Robert Rankin – Raiders of the Lost Car Park

Having taken a quick sanity break, it’s time to return to the world of the Great Robert Rankin Re-read-athon. Sorry, that’s just the way it is.

First published in 1994, this is a direct sequel to The Book of Ultimate Truths, as we find Cornelius Murphy and his friend Tuppe[1] following up their Epic Quest.

A new ocarina is forged. Well, adapted from a not entirely paid-for one. An ice cream van is obtained, all the better to play the unique notes of Hugo Rune’s invention through its loudspeaker.

And the Forbidden Zones are revealed, leading to the freeing of Cornelius’s real father, the notorious Hugo Rune, not to mention assorted other things, mostly servants of the real ruler of the world, who these days can’t be bothered to do the old traditional thing of delivering presents to all the children of the world, and is generally a bit grumpy and not at all nice to know.

We have more fun with Inspectre[2] Hovis of the Yard, stuck in Brentford, about to be made redundant and forced into what you might call an uneasy alliance with Rune if you were the sort of person who said things like that, which I hope you aren’t.

Rune has a Cunning Plan, of course. One that even Baldrick might think was a bit dodgy.

It’s all very, very silly, with more ridiculous set-ups, gags that are not so much telegraphed as semaphored, illuminated in flashing neon and err, well, look, I’ve no idea where this sentence is trying to go, so let’s just say you can see some of the gags coming and they still work. If only because you keep telling yourself that he couldn’t possibly get away with that one…

Loads of fun. And some guest appearances from well-known residents of Brentford. What more could you ask for?

[1] Which we learn is short for Tupperware

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