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Creator / Tom Sharpe

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Thomas Ridley Sharpe (30 March 1928 – 6 June 2013) was a Cambridge-educated British author of comic Farce novels. He is perhaps best known for his Wilt series of comic novels, but the Piemburg farces, which are drawn from his time living and working in apartheid South Africa, are also worth a honorable mention. (He was deported from South Africa for subversion and not taking apartheid seriously). He had been described as England's funniest living writer, but in a country also boasting Sir Terry Pratchett, Tom Holt and Robert Rankin, that was perhaps open to debate.

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  • Porterhouse Blue Series:-

  • Wilt Series:-
    • Wilt (1976)
    • The Wilt Alternative (1979)
    • Wilt On High (1984)
    • Wilt In Nowhere (2004)
    • Wilt In Triplicate (omnibus) (1996)
    • The Wilt Inheritance (2010)

  • The Piemburg Police force novels:-

  • Other Novels:-
    • Blott On The Landscape (1975) (Also made into a TV mini-series for The BBC)
    • The Great Pursuit (1977)
    • The Throwback (1978)
    • Ancestral Vices (1980)
    • Vintage Stuff (1982)
    • The Midden (1996)
    • The Gropes (2009)

  • Collections:-
    • Selected Works (1986)
    • Tom Sharpe Library Pack (2001)

  • Short stories:-
    • Stirring the Pot (1994)

  • The anthology Knights of Madness: Further Comic Tales of Fantasy (1998) features a story by Tom Sharpe.

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This author's works include examples of:

  • Character Overlap: Events from Ancestral Vices are mentioned in Grantchester Grind.
  • Community-Threatening Construction: Motorway being built in Blott On The Landscape.
  • Cool Car: Glodstone's 1927 Bentley in Vintage Stuff.
  • Deep South: Bibliopolis, Alabama, stereotypical Bible Belt town in The Great Pursuit, complete with Badass Preacher.
  • Eagleland: Sharpe writes American characters as crass and foul-mouthed.
  • Fair for Its Day: Sharpe’s novels were written in the Seventies and Eighties, when England was going through class division and social turmoil. When he wrote two more novels in the 2000s, they were criticized for being outdated.
    • His first two novels were set in apartheid-era South Africa, and were meant to draw attention to the horrific treatment of Africans at the time which the white people there were taking for granted.
  • Fictional Document: The Great Pursuit mentions various novels which only exist in that book, most notably the erotica sensation, Pause O Men For The Virgin.
  • Forged Message: Slymne's letters to Glodstone in Vintage Stuff.
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  • Gold Digger: The Countess, aka Constance Sugg, in Vintage Stuff.
  • Had to Come to Prison to Be a Crook: Walden Yapp, sentenced to life for a murder he didn't commit in Ancestral Vices, is hated by prison inmates and staff alike. He feigns psychopathic tendencies to survive, and eventually get released.
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: Mr Meakin, tax evasion investigator in The Throwback.
  • Karma Houdini: Some characters who act villainously don’t get their comeuppance, being too powerful or rich for justice to take down. However, in Sharpe’s stories everyone gets put through the wringer, and in his view if the hero makes it out okay then it’s okay for the villain to do so as well.
  • Literal-Minded. Peregrine Clyde-Brown in Vintage Stuff.
  • Meaningful Name: Sharpe used colorful names like Wilt, Blott, Yapp, Petrefact, Slymne, Skullion, Verkramp (Afrikaans for constipated or crazy) and Flawse for his characters.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Walden Yapp gets a life sentence for a murder he didn't commit in Ancestral Vices.
  • Moral Myopia: A major theme of Sharpe’s works. In his stories British respectability is so strong that it overrides any actual morality; one character speculates that because of this masturbation is more criminally offensive in Britain than murder.
  • Nausea Fuel: Exploding earth closet in The Wilt Alternative.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: Most stories were set in fictional towns - Worford, Pursley, Buscott, Groxbourne.
  • Police are Useless: A major trope in Sharpe's works. His first novels were set in apartheid-era South Africa, where the police did their best to enforce white supremacy on the black community. Later novels were set in England and America and toned down the racism, but still focused on how foolish and eager-to-please the police acted, but in a human way.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Sums up Lockhart Flawse, the titular Throwback.
  • Serial Killings, Specific Target: Inverted in Ancestral Vices. Emmelia, the only one convinced that Walden Yapp didn't murder the diminutive Willy Coppett, sets out on a spree of attempting to kidnap other Persons of Restricted growth to make it appear that the culprit is still at large.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Cynthia Bogden in The Great Pursuit.
  • Steam Punk: The Synchronised Ablution Bath in Ancestral Vices.
  • Thinks Like a Romance Novel: Jessica Sandicott in The Throwback.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Sharpe’s preferred pairing is to have couples of skinny or slender men paired with well-built women, to the point where he received criticism for objectifying his female characters. One book even had him pair a dwarf with a six-foot woman (they were Happily Married, though the husband often got crushed/suffocated in bed during coitus…).

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