By James Minter
OK, this might be just me but can anyone else the link between the title, the author and a distinctly shaped mint? No? Just me then.
This is the first part of a self-published “Hole” trilogy by James Minter, in which we are introduced to the eclectic, and at times eccentric characters who inhabit the rural village of Henslow. Very much at the centre of the hole business (no, that’s not an error, you’ll get the joke in a moment) is Colin Griggs and his wife Izzy. Frustrated with the red tape that threatens to permanently tie up small modern farmers, Colin decides to leave behind several generations of traditional farming and establish his new business: Hole Farming.
No, don’t even try to work it out. It makes absolutely no sense, which is very much at the heart of why the book works so well. The idea of farming holes feeds very well into Colin’s ineptitude. He means well and has all very good intentions, but a mixture of circumstances, misunderstandings and an overzealous local reporter result in a series of unexpected and inexplicable events that would have made Tom Sharpe proud.
The chaos begins when Colin gets the contract to supply the local Golf Club with 18 holes for their newly refurbished course. Why they have found themselves with no holes on the greens just a week from the official opening is one of those questions you shouldn’t ask. Being new to the whole hole farming business Colin decides to employ a warren of rabbits to dig the holes for him. There is just one small problem: rabbits are very good at digging holes, but no one has told them when to stop. What follows is as inevitable as it is hilarious.
And that is just the beginning.
The Hole Opportunity is a farcical look at rural life in an old English county. It is clever and very funny. The characters are perfectly matched to the situations they find themselves in, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole mixed up adventure.
My only criticism, and it is only a minor point really, is that it would benefit from a once-over by a good editor. There are some sudden leaps in narrative and a few points where the story loses some of its natural flow. But these are minor points and don’t distract from the humour and fun of the story.
It is a great book and I look forward to reading the further adventures of Colin and Izzy Griggs.