave behind his lightweight entertaining style and use his sensitive character delineations and crafty plotting with more gravitas. Gravitas? Peter Kerr? Perhaps not in the same sentence yet. But with at least two series in which to continue to indulge his sense of humour, it would be interesting to see what might happen should Peter go withoutÂ the ‘funny man’ hero again.