The Prime Minister's Daughter
The blurb on the back:
The private lives of people in power.
'Outstanding. A first-class story-teller with the style and vivid tautness of a Kipling' - Illustrated London News
We start with the launch of a movement to combat the spread of pornography. Later we see an ambitious young backbench MP get a new job as a newspaper columnist, a Chancellor of the Exchequer lose his job in a reshuffle and a press baron fail to get recognized in the Honours List. And behind it all are flashbacks of the Prime Minister's daughter having an affair with a married man whilst in America.
It all seems potentially interesting, and those quotes on the back are matched by further praise inside from the Observer, Glasgow Herald, Irish Times, New Statesman and The Times. I don't like to fly in the face of such unanimity , but I have to say, I don't get it. I mean, it's perfectly well-written (though Kipling and Somerset Maugham is pushing it) but it doesn't really hang together and frankly I don't really see why Mr Edelman bothered to write it. Really, what was the point? It's not a proper novel - just a random collection of incidents - it doesn't tell you anything you didn't already know and it lacks any satirical thrust.
Oh well, here it is. It's got a nice cover. And - to be fair - there are occasional flashes of insight, as in this account of the hapless Chancellor:
Maurice Edelman (1911-75), incidentally, was the Labour MP for Coventry North-West until his death (he was followed by the entirely blameless Geoffrey Robinson) and also wrote some other stuff like The Minister (1961), The Crossfire (televised in 1967) and some non-fiction. You might also wish to know that this novel was itself turned into a television play in 1970 for Thames TV's Armchair Theatre series.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 2/5
HIPNESS QUOTIENT: 1/5