The ninth in this spellbinding sequence of novels. The effaced narrator, Nick Jenkins, is working as a writer and editor in postwar London. The slightly seedy, weary atmosphere is beautifully rendered.

There are some great scenes -a funeral, with hilariously sardonic descriptions of the resentments that run beneath the surface of the ‘grieving’ family and its hangers on; the desperate flailing around of the talented but mercurial writer, X Trapnel, as he tries to reconcile his romanticism with reality; and the collapse in slow motion of Widmerpool’s marriage to the baleful and menacing Pamela Flitton.

The title is actually the nickname of one of the characters but I won’t spoil things by explaining it. A very, very enjoyable read.