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The Sardinian Job by Eddie Lancaster

The Blurb:

Charlie Stroker’s Mini Centre lies in the backstreets of a small Black Country town just a short distance from the gates of the factory that built them. But now with the best years of the business behind him, his dream of making a fortune from a lifelong passion is quickly fading away. Straining relations still further with his discontented wife and their antisocial teenager. Both already disenchanted by a decade of wilful neglect and a tankerload of cooking sauce!

Following a chance encounter of the deep-fried kind, he learns of a long-forgotten stash of valuable Mini spares languishing on a remote Mediterranean island. Recognising the chance to change his fortunes, he embarks on a quest to bring them home. For Britain! For glory! But most of all for the money!

Will this barmy enterprise be the making of Charlie? Or will his first ever foreign holiday finish off both his marriage and his business? It’s a bawdy comic caper, but only a chancer named Stroker could pull off The Sardinian Job!

About Eddie Lancaster:

In 1968 I was born in one of the small grimy towns where Birmingham collides with the Black Country making me a Yam Yam. After achieving very little at school, I left at sixteen to begin a Youth Training Scheme selling British Leyland car spares. Discovering I had a gift for remembering part numbers, (but sadly very little else!), I pin balled from one job to another for about twenty years. Until I wound up writing adverts for a company manufacturing British classic car parts. Where it didn't go unnoticed that I sometimes struggle to take things seriously. Often having copy rejected for containing thinly veiled jokes about the very serious items I was trying to sell to pipe smoking middle-aged men wearing ancient Simon shirts, nylon socks and open-toe sandals.

Then, at the age of 50, my wife sent me on a Creative Writing Course at the Midland Arts Centre. Where I found that most people who write are pretty serious about their hobby. So I fitted right in... NOT! Anyway, twelve weeks later, I'd written the pilot episode of a comedy-drama called Tatlock's Marina. The tale of a working-class family who faced with a failing business, a zero-hours contract and losing their home, escapes to the Norfolk Broads to run a boat hire business. Regrettably, I found TV writing is a bit tricky to break into. So when Martin Clunes showed no interest at all in the project and just kept the chocolate I sent with the script, I thought I'd take a crack at writing books instead.

So that's it, really! These days, I run a little business printing stickers for a living and try to write books in my spare time. Doubt I will ever make a fortune from either. But if my blokey jokey brand of humour lightens someone's day and makes enough for a couple of takeaways, I'll settle for that and keep playing the lottery.

My Review:

A word of advice before reading this absolute comedy gem; it will have even more value if you first watch 'The Italian Job' starring Michael Caine, and a trio of Mini Coopers, whether you have seen it before or a just for a recap. This is a comedy spoof loosely based on this classic movie, centred around Charlie Croker, (a different CC to Michael Caine's character) who had stumbled on news of a forgotten hoard of Mini Cooper parts that had been stored up a mountain in Sardinia for a rally that never happened. Look out for little references to the film, including the music. Knowing the value and scarcity of authentic BMC parts, Croker knew he could make a life-changing amount of money in recovering these parts and selling them on eBay. Not being on the best of terms with his bank, he had to seek finance from sources, most people would overlook or avoid, and also he needed help and expertise in negotiating and bring them back to the UK. The end result is, an omnium gatherum of misfits that would even attract the attention of retracted snails on a major export and haulage mission within a shoestring budget and a timeframe of just one week. In true Eddie Lancaster style, every paragraph induces at least a smile or a laugh out loud chuckle.

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