Review

Quite Honestly

by John Mortimer



Lucy Purefoy, a confessed do-gooder, joins SCRAP (Social Carers,
Reformers and Praeceptors), eager to help criminals rejoin society
and become vital, working, happy parts of it. Her first and --- it
turns out --- only charge, Terry Keegan, wants none of Lucy nor of
SCRAP. He's finally won his freedom and vows to leave everything
about "the system" behind. When he walks out of those prison doors,
he has a little money in his pocket and a pretty good idea of where
he wants to go, and it most definitely has nothing to do with Ms.
Lucy Purefoy. His Aunt Dot always did quite well by him, so why not
make a fresh start from there? Sadly, no one told Terry that Aunt
Dot passed away during the three years he was off paying his debt
to society.

A bit desperate, Terry calls on his old buddy and partner --- or
ex-partner --- in crime, Leonard "Chippy" McGrath, hoping to room
with him just until he can get back on his feet. Unfortunately,
Terry discovers that Chippy hasn't changed one iota since their
days working together, and when Terry turns down Chippy's offer to
join his cadre of B&E specialists, he finds himself back on the
streets, stripped of his cash and his hopes of a bed for the night.
With the whole idea of independence looking more and more
difficult, Terry decides that the enthusiastic Ms. Purefoy might be
able to help after all --- just this once.

Naturally, the good-doing Lucy is ecstatic to have a real criminal
to reform, especially after all those dull weeks spent in training.
Excited that Terry has responded to her efforts, she redoubles her
energies to find him a suitable place to live and lands him a
legitimate job. Quite honestly, Lucy thinks, it's so simple.

In order to most effectively help Terry, Lucy decides she needs to
fully understand him, so she embarks on an ambitious plan to do so.
She's a hands-on kind of gal. And you could say she goes beyond the
call of duty. Way beyond. Maybe it's her naiveté, having grown
up the daughter of a Bishop, or her wide-eyed belief that people
are basically good, just in need of a break and a little faith.
Whatever, Lucy learns more than she bargained for about a life of
crime.

Full of eccentric characters --- Lucy's father, a bishop whose
modern interpretations of the church's teachings include tolerance
for extramarital sex and gay marriages; Terry's cohort, the
appropriately named Screwtop (unhappily, a reference to his brain
function); Lucy's ex-boyfriends, a motley group of eccentric
winners and big-time losers; and a romantically inclined prison
matron with a hopeful roving eye --- QUITE HONESTLY is a
quick-reading hoot.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on January 23, 2011

Quite Honestly
by John Mortimer

  • Publication Date: March 23, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult
  • ISBN-10: 0670034835
  • ISBN-13: 9780670034833