Tobin On Safari - click for a bigger version

  • Marks out of 10 for Cover

 Let's be frank - Russ looks a bit camp on this cover. It's the cravat and the White suit obviously - even the ludicrously phallic telescopic lens camera can't make him look like the Superstud he is. Let alone the blonde in the hunter's helmet and leopard print bikini (Get it? He's on SAFARI. Surely all females dress like that?). 3/10

  • Cover Notes

 Birds are Tobin's big game on safari. When the pride of Britain becomes a courier for a safari company, his first job is to get to know all the birds in East Africa - intimately. And for the stud who thinks that big game is anything with four legs - so long as two of them are his - it all comes deliciously easily. Those birds come thick and fast, too, when they see Tobin bursting at the seams to help them explore some virgin country. Safari, so good, he thinks after his first thrust into the big wild. And after a few more days and nights on the job he is convinced.

  • Brief Description of the Plot

 Russ arrives in Nairobi on 28th November and spends a few days with Bob Eastman (a hunter he met on the plane from Durban) and, at a party he meets up with his new colleague Shaun Brady (a red-blooded Irish ladies man - sound familiar???). Shaun is another trainee courier with Centaf, and Russ spends most of the book knocking around with him. Weirdly there is no sign of Jim Fuller (the courier he is replacing, and was told he'd be learning the job from). Instead, the established courier they learn from is the Schultzie character. A bombastic German lady who Stan obviously thought had more comic potential than yet another boring white bloke.

Anyway, he has a big jungle adventure at Lake Amboseli , getting charged by Rhinos and Elephants (and yet more aggressive baboons!), trapped in a Landrover but he survives as always and eventually gets home safe and sound, only to be placed in more peril thanks to Shaun taking him for a weekend in Mombasa at the end of the first week.

Curiously Shaun describes Mombasa as 300 miles from Nairobi (roughly correct) but then claims the drive is 5 hours. Maybe there is a lot more traffic these days, but Google Maps tells me the journey currently takes 8 to 9 hours!

Stan writes in a couple of recurring gay characters who also make the trip to Mombasa with them. Apart from the fact that one of them is literally called Gaylord, they are largely devoid of the usual stereotypes and nicely depicted as in a loving relationship. Meanwhile Shaun gets so randy that he unwittingly goes off with a bloke in drag and Russ nearly gets himself killed in the process of trying to locate him before he finds out.

Incidentally the hotel they book into in Mombasa appears to still be there - The Lotus Hotel

The book only covers the first two weeks of his time in Kenya, and we know from his conversation with Frank Chappell that he has to sign up to the job for 6 months at a time, so who knows what other adventures occurred between the end of this book and the next one. For the first time the link to his next stop in the Bahamas is tenuous. Russ just "fancies it" after an American he met in a bar told him it was nice! He has no job lined up, and is planning to spend two weeks there doing nothing but "relaxing"!

  • Page at which Russ Tobin first eyes up a lady

 Russ eyes up Tessa who apparently has a "right pair" on Page 26 - unfortunately her guardian - Ma Connell beats all the men off with a handbag, just as Russ is about to make a move.

  • Page at which Russ Tobin first gets to know a lady in the biblical sense

 Not until Page 87 with the delectable Carol.

  • Page at which Russ Tobin first drinks a Vodka Tonic

 Two pages in and Russ is on the Vodka Tonics. On page 28, Tessa asks Russ if Vodka makes him feel sexy...Russ's reply? - "Outrageously.."

  • Page at which Russ Tobin first reminisces about a previous adventure

 On Page 83, just before they make love, Russ tells Carol his entire life story. That's SOME foreplay Russ...

  • Serious points raised

 Nothing in particular except that Kenya is obviously a very, very beautiful place.

  • Rating on the MORGANOMETER

Historically we have always considered this our least favourite Tobin book - it seems that hardly any women fall at Russ's feet, but in reality he has Carol and then weird Annie towards the end (another one he doesn't particularly fancy but gets hunted down by her anyway). There are lots of long passages about wildlife and landscape, described in fanatical detail, which actually makes for a pleasant interlude from hearing about the incessant antics of Herc for a while. On reflection - an average 5/10 unless you are a big fan of Africa, in which case you will enjoy it a lot more.