Dan Rhodes (3 stars)

Gold (Canongate)


Were the cast of Last of the Summer Wine a little more off-kilter and if Nora Batty was a bit less of a lumpy-stockinged battleaxe with an eye for mindless trivia, they could have easily come to mind when reading Dan Rhodes’ pleasing and quirky tale, Gold. Set in a British coastal village, the locals at the Anchor fritter away their time discussing topics which may one day crop up in the pub quiz while some odd incidents from their pasts are recalled. Only a returning holidaymaker called Miyuki Woodward, with a hankering for graffiti, pints and books, breaks up their tedium.

Even for a book under the 200-page mark, barely anything actually occurs and the central mystery of the missing gent holds negligible tension only to be cleared up with little fuss. Not quite literary gold then, but another sign that Dan Rhodes is a burgeoning mercurial talent.

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