Humour Reviews

Corkscrew – Peter Stafford-Bow

14 September 2018
Corkscrew Book Cover Corkscrew
Thistle Publishing
July 12, 2018

A comic crime thriller, sitting somewhere between Christopher Brookmyre and Lucky Jim. This is the debut novel from Peter Stafford-Bow, a pen-name for a major UK wine executive.


Corkscrew is a brilliantly entertaining novel. It’s a humorous and racy journey of a wine buyer from his expelled school days to a senior position with a major supermarket brand. Felix Hart is extremely witty, sexually obsessed, and hugely ambitious. There are numerous instances where you will struggle NOT to laugh out loud. The sexual innuendos and sarcastic dialogue are very funny and are well mixed with slap-stick comedy incidents. Which did have, yours truly, doubled over in tears of laughter. I did spread the joy to those in earshot!

Felix is a charmer and an opportunist. In all his jobs he sees opportunities for self-advancement, often to the detriment of others, although all his colleagues also seem ruthless with regards self-recognition. He is very intelligent and has a mesmerising knack for getting things done, which is well recognised by his bosses and a secretive higher game player. There’s always a bigger fish but the question is are you friend or foe.

I enjoyed the way the story developed, although even the author reminds us that it is a highly improbable but occasionally true story. It reminded me of Wolf of Wall Street in terms of unlimited ambition, uncanny persuasive ability, and the play hard rewards when a good job is done well. Felix travels all over the world having responsibilities in countries such as Bulgaria, South Africa, Germany, and Italy. There are wonderful tales to be told regarding his exploits in each country, the friends he meets and the precarious situations he finds himself in.

For me, this was truly a book I didn’t want to put down. It doesn’t take life too serious and is a lighthearted romp around the world of wine, women and ambition.

Many thanks to Thistle Publishing for an ARC version of the book in return for an honest review.

Peter Donnelly

Founder of The Reading Desk, supporting readers, authors, publishers and book industry. Top Reviewer on Amazon, Goodreads, and NetGalley

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