- Marks out of 10 for Cover
Full marks to the publisher for bothering to depict one of the girls from the story. She's scandinavian-looking and in a skimpy maids outfit. And is she gorgeous? Of course she is. We're ALL gorgeous. This is the last of the 3 books published on the Futura imprint and therefore the last book to have this cover design. I love the 70s graphic design elements, but I think the jackets suffered from not featuring the Russ Tobin character. Sadly this trend continued until the final Tobin book of the 1970s and was only rectified 26 years later when Tobin Goes Cuckoo arrived in 2005. 8/10
WILL YOU BE WANTING BED AND BREAKFAST SIR?
After two years of globe-trotting Russ Tobin is summoned to Ireland bu his old friend Patrick with the job of a lifetime - Entertainments Officer at Ballytatty Castle, Co. Kildare, a fabulous luxury hotel that specialises in group tours - most of them women.
Does Russ have the strength and endurance to keep up with the forty luscious ladies of the Grand Order Of SLAP (Seek, Learn, Appreciate and Progress)? Can he fully entertain the twenty lovely members of the Try It In Kildare Lovers Expedition (known as TICKLE)? You bet he can! HERE COMES TOBIN
- Brief Description of the Plot
The story begins in Liverpool where Russ is staying the night at the Adelphi Hotel prior to his flight to Dublin (yet another iconic hotel for Russ, where many famous people have stayed). Or at least he is checked in there - he never actually makes it back to stay the night and ends up dashing in to collect his luggage and check out the next morning before his flight to Dublin at noon! Russ tells us that he has spent a few days with his parents in Cheshire in between this and returning from Australia. This means the book is set in late January as he leaves Australia on 23rd January when his visa expires.
Anyway - off he flies to meet his destiny yet again (chatting up ANOTHER Air Stew - Angela Bell) and this time it's an old castle turned hotel in County Kildare. The reunion scene with Patrick is as touching as the one where they part in Tobin Takes Off and pledge to meet again some day. Of course Ballytatty Castle doesn't actually exist, but there are several hotels in the general area based in converted castles (eg Kildare Castle and Ballaghmore Castle) which undoubtedly served as the inspiration here.
Once Russ arrives at the Castle, he is quickly overwhelmed by the female of the species. He immediately meets the Swedish Maid (Heidi Johansson) as he settles in to his room and pledges to pay her a visit later - a promise which is broken due to the intervention of the hotel owner's wife who sets about seducing poor Russ (once again, he finds himself the hunter's prey and just has to go with it). Then the next morning he is sent to the airport to collect an all-female, twenty-strong athletics team from Snake Falls, Idaho (another made-up location sadly), You can guess the rest. Yet another prolonged snooker scene takes place (Snooker fans: see als Tobin Takes Off and The Sewing Machine Man) which ends with Russ spending the night in Greta Lawson's room (Heidi left waiting again..)
The following evening sees a medieval banquet take place in the castle, which leaves Russ torn apart (literally) by the vying ladies. He's so shaken that he retires to bed with a copy of Playboy (seriously Russ? Just how gigantic can your libido be?). He's rudely disturbed by Patrick, who informs him that the Athletics Team have got so wasted on Mead that the night has descended into a nude all-in wrestling match! Not wanting to miss out, Russ joins Patrick as a spectator - which is all fine until they decide to start taking photos, at which point the wrestlers turn on them...
They are saved at the last moment by the appearance of a ghost outside, which turns out to be part of a Scooby-Doo type scheme by the hotel owner, but the plot point fizzles out pretty quickly and Russ retires for his third night's sleep. Not that he gets much, as Heidi appears, so fed up of waiting that she takes matters into her own hands. Literally.
The next morning Russ then embarks on his first horse-riding experience, which he learns to love quite quickly until a gloriously predictable pony-trekking accident leaves him with a badly bruised thigh. I always think of this great picture that Stan once sent me of his time living near the Curragh on Co. Kildare!
Cue lots more love and attention from the guests, and that's where it ends. Russ is laid up in bed for the rest of the week and planning to stay there until the Snake Falls girls have gone home. At which point Patrick informs him that the next visiting group is the Dry Gulch, Arizona Women's Lonely Hearts Club....gulp!
- Page at which Russ Tobin first eyes up a lady
Page 6. Russ sees a girl struggling with her head under the bonnet of her broken down Mini. He can't HELP but notice her shapeliness!
- Page at which Russ Tobin first gets to know a lady in the biblical sense
Page 28. Russ chats up said bird, fixes her car and finds his way into her bed (hence the futility of his reservation at the Adelphi Hotel) . Turns out that she is an art student called Pauline Lorenson, and of course it's no surprise that she just happens to have an incredibly high sex drive. Yet another of Russ's seemingly perfect love matches that end up as a one night stand due to his imminent scheduled departure. It's quite a sweet recurring motif in the series that Russ always leaves the lady with a sense of deep sadness that he couldn't stay longer.
- Page at which Russ Tobin first drinks a Vodka Tonic
Russ's "interview" for the Ballytatty Castle job consists of him being plied with Vodka by the owner's wife - Natasha O'Shaughnessy (who Russ describes as "Mick McManus in drag") and then thoroughly seduced. She won't let him have any tonic though as she tells him that is "a girl's drink"!
- Page at which Russ Tobin first reminisces about a previous adventure
The very first page as Russ stands by the Mersey reminiscing like crazy over his days working in Liverpool.
That you don't look a gift horse in the mouth. When Patrick offers Russ the job he could easily have carried on his travels elsewhere - but no! With friends like Patrick - you'll never go without...
- Rating on the MORGANOMETER
Nothing new on the Tobin front really - it's pretty much The Courier set in Ireland instead of Majorca - but so what? Good to see the return of Patrick Holmes, which works well as a call-back after the Buzz Malone adventures. Once again, there is no real plot to speak of, just the usual sequence of set-pieces and it ends with no clue as to where Russ will end up next time - he seems quiet happy where he is! 6/10